Kindergarten is a fascinating but nerve-wracking time for young children.
It’s their first introduction to school, other kids in the classroom, teachers, and lunch breaks – a whole new world for a child.
As such, making children feel comfortable with kindergarten, being around other children, learning to cooperate, and getting over the nerves of being somewhere without one’s parents is incredibly important.
In this article, we’ve included some of the best kindergarten books for beginning readers. These are fun to read as a family during your storytelling sessions.
Some of these books deal with kindergarten, while others are fun, inspiring, or educational books for your early readers.
Whichever of these kindergarten books you choose to share with your children or students, each one is sure to help them.
Best kindergarten books to read
Kindergarten is a time when kids learn how to read, so the material we give them to learn is essential.
Kindergarten (Grade K) books are age-appropriate learning materials that help children learn about the world around them through concepts like sharing, emotions, and following (or breaking) the rules.
Below you will find a list of 12 of the best kindergarten books to have in your classroom library or on your kid’s bookshelf at home. These are fun, educational, and heartwarming stories that kids will love, and adults can also enjoy.
1. Wemberly Worried – Kevin Henkes
Wemberly Worried is a sweet tale about a little mouse called Wemberly. Wemberly worries about everything, big and small. ‘Worry, worry, worry! Too much worry!’ says her family.
Of all the things big and small Wemberly worries about, her biggest worry is her first day at school. However, when she eventually gets to that dreaded first day, Wemberly realizes she’s not the only one who worries and that school doesn’t have to be scary!
Kevin Henkes’ Wemberly Worried is an excellent book for kindergarteners worried about their first day or who can’t seem to shake their nerves through their kindergarten year.
Wemberly Worried is a fun, colorful, and confidence-boosting read for children approaching their first day at school.
Children won’t have difficulty relating to Wemberly and encouraging her to overcome her fears.
2. Yo! Yes? – Chris Raschka
Chris Raschka’s Yo! Yes? is an essential educational book for young readers. The story is about a developing friendship between two young boys, strangers at first, who meet on a city street.
Their conversation begins with the call of Yo! and response of Yes?. From there, we follow these two young boys as they get to know each other in just a few words.
Raschka’s Yo! Yes? beautifully highlights the innocence, freedom, and lack of judgment or prejudice kids are known for.
It’s a heart-warming tale about a friendship between two boys of different ethnicities that transcends prejudice and stereotypes.
The book relies heavily on imagery and keeps text to one or two words per page. As such, this is an excellent book for kindergarten.
Its message is simple, with appealing illustrations and few words, and it’s an incredibly easy read for your kindergartener.
3. Kindergarten Rocks! – Katie Davis
Children’s book author and illustrator Katie Davis’s Kindergarten Rocks is a beautiful example of a kindergarten book that serves its purpose.
It’s light, fun, and heartwarming while also touching on real issues young children face and experience around their first day of school.
The story follows a young boy named Dexter Dugan and his stuffed dog Rufus as his first day of school approaches. He’s incredibly nervous about starting, as is Rufus.
Fortunately for Dexter, he’s got an older sister who’s been there and done that – third-grader, Jessie.
Jessie helps Dexter calm his nerves by answering all of his questions with her kindergarten expertise. All is well until Rufus goes missing.
Will Dexter find him? Will Jessie be able to help this time?
4. How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? – Jane Yolen
How Do Dinosaurs Go to School? is the eighth installment in Yolen and Teague’s ‘How Do Dinosaurs..’ series.
In this installment, our dino friends go to school alongside human students and teachers. How do they behave? Do they fit in with other students?
Riding the bus, reading their favorite book, and playing games in the playground are activities both dinosaurs and children like. Follow our prehistoric friends as they play like other children, and navigate the challenges of being a dinosaur in a human school.
How Do Dinosaurs Go To School? is a perfect read-aloud back-to-school reader for young children.
Filled with colorful illustrations and already set in a kindergarten classroom, your kids are sure to have a lot of laughs. At the same time, they also learn about fitting in and accepting people’s differences.
5. Mama Panya’s Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya – Mary Chamberlin and Rich Chamberlin
The Chamberlin’s Mama Panya’s Pancakes: A Village Tale from Kenya is a heartwarming story about the importance of sharing with others, even when things are scarce.
Community and its importance is the central theme of this sweet book and teaches children about kindness and generosity as universal, beyond culture and surface-level differences.
Mama Panya’s son Adika is incredibly friendly.
On a day at the market, Adika invites everyone he meets to his mother’s house for pancakes. Mama Panya is overwhelmed but ever-resourceful and committed to sharing the community spirit; she tries to find a way to feed all of her guests.
With detailed illustrations, easy-to-understand language, and a delicious pancake recipe at the end, Mama Panya’s Pancakes is a thoroughly enjoyable read which keeps kids engaged.
6. I’m Happy-Sad Today – Lory Britain
Lory Britain’s I’m Happy-Sad Today looks at feelings and emotions through the eyes of a confused little girl.
It explores different emotions in a way that makes them easy to understand and explains to the young reader how feelings can be mixed, and that’s okay.
