Books for 5-6 year olds
Berkeley Parents Network >
The Arts, Books, Entertainment, & Media >
Books for 5-6 year olds
My 5 year old daughter LOVES the Cobble Street Cousins books
(and so do I) but we've read each of them a zillion times at
this point. I can't seem to find a similar series - books
that aren't scary and aren't about siblings being mean to
each other, kids being sassy to adults, or other negative
behaviors. I'm looking for books where the characters model
positive healthy relationships with others. By the way,
she's pretty timid and doesn't like the Magic Treehouse
books. I would appreciate any recommendations, even if
they're appropriate for older kids - I'll just hold onto
them until she's ready. Thanks so much! Deb
You will be inundated with answers to this one. My kids are
now in their 20's, so these are not so new, but wonderful.
Also, these are read-to chapter books, rather than for a
beginning reader to get through on their own. First, Johanna
Hurwitz wrote a wonderful series about Russell and his
family (Rip Roaring Russell, Russell Rides Again, Russell
and Elisa, Elisa in the Middle ...). The siblings have very
real but sweet relationships, the issues are real ones kids
face, but very mild (and with enough humor that they are fun
for the parents, too). Then there are books by Dick
King-Smith, generally about animals. Most of these are for
kids slightly older, but they are a LOT of fun. My personal
favorite is the Three Terrible Trins (about three young mice
who outwit the farmhouse cats), but he has also apparently
written at least two about a little girl, Sophie, who wants
to be a farmer and practices by training insects (and not to
discriminate, Martin's Mice is about a cat who doesn't what
to eat mice but likes to keep them as pets--but that might
be for a slightly older child). Enjoy. I still remember my
Little House in The Big Woods and its sequels (Laura Ingalls
Wilder), Milly Molly Mandy story books (there are two) by
Joyce Lankester Brisley, Betsy, Tacy and Tib books by Maud
Hart Lovelace, All of A Kind Family series by Sydney Taylor,
B is For Betsy and other books by Carolyn Haywood,
Paddington Bear books by Michael Bond, The Borrowers Books
by Sherwood Smith...these ought to get you started! Claire
hi, someone recently asked about beginning chapter books and
there were a lot of good suggestions which i think also fit
your criteria: my father's dragon series by ruth gannett
catwings series by ursula k. le guin beverly cleary's books
(there is a bit of negative stuff--sometimes the kids say
mean things to each other--but it's very mild compared to
contemporary books) winnie the pooh (so much fun to read
aloud) and then cynthia rylant has some other chapter books
which we love including thimbleberry stories and gooseberry
park. and as she gets older, you might try: a cricket in
times square and the sequels by george selden robert
mccloskey's (make way for ducklings) homer price books the
mary poppins series (some old fashioned language, but really
great) e nesbit's books alice in wonderland, etc. etc.
My 4.5 year old daughter loves to read, but is very
sensitive, so we're always on the lookout for good books.
Here are the ones she's loved so far: The Little House
series (except for Farmer Boy, which has a pretty violent
section), Charlotte's Web, Trumpet of the Swan, Misty of
Chincoteague, and the Lighthouse Family series by the same
author as the Cobblestone Cousins. Happy reading! Looking
for book recs, too
I have a daughter also 5, and we recently tore our way
through the Cobble St Cousins books, too. She is similarly
sensitive to anything remotely scary or worrying. I just
discovered in the library a small series of books by author
Johanna Hurwitz. We're reading 'Make Room For Elisa', and
loving it. Looks there's also 'E is for Elisa' and 'Elisa
in the Middle', plus a few more about her and her brother.
Really fun reads, all about events that are big in the life
of a 5-6-year-old girl: new baby coming, moving to a new
apartment, looking forward to kindergarten. They're funny,
sweet, very real, and written by a long-time children's
librarian. Try them out, I think you'll love them too.
I swear I would have another child just to revisit Dick
King-Smith. The writer of Babe. Start with Sophie's Snail
and move on to Sophie is 6. LOVELY man, he was! The
Claremont branch of the Berkeley Library is THE place to be
at this age. Dawn may still be there and she is MAVEN of
that age and will have a thousand reccomendations. Also,
please dont let these years pass without story tellers on
tape (disk) The whole Rabbit Ears series is very important!
