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Great books for children 5 to 8 years old


As a parent, you are your child’s first and most influential teacher. From a very early age, reading together is one of the best ways to share time with your child. Nothing builds a child’s desire to read better than being held in a lap and cuddled as you read a story.

Lap-time reading fosters feelings of warmth and security. It also expands your child’s view of the world and his vocabulary (the number of words he knows). You can read to your child anywhere – in the waiting room at the hospital or in the living room of your home. By setting aside time every day for reading, your child will see that you love books and reading. Studies show that this is one of the best ways to help your child develop a love of reading.

At this age, children are beginning readers. They are just starting to read by themselves. They still enjoy picture books but want to move on to books that are more grown-up. Simple sentences, lively illustrations, and chapter breaks help ease kids into reading.

Let your child pick a story. Then, cuddle up together to enjoy the power and magic of the printed word.

Great books for 5 to 8 year olds

  1. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
  2. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  3. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  4. Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
  5. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
  6. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  7. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  8. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
  9. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault
  10. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
  11. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
  12. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  13. Corduroy by Don Freeman
  14. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
  15. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  16. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
  17. Complete Adventures of Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey
  18. Arthur Writes a Story by Marc Tolon Brown
  19. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
  20. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina
  21. The Snowman by Raymond Briggs
  22. Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
  23. Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  24. Bedtime for Frances by Russell Hoban
  25. The Best Word Book Ever by Richard Scarry
  26. Nutshell Library by Maurice Sendack
  27. Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
  28. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  29. Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat
  30. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett

Adapted from materials from the National Education Association,, and from Choose the Right Books for Kids.


To learn more about reading readiness, call Rehabilitation Services at 901-595-3621 or the St. Jude School Program at 901-595-2364. If you are outside the Memphis area, call toll-free 1-866-2ST-JUDE (1-866-278-5833), extension 3621 or 2364.


This document is not intended to take the place of the care and attention of your personal physician or other professional medical services. Our aim is to promote active participation in your care and treatment by providing information and education. Questions about individual health concerns or specific treatment options should be discussed with your physician.

St. Jude complies with health care-related federal civil rights laws and does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, age, disability, or sex.

ATTENTION: If you speak another language, assistance services, free of charge, are available to you. Call 1-866-278-5833 (TTY: 1-901-595-1040).

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