Teaching children about mixed feelings and emotions isn’t always easy, especially when they’re going through an emotionally charged time and struggling to understand what they feel.
Friendliness and shyness. Excitement and nervousness. Happiness with sadness. Excited happiness and quiet happiness, jealousy, frustration, and determination are all themes and feelings explored in Britain’s I’m Happy-Sad Today.
Narrated by the protagonist, a little girl, the story concludes with her realization that “when I have more than one feeling inside me, I don’t have to choose just one. I know that all my feelings are okay at the same time.”
I’m Happy-Sad Today is a handy tool for parents, caregivers, and teachers to help educate young children on the nature of emotions and how to approach them.
7. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates – Ryan T. Higgins
It’s Penelope’s first day at school.
She’s nervous, but she’s excited to make new friends. That is, she’s eager to try and make new friends.
Penelope is sweet and caring, but sometimes she can’t help herself. Because she’s a T-Rex in a school for humans and she’s got a particular taste for humans as food, Penelope’s first day at school will be challenging.
Ryan T. Higgins’ We Don’t Eat Our Classmates is a fun and enjoyable read for children and parents alike.
It covers themes like the nervousness of one’s first day at school, the challenges of making friends, and how to manage one’s impulses.
It also helps children better understand concepts such as empathy, following the rules for the greater good, and how to get along well with others.
8. Leave Me Alone – Vera Brosgol
Vera Brosgol’s Leave Me Alone! is a hilarious story about a grandmother who can’t seem to find the peace she needs to continue her knitting.
Initially distracted by her family and incredibly frustrated, granny shouts ‘leave me alone!’ and leaves home.
She sets out to find the perfect place to sit and knit and even goes as far as the moon to find the peace she’s looking for.
No matter how hard she tries, our granny protagonist can’t seem to find her alone time.
On her quest, she meets hordes of aliens, dangerous bears, and arrogant goats.
Despite the seemingly endless distractions, granny is determined.
She wants to knit a collection of warm sweaters for her family so that they will be warm for the winter, and nothing can stop her.
9. Grumpy Monkey – Suzanne Lang
Suzanne Lang’s Grumpy Monkey is a hilarious tale about, as you may have guessed, an incredibly grumpy monkey.
The story follows our primate protagonist Jim, a young chimpanzee in a terrible mood that he can’t seem to shake.
Jim’s friends don’t get it. How can Jim be in such a terrible mood with the sun shining? Why can’t he cheer up on such a beautiful day?
Despite their best efforts, Jim’s friends can’t seem to change his mood. Not only that but the more they push him to feel better, the worse he feels, ultimately sending him into an emotional meltdown.
What are Jim’s friends going to do? Will Jim stay like this forever? Or maybe, just maybe, does Jim need a day to let himself feel grumpy without anyone telling him to change?
Lang’s Grumpy Monkey is one of this list’s most influential children’s books. It teaches younger children the importance of accepting their emotions instead of pretending to be happy to please others.
10. The Seven Silly Eaters – Mary Ann Hoberman
Mary Ann Hoberman’s The Seven Silly Eaters is a hilarious tale about a mother with seven children who have distinct and unique tastes in food.
Each child has a favorite food, and getting them to eat anything different is a near-impossible task.
Lucy loves lemonade, Jack is crazy for applesauce, and twins Flo and Fran like their eggs cooked differently.
How does one mother satisfy seven unique tastes while keeping her head and not losing her cool?
Hoberman’s Seven Silly Eaters is a fun story for children and parents alike to read and read again.
Hoberman is the former Children’s Poet Laureate and has published over forty children’s books. Any of her books are a worthwhile read for young children!
11. Jack and the Beanstalk
In this classic fairy tale, our protagonist Jack trades his family’s cow for a handful of magic beans.
At first, a seemingly silly idea, the beans turn out to be magic and grow a stalk so enormous that it reaches the sky.
Intrigued by just how high the beanstalk has grown, Jack climbs it, only to find himself in the home of an unfriendly giant.
Tiger Tale’s Jack and the Beanstalk uses repetitive text and beautiful illustrations by illustrator Mark Chambers to retell this timeless classic to new readers and is a must-have on your child’s bookshelf.
12. Anna at the Art Museum – Hazel Hutchins
Hazel Hutchins’ Anna at the Art Museum is a fun and immersive introduction to the art world for young children.
On a trip to an art museum with her stuffed giraffe and her mother, our young protagonist Anna finds herself incredibly bored. Everything is old, and there are too many rules for Anna to have fun.
However, soon Anna notices a half-open door with a no entry sign.
The museum guard, usually imposing the museum’s rules, now invites Anna to see what lies behind the door.
In the room, she notices a painting of a young girl who looks just like her – also incredibly bored!
In Hutchins’ award-winning book, our young protagonist learns about the value of art, how it imitates life, and how much joy there is in appreciating it.
Any kindergarten books listed above will help you feed the imagination of your early reader. They may even help you to ignite a passion for writing children’s books.
These books are not only fun but also highly educational.
They help children learn that all the kids in their class are going through similar feelings and emphasize the importance of kindness, sharing, and learning to work together.