Although screens have taken up a large chunk of our kids’ lives, stories are eternal. Which kid doesn’t love listening to a good story! The best way to introduce kids to reading is by reading to them when they’re very young. Kids who’ve been hooked to bedtime stories automatically become readers when they’re capable enough. Pick out some of the best story books for kids to read and within no time you’ll have a reader on your hands. However, for those kids who prefer reading story books for kids online, you’ll find many of the best-loved stories on Kindle too.
Kids who love books will always carry one with them on their travels too, whether it’s story books for kids online or a paperback you’ll definitely find them with one. So if you’re looking for a good travel companion for your kid, check out our list of the best travel books for kids also, or the best audiobooks for a road trip.
How To Choose The Best Story Books For Kids To Read
Our list of the best story books for kids to read covers a wide age group, beginning with little kids and going up to 12-year-olds. It’s not easy getting a kid to read a story these days so it’s important to pick out books that will hold their interest. Other than this, there are other things to keep in mind while choosing a book for kids.
Age Appropriate Books
This is one of the most important things to keep in mind when picking out a book. It’s always best to choose a book that is suited to the kid’s age. Books for toddlers and young kids are filled with illustrations to hook their interest while those for older children may not have the same features. While your little kid may enjoy being read to, most of them look out for pictures that accompany the story. Some of the best story books for kids to read will grow with your child. A book that you read to your kids at the age of five may pique their interests so much that they ask for the same book when they become independent readers.
The Subject Matter
Most stories for young kids also teach basic concepts like counting, colors, or the alphabet. Many stories also focus on values for friendships and families. You can choose stories depending on what you want your little one to learn. While this is a good idea for toddlers and little kids, older children like reading for entertainment. So if your older kid enjoys magic and fantasy tales, there are plenty of stories in those genres to keep them hooked. It’s also a good idea to introduce the abridged versions of age-appropriate classics.
Choosing Their Own Book
Older kids generally know what they’re looking for the moment you enter a bookstore, but with younger kids, you’ll probably have to choose. Little kids will veer towards colorful covers and pictures. While it’s not always a great idea to choose a book by its covers, sometimes the colorful books are usually the right ones.
What Is The Five Finger Rule For Choosing A Book?
When selecting a book for your kid or yourself the five-finger rule is a good way to go about it. Turn to the second page of the book and hold up a finger for each word your young reader is not sure of or doesn’t know. If you find five or more words that are new to you or your kid, then it’s a good idea to choose an easier book. On the other hand, if there are 0-1 new words, the book may be too easy.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
One of the most popular story books for kids to read, or for you to read to your little kid is The Very Hungry Caterpillar. This modern classic written by Eric Carle is the perfect size for small hands to hold and flip through. You can either choose to read the full-sized version or the small board book. If you prefer reading online storybooks for kids, the Kindle version of the book is also available.
This bestseller tells the story of a very hungry caterpillar who eats his way through the days of the week. While it’s a good way to revise numbers and the days of the week through a story, it also deals with a butterfly’s metamorphosis. Kids love these kinds of tales. It’s no wonder the book sits right at the top of the rankings on the bestseller’s list on Amazon. The fact that over 12 million copies of this book have been sold in its original, full-sized edition tells you just how popular the story is!
This book is great for infants and toddlers up to three years
The Cat In The Hat
Another all-time favorite on our list of story books for kids to read is Dr. Suess,’ The Cat In The Hat. This story is a favorite with parents, kids, and teachers as it’s easy to read and fun too. It’s an ideal book for beginners as it’s heavy on phonics with impressive illustrations. Toddlers will also enjoy listening to the antics of the Cat in the Hat through simple words and basic rhyme.
A boring, rainy day is transformed into a day of utter chaos when the Cat in the Hat walks into the home of two children. He along with his troublemaking friends, Thing 1 and Thing 2, proceeds to wreak havoc on the home until he is asked to leave.
Toddlers and three to seven year-olds
Where The Wild Things Are
The inspiration behind a movie and an opera, Where The Wild Things Are is one of the highest acclaimed story books for kids to read. This children’s book, written by Maurice Sendak received the Caldecott Medal om 1964.
The story revolves around Max who threatens to eat his mother and is sent off to bed without dinner. In his annoyance, he escapes into a voyage of fantasy to where the Wild Things are. He befriends these fantastical creatures and is soon made king. However, from far away he is drawn back to his home by the smell of good things to eat. He finds his hot supper waiting for him when he returns.
It’s not just the power of imagination that is highlighted in this book but also the importance of respecting one’s mother. This is one reason why the book is so popular with teacher’s too as it reinforces the fact that there is a time and place for certain behaviors.
Toddlers and kids till the age of five will love this book
If Animals Kissed Goodnight
The perfect way to end the day with your little kid is by reading them If Animals Kissed Goodnight by Ann Whitford Paul. This is another of the highly-rated story books for kids to read. It stands at the top of the list of Children’s Baby Animal Books and Poetry for Early Learning on Amazon. With over 41,000 ratings on Amazon, this story book is a clear winner.
Charming illustrations and a beautifully rhymed story bring a number of animal features to light. Your child will not just enjoy listening to the story but will also learn the names of various young ones and the animal sounds.
Kids between the ages of three to six will enjoy this cute little book
If your little kids have enjoyed watching The Gruffalo on TV, they’ll love the book too. Written by Julia Donaldson with illustrations by Axel Sheffler, the book is a best-selling modern classic with over 13.5 million copies sold worldwide.
As with most story books for young kids, this one also has a strong and rhythmic read-aloud rhyme scheme. It tells the story of how a mouse outwits its predators in the dark wood by inventing a make-belief creature the Gruffalo. The irony is that the mouse ends up meeting this ‘scary’ creature who turns out to be quite interesting.
