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Best Books for 5 Year Olds

Updated on September 16, 2014

What Are Good Books for 5 Year Olds?

This article features many of the best books for 5 year olds. 5 year olds love all kinds of books. Interactive books are particularly great where 5 year olds can join in the story or do actions and sounds. Books that are laugh out loud funny are also good choices. There are lots of classic books which are timeless and today's 5 year olds love as much as the generations that have gone before them.

Many five year olds still enjoy picture books but many are now ready for their parents to read them longer stories or their first chapter books. My own 5 year old boy likes all kinds of book. He still loves simple picture books, he likes to have a go at reading his own stories but has also enjoyed being read a couple of chapters from a longer book at bedtime. What five year olds like will vary widely depending on their likes, dislikes, personalities and attention span but hopefully there are ideas in the article below for everybody.

Read on for lots of ideas and inspiration of the best books for 5 year olds.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles /

Dr Seuss

Dr Seuss has written numerous books which are always a huge hit with 5 year olds. A classic author which is still loved by each new generation.

The Cat in the Hat
The Cat in the Hat

This is the classic story of the cat that transformed a dull, rainy afternoon into a magical and chaotic adventure.

This is one of the best books for 5 year olds as its also great for children who are learning to read. The vocabulary is simple and children will listen to it and learn it through repetition.

This book was read to the children by the teachers at my son's school when he was 5.

They also used it to teach them about words that rhyme too!


Find and Search Books for 5 Year Olds

There are some great find and search books, that five year olds will love.

My 5 year old boy currently loves search and find books and the classic one of these is Where's Waldo (see below).

There are lots of similar books that are worth checking out. I Spy treasure hunt gives you lots of things to look for and find on each page.

Where's Waldo?: Deluxe Edition
Where's Waldo?: Deluxe Edition

This book was released for the Where's Waldo 25th anniversary which shows you that this is a book which has stood the test of time. You can't get much more testament to how good a book is than that.

Many parents will remember it from their own childhood. Find where waldo is hiding on each page. As well as Waldo there are other characters to spot.

I Spy Treasure Hunt: A Book of Picture Riddles
I Spy Treasure Hunt: A Book of Picture Riddles

This is a bestselling book in which readers such for hidden objects on 12 different photographs


Top Picture Books

Picture books are still very age appropriate for 5 year olds. My son loves the visual nature of picture books. The illustrations help fire children's imaginations and they can also make great talking points to start discussions about the story.

My son's teacher told me that when they learn to read, looking at pictures is an important part of helping them with their literacy. Looking at pictures helps children make sense of a story and is a great first support for text reading.

Harold and the Purple Crayon
Harold and the Purple Crayon

"One night, after thinking it over for some time, Harold decided to go for a walk in the moonlight." And begins this lovely story that shows just how far your imagination can take you. 5 year olds will be amazed by how Harold can create a world with an oversized purple crayon. A classic tale which has stood the test of time. One of the best books for 5 year olds in the last 50 years.

Curious George and the Birthday Surprise
Curious George and the Birthday Surprise

The Curious George stories are timeless classics that 5 year olds will love. This tells the story of a birthday party. A man in a yellow hat tells George he is planning a surprise. But what is it? George is curious and hunts for clues, hat, noisemakers, decorations, and games. It must be a birthday party but who's??

Perhaps, the best book to give 5 year olds on their birthday!

It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel
It's Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel

Being 5 years old has many challenges and this book addresses them.

"It's hard to be five. I'm little no more. Good old days are gone. 'Bye one, two, three, four."

Becoming independent, having brothers and sisters, self control and starting schools are some of the issues that 5 year olds have to deal with. This book covers all these in a funny, hilarious story. Another of the best books for 5 year olds.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Alexander is having a bad day. He wakes up with gum in his hair, he was squashed in the middle of a car journey, his best friend deserted him and there was no dessert in his lunch bag.

I think this is a popular choice with kids and adults because we can all identify with days where everything seems to go wrong.

I think this book is also a good conversation starter. We can talk to our kids about how we can make bad days better and realize thinks that go wrong aren't really that bad.


Chapter Books for 5 Year Olds

At 5 years old many children will now have the attention span to start being read chapter books. It may be a stretch for some but it's often worth trying as your child may surprise you. They are also a bit more interesting to read then looking at the same picture books over and over again. You could try reading a chapter each night before bedtime.

Good authors include Roald Dahl, EB White, Beverly Cleary and Mary Pope Osbourne. Check out some ideas from these authors below.

The Twits
The Twits

This is the first Roald Dahl book we read to my son (at about 5 years and 4 months) and he loved it.

