Part of the fun of teaching kindergarten is introducing eager students to a collection of fantastic books. If you’re looking to refresh your collection of old standbys, here are 60+ recent titles we think are worth adding to your classroom bookshelves.
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1. Swashby and the Sea by Beth Ferry
Captain Swashby is a reclusive, retired sailor happy with his quiet life by the sea—until an energetic girl and her grandmother move in next door. This delightful book checks all the boxes: loveable and diverse characters, heartwarming themes, charming artwork, and discussion-worthy vocabulary. There are even a handful of authentic chances to review phonics skills and sight words as students decipher messages written in the sand.
2. Out the Door by Christy Hale
There are so many potential curriculum connections for this story about a girl’s trip to school, which starts with her heading out the door and continues through her urban neighborhood and onto the subway. Use this as a conversation starter about neighborhoods and journeys to school, to introduce activities about prepositions, directions, or mapping, or as a writing mentor text.
3. Love is Powerful by Heather Dean Brewer
As Mari and her mother create signs for an upcoming march, Mari isn’t sure their letters are big enough for anyone to read their messages. But read them, people do. By the time you reach the author’s note, with reflections from the real-life six-year old Mari on her experience attending a Women’s March in 2017, we guarantee you’ll have chills. Share this to kick off a persuasive writing unit, or anytime you want to let the children in your life know that love—and their own words—are most definitely powerful.
4. A Busy Creature’s Day Eating by Mo Willems
You can never have too many alphabet books in kindergarten, and a funny one is a huge plus. Eating everything in sight seems like a great idea … until it makes you sick!
5. Thank You, Omu! by Oge Mora
When Omu makes her thick, red stew, the delicious smell attracts many visitors hoping for a taste. Selflessly, she gives every last bite away—but her grateful neighbors have a plan to say thanks. This would be the perfect story to act out with your class.
6. Saturday by Oge Mora
Yep, we love this author so much, we’re including two of her books in a row. In this quiet gem, a mother-daughter pair make the best of a series of mishaps by keeping in mind what’s truly important: being together.
7. All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold
Families of every makeup and background walk to school on this first day of school. Teachers greet them with joy and reverence. This title is perfect to set the tone at the start of school and revisit all year long.
8. Little Red and the Very Hungry Lion by Alex T. Smith
You can’t go wrong in kindergarten with a fantastic fractured fairy tale. In this rendition, Little Red heads through the jungle to bring medicine to her aunt. We can’t get enough of the cheerful, energetic illustrations.
9. Fern and Otto: A Story About Two Best Friends by Stephanie Graegin
On the hunt for an exciting story idea, Fern and Otto take a grand tour of fairy tale and nursery rhyme events in the forest. In the end, they find that the best stories can be found closer to home. Add this title to your list for launching Writer’s Workshop!
10. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates by Ryan T. Higgins
All kindergarteners do impulsive things from time to time, so they’ll certainly identify with poor Penelope, who can’t help but eat her classmates. This comical title is great for back-to-school, after a long break, or anytime you need to talk about impulse control.
11. Pink is For Boys by Robb Pearlman
Encourage children to think beyond gender stereotypes and create a classroom culture where everyone can be exactly who they are with this relevant title.
12. The Little Red Fort by Brenda Maier
This Little Red Hen retelling stars Ruby, who spies some scrap wood and gets a vision for an amazing fort. Will any of her brothers help her build it?
13. & 14. Izzy Gizmo and Izzy Gizmo and the Invention Convention by Pip Jones
Meet the next STEM heroine of kid lit, relentlessly determined Izzy Gizmo. She’s on a mission to help an injured crow fly. Luckily, her encouraging Grandpa has plenty of “gadgety things” to help her succeed. In the equally energetic sequel, Izzy takes her invention show on the road to the Technoff Isle’s Invention Convention.
15. Elmore by Holly Hobbie
It can be hard to make friends when you’re a spiky porcupine! This book encourages students to think about the many ways they can connect with others.
16. The Word Collector by Peter H. Reynolds
Many kids collect rocks, baseball cards, and comic books, but Jerome collects words. Inspire students to notice vocabulary and show them the power that just the right word can hold.
17. The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld
This tender story reminds kindergarteners (and those who teach them) that sometimes, just listening is the best way to help.
