Reading List for Preschool & Kindergarten: Age 3 – 5

Help your child love to read with this carefully curated reading list for Preschool and Kindergarten students. Read the book list featuring quality reading that students will actually enjoy!

Here, you’ll find the top 10 books for Preschool and Kindergarten students (or kids aged 3 – 5). At this stage of your child’s reading journey, picture books with short passages of text are recommended, so we’ve come up with a list of the best picture books out there!

Each title has been hand-selected based on three criteria: its enjoyment/entertainment value, its educational/moral content, and finally, its capacity to develop your child’s English literacy.

So, if you’re looking to support your child’s love of reading and the development of their academic English, you’re in the right place. Remember, if your child struggles with reading, try and make reading time interactive, and don’t be afraid to read to your child while they follow along. Now, without further ado, take a look at our selection of the best children’s books for Preschool and Kindergarten students below.

Reading list for Preschool and Kindergarten


1. And Tango Makes Three – Justin Richardson & Peter Parnell

This charming picture book (based on a true story!) tells the tale of penguins Roy and Silo. After being gifted an orphaned egg by a zookeeper, the two form a pair bond and help hatch their newly adopted daughter, Tango.

A delightful story for all ages, this charming picture book reminds readers that family can look like many things, and that found-family (or the family that we choose) is just as important as the family we’re given.


2. I Talk Like A River – Jordan Scott & Sydney Smith

When a young boy living with a speech impediment becomes self-conscious of the way he speaks, his father reminds him that rivers don’t run smoothly; they bubble, lull, jump, and splash; but that doesn’t make them any less beautiful.

While this book is a simple and engaging read, it is also a masterful exploration of both art and moral philosophy. The watercolour images can only be described as resonant, and adult readers will no doubt revel how artist Sydney Smith captures the dazzling way sunlight reflects on water. As for philosophy, the book reminds readers young and old that beauty is subjective. That we should not resent or fear what makes us different, but should instead find the beauty in it. A must read by all standards.


3. Julian Is A Mermaid – Jessica Love

After spotting three women wearing mermaid costumes on the train ride home, Julian decides to fashion his own from common household objects. Then, with the help of his abuela, Julian enters the Coney Island Mermaid Parade, joining a procession of other mermaids in a proud display of marine elegance.

Composed of watercolour, gouache, and ink paintings, this pastel coloured story highlights the importance of expressing yourself and the power of the imagination. In a world where children are battered with ideas about what they should be, this book can (fittingly) be considered author Jessica Love’s love letter to all the things that children could be.


4. We are Water Protectors – Carole Lindstrome

Inspired by her culture’s deep respect for the sanctity of water, an Ojibwe girl must fight against the installation of an oil pipeline to protect the environment and her community.

We are Water Protectors is a story of empowerment. Brought to life with distinct watercolour illustrations, it reminds children of the value of their individual voices and the importance of standing up for what you believe in.


5. All The Ways To Be Smart – Allison Colpoys

When you hear the word “smart”, what comes to mind? Maybe school or university? Perhaps your mind jumps to a field demanding great academic rigour, something like medicine, law or science? Did you picture a doctor in a white lab coat? Or maybe you thought about IQ, or some other abstract measure of intelligence.

Well, All the Ways to be Smart is here to remind us that empathy, imagination, and “soft skills” are part of cleverness too. This beautifully illustrated picture book, rich with lyrical rhyme, reminds us that everyone is gifted in their own way, be it artistic, mathematical, athletic, literary, musical, interpersonal or something else entirely!


6. This is How We Do It – Matt Lamothe

This uniquely global picture book follows a day in the life of seven real children from all over the world (Italy, Japan, Uganda, Peru, Iran, Russia, and India respectively). As we learn the details of each child’s routine, we come to not only celebrate their cultural diversity, but are reminded that despite our differences, we are all human.

The vivid illustrations in this picture book render it almost encyclopedic. There are annotated maps, depictions of unique local cuisines, and panoramic images of suburban streets. Not only will your child mull over the images week after week, always searching for (and finding) new hidden treasures, it is also an invaluable lesson in cultural and geographical diversity, brought to life in stunning visual detail.


7. Ada Twist, Scientist – Andrea Beaty

Ada Twist is an inquisitive young girl who has a passion for asking questions about how the world works. As she conducts experiments and fact-finding missions, Ada’s resolve reminds us of the power of curiosity, and of the fact that anyone, even a small girl with a few big questions, can be a scientist.

Though rightly lauded for inspiring young girls to develop an interest in STEM, Beaty’s picture book encourages all readers to think critically and always ask “why?”. Not only that, but beautiful, pencil-sketch illustrations and snappy rhyming couplets ensure that Beaty’s tale doesn’t just captivate heads and hearts, but eyes and ears too.


8. Giraffes Can’t Dance – Giles Andreae

Gerald the giraffe wants nothing more than to go to the popular Jungle Dance, but everyone knows giraffes can’t dance. Can he overcome his fear of rejection, not to mention the scornful whispers of the other animals, and go to the dance anyway?

Using playful rhyme, the many colours of the jungle and more than a few double-page spreads, Andreae’s story remains a household name, even two decades since its release. The triumphant story reminds readers that instead of succumbing to social judgements, we should embrace who we are and dare to be different.


9. Possum Magic – Mem Fox

In an attempt to protect young possum Hush from the many dangers of the Australian outback, Grandma Poss turns her granddaughter invisible. However, when the spell proves irreversible, the duo run into some troubles, and more than a few adventures!

Possum Magic, a classic of Australian literature, is a fun and heart-felt exploration of Australia’s many landscapes and the animals that inhabit them. Young readers will no doubt wait in eager anticipation to see when (or if) young Hush will have her visibility restored!


10. Where The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

After being sent to bed without supper, defiant boy Max abandons his tantrum when he finds his room transformed into a fantastical jungle. Though confronted with his fair share of intimidating monsters, could Max still be the wildest of them all?

This classic picture book (since turned live-action film!) is a staple of children’s fiction. While the story can be enjoyed at face-value, psychoanalyst Joan Raphael-Leff has applauded its deeper symbolism. The book reminds children and adults alike that we all sometimes have big and wild feelings, but if we get to know these “monsters”, we might find they’re not so terrifying after all.




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