With kindergarten likely around the corner, it’s a big year of transitions for your young reader, and the best books for 5-year-olds can help them keep up. At age 5, your child may be a pre-reader or transitioning to reading independently. My picks below are perfect for blossoming readers and will also encourage other new skills your child is likely developing at this age.
Besides developing literacy, reading age-appropriate books can help your child hit developmental milestones. Your 5-year-old may already (or soon) be able to carry on a meaningful conversation — great for engaging with your young reader about these books. Your child's ability to tell stories, use the future tense, and agree to rules (most of the time) will come in handy with my interactive book pick. And their ability to construct sentences with more than five words will be great for my chapter book series' increased complexity.
Additionally, kids love funny books, and there are many great books to get your 5-year-old giggling and interested in reading; one of my picks even has them reading goofy, made up words aloud. But some of my picks focus on your child’s growing independence, like getting dressed, using a fork and spoon more deftly, or helping with chores. One of my picks can even help prepare them for kindergarten.
Keep reading for great additions to your 5-year-old's library that are fun reads for both you and your child.
1. The Best Book To Make Your 5-Year-Old Laugh
A seemingly boring book with no pictures turns out to be really goofy, with a slew of made-up words and funny phrases the parent (or child) has to read; no doubt, kids will absolutely love the unexpected silliness. The Book With No Pictures is a New York Times bestseller and also highly rated on Amazon with a 4.8-star review after more than 4,500 reviews. Get ready to emphatically say words like "bluurf" or "blaggity-blaggity." Reading this book will encourage your young reader to tell stories and make up their own words; it's also a fun one to turn to when the usual favorites feel a little stale.
What fans love: “I almost didn't write a review for this one because so many people have already expressed the same opinions...BUT then I realized the book deserves a million five star reviews. I watched a five-year-old transition from saying he did not want to hear the book because it had no pictures to laughing hysterically and trying to read the whole thing by himself.”
2. The Best Choose-Your-Own-Adventure Book To Help Them Navigate Daily Life
What Should Danny Do? is a series of interactive children's books that will boost your child's self esteem and teach them the power of making choices. Danny, the superhero-in-training, navigates instances in daily life that will be familiar to your child, who gets to choose what happens next in the story. As they read, they'll observe a role model agreeing to rules most of the time (as Danny does) and practicing better emotional control, which can help them develop empathy, and the ability to navigate the feeling of wanting to be like other kids. This book also helps them use the future tense like they're already beginning to do, and fosters their growing independence.
This pick is highly rated with a 4.8-star review after more than 1,000 reviews. Parents say understanding the power to choose has improved their children's behavior and empowered them to make positive choices. And since this book is part of a series, you can always try new versions of the story.
What fans love: “I am a pre-kindergarten teacher, so I have four and five-year-olds [...] Not only do the kids in my class have so much fun choosing Danny’s choices in the story, but they also love seeing how the story can change depending on what they decide for Danny [...] My students are actually involved in the story instead of just listening. Active participators certainly learn more! Five stars all the way!!!”
3. The Best Cookbook To Get Kids Excited About New Foods And Recipes
Whether your 5-year-old is a young foodie or skeptical of new dishes, helping them learn to cook is a great way to expose them to different foods and essential skills. The Kid Chef Junior cookbook is a highly rated bestseller, with 25 recipes (and a photo of each dish) that will teach your child how to chop, whisk, cook, and bake, which is definitely inline with their increasing ability to use a fork, spoon, and other utensils more skillfully.
Other skills it can help foster include practicing counting to 10 or identifying more objects, as well as a better understanding of how to use household appliances. Kid-approved recipes include those like Cookie Monster Bites, Smashed Silly Face Guacamole, and Goblin Green Pasta. And if kids help make it, they're more likely to eat it.
What fans love: “We gave this to our 6 year old boy for Christmas, and he tries a new recipe every few weeks. He is really enjoying it, and he's so excited that he's been much more keen on trying the healthier options. I love the way that it is written and overall it's just been great!”
4. The Best Book To Make The First Day of Kindergarten Easier
Starting kindergarten can be an emotional time for your child, and The Kissing Hand has helped many pre-readers and other kids through difficult transitions. In this story, a mother raccoon gives her son a way to feel reassured when he is away from her at school. It's a heartwarming book that will help your child become more independent, empathetic, and better able to resolve minor conflict on their own when away from you.
With a 4.8-star rating after more than 1,100 reviews, this highly rated pick has helped millions of children and their parents, as well as kindergarten teachers on the first day of school.
What fans love: “Oh how I love love LOVE this book. Like so many little ones, my daughter was having a really hard time adjusting to kindergarten. [...] She seemed so sad and lost...This book, above anything else we tried, helped my daughter adjust to going to school [...] If I could hug the author I would. We had sad mornings every day for the first several weeks of school. After reading this there was an immediate change.”
5. The Best First Chapter Book Set With Lots Of Pictures
Is your kindergartener ready to try a chapter book? This New York Times best-selling series from a Newberry Medalist author is an excellent place to start as they transition to independent reading. The Mercy Watson boxed set includes six books that follow Mercy the pig’s adventures, including alerting the fire department to a sinking house and stopping a toaster robbery in its tracks. With engaging illustrations and quick chapters, your 5-year-old will better understand storytelling, expand their vocabulary, and work on speaking longer sentences. This pick is also a favorite on Amazon, with a 4.9-star review after more than 300 reviews.
What fans love: “These are the books you want to start with for beginner chapter books. Many bright pictures on almost every page, long enough stories without being too long for little ones. Started chapter books with my 4.5 year old and she requests to read these every night. We read 3-4 chapters a night (in addition to non-chapter books).”
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