The most recommended preschool books

Who picked these books? Meet our 666 experts.

666 authors created a book list with preschool books, and here are their favorites.

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Book cover of Dreamers

Hollis Kurman Author Of Counting Kindness: Ten Ways to Welcome Refugee Children

From my list on sparking conversations about refugees.

Why am I passionate about this?

The refugee story is deeply rooted in my family, as my (great-/) grandparents fled Europe for a safer life in America. I grew up listening to their stories of escape and trying to integrate in their new land. Human rights were also a focus of my graduate studies – and later in founding the Human Rights Watch Committee NL and joining the Save the Children Board of Trustees. I am a writer and poet, Board member, and former strategy consultant who always wanted to write refugee stories for children. Their stories are difficult. But children should understand that although the world is not always safe or fair, there is always hope.

Hollis' book list on sparking conversations about refugees

Hollis Kurman Why did Hollis love this book?

A non-fiction picture book that reads like poetry, this gorgeous book describes the author’s own journey from Mexico to the U.S. with her young son. The illustrations are as poetic as the language, which infuses English with Spanish words, simple words with more challenging ones, and words of pain with those of pride, resilience, and creativity. The book explores not only the refugee’s journey, but also, and most especially, the challenges and small victories of integrating and trying to make a new life in a new land. I also love the central role that books, words, and libraries play in paving the way toward this new life. Language is power, but it is also magic.

By Yuyi Morales,

Why should I read it?

4 authors picked Dreamers 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?

We are resilience. We are hope. We are dreamers.
 
Yuyi Morales brought her hopes, her passion, her strength, and her stories with her, when she came to the United States in 1994 with her infant son. She left behind nearly everything she owned, but she didn't come empty-handed.

Dreamers is a celebration of making your home with the things you always carry: your resilience, your dreams, your hopes and history. It's the story of finding your way in a new place, of navigating an unfamiliar world and finding the best parts of it. In dark times, it's a promise that…


Book cover of Dinosaur vs. Bedtime

Claire Freedman Author Of Aliens Love Underpants!

From my list on laugh out loud pictures for 3-5 yr olds.

Why am I passionate about this?

I've written over 100 picture books for children, and am best known for the Aliens Love Underpants series of books, some of which have been turned into touring theatre shows worldwide, and TV animations. My books are all fiction picture books, aimed at children aged from babyhood to seven years. I write gentle bedtime stories to lull your little ones to sleep, fun and zany laugh-out-loud stories, rhyming books, and encouraging and inspiring tales to make children smile and reach for the sky. I enjoy visiting schools and libraries via Zoom, and love to share my passion for reading and writing, to hopefully encourage the next generation of budding young authors.

Claire's book list on laugh out loud pictures for 3-5 yr olds

Claire Freedman Why did Claire love this book?

Dinosaur has a roaring time winning everything he does (and you must join in the roaring!)

He wins Dinosaur V a bowl of spaghetti, he wins dinosaur V A Pile of Leaves, and many others. But his biggest challenge to win is bedtime. Dinosaur roars and roars and roars in his fight to win over bedtime… but does he win? A simple but fun bedtime story that both child and adults will find very amusing.

By Bob Shea,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Dinosaur vs. Bedtime as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, and 5.

What is this book about?

Fans of No, David! will love this not-quite-ready-for-bedtime book that launched a top-selling series—by favorite funny man Bob Shea!

Roaaaar! Roaaaar! This little dinosaur usually wins everything, and nothing can stop him—not talking grownups, spaghetti, or even bath time. But what happens when he faces the biggest challenge of all—bedtime? With a dramatic, giggle-inducing storytime text including irresistible ROAARS, little dinosaurs will be begging for this book to be read again and again!

"Prepare your dinosaur voices and exaggerated roars, because this is a read-aloud that children will ask for over and over. When it comes to Dinosaur vs. the…


Book cover of Tia Fortuna's New Home

Erica Lyons Author Of Zhen Yu and the Snake

From my list on illustrated stories that are Jewish&.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a Jew that is both Ashkenazi and Persian that lives in Hong Kong where I’m raising my Jewish Chinese children, I see Judaism for its rich diversity. I’m passionate about changing people’s perceptions about what Jews look like and where we hail from. We are not a single story. To further that goal, in 2009, I founded Asian Jewish Life - a journal of spirit, society, and culture, have penned book chapters and articles on Jewish Asia, have written children’s books about communities that are Jewish&, and have lectured internationally on related topics. These books are about Jewish communities, but they’re really about family and tradition. Read diverse books! 

Erica's book list on illustrated stories that are Jewish&

Erica Lyons Why did Erica love this book?

