The most recommended kid's books

Who picked these books? Meet our 2,276 experts.

2,276 authors created a book list connected to children's books, and here are their favorite children's books.

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Book cover of Maude The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton

Why am I passionate about this?

Lots of us rely occasionally on technology to help us entertain a young child, but the connection we form when looking at a book together cannot be beaten. I have found, both personally and professionally, that great books are born when a kind of magical mix-up is created in a child’s imagination between the words you read and the pictures they see. It feels so wonderful when this happens that they want to revisit the book again and again. I have written many books for young children over more than 20 years, and I am always striving to help cast that magical spell.

Fiona's book list on families and growing up–the funny bits, the comforting bits. . .and the scary bits

Fiona Munro Why did Fiona love this book?

This bold, punchy book was an absolute winner in our house. The pages are BIG, giving space for the striking illustrations, and the story is deliciously gasp-worthy!  

The large, loud Shrimpton family just loves to be noticed, apart from Maude, who feels invisible in this houseful of flamboyant extroverts. We read this book a lot and gasped a little every time. Especially when it turned out to be a very good thing for Maude that she did blend in with her surroundings!

Maude was published in 2013 when my daughter was 8. She is 18 now and still loves it! But now she notices different things – how stylish the characters are and how striking the Shrimpton’s beautiful home is. Even the wallpaper is gorgeous!

By Lauren Child, Trisha Krauss (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Maude The Not-So-Noticeable Shrimpton as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 5, 6, 7, and 8.

What is this book about?

Lauren Child teams up with a debut illustrator to tell a cautionary tale about the surprising perils of craving constant attention.

Meet the Shrimpton family — so talented, so eccentric, so larger than life, you couldn’t miss them if you wanted to. Mrs. Shrimpton wears flamboyant hats, and Mr. Shrimpton’s moustache makes quite a statement. The youngsters each have a stand-out quality: beauty, dancing, singing, a sense of humor that’s a laugh a minute. Indeed, the Shrimptons live to be noticed — all that is, except Maude, who prefers to blend into the wallpaper. But when Maude receives a ferocious…


Book cover of Check Mates

Alysa Wishingrad Author Of The Verdigris Pawn

From my list on for chess lovers.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love games; board games, card games, head games*; any kind of situation in which employing strategy is the only way forward. And yet, I’m not a big game player—aside from word games. I’m also endlessly fascinated by the mechanisms of power and how societies arrange themselves. The marriage between writing and understanding politics (in the traditional, not the partisan sense) is my true north. Writing a book in which a chess-like game provides the foundation felt inevitable for me, for what game better explores the dynamics of power and strategy? *I don’t play head games, but I do find manipulation fascinating fodder for writing.

Alysa's book list on for chess lovers

Alysa Wishingrad Why did Alysa love this book?

I love intergenerational stories, and Check Mates fulfills that love with the added glory of including a chess subplot. 11-year-old Felix is constantly getting into trouble as his ADHA makes it very hard for him to focus and attend in-class. His Grandfather, who he’s never been particularly close to, is also suffering greatly following the death of his wife. The beauty and power in this story comes when the two are thrust together and the grandfather begins to teach Felix to play chess, while also sharing stories of his life during wartime. The result is a moving story filled with connection, discovering your strengths, and a fantastic immersion into the game of chess.

By Stewart Foster,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Check Mates as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

WINNER OF THE UKLA BOOK AWARDS 2021

'Funny and heartfelt with a cunning twist. Stewart Foster is a grandmaster' - ROSS WELFORD

'An inspirational underdog story and a chilling mystery! A winning combination' - DAVID SOLOMONS

Some people think that I'm a problem child, that I'm lazy and never pay attention in lessons. But the thing is, I'm not a problem child at all. I'm just a child with a problem. Felix is struggling at school. His ADHD makes it hard for him to concentrate and his grades are slipping. Everyone keeps telling him to try harder, but no one…


Book cover of The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast

Christyne Morrell Author Of Kingdom of Secrets

From my list on for children with mind-blowing plot twists.

Why am I passionate about this?

I hate surprises in real life, but in fiction, nothing beats a good plot twist. As both a reader and a writer, I love to get swept up in a story, especially when I’m not certain where it will take me or what will happen next. It’s like being on a thrilling ride! Each of the books on this list kept me guessing, caught me off guard, and made me shout “aha!”  

Christyne's book list on for children with mind-blowing plot twists

Christyne Morrell Why did Christyne love this book?

I was intrigued by this book from the first page when Boy wakes up all alone on an island with no memory of who he is or how he got there. From there, Boy must piece together his identity while figuring out how to escape from the island and get back home – wherever that may be. The tone of the story is unsettling and mysterious, leading to a conclusion that is surprising, heartbreaking, and rewarding.

