Books for kids, little to big

Publisher’s note: In these days of social distancing, many parents may be looking for ways to keep their kids engaged at home.  Edmonds resident and retired teacher Barbara Chase offered to share her own list of reading recommendations for children of all ages. 

Ever since I started teaching many moons ago, I noticed that schools seemed to discourage parents with the idea that teachers know best, and parents…not so much. But really the people closest to the child from birth have a tremendous effect on kids’ learning.

It starts with the mother eating carefully and exercising while pregnant to ensure that a child has the best health possible. When a child is born the father supports Mom by giving her some breaks and helping with the child from birth.

While I lived in Japan in the 1970s, I noticed some practices which help children. Mothers had their children on their backs. It was a rarity to hear a child cry. That physical closeness promotes security, which in turn helps children develop to their potential. Children in Japan were exposed to books at a young age.

I hope to encourage those who work with children, especially parents, but brothers and sisters, grandparents and friends can also take part in the effort to encourage reading from an early age.

Reading for enjoyment is a lifelong skill. Often it opens children to the many worlds which are available to them. Remember the ages are suggestions. And many authors like Dr. Seuss have more than one good book. I hope the lists will help you choose good books for your children, grandchildren and friends.

Birth to Age 2

Many good board books

Good Night Moon, Margaret Wise Brown

Freight Train, Donald Crews

Alphabet Books,Number books with many different themes

Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric C

Where’s Spot, Eric Hill

Going to Bed book, Sandra Boynton

Peek a Who, Nina Laden, short simple rhymes, good for baby

Your Baby’s First Word Will be Dada, Jimmy Fallon

You are not Small, Anna Kang

Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats


Ages 3 to 5

Many wonderful books including picture books                        4

Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag; Olivia, Ian Falconer

Incredible Book Eating Boy, Oliver Jeffers

Gruffalo, Julia Donaldson

The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom , by Bill Martin & John Archambault

Real Mother Goose, classic book of poems kids love

Farmer Duck, by Irish writer Martin Waddell

Little Engine that Could, Watty Piper

Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, Richard Scarry

Go Dog go, P.D. Eastman; Curious George, H.A. Rey

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No good,very bad day J. Viorst

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak


Ages 5-7     

Books for Beginning Readers Ages 5-7                                                              5

Cat in the Hat , Horton Hears a Who & others by Dr. Seuss

Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh, A. A. Milne

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Roald Dahl-other great books

Stuart Little. E. B. White

Where the Sidewalk Ends, clever, hilarious poems, Shel Silverstein

Ramona the Pest, Beverly Cleary and other books by Cleary

Tomie dePaola has many good choices, great illustrations

Magic Tree House, Chapter books, fun for beginning readers

Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans

Pinocchio, Carlo Collodi

The Day the Crayons Quit, Drew Daywalt

The Incredible Book Eating Boy, Oliver Jeffers

Hidden Figures, True Story of Four Black Women and Space Race, Shetterly


Ages 7-9                                                                                                                              

Where the Red Fern Grows, Wilson Rawls, story of boy & his coon hounds

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes,story of Japanese girl after WWII

Hundred Dresses, Rufus M.  Eleanor Estes

Blueberries for Sal, Robert McCloskey

Misty of Chincoteague, Marguerite Henry

Little House in the Big Woods, Laura Ingalls Wilder

Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone, J. K. Rowling

Lion, Witch and Wardrobe, C. S. Lewis

Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll

Charlotte’s Web, E. B. White

Stephen Biesty’s illustrated books, Incredible Cross-Sections Great non fiction books

The Children’s Book of Virtues, William Bennett
Series books: Nancy Drew, Captain Underpants, Diary Wimpy Kid

Astro Boy,Japanese manga series, Osama Tezuka, adventure of robotic boy

Grimm’s Fairy Tales and other fairy and folk tales                               


Ages 9-12                                                                                                                                                    7

Anne of Green Gables, by Lucy Maud Montgomery

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, by Robert C. O’Brien

Island of the Blue Dolphins.  Scott O’Dell, native girl & 18 years on island

Hatchett, by Gary Paulsen, story of 13 year old boy who crashes in the wilderness and survives when the pilot of a small plane dies.

The Cricket in Times Square, G. Selden, story of friendship

The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Eliz. Speare. Girl accused of witchcrat

Mary Poppins, by P.L. Travers

Bad beginning: Series of Unfortunate Events, cliff-hanging story of three orphans, by Lemony Snickett, hard to describe, read it and find out

Percy Jackson & Olympians, Rick Riordan, fantasy adventure novel

Comeback Kids, Mike Lupica, football & sports books

Gandhi, books by and about his non violence and home rule

Tail of Emily Windsnap. Liz Kessler, world of mermaids ruled by Neptune

Books by Christopher Mathews


Ages 13-18                                                                                                            

Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe

Boys in a Boat, Daniel J. Brown, great story U.S. rowing in 1936 Olympics

Books by Russell Freedman, such as Photobiography of Lincoln

Endurance, Shackleton’s Antarctic Expedition, Caroline Alexander

Sarah, Plain and Tall, Patricia MacLachlan,Sarah helps after mother dies

Carry on Mr. Bowditch, J L. Latham, his book on sea navigation in use now

Kidnapped, Robert Louis Stevenson, orphan makes his way in danger

Watership Down, Richard Adams: survival & adventure novel

Call of the Wild, Jack London

Frankenstein, Mary Shelley

*Wizenard : Training Camp, Wesley King w. insights from Kobe Bryant

Usagi Yojimbo,,Samurai Rabbit, Stan Sakai

My Friend Flicka and Black Beauty, classic horse stories


— By Barbara Chase


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