18 Best Books for 5 Years Old

Reading is a great way to develop and enrich kids imagination and help them learn new skills. However, finding age appropriate reading materials is where the problem lies. This is even harder when it comes to five years old.

Generally speaking, when picking books for kids, make sure you choose stories with short sentences and large type so they can easily read them. Also, look for books with pictures and rhymes as these tend to be more engaging. [Related: 19 Best nonfiction books for kids]

Besides picking stories for mere entertainment, how about you include stories that teach content lessons and values (e.g., lessons about being kind and helping others, learning self-control, etc).

To help you get started, here are some of the best books for 5 years old. From stories about friendship and kindness to tales of adventure and exploration, these books for 5 years old will certainly encourage their love of reading.

1. Giraffes Can’t Dance Board, by Giles Andreae

Books for 5 Years Old

Giraffes Can’t Dance Board, by Giles Andreae, is a heartwarming story about Gerald the giraffe. Though he has a desire to dance and express himself, his limbs are too long and ungainly for him to move gracefully.

He’s not alone in this challenge, as he meets and befriends an unlikely ally. Through words of encouragement, Gerald finds the courage to dance confidently and express himself through movement. This is a great story to show children that it’s ok to be different and one can find happiness in embracing unique qualities.

2. The Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister

Books for 5 Years Old

The Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister, is a classic children’s story about an iridescent fish who learns the importance of friendship and sharing. The fish is initially vain and proud of his sparkling scales, but this leads to him becoming increasingly lonely as his pride prevents him from making friends. Realizing that he cannot earn friends through beauty alone, he decides to share his glittering scales with the other fish in the ocean.

3. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, by Sherri Duskey Rinker

Books for 5 Years Old

Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker is a board book for kids version of the bestselling hardcover. The story follows vehicles on a construction site as they get ready for bed, tucking in their wheels and saying goodnight.

Kids will love the detailed images of these beloved machines as they settle down for the night. Let this sweet and soothing story lull your little one off to dreamland!

4. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes, by Eric Litwin

Books for 5 Years Old

Pete the Cat is a beloved children’s book by Eric Litwin which tells the story of Pete as he walks down the street in his brand-new white shoes. Along his journey, Pete encounters various messes and his shoes change color multiple times; from white to red, blue, brown, and eventually wet. Through this adventure, Pete learns to love whatever color his shoes may be, and he keeps on groovin’ and singing.

5. The Day The Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt 

The Day The Crayons Quit

The Day The Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt, is a fun and imaginative story that follows Duncan, a young boy who is excited to color with his crayons. Unfortunately, when he opens the box he’s met with letters from all of his crayons saying that they have quit!

Beige is tired of not being as popular as Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, and Pink just wants to be used. With the battle lines drawn, it’s up to Duncan to find a way to get his crayons back.

6. There’s a Bear on My Chair, by Ross Collins

There's a Bear on My Chair

In the book There’s a Bear on My Chair, by Ross Collins, the main character Mouse discovers that a bear has taken up residence in his favorite chair. No matter how hard he tries, Mouse is unable to persuade the bear to leave.

Finally, after Mouse gives up and goes away, the bear gets up and heads home. To Mouse’s surprise, he finds a mouse in the bear’s house! This leads to an unexpected adventure as the two animals try to get along.

Together they discover that friendship, cooperation and understanding can overcome any obstacle. The illustrations are funny and full of energy, bringing this charming story to life.

7. What Should Danny Do?, by Adir Levy, Ganit Levy 

What Should Danny Do?

What Should Danny Do?, by Adir Levy and Ganit Levy, is an innovative and interactive book that follows the journey of Danny, a Superhero-in-Training, as he makes choices throughout his day. The book features nine stories in one with an engaging “Choose Your Own Story” format that encourages children to think about how their own choices will shape their lives.

The book is written with boys and girls in mind and provides an entertaining way to learn about the consequences of decisions.

8. Go, Dog Go, by P.D. Eastman 

Go, Dog Go

Go, Dog Go, by P.D. Eastman is an iconic Beginner Book edited by Dr. Seuss and perfect for young readers ages 3-7. Written with 75 different words, it follows the adventures of a variety of dogs engaging in activities such as riding bicycles, scooters, skis, roller skates, and driving vehicles to a party held atop a tree.

9. Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev

Strictly No Elephants

Strictly No Elephants, by Lisa Mantchev is a story about inclusion, friendship and the joy of having a pet. It follows the story of a boy and his tiny pet elephant as they attend Pet Club day which only allows cats, dogs and fish – no elephants allowed.

