30+ Best Books For Kids Ages 1-5

When it comes to choosing books to read to your children, the possibilities are endless! There are numerous amazing children’s books to choose from.

Sometimes when I go to the library with my children, I get a little overwhelmed with the available options!

What a great problem to have!

It can be helpful to have a starting place with a few book recommendations or at least some guidance on where to start when it comes to choosing books to read with your little one.

To get you started on your search, I’ve compiled a list of a few highly rated, popular, and most recommended children’s books from educators based on a child’s age ranging from 1-5 years old.

Here are a few on my favorites:

I’ve also provided a little guidance when it comes to reading with your child and what to look for in a book depending on their age and development. 

Let’s take a look!

Book Recommendations By Age Group

Again, there are hundreds, if not thousands, of wonderful books for children! Really any book can be helpful for a child, no matter their age.

However, I wanted to share a few highly rated and recommended books for children based on their age and expected development. 

1-2 Years Old

A True Classic
First 100 Board Book Box Set (3 books)
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is a classic book for each baby library. Filled with nothing but pictures of everyday objects, it is a great resource for pointing out and teaching your little ones words for their favorite things or things they see every day. 

Childhood Favorite
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Who doesn’t remember this book? It’s a GREAT one for teaching animals and colors!

Book With Flaps
Dear Zoo: A Lift-the-Flap Book


Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is a fun book with flaps that your little one will love lifting to see the animals underneath!

Where Is Baby’s Belly Button? A Lift-the-Flap Book
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is an adorable interactive book for helping your little one learn different body parts! It has flaps as well for extra fun. 

Favorite ❤️
There’s a Monster in Your Book (Who’s In Your Book?)
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is an absolute FAVORITE for my twins. We’ve already had to buy two copies from using it so much! Toddlers love getting to interact and do different things with their bodies and voices to get rid of the monster in their book! 

2-3 Year Olds

The Little Engine That Could

Llama Llama Red Pajama


Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This heartwarming tale is perfect for getting your littles settled down and ready for bedtime!

This cute classic is helpful when teaching your little ones important question words and how to answer questions. 

Bear Feels Sick (The Bear Books)


Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is a cute story about friendship and helping others to feel better when they don’t feel well. 

Little Quack’s Hide and Seek
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This book will teach many important skills and games such as counting and hide and seek! 

It’s Not Yours, It’s Mine! (Child’s Play Library)


Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is a darling story about friendship and sharing. Any parent of a two-year-old knows that sharing can be a real challenge to teach!

3-4 Year Olds

Grumpy Monkey
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is a silly book that is part of a series focused on teaching children that it is okay to feel their feelings and how to express their emotions.

The Wonderful Things You Will Be


Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Brave, bold, creative or clever–this book will go through all of the things that parents feel about their child and all that they will be! 

5+ Year Olds

Bob Books – Set 1: Beginning Readers Box Set
Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

These are phonics-based learn to read books that are great for early readers! Your child will be so excited that they can read these books all on their own! 

It’s Hard to Be Five: Learning How to Work My Control Panel


Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is a cute story of self control and being your best every day! 

The Giving Tree


Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

This is a classic heartwarming story about unconditional love and sacrifice. 

This is a great book to help teach your youngster the importance of boundaries and the importance of listening to and using the word “No!”

A Library of The Original Collection of Magic Tree House (28 Book Set)


Check Price on Amazon
We earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

Magic Tree House books are a fantastic read-aloud option to introduce your child to chapter books! They are full of adventure, fun and imagination. 

Features To Look For In Children’s Books Depending On Age

There are certain things that you will want to look for in books that correlate with their age and where they are developmentally. Selecting books with these features or qualities will help your child get the most out of reading time. 

1-2 Years 

At one year old, your child is mostly interested in visuals and textures. Look for books with bright colors, different textures, touch and feel pages or books with buttons that make noises.

You will still want to read out loud to your child to expose them to new words, however, at this point they are mostly interested in what they can see, feel and hear. 

Between the age of one and two is when my twins really started getting interested in reading books together. They were still very interested in interactive books and loved stories with very simple action words that they could repeat and understand.

They also loved stories with animals and animal sounds that were easy for them to repeat. This age is when your child’s language development really starts to kick in, so look for books with rhyme schemes and simple words that they can learn. 

2-3 Years 

Many children experience a vocabulary “explosion”, if you will, between the age of two and three. During this time reading stories that relate to something they are interested in (trucks, dinosaurs, dragons, princesses, etc.) can be very helpful in building their vocabulary and beginning to spark their imagination.

Also looking for books that teach simple lessons in counting, colors, feelings and social skills can be beneficial and educational. 

3-4 Years

By this point, most children will be able to understand and enjoy more complex storylines so you can begin to incorporate more short stories rather than simple board books.

Again, picking books based on interest will be fun for your child, but also looking for books that teach valuable lessons on friendship, social skills, ethics, etc. will be useful in preparing your toddler for preschool and how to interact with those around them. 

5+ Years

Many five year olds are beginning to learn to read and some may even be able to read simple words on their own. Five year olds also have huge imaginations, so reading simple chapter books and stories with them will be helpful in continuing to develop and strengthen their imagination and cognitive processes.

It might also be helpful to incorporate phonics books into your reading routine to help your five year old practice their reading skills. 

Final Thoughts

In my opinion, any book is better than no book at all! However, finding books that are specific to your child’s age, development and interest are key to getting the most interaction and learning.

I hope you were able to get a few ideas from this list and maybe even a confirmation that the books you have in your library right now are good ones! Happy reading!