By Samantha M. Clark,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Boy, the Boat, and the Beast as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

"A poignant story." -School Library Journal
"An unforgettable, life-affirming tale." -Booklist

The Graveyard Book meets Hatchet in this eerie novel about a boy who is stranded on a mysterious beach, from debut author Samantha M. Clark.

A boy washes up on a mysterious, seemingly uninhabited beach. Who is he? How did he get there? The boy can't remember. When he sees a light shining over the foreboding wall of trees that surrounds the shore, he decides to follow it, in the hopes that it will lead him to answers. The boy's journey is a struggle for survival and a search…


A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story

By Kerry M. Olitzky,

Book cover of A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story

Kerry M. Olitzky Author Of Heroes with Chutzpah: 101 True Tales of Jewish Trailblazers, Changemakers & Rebels

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Rabbi Academic Practitioner Educator

Kerry's 3 favorite reads in 2023

What is my book about?

This is a picture book created to help children learn how to determine Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, in countries where the summer sun remains high in the sky.

Tova travels with her mother to Alaska during the summer solstice. In the Land of the Midnight Sun, she is uncertain how to tell time because the sun never rises or sets. Tova wonders how she will know when the Sabbath begins or ends. Eventually, she talks to a wise orca. The whale shares her secret to understanding time with a circular sun and reminds Tova of the magic of Shabbat is more than telling time.

A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story

By Kerry M. Olitzky,

What is this book about?

A Whale of a Tale: A Sabbath Summer Solstice Story is a picture book created to help children learn how to determine Shabbat, the Jewish Sabbath, in countries where the summer sun remains high in the sky. Tova travels with her mother to Alaska during the summer solstice. In the Land of the Midnight Sun, she is uncertain how to tell time because the sun never rises or sets. Tova wonders how she will know when Sabbath begins or ends. Eventually, she talks to a wise orca. The whale shares her secret to understanding time with a circular sun and…


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Book cover of Drawn That Way

Miel Moreland Author Of It Goes Like This

From my list on young adult about ambitious girls.

Why am I passionate about this?

I was an ambitious teen, and as I entered adulthood, my relationship with ambition has continually evolved. Those of us with marginalized genders sometimes have our ambition treated with suspicion or scorn—by peers, family, or would-be mentors. I wanted to share books that don’t necessarily come to the same conclusion about ambition’s role in our lives, but that all grapple with what it means to be ambitious in a culture where that is often seen as threatening or unladylike—or where any sign of ambition gets one automatically labeled as “unlikeable.” I love these books’ narrators, and I hope you will find something to love in them too. 

Miel's book list on young adult about ambitious girls

Miel Moreland Why did Miel love this book?

Hayley is thrilled to be accepted to a prestigious summer program for aspiring teen animators. But then only boys are chosen to direct the participants’ short films, and that might only scratch the surface of the boys’ club culture within the program. The multiple forms of sexism Hayley experiences throughout are so real, they were painful to read (in the best, truest way), as I reflected on my own experiences with misogynistic gatekeeping—but the community and solidarity that develop throughout this fantastic novel are very satisfying. 

By Elissa Sussman, Arielle Jovellanos (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked Drawn That Way as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 11, 12, 13, and 14.

What is this book about?

“Packs a swoony punch along with its feminist rage.” —Maurene Goo, author of Somewhere Only We Know

Moxie meets the world of animation in this fresh, unputdownable novel about a teen girl determined to prove herself in the boys’ club of her dream industry no matter what it takes.

Hayley Saffitz is confident, ambitious, and intent on following in the footsteps of her hero, renowned animation director, Bryan Beckett. When she’s given a spot in his once-in-a-lifetime summer program, Hayley devises a plan: snag one of the internship’s coveted directing opportunities. Dazzle Bryan with her talent. Secure a job post-graduation.…


Book cover of Babushka's Doll

Becky Van Vleet Author Of Unintended Hero

From Becky's 5-year-old's 3 favorite reads in 2023.

Why am I passionate about this?

Author Educator Blogger WWII enthusiast Passionate about family stories

Becky's 3 favorite reads in 2023

Plus, Becky's 5, and 11-year-old's favorite books.

Becky Van Vleet Why did Becky's 5-year-old love this book?

My five-year-old granddaughter, Amara, loves for her Nana to read Polacco’s whimsical story of a mischievous bossy doll that comes to life.

A fun story for young children to learn a lesson about patience, Amara can relate to the main character, Natasha. After our reading time, we always have a meaningful follow-up discussion about the virtue of patience.