Through their journey, they show the Pet Club that pets come in all shapes and sizes, just like friends. The book celebrates the magic of friendship, with imaginative and lyrical illustrations that will captivate young readers.

10. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates!, by Ryan T. Higgins

We Don't Eat Our Classmates!

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates!, by Ryan T. Higgins, follows the story of Penelope Rex on her first day of school, filled with excitement and anticipation to meet her new classmates. Unfortunately for them, Penelope has a habit of eating anything and everything in sight – including her classmates. After getting a dose of her own medicine, however, Penelope comes to realize that she may not be the biggest fish in the pond after all.

11. Ice Cream Soup, by Ann Ingalls 

Ice Cream Soup

Ice Cream Soup, by Ann Ingalls, is a whimsical story that follows the adventures of a young cook who attempts to make an ice cream cake but ends up with something entirely different. The story is written in an easy-to-read step one reader format and features big type text, easy words, rhymes and rhythmic text paired with pictures to help children decode the story.

The bold illustrations will draw young readers in and keep their attention as they follow along with the cook’s journey. Young readers can learn valuable life lessons such as how to try something new, improvise when necessary, and use creativity to problem solve.

12. Duck! Rabbit!, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, Tom Lichtenheld 

Duck! Rabbit!

Duck! Rabbit!, by Amy Krouse Rosenthal and Tom Lichtenheld, is an entertaining book for children. The story follows two characters who argue over whether they are looking at a duck or rabbit, ultimately teaching the readers about different perspectives and when to let go of an argument. This delightful story is accompanied by Lichtenheld’s colorful illustrations that add extra depth and charm to the narrative.

13. The Little Engine That Could, by Watty Piper 

The Little Engine That Could

The Little Engine That Could is a classic children’s book written by Watty Piper which tells the story of a blue locomotive that succeeds against all odds through determination and positive thinking. Its message of hard work and determination as a path to success will stay with readers for years to come, encouraging them to think positively no matter what obstacles may lie ahead.

14. Stick and Stone, by Beth Ferry 

Stick and Stone

Stick and Stone is a charming story by Beth Ferry about the bond of friendship between two unlikely characters. Stick and Stone are brought together when Stick rescues Stone from a prickly situation with a Pinecone, sparking an unlikely but powerful bond. As the duo embarks on their journey, they learn important lessons about being kind and helping friends.

15. Can I Be Your Dog?, by Troy Cummings 

Can I Be Your Dog?

Can I Be Your Dog? by Troy Cummings is a heartwarming story about Arfy, a homeless mutt living in an alley who wants to find a home. In order to do this, he writes letters to every person on Butternut Street describing his qualities and explaining why he would make a great pet.

He mentions that he is housebroken, has his own squeaky bone, and is willing to live with cats. But even though Arfy tries his best, no one wants him – until someone finally steps up and decides to adopt him.

This story not only teaches children about the importance of adoption, but also offers a great opportunity for parents and teachers to teach them about the responsibilities that come with taking care of a pet.

16. The King of Kindergarten, by Derrick Barnes

The King of Kindergarten

The King of Kindergarten, by Derrick Barnes is a story about a young child who starts his first day of kindergarten with eager enthusiasm and determination. On this big milestone in the child’s life, Mommy tells him he will be “the King of Kindergarten”.

The story follows him throughout his day ashe takes on new experiences and makes friends. By the end of the day, he is eager to share all his achievements with his proud parents. The King of Kindergarten is a celebration of first days and new beginnings; an inspiring story about building confidence and conquering fear.

17. Big Shark, Little Shark, by Anna Membrino

Big Shark, Little Shark

Big Shark, Little Shark, by Anna Membrino is a fun story about two contrasting sharks. Big Shark has big teeth and swims fast, while Little Shark has little teeth and swims slowly. Both of the sharks are hungry and looking for food, but Little Shark must be careful to avoid becoming fast food for Big Shark!

Step 1 Readers use large type and easy words to help children who know the basics of the alphabet to start reading. Rhyme, rhythm and picture clues help children comprehend the story as they read it.

18. It’s Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel, by Jamie Lee Curtis 

It's Hard to Be Five

It’s Hard to Be Five is a story of emotional regulation and learning how to do your best every day, as told by Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell. The book follows a five-year-old as they navigate the difficulties of learning self-control, such as not hitting, waiting their turn, and sitting still. Written in an encouraging tone, the book helps children to recognize common struggles and find humor in them.