There’s a beautiful rhythm to this book that will keep readers coming back.

Spanish and Ladino are woven into the English text in a way that reflects what it’s like to live within several identities. It is a wonderfully told story about the meaning of home and the importance of tradition. The brightly-colored, rich illustrations make this an easy story to get lost in though home is never far.

By Ruth Behar, Devon Holzwarth (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tia Fortuna's New Home 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?

A poignant multicultural ode to family and what it means to create a home as one girl helps her Tía move away from her beloved Miami apartment.

When Estrella's Tía Fortuna has to say goodbye to her longtime Miami apartment building, The Seaway, to move to an assisted living community, Estrella spends the day with her. Tía explains the significance of her most important possessions from both her Cuban and Jewish culture, as they learn to say goodbye together and explore a new beginning for Tía.

A lyrical book about tradition, culture, and togetherness, Tía Fortuna's New Home explores Tía…


Ernő Rubik and His Magic Cube

By Kerry Aradhya, Kara Kramer (illustrator),

Book cover of Ernő Rubik and His Magic Cube

Kerry Aradhya Author Of Ernő Rubik and His Magic Cube

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

Not long ago, while rummaging through old storage containers in our garage, I came across a board game I had invented during elementary school. But I hadn’t made it for a school project or because anyone had asked me to make it. I had made it simply because I was passionate about creating…and I still am. As a children’s author, science editor, and dancer, I am fascinated by the creative process. I chose these books because they depict many of the ups, downs, and often unexpected outcomes of the creative process, all within the context of inventions for kids!

Kerry's book list on nonfiction picture books with inventions kids love

What is my book about?

This picture book biography of Ernő Rubik, creator of the Rubik’s Cube, reveals the obsession, imagination, and engineering process behind the creation of this fascinating and sometimes frustrating puzzle.

A solitary child, Ernő Rubik grew up in post-World War II Hungary, curious about puzzles, art, nature, and their underlying patterns and structures.

As a young professor of architecture, and in a quest to help his students understand three-dimensional movement, he fashioned a cube made up of smaller cubes that twisted and turned without breaking, unexpectedly inventing the most popular puzzle in history!

Ernő Rubik and His Magic Cube

By Kerry Aradhya, Kara Kramer (illustrator),

What is this book about?

This first picture book biography of Erno Rubik, creator of the Rubik’s Cube, reveals the obsession, imagination, and engineering process behind the creation of a bestselling puzzle that will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2024.

In 2023, the world record for solving the Rubik’s Cube was broken by Max Park, who finished in 3.13 seconds!

And then there’s you. Did you ever get so frustrated with a Rubik’s Cube that you wanted to pull it apart and put it back together in order? Were you to do so, you’d see how cleverly one of the world’s most popular toys is…


Book cover of A Moon for Moe and Mo

Why am I passionate about this?

Growing up in an Iraqi Jewish immigrant family in Sydney, Australia, meant that I was always different, without the words or emotional tools to navigate the world around me. Luckily, I was a reader, and so I learned through books Social Emotional Learning (SEL) tools to deal with anxiety and loneliness and develop qualities of empathy, bravery, and the understanding that we don’t have to be the same but can celebrate our cultural and personal differences. Reading with children is a wonderful opportunity to enter their worlds whilst building their social and emotional skills, such as managing emotions, problem-solving, and creating positive relationships.

Sarah's book list on picture books to develop your child’s Social Emotional Learning (SEL) skills in a fun way

Sarah Sassoon Why did Sarah love this book?

I love friendships in picture books, and this one is especially precious as it’s between a Muslim boy and a Jewish boy in Flatbush, New York. A friendship across cultures represented by special foods for each child’s cultural festivals is a wonderful gift to introduce children to.

I especially love how the children lead the way for their families to become friends. With my Iraqi Jewish background, I grew up knowing my grandparents had very close relations with their Muslim neighbors. And, of course, the recipes for rugelach and date cookies, which are included in the back matter, are an extra special bonus for me.

By Jane Breskin Zalben, Mehrdohkt Amini,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked A Moon for Moe and Mo as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

An interfaith friendship develops when Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year, overlaps with the Muslim holiday of Ramadan--an occurence that happens only once every thirty years or so.

Moses Feldman, a Jewish boy, lives at one end of Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn, New York, while Mohammed Hassan, a Muslim boy, lives at the other. One day they meet at Sahadi's market while out shopping with their mothers and are mistaken for brothers. A friendship is born, and the boys bring their families together to share rugelach and date cookies in the park as they make a wish for peace.