Our 5-year-old daughter loves the Boxcar Children Series
right now. They are a nice family of four kids, very
respectful, who solve 'mysteries' which usually involves
another character breaking rules and causing mischief. In
the end, the person always comes clean, apologizes and
everyone is forgiven. Interested to know what others
How about the Laura Ingalls Wilder books (Little House in
the Big Woods etc.)? I loved them when I was a kid. Also
Rabbit Hill, Pippi Longstocking, the Borrowers series (maybe
a bit old, but FUN -- my 9 year old is still building
borrower houses, and we read these when he was 5),
Charlotte's Web, Stuart Little, the Frog and Toad books,
Wind in the Willows, the Moffats series, and Ginger Pye.
I'd recommend a bunch more, but my kid is a boy, and very
much into the fantasy thing (i.e. he loved My Father's
Dragon and the Chronicles of Narnia, but those might be too
scary). I don't know that these are all specifically about
'building healthy relationships' per se (don't know too many
fiction books that focus on that, as a bit of friction is
often necessary to have a story line!). But they certainly
aren't terribly scary, and they aren't about kids being mean
or sassy either. Karen
love charlotte's web
Sounds like you should try something like the Little House
on the Prairie series. We also really liked Harriet the Spy.
And we love the Beverly Cleary books. They all have good
characters in them. Be warned that Ramona and Harriet too do
some things that you might not approve of, but there are
always lessons in it, and it helps kids to realize that they
don't have to be perfect to be loveable. Also, ask your
librarian. They are loaded with good ideas.
Your daughter will LOVE the Betsy-Tacy series - especially
if she is a fan of the Little House books. The
Betsy-Tacy-Tib books were written by Maud Hart Lovelace and
the first book (Betsy-Tacy) starts when the girls are five.
From an editorial review: 'Betsy and Tacy are best friends.
Then Tib moves into the neighborhood and the three of them
start to play together. The grown-ups think they will
quarrel, but they don't. Sometimes they quarrel with Betsy's
and Tacy's bossy big sisters, but they never quarrel among
themselves...Ever since their first publication in the
1940s, the Betsy-Tacy stories have been loved by each
generation of young readers'. I have recommended these to
two friends with young daughters and both girls LOVED these
books. The only caveat -- the books follow the three friends
through several different ages, all the way through the teen
years. For some reason the 'teen' books do not work as well.
But the first four books are absolutely GREAT, funny,
insightful can't-put-them-down chapter books! Reading Mom
We recently read 'Serendipity' by Rosy Aronson, 2010. The
book was fantastic! Magical, exciting, adventurous and
informative. It tells the story of a family of young seals
who become separated from their mother and must discover the
larger world in order to find her. The themes in the book
are captivating and extremely thought provoking. We had many
discussions together as a family while reading it - about
families, relationships, the larger world of interconnected
life and the environment. I highly recommend the story to
any family with school-aged kids! Rachel
Hello! I would really appreciate some recommendations for a good book to
read aloud to my son's kindergarten class. I have to 10-15 minute time
slot next month to read a book (although I don't need to use all the time
alloted). I'm not sure if books my kids enjoy at home will work for a
wiggly group of kindergartners. One book I'm thinking of is ''That Rabbit
Belongs to Emily Brown'' because it has some nice repetition and also
places where the kids can chime in. However, it may be too long. Any
suggestions for books that you have successfully read in the classroom
Hands Down: Caps for Sale by Espher Slobodkina
Teach students about the ''Tsz'' sound in the book and let them have fun with you!
Caps for Sale lover
I did this last year. It was fun.
I read: Bear Wants More, Mike Mulligan and the Steam Shovel,
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, and The Gift of Nothing.
I say read what your child likes. I let my son pick the books
I read; it made him feel special and all the kids liked and
knew most of the books.