By Patricia Polacco,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Babushka's Doll as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Natasha isn't really a bad girl. It's just that she wants to play on the swing now, not after the wash has been hung up to dry. And she wants her soup now, not after the goats have been fed. Looking after Natasha keeps Babushka, Natasha's grandmother, very busy.
Then, after lunch, Natasha notices a doll sitting on Babushka's shelf...a doll Babushka tells Natasha she played with just once when she was a little girl. When Natasha plays with the doll while Babushka goes to the store for groceries, she discovers why once is enough with Babushka's doll...and finds out…


Book cover of If I Were a Tree

Cindy Jenson-Elliott Author Of Weeds Find a Way

From my list on to get kids outside and exploring nature.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’ve been getting kids out into nature as an environmental education professional for over 30 years, in the garden, in the mountains, at the seashore, and in nearby nature. My life’s work, whether I am writing or teaching, is to help people experience the wonder of the natural world. I believe that children and adults need access to nature to grow and thrive, to find peace in a busy world, and to connect with each other. I know that, just like weeds, we can find a way to navigate the challenges in our lives when we connect with nature’s sustaining goodness wherever we find it.

Cindy's book list on to get kids outside and exploring nature

Cindy Jenson-Elliott Why did Cindy love this book?

Behind weeds, trees are perhaps the most common plant many kids will encounter in their day to day lives, and another way children can access nature near home and school. And while trees are complex living things at the apex of the plant kingdom, they often are unnoticed and underappreciated. This beautiful lyrical picture book gives children a context to explore what a tree can do through kid-sized comparisons to what children can also do. Use it to help children explore one of the most common features of both urban and rural landscapes: trees.

By Andrea Zimmerman, Jing Jing Tsong (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked If I Were a Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Two siblings imagine life as a tree, and envision what they would hear, feel, and see.

If I were a tree, I know how I'd be.
My trunk strong and wide, my limbs side to side,
I'd stand towering tall, high above all,
My leaves growing big, and buds on each twig.
If I were a tree, that's how I'd be.

The sister has camped in the forest many times before. The brother is nervous for his first overnight trip. As the illustrations in this multifaceted picture book show the siblings discovering the woods, the text celebrates the strength and…


Book cover of Enrique's Journey: The Story of a Boy's Dangerous Odyssey to Reunite with His Mother

Louis Mendoza Author Of (Re)constructing Memory, Place, and Identity in Twentieth Century Houston: A Memoir on Family and Being Mexican American in Space City USA

From my list on Mexican migration to the United States.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a second-generation immigrant, I knew very little of my family’s migration story. My grandparents never really learned English despite living in the US sixty or more years. In my twenties when the country was undergoing turmoil about immigration reform once again, I began looking at the immigrants all around me (and in literature) and identifying what we had in common—how our lives intertwined and were mutually dependent on one another. In 2007 I traveled 8,500 miles around the perimeter of the US by bicycle on a research trip to collect stories from immigrants and those whose lives they impacted. I wrote two books based on that experience.

Louis' book list on Mexican migration to the United States

Louis Mendoza Why did Louis love this book?

Enrique’s Journey follows a 17-year-old boy from Honduras who migrates to the US in search of his mother who has been gone for 11 years. Although he is in touch with her via sporadic phone calls, his yearning to be with her is so deep that he undertakes a journey that is at once desperate, full of love and hope, and exceedingly dangerous.

The author, an award-winning journalist, documents Enrique’s journey to survive his trek northward that he undertakes with absolutely no money from a small Honduran village through Mexico atop freight trains, and his efforts to survive not only the dangerous train ride but the violence of those who prey on young migrants.

Though he does find his mother in North Carolina, his reunion is not easy as his resentment at being left behind plagues their relationship.

By Sonia Nazario,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Enrique's Journey as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 12, 13, 14, and 15.

What is this book about?

An astonishing story that puts a human face on the ongoing debate about immigration reform in the United States, now updated with a new Epilogue and Afterword, photos of Enrique and his family, an author interview, and more—the definitive edition of a classic of contemporary America
 
Based on the Los Angeles Times newspaper series that won two Pulitzer Prizes, one for feature writing and another for feature photography, this page-turner about the power of family is a popular text in classrooms and a touchstone for communities across the country to engage in meaningful discussions about this essential American subject.
  
Enrique’s…


Book cover of King and the Dragonflies

Patricia Hruby Powell Author Of Loving vs. Virginia: A Documentary Novel of the Landmark Civil Rights Case

From my list on how to right social injustice (especially racism).

Why am I passionate about this?

Patricia Hruby Powell’s former careers include dancer/choreographer, storyteller, and librarian. She is the author of the YA documentary novel Loving vs. Virginia which is on ALA, NCTE, Indie Pics, and Kirkus ‘best books lists’. From a young age, her parents instilled in her a social conscience and a will to try to right injustice. She attempts to do this, in part, by writing books that might shine a light on injustice, for young readers, such that they will care and perhaps become activists—for whatever impassions them. Her books have earned Sibert, Boston Globe-Horn Book, International Bologna/Ragazzi, Parent’s Choice Honors among others.

