I’ve asked some elementary teachers from Kindergarten all the way through 5th grade to share their favorite children’s books of all-time. Keep reading to see what teachers chose as the best children’s books!
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These teachers have been reading children’s books almost daily for years, so I know it was hard for them to narrow down their list of favorites. Keep on reading to see which books made the cut as their favorite children’s books! (This post contains affiliate links.)
This article was originally posted on June 10, 2013.
Elementary Teachers Share Their Favorite Children’s Books
1. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin
This is an awesome book for younger children. It comes with a song that is very catchy where your child/student will be singing a long and eventually be able to retell the story. This book also teaches colors and has a great moral.
2. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons by Eric Litwin
Another book written by Eric Litwin similar to the origninal Pete the cat.This one teaches numbers with a subtraction element.
3. All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
This picture book is awesome and has great illustrations. It’s very poetic and implies that the world is all of us and we need to take care of it.
4. All Fancy Nancy books by Jane O’Connor
I haven’t read all of these; however, I do like that they teach all kinds of vocabulary and even explain it. Girls tend to like these books as the main character is rather “girly”.
Kelly~ 1st Grade
1. I Don’t Want to Go to Bed! by Julie Sykes
This story has repetitive text and bright illustrations. It has some great messages- it is best to follow instructions to start with, and that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. The kids always like the bush baby!
2. Counting Crocodiles by Judy Sierra
This one is fun! It has rhyming text without being mind numbing. The crocs in the story are very zany, and I love the tricky monkey. The kids and I love saying ‘sillabobble sea’ most of all. The kids like counting the crocs at the end!
3. Little By Little by Amber Stewart
I read this the first week of school and display it where it can be easily referred to all year. It reinforces my message that you don’t learn to read overnight, but by taking small steps toward your goal, working hard and never giving up. The kids really seem to get it.
Felicia~ 1st Grade
1. Our Tree Named Steve by Alan Aweibel
2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Leslie~ 1st Grade
1. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
2. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
3. Owen by Kevin Henkes
Dianne~ 2nd Grade
1. Tough Boris by Mem Fox
2. Koala Lou by Mem Fox
3. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Jan~ 3rd Grade
1. Frindle by Andrew Clements
A story that has fun with words. Kids at this age like words. This story builds on this and allows them to think about derivative of words and even how they could create a word and think about its use.
2. The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynn Reid Banks
A great read-aloud with characters that really come alive within the text. Great vocabulary development. Children love the plot and predicting what will come next.
3. The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop
A great follow-up to Indian In the Cupboard. I like to compare and contrast characters, setting, and plot between this book and the book above.
Paul~ 4th Grade
1. By the Great Horn Spoon! by Sid Fleischman
This is a really incredible depiction of the California Gold Rush. The two main characters, Jack and Praiseworthy, are constantly coming up with clever ways to get themselves and their friends out of trouble. Kids learn about the Gold Rush even though they just think they’re reading an entertaining book.
2. The BFG by Roald Dahl
The BFG is a really nice story about a friendly giant and his friendship with a little girl. Roald Dahl’s language throughout the entire book is hilarious, and the storyline is very heartwarming.
3. Bandit’s Moon by Sid Fleischman
Also centered around the Gold Rush, Bandit’s Moon tells about the infamous bandit, Joaquin Murrieta. The story shows things aren’t always as they appear, as Joaquin turns out to be a caring man who was wronged. It doesn’t take long before you’re cheering on the ‘bad guy’.
Moya ~ 4th Grade
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
I have many girls who are always asking me for new series books. These are two of their favorites:
Another series my girls like is The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley.
I think the girls like these because they are related to fairy tales, but set in modern time and there is a lot of adventure and mystery.
The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1) by Michael Buckley
Kristy 5th Grade Teacher & Reading Teacher
1. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
I love the pictures that go with the simple rhymes of this classic children’s story. I have read this “bedtime” story to my own kids so many times.
2. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo
Level: Ages 8 & Up
A wonderful book to read aloud. A touching story about a vain, cold-hearted china rabbit who learns the feeling of loss and love.
3. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
Level: Ages 9 & Up
A heartwarming book about loneliness, friendship, and love. One of my favorite authors.
4. Love That Dog by Sharon Creech
Level: Ages 9 & Up
An endearing story about a boy and his dog, and how the boy struggles with writing poetry to deal with a loss.
Also, a good book to introduce kids to poetry.
Abbi~ K-5 Computer & Literacy Teacher
I discovered this novel, about a terribly unlucky boy named Stanley Yelnats who gets sent to a boys’ camp where he must dig holes in the desert, while I was teaching a loveable class of fourth graders. This novel seemed to fit their age group as a possible read-aloud choice, so I set out to read it first. I could not put it down! It was a huge hit with my class, and the humor and suspense stayed with my students long after the final pages.
2. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (Newbery Medal winner, 1995)
Some of the best books lead you to places you’d never go on your own, while others comfort you with their familiarity. This book was a combination of both for me. It’s about a young girl named Sal who, along with her eccentric grandparents, sets off on a cross-country journey to her mother, who left them a long time ago. The characters were so authentic to me that I couldn’t help but be reminded of my own crazy grandparents, which made me love these characters all the more. A touching read, and it’s sure to keep you thinking and feeling all the way through. This book led me to many other fantastic books by Sharon Creech; it’s always a pleasure (and never a guarantee) to discover that in finding a new favorite book you’ve gained a new favorite author.
3. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by CS Lewis
This happens to be the book that broke my “single topic reader” rut when I was in elementary school. I was a voracious reader, but I only read books about horses. Ever. Then one time, while on vacation and having just finished the last horse book I brought, my parents handed this book to me. I started reading and was swept away. It’s no wonder this is described by many as “an instant classic”! The story blends fantasy and reality with ease, and quickly draws the reader into the suspense and intrigue of Narnia. For those who want more they can delve into the rest of the series, but it’s also a great stand-alone book. We tried to read it aloud to our first grader, but he got a little scared. By the time he was in second grade and his teacher read it aloud to the class he was super excited about it and he really liked it. (By the way, it’s about four siblings who find a magical world, Narnia, through the back of an unused, forgotten cupboard in an old house! They have many exciting adventures there!)
4. The Hiccupotamus by Aaron Zenz
I absolutely love to read this book for my kids’ bedtime! It’s about a hippo with a crazy case of the hiccups and the elephant, centipede, and rhinoceros try to help him find a cure. The crazy, complicated rhyming pattern makes it a fantastic read-aloud choice, and the pictures are hilarious! And parents, don’t forget to check out the last page of the book with all the characters’ bios.
Did you see any of your favorites on the list? What children’s books would you add?
If you liked this post, be sure to check out our full list of children’s book sets!