There are quite a few illustrations throughout the book (more than in other Dahl books) - which he likes to look at. The story moves quite quickly to keep attention and we actually read more than one chapter at a time as my son wanted to keep on reading.

Charlotte's Web
Charlotte's Web

This book is now over 60 years old and still loved by kids today so has stood the test of generations.

Charlotte's Web is the story of a little girl named Fern who loved a little pig named Wilbur -and of Wilbur's dear friend Charlotte A. Cavatica, a beautiful large grey spider who lived with Wilbur in the barn. The story tells of the ingenious way Charlotte saves Wibur's life and stops him from becoming bacon!

Ramona the Pest (Ramona Quimby (Pb))
Ramona the Pest (Ramona Quimby (Pb))

Ramona the Pest tells of Ramona's first days of kindergarten

Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon
Magic Tree House Boxed Set, Books 1-4: Dinosaurs Before Dark, The Knight at Dawn, Mummies in the Morning, and Pirates Past Noon

Jack and his sister Annie are just regular kids. Then they discover a mysterious tree house filled with all sorts of books...and their lives are never the same! Soon they are traveling through time and space in the magic tree house and having amazing adventures.

The New Captain Underpants Collection (Books 1-5)
The New Captain Underpants Collection (Books 1-5)

Boys especially will love the hilarious adventures with the amazing Captain Underpants.


Flat Stanley

Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure!
Flat Stanley: His Original Adventure!

I have just read Flat Stanley to my 5 year old son. We read 1, 2 or 3 chapters each night before bed and I really enjoyed it. It was just at the right level and age for him.

It is a chapter book and tells the story of Stanley Lampchop who has a bulletin board fall on top of him when he was asleep. When his parents go to him in the morning they realise the bulletin board has made him completely flat. Thus, begins lots of new adventures. He goes on vacation to visit some family be being mailed in an envelope. He helps catch a thieve at the local art gallery as he is so flat he can pretend to be on of the paintings.

My 5 year old really enjoyed this book and has requested the next on in the series.


An interactive book for 5 year olds by Mo Williems

Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!

This is a interactive book with participation required. The bus driver has to leave the bus and asks the reader not to let the piegon drive the bus. But, the Pigeon keeps asking the reader if he can drive--and 5 year olds will love answering him.

My own 5 year old loves this book. There aren't many words but he loves telling the piegon he can't drive the bus. I'm not quite sure what the exact appeal is but its one of his favorites.

It's also a good book to get them to read to you.


Mr Men - Great Story Books

My 5 year old boy loves the Mr Men and Little Miss books.

We bought the whole set of both and it's been a really good investment. We read these books all the time. They are the perfect length for a bedtime story too. Not too long but long enough to calm my son down before bed.

My son's favorite is currently Mr Silly and mine is Mr Bump!

Mr. Silly (Mr. Men and Little Miss)
Mr. Silly (Mr. Men and Little Miss)

MY son's favorite Mr Men story.

Mr Silly wants to win his town's competition for the silliest idea of the year. What will he come up with?


Non Fiction Books for 5 Year Olds

There are some great non fiction books for 5 year olds.

When choosing non fiction look for topics which they are interested in and look for really visual books too.

National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)
National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why (National Geographic Little Kids First Big Books)

This book is aimed at younger children and has lots of bright images for kids.

There are lots of answers to questions such as Why do I need to eat vegetables, why does a doctor need to look at my throat, why do planes fly, why is a beach made of sand, why do cows make milk and lots more.

It's divided into the sections Amazing Me, How Things Work, Animals All Around and Wonders of the World.


Educational Books For 5 Year Olds

There are some fantastic educational and factual books for 5 year olds that you can read to them and some with text that they can read to you. Many of them mix non fiction and fiction to appeal to 5 year olds and their imagination.

Check out the magic school bus book below.

The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs
The Magic School Bus in the Time of the Dinosaurs

The magic school bus is a science series which takes kids on a trip with the magic school bus.

In this s The Magic School Bus turns into a time machine and transports the class back millions of years to an adventure where they learn about dinosaurs, their habitats and diets,

Other books in the series cover the human body, solar system, the senses, the ocean floor, the Earth and lots more


Books for 5 Year Old Girls

A story book which may appeal more to 5 year old girls.

Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie
Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie

In Tea Time with Sophia Grace and Rosie, the cousins plan a tea party with lots of pink, glitter, chocolate, and cotton candy.

At the time of writing (Feb 2013) this book is a bestseller on amazon and is in the New York Times Bestseller list for picture books.


Bestselling Books 2014

If you're looking for books for 5 year olds it's always worth checking out the New York Times Bestseller Lists for Children's books to see what is currently popular to give you more ideas. Another idea is to check out the amazon bestseller lists for kids.

