When it comes to deciding what books to share with the young readers in your life, there is so much to choose from! With thousands of new books for children published every year, get pointed in the right direction with Reading Rockets' themed booklists and helpful articles on choosing and using children's books at home and in the classroom.
In this section:
Use our Book Finder tool to create your own customized list of fiction and nonfiction books. Search through more than 5,000 books on Reading Rockets — by author, illustrator, age, reading level, genre, format, and topic. Browse our themed booklists, tips on matching children with 'just right' books, how to select great read aloud books for kids at different ages, and more.
How to choose books for kids
Get connected to more great book recommendations and advice on selecting titles from those who know the very best in children’s books—teachers, librarians, literature experts and kids!
Advice for finding good books:
- Help a Child Choose a Book advice for parents from the International Literacy Association
- Fry's Readability Graph as explained by educator Kathy Schrock will help match kids with “just right” texts
- National Science Teachers Association’s Guide to Choosing and Using the Best Books for Children
- What We Believe Matters Most When Selecting Books from experts at The Classroom Bookshelf
- Read what experts have to say in publications dedicated to children’s literature, such as The Horn Book and Kirkus Reviews of children’s books.
- Where to Find Diverse Books from the diverse team at We Need Diverse Books
- Selecting and Using Culturally Responsive Children’s Books from the Office of Head Start National Center on Cultural & Linguistic Responsiveness
- Award Winning Books includes books recognized by the American Library Association, "best of" lists, and more
- The Children’s Choice Book Awards, the only national book awards program where kids and teens select the winners
- Reader’s Choice Awards by State that get kids reading, evaluating and voting for favorite books
- Search Reading Lists and Round-ups from the Children’s Book Council
- Guys Read is the place to go to get book recommendations from teachers, librarians, booksellers, publishers, parents, and guys themselves
- Books for Smart, Confident, and Courageous Girls by A Mighty Girl
- 50 Multicultural Books Every Child Should Know by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center
Kinds of books to choose from
For children with print-based reading disabilities, accessible formats provide alternate versions of print-based books that function in much the same way as a print-based textbook. Learn about the different kinds of accessible formats, including digital talking books, enlarged text, electronic publications, and more. Learn more about accessible formats.
Audio books are a great way to enjoy a good story and practice listening skills. They are also ideal for sharing, even when there are kids of many ages in one group. Learn more about the benefits of audio books for all readers and find Ideas for Teachers to encourage students to become better listeners and readers through audiobooks.
Digital stories for children come in several forms, including e-books, enhanced e-books and apps, and provide different experiences for the reader. Learn more about how to Read an E-book with Your Child and find tips for Teaching with Interactive Picture E-Books in Grades K–6. We also recommend this article, Getting Smarter About E-Books for Children, adapted from Tap, Click, Read: Growing Readers in a World of Screens by Lisa Guernsey and Michael H. Levine, as helpful for understanding the pros and cons of e-books.
Picture books are a wonderful way to share rich language, complex images, and sophisticated ideas with both the young and old. Meet the creators of great picture books in Reading Rockets’ Video Interviews with Children's Authors and Illustrators, learn more about how parents and teachers can share wordless picture books, and how picture books can help connect kids to people, places, and times they might not otherwise experience.
Kids are interested in real people, places, and events, yet most kids read a lot more fiction than nonfiction. Introduce kids to a new world of information and help them build essential background knowledge with nonfiction books. Our resources can help you use nonfiction to help turn a reluctant reader into a motivated one!
Graphic novels tell any kind of story in any genre using both words and pictures and invite readers to take time to explore the pictures together with the text for a rich reading experience. This compelling storytelling format is popular with kids, help foster critical reading skills, and gives struggling readers books they can be successful with. Browse graphic novel booklists and learn more about this unique format.
Playing with words and exploring rhythm and rhyme help to build and strengthen kids’ reading skills and boost reading and learning fun. Help kids discover the delight of having words dance in their mouths and tickle their tongues. Visit our National Poetry Month section for poetry resources.
High interest/low reading level books can motivate struggling readers by providing books on topics that their peers are reading, but targeted toward their reading level. High/low books can help build reading fluency, vocabulary, background knowledge and interest in reading. Find recommended high/low books as well as links to publishers who offer a wide range of titles in the section High/Low Books for Children.
How to use the books you choose
- Reading Adventure Packs for Families
- Tips for Sharing Books
- Simple Yet Powerful Things to Do While Reading Aloud
- Themed Books and Activities for Summer Reading and Learning from Start with a Book
- Building a Home Library (American Library Association)
- Off the Page: 6 Picture Books and Paired Activities to Try at Home (Brightly)
In the classroom
- Reading Adventure Packs: A School-to-Home Project
- Reading Rockets' Video Interviews with Children's Authors and Illustrators
- 103 Things to Do Before/During/After Reading
- What Is Guided Oral Reading?
- Reader's Theater: A Reason to Read Aloud
- Hints on How to Read Aloud to a Group
- Creating a Classroom Library
- Creating an Anti-Bias Library (Social Justice Books)
- Reading Your Way to a Culturally Responsive Classroom (NAEYC)
Start a book club
- The Día Family Book Club (ALSC)
- Start Your Own Book Club (ReadWriteThink)
Study children's literature
- Children's Literature Web Guide (CLWG)
- Children's Literature Association (ChLA)
- Minders of Make-Believe: Idealists, Entrepreneurs, and the Shaping of American Children's Literature by Leonard Marcus
- The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter by Leonard Marcus
- Video interview with Leonard Marcus, children's literature historian
- Video interview with Rudine Sims Bishop, historian and expert on multicultural children's books