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The Best Kids’ Books for Every Age (from 1 to 15)

Netflix and iPhones and Facebook are great, but there’s still nothing better than getting cozy on the couch and reading a story with your child. Here are 75 books that are guaranteed to engage and inspire, from age 1 to 15. 

Age 1

kids books 1

Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt

This book is mostly about feeling textiles (ooh, cotton tail, scratchy sandpaper beard), so the earlier, the better.

kids books 2

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

It’s a classic for a reason. (Don’t forget to look for the mouse hiding on each page.)

kids books 3

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

So far, your kid just eats and sleeps, so he’ll totally identify with this adorable insect.

kids books 4

Say Hello Like This by Mary Murphy

Is your kiddo brushing up on her animal sounds? She’s gonna love this one.

kids books 5

On the Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman

Your baby probably can’t grasp how special he is yet, but after reading this book, he’ll begin to understand how loved he is.

Age 2

kids books 6

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss

We will read it on a boat. We will read it with a goat.

kids books 7

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

And if she likes this one, there’s always If You Give a Moose a Muffin and If You Give a Pig a Pancake.

kids books 8

I’m the Best by Lucy Cousins

Teach your kiddo that confidence is great, but so is the ability to stay humble.

kids books 9

Dinosaur vs. Bedtime by Bob Shea

If your toddler is struggling with bedtime (hellooo, terrible twos), give this guy a read.

kids books 10

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs

There are no words in this gorgeous picture book, so your kid can “read” it on her own.

Age 3

kids books 11

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Have him chant “I think I can, I think I can” along with you.

kids books 12

Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin

Get ready for adorable giggles when you read this story of cows who find an old typewriter and learn to write.

kids books 13

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems

Uh-oh. Drama ensues when Trixie and Daddy go to the Laundromat, accidentally leaving Knuffle Bunny behind.

kids books 14

Art & Max by David Wiesner

This gorgeous picture book about two friends that bond over painting is a work of art in itself.

kids books 15

Olivia by Ian Falconer

She’s precocious, she’s loud, she’s a pig and we love her anyway.

Age 4

kids books 16

Corduroy by Don Freeman

Aww, a stuffed bear at a department store goes on a pilgrimage to find his lost button.

kids books 17

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Read it on a rainy day when it’s “too wet to play.”

kids books 18

The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Your child won’t cry through this one, but you probably will.

kids books 19

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Some four-year-olds are totally ready for a trip to the jungle, but if it’s too scary the first time around, hold it for a few more months and try again. 

kids books 20

The Complete Adventures of Curious George by Margret Rey

It’s never too early to learn about being cautious and careful (and that yellow hats are awesome).

Age 5

kids books 21

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines…

kids books 22

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

This cheeky picture book is a great one for your kiddo to start learning to read by himself.

kids books 23

Last Stop on Market Street by Matt de la Peña

Whether you’re city or country dwellers, this one is a must-read.

kids books 24

Miss Nelson Is Missing by Harry G. Allard, Jr.

Make sure to do a scary voice for Miss Viola Swamp.

kids books 25

The Stinky Cheese Man by Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka

This offbeat read will be just as entertaining for you, too.

Age 6

kids books 26

Henry and Mudge by Cynthia Rylant

Warning: After reading this, your child will want a dog.

kids books 27

A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond

Get your best British accent ready.

kids books 28

Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

Guaranteed to be a favorite all through elementary school.

kids books 29

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

Read this when she wakes up on the wrong side of the bed.

kids books 30

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

…And read this during a thunderstorm.

Age 7

charlottes web 7

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Terrific! Radiant!

wimpy kid 7

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

If he likes this one, there are ten more in the series.

eloise 7

Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown Ups by Kay Thompson

Sigh, we still dream of living at the Plaza Hotel.

pippi 7

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

Prediction: Your daughter will be begging to go as Pippi for Halloween.    

wind willows 7

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

This 1908 novel about four animal friends in Edwardian England stands the test of time.

Age 8

ramona 8

Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

Let’s face it: Ramona is still our role model.    

lion with 8

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

For kids with huge imaginations (oh wait, that’s every kid).    

winnie 8

The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

Because the cartoon just isn’t the same.    

matlilda 8

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Beware Miss Trunchbull, the scariest villain in history.    

little house 8

Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

It’s the compelling true story that started the whole Little House series.

Age 9

fourth grade 9

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

The first in the Fudge series will have him (and you) hooked.

green gables 9

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Read the story of this auburn-haired spitfire before the Netflix series comes out.    

secret garden 9

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Hard to believe this enchanting tale was written in 1911.

tuck everlasting 9

Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

The pros and cons of living forever. Discuss.

phantom tollbooth 9

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

An out-of-the-box fantasy that’s perfect for little adventurers.

Age 10

charlie 10

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

The 1971 movie is great, but the book is even better.    

terabithia 10

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

Read this one with an entire box of tissues.

wander 10

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

This new hit about an extraordinary boy with a facial anomaly will be devoured in a day, guaranteed.

mixed lies 10

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Because living in the Metropolitan Museum of Art is the coolest thing ever.

harriet 10

Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

Introverts (and detectives-in-training) will love this one.    

Age 11

little women 11

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

If your daughter always wanted sisters, this epic is for her.

wizard oz 11

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

Required reading before the equally excellent movie.

alice wonderland 11

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Try this one together (it’s even weirder when you revisit it as an adult).    

harry potter 11

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

He’s been begging to read Harry Potter books for years, and he’s finally the perfect age to read ‘em on his own.

mango street 11

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This collection of stunning stories about a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago is a must-read.

Age 12

giver 12

The Giver by Lois Lowry

Before The Hunger Games, there was this old-school dystopian fantasy about a boy with extraordinary powers.

walk moons 12

Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

She’ll stay up all night reading this sweet story about a girl searching for her missing mother.

mockingbird 12

To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

Buy him his own copy of this monumental classic. Buy two.

tree grows 12

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith

The story about a girl’s determination to survive will help your daughter appreciate the little things (and maybe stop complaining about not having a cell phone).

watership 12

Watership Down by Richard Adams

A world war with bunnies. What’s not to love?

Age 13

wrinkle 13

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Kooky fantasy at its finest.    

hunger games 13

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

He’s probably already seen the movies, but the books are so much better.    

me margaret 13

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

This 1970s coming-of-age novel is definitely dated, but the themes (um, training bras and periods) are timeless.

book thief 13

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Brave Liesel’s tales of living in Nazi Germany will enthrall your teen, guaranteed.

curious dog 13

The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon

Part mystery, part family drama, this gripping, out-of-the-box novel is in a genre of its own.

Age 14

fault stars 14

The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

Warning: He will cry through the entire last half. And for several days afterward.

eleanor park 14

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell

They’re the new generation’s Romeo and Juliet.

stargirl 14

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

This quick read will teach your teen to celebrate what makes her different. Individuality rocks.

catcher rye 14

The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger

Whoa, this 1951 staple still feels like it was written yesterday.    

that summer 14

That Summer by Sarah Dessen

So much more than just a beach read.

Age 15

hate u give 15

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

This new, impossible-to-put-down story inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement is an instant classic.

fahrenheit 15

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

Did she love The Hunger Games? Time to try this masterpiece.

hobbit 15

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

A celebrated epic that will convert any reader into a fantasy lover. 

speak 15

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

It’s a gritty read about a girl who refuses to tell anyone the secret of what happened to her…until one day, everything changes.

perks wallflower 15

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

It’s jaded teen required reading (that your kid will revisit a few dozen more times as an adult).

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.