The Scripps National Spelling Bee receives a small commission from the purchase of any products or services through an affiliate link to the retailer's website.

Best Books for 5-Year-Olds

Photo of thinking little redhead girl with freckles standing isolated over yellow background reading book. Looking aside.

There is so much happening in the life of a 5-year-old, from learning to tie their shoes, to starting kindergarten to possibly learning to ride a bike for the very first time. Their interests are changing, which means most 5-year-olds will also change the books they read or the books you read to them. While some kids aren’t quite ready to read independently, others are ready to soar on their own into the fantasy world books provide. In this list, we recommend a few of the best books for 5-year-olds, whether they are reading independently or curled up on the couch with you.

Best Rhyming

Giraffes Can’t Dance (Hardcover)


List Price: $16.99 USD
New From: $15.29 USD In Stock
Used from: $11.50 USD In Stock

“Giraffes Can’t Dance” is a charming book that teaches kids everyone can be wonderful in different ways. The story features Gerald the Giraffe, who just wants to get on the dance floor and dance. The only problem is that Gerald can’t dance. Other animals in the Jungle Dance tease him about being clumsy and tell him to get off the floor. But a word from an unlikely source, a grasshopper, makes Gerald feel better. This is the perfect book for teaching children about self-esteem in a fun way. The illustrations are colorful, and your child will enjoy getting to know Gerald.

“The Magic Tree House” boxed set contains four books that are full of adventure and educational themes. Kids will love heading off to the treehouse with Jack and Annie, then being sucked into some historical location to right past wrongs. These four books are a great introduction to chapter books — perfect for reading aloud — and are just the beginning of a journey your child will love embarking on.

Best Fun

The Day the Crayons Quit (Hardcover)


List Price: $17.99 USD
New From: $9.19 USD In Stock
Used from: $5.18 USD In Stock

In “The Day the Crayons Quit,” Duncan just wants to settle in and color. But when he opens his crayon box, he finds his crayons are on strike, mad at one another, and refusing to color even one more picture. Now, poor Duncan has to find a way to get his crayons to do their jobs once again. This is a hilarious, award-winning story that will have children thinking about the conversations they could have with their own crayons.

Best Beginner Book

Have You Seen My Dinosaur? (Beginner Books(R)) (Hardcover)


List Price: $9.99 USD
New From: $7.42 USD In Stock
Used from: $6.37 USD In Stock

In “Have You Seen My Dinosaur?” one little boy goes on a quest to find the pet dinosaur he is missing. The pet dinosaur has decided to play a game of hide-and-seek. You would think finding a huge dinosaur would be easy, but this little boy is finding it quite difficult. The simple words in this delightful rhyming tale make it easy for children to learn and discover the magic of reading for themselves.

Best How-To

How to Babysit a Grandma (Hardcover)


List Price: $17.99 USD
New From: $13.54 USD In Stock
Used from: $10.00 USD In Stock

“How to Babysit a Grandma” is a silly, delightful book that turns expected roles upside down. The funny tips will have children giggling while learning to develop relationships with their elders. This New York Times best seller celebrates the relationship between a child and her grandma in an entertaining way children will love. It’s an easy-to-read book that is designed to help children see time with grandparents from a different angle.. This book is recommended for children from 5 to 7 years old.

Expert Commentary

“Five-year-olds are so early in their reading journey that positive experiences are paramount. Leaning heavily on caregivers, teachers and others around the child for feedback is vital. With the right start, soon the child will be charting their own course and choices in books.”

Our Expert Consultant

Jill Goodwin

Jill Goodwin is an environmental scientist and working mother of one. She and her husband, an archaeologist, reside in Florida and have deep expertise around things outside of the house that you and your child may encounter. From taking their daughter to find reptiles and amphibians in the swamps to testing the chemical impact of the top sunscreens, Jill is here to help you find the best for your child.