Check out what's currently top of the New York Bestseller list in 2014.

The Day the Crayons Quit
The Day the Crayons Quit

This is a very popular book at the moment.

Duncan's crayons have had enough! They are on strike. They have each written to him telling him their grievances. Red crayon doesn't enjoy coloring out of the lines. Beige crayon comes 2nd best to the brown crayon and doesn't like it. Peach is naked!

Poor Duncan just wants to color!


Tips for Choosing Books for 5 Year Olds

5 year olds differ widely in the books they enjoy due to their personalities, their concentration span when reading, whether they can read or are just starting to learn, whether they like picture books or prefer to read something longer.

Therefore when choosing a book online for a 5 year old, I would recommend the following tips to make sure it's the right book for the child.

Read reviews. normally have lots of reviews of books so you can have a quick look through to see what other people thought of the book to help inform your decision. Look at the number of book pages. If you want a shorter bedtime story book, make sure the book doesn't have too many pages (unless you plan to read it over a few nights) Check out the age appropriate bestseller lists for ideas. The New York Times Bestseller book list is a good place to start. You can often find videos of people reading childrens books on you tube. This will show what the book is like exactly to help inform your decision. You can also show them to your 5 year old to see if they like them before you buy. You can also make sure you will enjoy reading them too.


Comments on the best books for 5 year olds

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    • Facleu profile image

      Facundo 3 years ago

      Very nice lens!

    • CherylsArt profile image

      Cheryl Paton 3 years ago from West Virginia

      You've got a great selection here along with great information about the books. I have pinned this and also posted it on Literacy Ideas on Facebook. I am the Literacy Ideas Contributor on Squidoo.

    • AnonymousC831 profile image

      AnonymousC831 3 years ago from Kentucky

      Great choices here, well done.

    • Baddew Fibes profile image

      Baddew Fibes 4 years ago

      Wow, Charlotte's Web. Brings back lovely childhood memories. Thanks for the lens!

    • profile image

      DaniRren 4 years ago

      The material that Is used in teaching a child how to read matters a lot since it is used to lay a foundation in their life. Great to see Charlottes web top on the list as it is a favorite for my 5 year old girl. educationalplay.infoRegardsDani Rren

    • pjsart profile image

      pjsart 4 years ago

      love Dr. Seuss...never tire of reading him out loud. One of the things I have learned from the group who read my books before I publish them is that children this age can get antsy if the story is too long. It depends on the child of course.

    • babyandme profile image

      babyandme 4 years ago

      Really nice lens! I saw many books that my daughter (age 6) really enjoys. Great recommendations! :)

    • joseph-sottile-16 profile image

      joseph-sottile-16 4 years ago

      Very good book choices. My favorite book is WAITING TO SEE THE PRINCIPAL. I wrote it. Please visit my site here.

    • profile image

      dilipchandra12 lm 4 years ago

      Love this lens, great work!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      it was really nice and help since i knw sme tips to select book for my learn.

    • Constantimo profile image

      Constantimo 5 years ago

      Although this is a story book rather than a picture book Archie The Friendly Spider By JW Paris is a great book for bedtime reading.

    • alenmic profile image

      alenmic 5 years ago

      Thanks for sharing..very useful...

    • aliciamaggie54 profile image

      aliciamaggie54 5 years ago

      This is a good selection of books for five-year-olds. Thank you for sharing.

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 5 years ago

      Great list. informative lens. Thank you .

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      nice lens keep up the good work

    • PennyHowe profile image

      PennyHowe 5 years ago

      I love Dr. Suess and what his books have to offer. They are great for many ages. Thanks for your suggestions and a great lens.

    • FunWithSquidoo profile image

      FunWithSquidoo 5 years ago

      I'd forgotten about some of these books and how much I enjoyed them as a kid. I can't believe the amazing prices you can pick them up for. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      gradientcat 6 years ago

      My 5 year old will definitely like some of these suggestions.

    • profile image

      glowchick 6 years ago

      I love reading to my 5 year old~ our favs are Dr Seuss, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus (so funny) and Curious George :)

    • babyandme profile image

      babyandme 6 years ago

      Nice lens! I spotted some of my favorite children's books on here! :)

    • profile image

      cmaethom1991 6 years ago

      great list:)

    • profile image

      Jerrad28 6 years ago

      Thanks :) my niece is about to turn 4, hopefully she will like a good book

    • sheilamarie78 profile image

      sheilamarie78 7 years ago

      You've got some great choices here!

    • LadyelenaUK profile image

      LadyelenaUK 8 years ago

      This is useful. There are Millions of Books to choose from for Kids. Sometimes, if I want to buy one for my God daughter, I spend so much time in WH Smith. I end up buying more than one.