I recommend, Farmers Garden Rhymes for two voices, it lends itself for children to
participate Example Corn Corn how do you grow? Tall and straight row and row
What do you do when a crow flys near? Hope he doesn't nibble my ear.
This picture book was written by David L Harrison and illustrated by me, Arden
Johnson-Petrrov. Wordsong/ Boyds Mills Press published it.
whenever I participate in
Drop Everything and Read Day, I go to the local library and ask the children's
librarian what she would recommend for the age group I have been assigned. They
always have great suggestions! Plus it gives me a chance to plug the library to
the kids by talking about how much fun it is to go check out books for free.
One of my kids' favorites in kindergarten was Chika Chika Boom Boom. It has a
nice rhythm to it and is a fun ABC book with bright colors.
My 5.5 yr old son will be starting kindergaten in the Fall. Can anyone
recommend good books for kids that are about starting kindergarten?
We loved ''Franklin Goes to School'' - a paperback in the
Franklin series. It addresses the butterflies and also points
out that everyone is good at something different. Cute book!
When both my kids started kindergarten, the night before I read
them ''The Kissing Hand'' by Audrey Penn. It's about the
anxiousness a little raccoon feels about starting school
without his mom being nearby him. Mom kisses the palm of his
hand and tells him that whenever he needs to feel her near, to
put his hand on his cheek, and he'll feel her love.
Then on the first day of school I kissed my kids' palm before
they walked inside and reminded them that they could put that
hand on their cheek whenever they needed some love while they
were in school. This started a daily tradition that continues
to this day -- and my oldest, my son, is now in 3rd grade!
Dear Friends- I teach Kindergarten locally, and I can tell you
that Kindergarten can be intimidating for the first week or so,
but then the ice melts and the fun starts! ''Miss
Bindergarten'' is a cute series about Kindergarten and if you
type in Kindergarten on Amazon under kids books, you will pull
up a few more. Perhaps you could set up a ''desk'' at home for
''practice school'' in August and equip it with some crayons
and paper. I know that the children that can already write
their names and can use a pair of scissors are a lot more
confident. Best of luck on your child's new adventure:)
Rosemary Wells has two great books: My Kindergarten and Yoko's
World of Kindness. Both of them are excellent books about great
kindergartens, beautifully illustrated, compelling to kids, and
Lauren Child has a Charlie and Lola book about fear of starting
school called I am Too Little to Go to School, which is as
funny as most of those are.
Berkeley Public Library has a great selection of the books you
may be looking for.
This search will give you more than you're looking for, but
might be a fun process for you to go through with your son. You
can look through the book covers together, read the brief
descriptions, and decide which ones you'd like to check out.
Search under Subject:
First day of school -- Fiction
My 5.5 y.o. son loves reading time. He's not yet reading on his
own but several days a week we sit together for about an hour
and read one of the Magic Treehouse Mysteries. Unfortunately
we're near the end of the series. Does anyone have any
suggestions of a series (doesn't have to be a mystery line)
that would engage him? I've seen several but the language looks
over his head and/or the themes aren't appropriate for his age.
Thanks for your help!
We LOVED the ''Junie B. Jones'' books by Barbara parker. Silly,
fun, personal, and very age-appropriate situations. The
protagonist is a feisty, slightly ''immature'' kindergarten girl
who gets into some silly scrapes at school and at home. Some
parents complain that some of the language isn't really proper
English (not profanity or anything like that - just slightly
imperfect grammar that sounds like Junie B. and her friends would
Try the Boxcar Children books (a mystery series), or a non-
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, Stuart Little, The Mouse and
the Motorcycle, any book by Roald Dahl (James and the Giant
Peach, the BFG, etc), Charlotte's Web, Charlie and the Chocolate
I read most of these books to my daughter a few years ago (she's
8 now) and we really enjoyed them.
My kindergarten son and I are currently reading the first
Harry Potter book. We have also read and enjoyed the ''My
Father's Dragon'' books (MUCH simpler than Harry Potter,
more on the level of the Magic Treehouse books), and we
read the first of the Little House on the Praire series (it falls
somewhere in the middle of the above two). Last year, we
read the original Wizard of Oz book (which does have a
series, but we couldn't get into the second one and stopped
trying after that.)