Patricia's book list on how to right social injustice (especially racism)

Patricia Hruby Powell Why did Patricia love this book?

This book, on the younger range of YA, features twelve-year-old King in Louisiana bayou country. Not only is King Black, but he thinks he might be gay. He has a special friendship with Sandy, who is white and whose father is a known KKK member. The story opens with the sudden and unexpected death of King’s big brother Khalid, a soccer star. Khalid had told King not to hang with Sandy because he would appear to be gay and be shunned by his classmates. While suffering deep grief, King complies for a time, but without Khalid, without Sandy, he has no one to help him sort out his uncertainty and loneliness. He retreats to the bayou and the many dragonflies in this poetic winner of the National Book Award for Young Readers 2020.

By Kacen Callender,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked King and the Dragonflies as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

A 2021 Coretta Scott King Honor Book!

Winner of the 2020 National Book Award for Young People's Literature!

Winner of the 2020 Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction and Poetry!

In a small but turbulent Louisiana town, one boy's grief takes him beyond the bayous of his backyard, to learn that there is no right way to be yourself.

FOUR STARRED REVIEWS!

Booklist

School Library Journal

Publishers Weekly

The Horn Book

Twelve-year-old Kingston James is sure his brother Khalid has turned into a dragonfly. When Khalid unexpectedly passed away, he shed what was his first skin for another to live…


Book cover of Waylon! One Awesome Thing

Laurie Calkhoven Author Of Roosevelt Banks and the Attic of Doom

From my list on laugh-out-loud chapters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a former book publishing professional turned full-time children’s book author. I’ve never swallowed a frog, battled imaginary bears, or had a slime war with ghosts like my character, Roosevelt Banks, but I have written more than fifty books for children. These range from beginning readers (You Should Meet Misty Copeland) and chapter books (Roosevelt Banks, Good-Kid-in-Training) to middle grade historical novels (Daniel at the Siege of Boston, 1775).

Laurie's book list on laugh-out-loud chapters

Laurie Calkhoven Why did Laurie love this book?

Waylon has lots of ideas for making life more awesome through science, like attracting cupcakes by controlling gravity. But it's impossible for him to concentrate on his inventions when Arlo Brody is dividing the fourth grade boys into two groups. His attempts to navigate fourth grade and be friends with everyone (except for one very scary new kid) are hilarious.

By Sara Pennypacker, Marla Frazee (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Waylon! One Awesome Thing as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 6, 7, 8, and 9.

What is this book about?

From the creators of the New York Times bestselling series Clementine comes another chapter book collection that will keep readers engaged and laughing until the very last page.

Waylon has lots of ideas for making life more awesome through science, like teleportation, human gills, and attracting cupcakes by controlling gravity. But it's impossible for him to concentrate on his inventions when he's experiencing his own personal Big Bang.

Arlo Brody is dividing the fourth grade boys into two groups. Waylon would rather be friends with everyone. Well, everyone except the scary new kid, Baxter Boylen.

Waylon's older sister, Neon, is…


Book cover of The Longest Letsgoboy

E.B. Bartels Author Of Good Grief: On Loving Pets, Here and Hereafter

From my list on teaching kids about pet death.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m someone who has had a lot of pets in my life––dogs, fish, birds, turtles, tortoises––which means I’m also someone who has had a lot of pets in my life die, because the worst thing about pets is they don’t live as long as we do. I spent ten years writing Good Grief, but really, I’ve been researching Good Grief my whole life, ever since my first pet died. This list includes some classics I loved when I was a kid, and some newer titles that I learned about while researching Good Grief. All are wonderful and will be a balm during a hard time.  

E.B.'s book list on teaching kids about pet death

E.B. Bartels Why did E.B. love this book?

This book is absolutely breathtaking and I cry every time I read it.

The illustrations are gorgeous, and I find it so soothing to think about my dead dogs being in a version of heaven as beautiful as the one that Catia Chien has illustrated. My favorite part of this book is how it is narrated by the old and dying dog himself, and when he finally dies and becomes part of the sky––his sweet face continues to look down on his beloved small human (“Little”) and her new puppy.

All the pets we love are always part of us forever, and I like to think they’re looking out for us. I’m tearing up just writing this!

By Derick Wilder, Catia Chien (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked The Longest Letsgoboy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey meets Dog Heaven in this profoundly beautiful book about the special relationship between kids and dogs, the importance of language, and finding the meaning of life even in its final days.

Poignant, hopeful, and lovingly told, this dog's journey-told by the dog himself in his own unique words-proves that love abides beyond a lifetime, out of sight but never far away.

As a dog and his little girl go on their final walk together, he experiences the sights, smells, and wonders of this world one last time before peacefully passing on. But for such a…