Beginners List of Books Every Child Should Know {Free Printable Included!}

Reading together is the easiest way to spend time cuddling with your children…

One of my favorite ways to spend time with my kids is to read books. Maybe it’s because they let me cuddle and steal a kiss while we read without telling me to leave them alone. Maybe it’s because I have fond memories of reading with my mom. Or maybe it’s because books are an adventure we can take no matter the day, weather or time.

Regardless of the reasoning, it is just as important to guide your child on what to read as it is to spend that quality time together. With this in mind, have you ever thought about finding books that truly have value and a lasting impact on your kids?

I started thinking about this first when I came across several stories that bored me to death, or books that were so simplistic they didn’t seem valuable. I decided to purchase Gladys Hunt’s book, which describes quality literature as honey for our children’s heart, stories that build character and enrich their lives.

My approach is to talk positively about why we choose our books, making a wide variety available for my kids at all times instead of dissing certain books. Just like I do with food, I keep exposing them to the good stuff, hoping that eventually they make their choices toward the right direction.

Because I used to be completely lost when it came to what titles to choose to read, I decided to put together a Beginner’s List to Books Every Child Should Know. The list is in part based upon the books recommended in the aforementioned resource, Honey for a Child’s Heart by Gladys Hunt.

9 Books from the Beginner’s List of Books Every Child Should Know

— And a Printable List With Many More! —

This list is for you if you…

… love reading to your kids, but feel like some books just drive you crazy and you don`t know how to find good ones

…would like to read to your kids more, but you don`t have time to browse the library for hours

…are already reading good quality literature and want even more titles to enjoy!

1. The Big Alfie Out of Doors Storybook by Shirley Hughes (or the other Alfie books)

When you start reading about Alfie and his little sister Annie Rose, you are guaranteed to fall in love with these arming stories. Not only are the stories relatable, they also encourage creative play, imagination and many positive characteristics we would like to see in our children. The drawings are precious too. I highly recommend buying or borrowing as much as you can!


2. Jeremy: the Tale of an Honest Bunny by Jan Karon

Jeremy is a plush bunny knitted by a kind woman who sells toys. She names and dresses Jeremy then sends him on his way to his new owner. The book is about Jeremy’s adventures on the way and his honesty and kindheartedness throughout all his trials. This is a chapter book and may not be easy enough to understand for kids under 4.

jeremy3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

I loved this book so much because it speaks to children just as much as to adults — the number one characteristic of a quality book. I am sure I interpreted it completely differently than my children which is why it is fun to discuss the book together. The story is about a boy and a tree and how their relationship changes as they both grow older together. The story is also about giving without wanting back even when it takes everything you have simply because you love … something that we as moms do all the time.


4. Katie and the Mona Lisa by James Mayhew (and the other Katie books)

I can’t say enough about this sweet little book! Katie visits the museum with her grandmother and sees the Mona Lisa. She notices how sad Mona Lisa looks and jumps into the picture to see how she could make her happier. Together they go on an adventure, jumping in and out of several other famous paintings, while Katie succeeds to bring a true smile on Mona Lisa’s face. Great book to introduce little ones to famous art.

mona lisa

5. You are My Sunshine (Toot and Puddle) by Hollie Hobbie

Beside the fact that the drawings and the characters are so stinkin’ cute, this story truly expresses what it is like to feel blue in a child’s language. Despite the gorgoue, Toot feels sad, and no matter what his best friend Puddle does, he just mopes. Then a thunderstorm comes and changes everything. A great book to use to talk about big emotions that often rage inside, as well as ways to handle them.

toot n puddle

6. The Magic Hill by A.A. Milne

This sweet story is about a little girl who leaves flowers behind wherever she walks. While this may sound fun or nice for a while, it keeps her from playing and running freely with other children. Read this book if you want to know how her mother and father solve the problem and make their little girl happy once again.

magic hill

7. The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

My 4-year-old asks for this book over and over again. The story is about a bull, named Ferdinand, who likes to smell the flowers and daydream instead of training for a bull fight. When he is chosen for the next fight, Ferdinand faces a choice to be who he is or transform to what he should be. Read the book to find out what Ferdinand decides!


 8. Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

I bet most of you have at least watched the movie version … if you haven’t yet, read these books! I bought a collection of three Little House books and we can’t put them down. I love how we can learn so much from the Ingalls about being happy and content even in poverty. Sure, some of the wording and expressions are harder to understand, but I don’t mind explaining at all. A more advanced book challenges little minds to work harder and learn even more. I don’t recommend this under the age of 4, and some older kids may find it difficult to understand. Dare to challenge your child, but know their limits. It’s always okay to try again later.

Little House

9. Violet Comes to Stay by Jan Karon

This story is about a kitten, Violet, who does not like to catch mice. All the owners who take her eventually bring her back, because she isn’t useful … until one day when Violet finds a true home with somebody who understands her. A charming story about staying true to yourself.


I hope you enjoy these books as much as we did! And while the list of books above is geared toward the preschool age group, it is never too early to sit a younger child on your lap to listen in as well.

Don’t forget to print these titles and several others for your next trip to the library! Summer offers even more opportunities for reading, think vacations, starry evenings outside on a blanket, cool early mornings by the pool or lake, so let’s grab the kiddos and make some memories!

What books would you add to the list? 

Photo credit: popofatticus / Foter / CC BY and  thejbird / Foter / CC BY
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Hilda Crowe is originally from Hungary, a small country in Europe, where she grew up to love God, cherish friends and family, cook good food and have a huge desire to make a difference. When on a 6 months long visit with friends in Charleston, SC, she met Donnie and she immediately knew there was something very special about this single dad, ex-military, laid-back country boy. What she didn`t know was that 2 years later she would be willing to pack it all up and make a cross-continental move to the US, to spend the rest of her life with the combo. Since then, in addition to Donnie`s little princess (Nicole,11), Hilda and her husband welcomed a little girl (Haley, 4) and a little boy (Dominick 1.5) who turned their lives completely upside down, in the best possible way. Hilda and her family recently relocated to the Columbia, SC area where she began to make new relationships and discover what the Midlands have to offer. Hilda keeps busy with raising her bilingual children, learning to navigate the challenges of step-parenting a tween and finding healing from depression-anxiety through diet and lifestyle changes. When not chasing after one of her little ones or cooking up a storm in the kitchen, she enjoys spending time with her hubby, reading good literature, running, getting outdoors and creating meal plans for special diets. Hilda is passionate about impacting others by sharing her story, her victories and struggles and pointing to the One who makes life worth living. You can follow her journey at


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