I'm a first grade teacher and love to read the first books of series to my
class, hoping to get them hooked on the rest of the series. Two that
come to mind, and that both of my kids also loved, are the Mrs. Piggle
Wiggle books (there are four in the series) and the Boxcar Children
books (there are over a hundred in that series). Hope either or both
proves enjoyable for you and your son.
My five year old loves adventure but is easily scared. And I have
pretty strong feelings about keeping stuff age appropriate. He
My Father's Dragon (this is the first in a series of 3 terrific
books, very sweet, mild adventure but nothing too scary)
Mary Poppins -- there's four books in the series, I believe. My
son loves them.
The Oz Books -- there's something like 40 all together and almost
all of them are better than the famous first one.
The Time Warp Trio books are similar to Magic Treehouse in that
they involve time travel but they're more geared toward the 8-10
year old boy crowd, so a bit more attitude and potty humor. Okay
though, and if your kid is into historical stuff, they work. Not
Dinotopia. Two beautifully illustrated very cool books that are
written as the journal of a 19th century explorer who finds a
land where humans and dinosaurs live cooperatively. Lots of
pictures and a nice utopian message -- not your typical
monster-slaughtering adventure book. The first one is out of
print, but you can find it at the library.
mr. poppin's penguins. Not a series, but a lovely chapter book
that's suitable for young kids.
other series that I plan to introduce in the next few months:
-little house on the prairie (I have friends whose kids love
these books -- my son is easily frightened so I want to wait a
little longer as there's some peril in the earlier books)
- finn family moomintroll
I look forward to hearing other people's ideas.
There are many wonderful books for this age. If you're looking
for a series of Chapter books, try the Oz books (note that we've
only read the L. Frank Baum ones; I'm told the others aren't as
good). Other great chapter books are I'd recommend, for
starters, Charlotte's Web, James and the Giant Peach and Charlie
and the Chocolate Factory. If your child prefers shorter
stories, try the Milne books (Winnie the Pooh and the House at
Pooh Corner -- lovely books, much different from the movies).
For chapter books that come in a series, there is
always the Half Magic books by Edgar Early; also Redwall and the
Harry Potter books. Our daughter enjoyed them in Kindergarten,
although I'm not sure that they're for every kid.
My son who is five says he wants to learn to read. IbMarch 1999m not a
teacher so IbMarch 1999m looking for recommendations for a book that we
can work on together for him to learn to read. I found
recommendations on the web for Teach Your Child to Read in 100
Easy Lessons by Engelmann, Haddox, Bruner. Does anyone have
this book to loan or sell, or a recommendation for another book
that I can use? Thanks!
Time to Read
When my daughter wanted to start to read we got the Bob books.
Its a series of little books (10 per box I think) with 4-6 pages
of one sentence pages, all done with three letter words. Good for
starting to learn sight words, easy to sound out words, and it
gives them a sense of accomoplishment (vs. trying to read Hop On
Pop which is long!) when they read a book. They are very popular
and easy to find; I got mine at Barnes & Noble in Emeryville.
Try Books with patterns, rhymes, songs, and books that can be
Pattern and Predictable Books
Books with a repeating line or phrase
Carle, Eric, Today is Monday
Carle, Eric, The Very Busy Spider
Carle, Eric, The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Carlstrom, Nancy White, Jesse Bear, What Will You Wear? (and
other Jesse Bear books)
Collicut, Paul, This Train
Martin, Bill Jr., Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do You See?
Stow, Jenny, The House that Jack Built
Williams, Sue, I Went Walking
Wood, Audrey, The Napping House
Shaw, Nancy, Sheep in a Jeep
Westcott, Nadine Bernard, The Lady with the Alligator
Purse (and other song books by her as well)
Over in the Meadow
Root, Phyllis, One Duck Stuck
Dr. Suess and Dr. Suess-like books
Berenstain, Stan and Jan, Bears on Wheels
Eastman, P.D., Go, Dog, Go!
Suess, Dr., Hop on Pop
Suess, Dr., Marvin K. Mooney will you Please Go Now!
