Books for Preschoolers (ages 3-5)

The best books for preschoolers engage their sight, mind & emotions.  There are those special books that encourage and build a young child's character.  There are others that are full of laughter and instill a love of reading and books.  Still others can be used to equip and prepare them to learn to read.

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Great Read-Aloud Books for Preschoolers

Let's face it...children ages 3-5 are wiggle worms not book worms!  And that's how it should be!  Some of the best books for preschoolers engage them in activity as the story is being read.

Because their attention span is short (5-15 minutes at the most), the books should be short.

Here are some of my favorite read aloud books for preschoolers when I was a school librarian and are still my favorites for the grandkids!

Mo WIllems

Mo Willems "Pigeon Books" are quick reads, but full of laughs and a few lessons too!  These books for preschoolers contain simple drawings and loveable characters.  Pigeon deals with a lot of emotions and the struggle of his own will and wants.  These are such fun books to read aloud!

Books with Movement

Many books either contain instructions for kids to be active while listening or have ways to incorporate actions as the book is being read aloud.  These give preschoolers a chance to get some wiggles out and be able to listen longer.

Books for Preschoolers with Big Messages

So many authors write to speak words of encouragement to a child's heart.  

A Good Day by Kevin Henkes pictures several animals having a bad day, but then...

Kids can learn that we all have bad days, but even bad days can turn into good days!  

This is also a great book to practice learning colors and color words!

Waiting is hard and can cause little ones a great deal of anxiousness.  Use this picture book, Waiting, by Kevin Henkes to help kids learn to find the calm and the fun in the wait!

Classics Over the Past 50 Years

Some books have withstood the test of time and remained popular books for preschooler read-alouds; these classic picture books have much to offer little ones learning the value of books and reading!

Preschool Books for Learning

During these formative years, preschoolers are learning a great many things!  It's during this time books for preschoolers can assist in a fun way!

3 Books About Colors

These three are such fun books for preschoolers learning their colors!  All three are short reads.

  1. Press Here  is an interactive book where kids' actions are perceived to effect yellow, blue & red dots.
  2. Mouse Paint is another fun book about colors where three mice find three jars of paint - red, yellow & blue.  They discover how mixing these colors together can create new colors such as orange, green & purple!
  3. Pete the Cat books are some of my favorites!  In this one Pete's white shoes become various colors because of things he steps in such as blue blueberries or brown mud.  Pete also teaches kids how to have a great attitude even when things go wrong, and he sings a little song. This is also a great book to learn color words!

More about these...

Books to Learn ABCs

Counting Books

Books to Learn Shapes

An Art Gallery of Picture Books for Preschoolers

Photo by Matheus Viana from Pexels

Picture books for preschoolers contain artwork that could actually hang in an art gallery!  Each of these expose a child to numerous art techniques and mediums as well as beauty.  Not every child may have the opportunity to visit an art museum, but through the eyes of a book, they can see amazing art!

Wordless Picture Books

Spark imagination, enhance oral language and discover the magic found in wordless books for preschool on up! These visual palettes of art will inspire kids as well as adults and bring joy to your time of reading!

Nancy Tillman

Nancy Tillman's illustrations are some of the most beautiful I've ever seen!  Full of animals, scenery and children of all ethnicities from around the world.  The text of each book is poetic introducing vocabulary which will enrich a child's life, and the message of each is a beautiful as the illustrations - you matter, you are loved, you are valued!

Eric Carle

Eric Carle's illustrations are so unique, his books can be spotted from across the room.  Some of his most well known books include The Very Hungry CaterpillarBrown Bear, Brown Bear What Do You See?, and The Grouchy Ladybug.  

Each of these have wonderful messages as well as illustrations and are wonderful read aloud books for preschoolers.

The Caldecott Medal Winners

Since 1937 the Caldecott Medal has been awarded to the children's book with the best illustrations.  The range of art mediums and techniques are as unique as each book and open doors of creativity for children.

A comical tale of true friendship that kids will love! My Friend Rabbit is the 2003 Caldecott Medal winner with bright, humorous illustrations, simple text and a big lesson!

Kevin Henke's 2005 Caldecott Winner tells an adventurous story of a kitten that imagines the full moon to be a bowl of milk!  Kitten's First Full Moon offers many lessons for kids through both text and illustrations!