Ideal For :
Kids aged three years and above will enjoy this story
Heidi by Johanna Spyri is a well-loved children’s classic. Written in 1881, this is one of the best-selling books of all time and one of the best-known Swiss literature books. The story takes you to the Swiss Alps where an orphaned girl Heidi comes to live with her paternal grandfather.
Five-year-old Heidi initially lives with her aunt but is taken to her grandfather when her aunt is offered a job. Her grandfather is an oddity to the villagers and lives up in the mountain by himself. Although her grandfather is not too keen on keeping her, what unfolds is a beautiful relationship. However, the story is not just about this relationship but also Heidi’s relationship with the people around her and her sensitivity that allures her to so many. Apart from the paperback, you can also choose the Kindle version if you prefer story books for kids online.
This book is for older kids aged between eight to 12
There’s no denying that some of the best story books for kids to read are the classics. Charlotte’s Web published in 1952, by E.B. White, tells the story of lasting friendships. It’s the story of a little girl Fern, Wilbur the pig, and his close friend Charlotte. Wilbur, the runt of the litter is rescued by Fern who loves him dearly.
Wilbur is devastated to learn from others on the farm that he is destined for the slaughterhouse. With the help of Charlotte and Templeton the rat, Wilbur’s life is saved using some ingenious methods. This story brings to light the enchantment of life on a farm and the importance of good friends.
If your kid prefers to read online story books for kids, the Kindle version of the story book is also available.
Children aged eight to 12 years
The Enchanted Wood
Almost every kid who’s enjoyed an Enid Blyton book probably started with The Enchanted Wood. The first book in the magical Faraway Tree series introduces us to the main characters and their interesting adventures.
The Enchanted Wood is at the doorstep of Joe, Beth, and Frannie who’ve recently moved to their new home. They accidentally discover the Faraway Tree where they enjoy a host of adventures.
With characters such as Moonface, Saucepan Man, and Silky the fairy, combined with unbelievable lands at the top of the tree, this is one story you wouldn’t want your child to miss! It’s also available on Kindle if you’re looking for online story books for kids.
This is an excellent story for eight to 12-year-olds
The Complete Tales Of Winnie-the-Pooh
It goes without saying that some of the most endearing storybook characters of all time are Winnie The Pooh and his friends of the Hundred Acre Wood. Piglet, Owl, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, and the doleful Eeyore are characters that live on in our imaginations in the classic Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Author A.A. Milne wrote the stories for his son Christopher Robin, drawing inspiration from his soft toys. Christopher Robin also features in the story as Pooh’s friend. Though Pooh the bear seems to be a little slow, his profound wisdom has delighted readers for over 70 years.
Ideal For :
Though the book is great for eight to 12-year-olds, younger children will love listening to this story of friendships being read aloud to them.
Charlie And The Chocolate Factory
If your kids don’t have a Roald Dahl book sitting on their bookshelves they’re definitely missing out on some fun! The interesting characters and plots that he has created will stir your kids’ imaginations like no other! Charlie And The Chocolate Factory is perhaps one of his most popular, with Willy Wonka opening up our eyes to a magical world.
Charlie is the lucky winner of only five golden tickets to enter Willy Wonka’s enchanting chocolate factory. He along with four other ‘quirky’ winners, curiously enter the factory and embark on one of the wildest adventures.
Other titles by the same author worth adding to your list of story books for kids to read are Matilda and The BFG. These books are also available as online story books for kids.
Eight to 12-year-olds will enjoy reading Roald Dahl
Anne Of Green Gables
A ‘kindred soul with a fiery spirit,’ eleven-year-old Anne Shirley has been warming her way into reader’s hearts for over a century! Written by L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables is a timeless classic worth adding to your list of story books for kids to read, especially older kids.
Anne, the red-haired orphan has been bounced around from one foster home to another until she finally ends up at Green Gables by mistake. Matthew and Marilla Cuthbert have been looking forward to a sturdy boy but they get a girl instead. The little redhead is mischievous yet friendly. She’s a unique character who charms her way into everyone’s heart.
Though the book has been adapted into a Netflix series, it doesn’t stay true to the original story. This coming of age, book series is sure to stir your kids’ imagination and become an all-time favorite.
Eight to 12 year old girls will love this series
The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe
Step into the magical land of Narnia in this classic fantasy by C.S. Lewis. The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe is the second book in a series of seven books that chronicle the adventures of four siblings. Though this book is the second in the series, it’s well-loved as a standalone book.
The memorable characters that the siblings, Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy encounter as they step through the wardrobe, create quite an impression. Narnia is a land enslaved by the power of the White Witch, which sees no other season but winter. The return of Aslan the Great Lion brings hope and changes things. This book is a real page-turner, one that kids of all ages will enjoy. It’s no surprise that it sits right at the top of the lists of the best story books for kids to read.
Kids between the ages of eight to 12 will love reading this classic fantasy series
Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone
The first book in J.K. Rowling’s well-loved series, Harry Potter And The Sorcerer’s Stone introduces us to this unbelievable world of magic and the bespectacled hero of the story. Available in both the paperback version and the Kindle version for those who prefer reading story books for kids online, Harry Potter is definitely a series worth adding to your collection.
Harry Potter is a nobody a the beginning of the story leading a miserable life. He has absolutely no idea about magic or anything associated with it. He lives miserably with his aunt and uncle and their horrible son Dudley. Things, however, take a turn when a letter arrives by owl messenger. Harry enters an incredible world from which there’s no turning back!
Children between eight years and above will enjoy this series