Suess, Dr., One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish
teacher and parent of 6 year old
My daughter is a struggling reader, and we are looking for fun
easy readers that appeal to her rather typical girl interests and
are not too annoying for us to hear read aloud over and over and
over again. Something along the Henry and Mudge line, only easier
and more appealing to little girls.
I hesitate to recommend them, as I don't like them too much
myself, but my daughter loved the Junie B. Jones books (by
Barbara Park) when she first started reading on her own. That
actually worked to her (our) benefit, as I read her the first
one, and then told her if she wanted to read more, she would
have to do it herself. She did! I would say they are best for
K-1st grade or so.
I have boys, so my recommendations may be off point, but:
The Magic Tree House series is fun; a brother and sister travel
in time to interesting places/times in history. It is a bit
more advanced that Henry and Mudge, but kids can leap from that
level to this in no time.
Nate the Great is a very easy series, which uses the same words
over and over but tells ok mystery stories. Lead character is a
boy, but there are some girl characters too.
You don't say how old your daughter is, but I would like to
recommend the ''Amanda Pig'' series by Jean Van Feeuwen. It is
about a little girl pig who lives with her parents and her
brother, Oliver. Each book has several short stories (related,
but not necessarily sequential). Though younger than her
brother, Amanda is shown as a clever and strong little girl.The
stories show very nice, gentle solutions to typical family
Scholastic Books publishes a series of books called ''Hello
Reader'' which come in four different levels. The Level 2 books
are a bit easier than Henry and Mudge and the level 3s are just
a bit harder. The books are on a range of topics (both fiction
and non-fiction) and are by different authors. They're not all
of equal quality though, for the most part, they are good,
entertaining beginner books with lots of picture support, high
frequency words, and rhyming language. They don't use the
stilted controlled vocabulary of some beginner books and are
therefore not only better for children but more tolerable to
adults. Also Dave Pilkey's books about Dragon are good books at
a similar level. Also, Dr. Seuss wrote a lot of great books for
that level of reader. A number of other books by Henry and
Mudge's author, Cynthia Rylant, are at a similar level and may
be appealing to your daughter. These include Poppleton and Mr.
Putter and Tabby.
For the parent of the adventurous five year old, I've got the perfect
series, "The Magic Tree House" by Mary Pope Osborne. A seven year old
girl named Annie and her eight year old brother Jack encounter a
mysterious treehouse filled with books. The books transport them to far
away times and places, where they learn about dinosaurs, knights, Egypt,
pirates, the moon, etc. Along the way they have mysteries to solve.
There are now 18 books in the series. It makes the most sense to read
them in sequence, as the first 8 lead up to a particular discovery, then
the next batch constitute a particular quest.
Number one is called Dinosaurs After Dark, #2 is The Knight at Dawn, #3
is Mummies in the Morning, #4 is Pirates Past Noon. You get the idea.
These books appeal to both boys and girls, to about age 9. They are
"chapter books" about 70 pages long (we usually finish them in 2-4
nights), and cost only $3.99. You can get them through Amazon.com, and
I've also seen them at Cody's, Mr. Mopps, and Borders.
This is for the parent who was seeking good books for her 5-year old son. I
highly recommend a book called "Valerie & Walter's Best Books for Children,"
by Valerie Lewis and Walter Mayes. It is the most readable book on great books
for kids I've ever seen. It offers thumbnail descriptions of books they love
and highlights terrific authors. Walter is well-known in the Bay Area as
"Walter the (Storytelling) Giant. He reads and acts out books all around.
Valerie owns Hicklebees, a children's bookstore, in San Jose. I love to thumb
through this books and select things for my 6 year old and 3 year old to read.
"My Father's Dragon" is great and non-violent.
depending on your child, the Narnia series by CS Lewis may be too old for
him, but soon...
this page was last updated: May 25, 2012
The opinions and statements expressed on this website
are those of parents who subscribe to the
Berkeley Parents Network.
Disclaimer & Usage for
information about using content on this website.
Copyright © 1996-2014 Berkeley Parents Network