18. The Bear and the Moon by Matthew Burgess
This gentle tale of a bear and a balloon is what we all need right now. Use it to introduce conversations about loss and disappointment in a reassuring way. We also love this story as a narrative writing mentor text; the lush, detailed language is perfect for showing students possibilities for “adding more.”
19. Lucia the Luchadora by Cynthia Leonor Garza
With a nod to the Mexican lucha libre tradition, Lucia shows everyone on the playground that girls can most definitely be superheroes in this story about culture, caring, and confidence.
20-23. Winter Is Here , In the Middle of Fall , When Spring Comes, and Summer Song by Kevin Henkes and Laura Dronzek
The patterned text, precise language, and cheerful illustrations in these titles are perfect for sharing with kindergartners, no matter the weather! Inspire seasonal artwork and writing all year long.
24. Round by Joyce Sidman
This ode to roundness in nature is both artful and thought-provoking. Expand students’ perspectives during a geometry unit or use this title to complement a study of scientific description.
This is so much more than a shape book. Explore both 2D and 3D shapes alongside Muslim culture with this unique offering. Students who enjoy artwork will especially appreciate the intricate designs in the illustrations.
26. One Fox: A Counting Book Thriller by Kate Read
Counting books aren’t usually billed as “thrillers,” but visual and linguistic interest and a suspenseful storyline elevate this title to a read-aloud winner.
27. Ten on a Twig by Lo Cole
You know how you teach ways to make ten for oh…the entire year? This book makes it so much happier! Ten colorful birds sit on a twig until—Snap!—the twig keeps breaking, causing birds to fall off. The illustrations are pleasing yet uncluttered enough to use for math lessons, and could inspire the most adorable art projects ever.
28. One Big Pair of Underwear by Laura Gehl
Explore visual representation of numerical amounts in this silly counting book about groups of animals who must share snacks, pillows, playground slides, and (of course) underwear.
29. How Much Does a Ladybug Weigh? by Alison Limentani
Did you know that ten ants weigh the same as one ladybug? Introduce students to weight by comparison with this interesting counting book. This title is perfect to share before exploring balance scales.
30. Lubna and Pebble by Wendy Meddour
We don’t want to shy away from tough topics with our young students, but they have to be tackled in developmentally appropriate ways. This child’s eye view of a refugee experience is also a touching testament to the power of friendship.
31. Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall
Jabari wants to jump off the high diving board at the local pool. After some hesitation, he does it with style. This is a heartwarming story about pursuing big goals.
32. Jabari Tries by Gaia Cornwall
If you love Jabari—and you do—you’ll be excited about his new chance to shine. This one is for every kid who has big dreams of creating something amazing, only to find it’s harder than they thought. Jabari’s dad wins once again with his spot-on advice about slowing down, breathing, and digging deep for the patience to try, try again.
33. Baabwaa and Wooliam: A Tale of Literacy, Dental Hygiene, and Friendship by David Elliott
This title is funny, celebrates reading, and is ripe with opportunities for comprehension strategy mini-lessons. A classroom must-have.
34. The Fort by Laura Perdew
The lyrical language and expressive artwork in this celebration of friendship and play make for an engaging read aloud. (Plus, now we want to run right outside and make our own forest fort.) Whether you’re playing pirates, castle, astronauts, or something else, pretending is more fun with a buddy!
35. High Five by Adam Rubin
From the team behind the modern classic Dragons Love Tacos comes this hilarious rhyming account of the ultra-competitive High Five Championship competition.
36. Boo Who? By Ben Clanton
The characters from the rollicking Rex Wrecks It are back, along with a new friend, Boo. Boo feels invisible—because, well, he is—until the pals stumble upon a game where he can excel. This story is a wonderful way for students to learn about the importance of including others.
37. A Piglet Named Mercy by Kate DiCamillo
Initiate a new crop of Mercy Watson fans with a tender picture book explanation of how Mercy arrived at the Watson Family’s doorstep.
38. I Wrote You a Note by Lizi Boyd
This sweet and simple story is guaranteed to incite a flurry of friendly letter writing in your classroom.
39. I Do Not Like Books Anymore! by Daisy Hirst
How smart to spin a narrative around a common new-reader buzzkill: boring books! The decodable title Natalie excitedly brought home from school turns out to be a snooze, and all the books she wants to read feel too hard. Perseverance and encouragement get her back on a book-loving track.
40. Birthdays Around the World by Margriet Ruurs
Birthdays are pretty important when you’ve only had five or six of them. This collection of global traditions will have children counting down to their own big days and also teach them that not all cultures celebrate birthdays.
