Books by Theme

Personal Favorites

Did you know that about 5,000 new children's books are published each year? How in the world do you choose?! When we polled Reading Rockets staff about their personal favorites, the books chosen tended to be the older books, the ones that hold happy memories of shared time with a parent or child. We hope you enjoy our staff's selection of recommended books for kids ages 0-9.

Quotable Quotes: The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more you learn, the more places you'll go. -- Dr. Seuss

Good Night, Gorilla

By: Peggy Rathmann
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Pre-Reader

When is a gorilla like Curious George? When he (and a parade of animals) follow the zookeeper home at bedtime — and snuggles in with the zookeeper's wife with very fast and funny results.

Guess How Much I Love You

By: Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram
Illustrated by: Anita Jeram
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

This is a great bedtime story for reading with your children or, in my case, my grandchildren. This lovely book has become a reference point for expressing our love for one another. Sometimes, Alexis says "I love you all the way up to my toes." And, sometimes, Kasie says "I love you right up to the moon." And sometimes I say "I love you right up to the moon… and back."

Harry the Dirty Dog

By: Gene Zion, Margaret Bloy Graham
Illustrated by: Margaret Bloy Graham, Gene Zion
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Recommended by David – Harry was a white dog with black spots – until he slid down the coal chute. Then he became a black dog with white spots. When my mother read me this story, I still remember worrying that the family would never recognize Harry. But lo and behold, Harry digs up the scrubber brush and they finally give him a bath. Great illustrations, fun story, happy memories!

Hop on Pop

By: Dr. Seuss
Illustrated by: Dr. Seuss
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Recommended by Christian – This book made me want to be a reader! I caught on to the first few pages quickly. But the back section, with multiple words per page, was a challenge. And I couldn’t wait to be able to read them! I could feel Dr. Seuss pulling me along with his dynamic creatures bouncing from page to page: "Don’t you want to know what happens?" "Oh, I do, I do!"

Madeline's Rescue

By: Ludwig Bemelmans
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Recommended by Noel – I love this book for its beautiful art, elegant prose, and of course, the plucky and adorable Madeline. With just a few words, Bemelmans manages to make Madeline and Miss Clavel come to life. It's also a wonderful book for young armchair travellers, giving them a taste of Paris.

More Than Anything Else

By: Marie Bradby, Chris K. Soentpiet
Illustrated by: Chris K. Soentpiet
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

More than anything else, young Booker T. Washington wanted to read. This fictionalized account of Washington’s early life working in a West Virginia salt mine, and his quest to reach his goal despite great obstacles, is eloquently depicted in text and luminous, dramatic watercolors.

Pumpernickel Tickle and Mean Green Cheese

By: Nancy Patz
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Recommended by Jessica – Benjamin's mother sends Benjamin and Elephant to the grocery store to buy bread, cheese, and a pickle. But by the time they get there, they've had so much fun making up rhymes that they can't remember what they're supposed to buy. I loved the rhythm and rhyme in this boisterous, exuberant adventure.

Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born

By: Jamie Lee Curtis, Laura Cornell
Illustrated by: Laura Cornell
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Recommended by Latrice – I love this book because it beautifully tells the story of adoption in a way that tells adopted children that: you were chosen and special; you were a part of this family from the beginning; and your birth parents are wonderful people who loved you enough to allow you to become a part of our family. Spanish version also available.

That New Baby

By: Sara Stein
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Recommended by Keisha – When I was five, my parents decided to have another baby. Imagine this queen’s reaction to the news that she was being dethroned – by a boy! Luckily, Sara Bonnett Stein had anticipated this response and wrote That New Baby. It's a great book that gently suggests accepting the newest member of the family. It worked. The book is well worn and my little brother is still alive.

The Five Chinese Brothers

By: Claire Bishop, Kurt Wiese
Illustrated by: Kurt Wiese
Age Level: 3-6
Reading Level: Beginning Reader

Recommended by Michelle – Not only was this one of my favorite children's books, it was also a favorite of my former students. This story leaves you hanging to the edge of your seat because of the many surprises found throughout. I also enjoy the very clever characters. Even though they find themselves in many sticky situations, they always find ways to escape.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

By: Shel Silverstein
Age Level: 6-9
Reading Level: Independent Reader

Recommended by Bill – This one was a favorite, not only of mine, but also of my four kids'. As we would read the poems together, we all loved the rhythm of the verse, as well as the sly humor.

Proceeds from the sale of books purchased at help support the Reading Rockets project. Thank you!

Sign up for our free newsletters about reading
Reading Blogs
Start with a Book: Read. Talk. Explore.
"Once you learn to read, you will be forever free." — Frederick Douglass