41. A School Like Mine: A Celebration of Schools Around the World by DK Publishing
It’s great to have some books in your reading corner that you know students will love to pore over. Give them this title about a topic relevant to everyone: school!
42. National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Science by Kathleen Weidner Zoehfeld
What is science, anyways? Use the opening section to teach kids about the habits of scientists at the start of the year, and return to its captivating coverage of different science topics when you start each new unit.
43. Hey, Water! by Antoinette Portis
Hey, kindergarten teachers: this artful ode to one of our most necessary natural resources is a science bookshelf must-have.
44. Water Land: Land and Water Forms Around the World by Christy Hale
This innovative book uses paper cutouts to show how land and water forms are related—plus, plenty of fun details in the illustrations invite wondering and conversation.
45. Germs vs. Soap by Didi Dragon
Kindergarten classrooms have to talk about handwashing. A lot. At least this book makes it entertaining! Captivate kids’ imaginations while teaching them to wage battle using germs’ sudsy nemesis.
46. Peek-Through Picture Books by Britta Teckentrup
Perfect blends of artistry, information, and engagement, each title in this series uses cut-outs to share new details on each page about a topic in nature. Who says nonfiction can’t be beautiful?
47. Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos by Monica Brown
This is a colorful and engaging portrait of artist Frida Kahlo presented in context that children can appreciate: her special relationships with the animals in her life.
48. Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root
Introduce key concepts about plants and to inspire young farmers, whether or not you have conventional garden space available.
49. Living and Nonliving Things: A Compare and Contrast Book by Kevin Kurtz
Explore this foundational concept with a book that encourages critical thinking. The engaging photographs and embedded questions help students decide if something is “probably a living thing,” leaving room for a realistic dose of scientific uncertainty.
50. The Doctor With an Eye for Eyes: The Story of Patricia Bath by Julia Finley Mosca
This rhyming biography manages to present complex information in an accessible way. Use it to discuss gender equality or as an interesting extension to a unit on the five senses.
51. The Jack Books by Mac Barnett
The many decodable words and short sentences are supportive for sure, but it’s the deadpan humor and mischief that will hook new readers. Kids will also love the drawing tutorials at the back of each title.
52. The Giggle Gang Books by Jan Thomas
The Giggle Gang deserve their own bin in your classroom library. With just the right amount of repetition, these books feel like “real” reading despite their easy content. They also work well as quick read alouds or mini-lesson mentor texts.
53. Bright Owl Short Vowel books by Molly Coxe
Learning short vowel sounds doesn’t have to be a drag when you’ve got adorable felted animals to teach you. Supplement your phonics curriculum with these gems.
54. What Color is Night? by Grant Snider
What sounds like a simple question is deceptively complex in this poetic title that encourages readers to look more closely at the world around them. Use it to inspire student poetry or night-themed artwork.
55. Runny Babbit Returns: Another Billy Sook by Shel Silverstein
These poems are not only fun tongue twisters but also offer a great chance for kindergartners to explore manipulating initial sounds. And, of course, you get the laughs you’ve come to expect from this legendary poet.
56. Things to Do by Elaine Magliaro
Simple but powerful free verses personify animals, natural phenomena, and common objects. These are perfect for teaching visualization.
57. What’s Your Favorite Bug? by Eric Carle and Friends
Kids will gravitate towards this book because they recognize Eric Carle’s signature artwork on the cover, but inside will find fifteen talented children’s artists’ answers to the title question in art and poetry.
58. Thank You, Earth: A Love Letter to Our Planet by April Pulley Sayre
This book makes for a gorgeous read aloud, and we see adorable Kindergarten “thank you letters to the earth” in your classroom future.
59. The Princess in Black series by Shannon Hale
This illustrated chapter book series has something for everyone—princesses, superheroes, monsters, and more. We love how the most recent series installments emphasize cooperation and acceptance.
Plus, be sure to download and share the free Princess in Black and the Case of the Coronavirus: A PSA Booklet. Hooray for authors and illustrators using their superpowers for community good!
60. Barkus by Patricia MacLachlan
This dog and owner duo remind us of Henry and Mudge. The wholesome content works for a read-aloud or your occasional advanced independent Kindergarten reader. For more fun, check out Barkus Dog Dreams: Book 2.
Which books have you added to your kindergarten library lately? Come and share in our WeAreTeachers HELPLINE group on Facebook.