Book cover of The Magical Yet

Cindy Williams Schrauben Author Of This Could Be You: Be Brave Be True Believe Be You

From my list on picture books for growth mindset.

Why am I passionate about this?

As a parent, a former educator, and a children’s museum administrator, my passions have always centered around children and encouraging them to believe in themselves. I wrote my book to empower my own grandchildren with a growth mindset, which, in simple terms, means to believe in our own abilities, accept challenges, learn from our mistakes, and persevere. It is the belief that our abilities and talents are malleable as opposed to the view that we are either good at something or we are not. Adapting a growth mindset has been valuable in my own life, as well – it’s not just for kids. Please take a look at these books to give yourself and the kids in your life a healthy new perspective.

Cindy's book list on picture books for growth mindset

Cindy Williams Schrauben Why did Cindy love this book?

I love this book because every single child can relate to the struggles of the main characters and can see how they learn from their mistakes and continue to push through (the foundation of the growth mindset concept).

The vivid illustrations mesmerize, and the lively text keeps readers engaged while encouraging one of my favorite sayings, “Not yet, but I’m still trying!”

By Angela DiTerlizzi, Lorena Alvarez (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

A rollicking, rhyming, and inspirational picture book for fans of Oh, the Places You'll Go! andevery child who is frustrated by what they can't do...YET!

Each of us, from the day we're born, is accompanied by a special companion—the Yet. Can't tie your shoes? Yet! Can't ride a bike? Yet! Can't play the bassoon? Don't worry, Yet is there to help you out.

The Magical Yet is the perfect tool for parents and educators to turn a negative into a positive when helping children cope with the inevitable difficult learning moments we all face. Whether a child or an adult,…


Book cover of Tall Tall Tree

Dawn Wynne Author Of Midnight Mission: An Eco Avengers Series

From my list on educate and inspire kids about the environment.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been an educator for over 20 years teaching elementary-aged children. The environment is a passion of mine. After reading the book Plastic Ocean and meeting the author Charles Moore, I realized that the issues facing our environment are going to be best solved by the upcoming generation of children. They understand how important it is to preserve our planet. Combining my love of writing with my education background, I started writing books to teach children about the environment and inspire them to make lasting changes. I love recommending books that have the same mission. Small actions equal great changes! 

Dawn's book list on educate and inspire kids about the environment

Dawn Wynne Why did Dawn love this book?

This book is so beautiful you could just admire it for the illustrations. It is written in rhyme which flows well with the images. All about the California Redwoods, it educates children about the animal creatures that call this place home. It pulls in educational components such as counting and also offers some STEAM activities. Great for teachers and parents. 

By Anthony D. Fredericks, Chad Wallace (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Tall Tall Tree as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

There's a magical, wild world happening in the tallest of tall trees - a world teeming with life that very few people ever see! Come take a peek at the animals that make their home in a tall, tall redwood tree. Children will love the rhymes and count the creatures from one to ten. Look out for the hidden animals, too! Lots of fun and lots of interesting science - including STEM activity suggestions.

Ages 4-9

Also available in hardback 9781584696018 GBP16.99


Book cover of The Matzah Ball Fairy

Gloria Koster Author Of Dance the Hora, Isadora

From my list on lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a school and public librarian as well as a writer. I also serve as a member of the Children’s Book Committee of the Bank Street College of Education. We review hundreds of books each year for consideration of a place on our list –The Best Children’s Books of the YearI've chosen to recommend some lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters or themes because a number of my own books fit into this category. Mitzi’s Mitzvah, Little Red Ruthie, and Dance the Hora, Isadora! are three of my Jewish themed books. Each of these titles has been selected by PJ Library, an organization that sends a book each month to children.

Gloria's book list on lighthearted picture books with Jewish characters

Gloria Koster Why did Gloria love this book?

When lighter-than-air matzah balls send Passover guests floating on the ceiling, a remedy is needed to bring them down. The author’s solution is brilliant and hilarious for anyone who has experienced cooking mishaps. There are so many Passover books that dwell on the story of the Jewish people’s escape from tyranny in Egypt and this is undoubtedly an important story to tell. But there’s also a need for holiday books that are just plain fun. This is definitely one of those. 

By Carla Heymsfeld,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Matzah Ball Fairy 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?

When Frieda Pinsky uses some magic powder to help make the matzah balls for her Passover seder light and fluffy, it works too well


Book cover of Bear Snores On

Kim Howard Author Of Do Mommies Ever Sleep?

From my list on picture books to make bedtime fun.

Why am I passionate about this?

With three kids, bedtime at my house is usually nuts. When we strike gold with a great bedtime read that’s funny or cozy, or better yet, BOTH, it becomes part of our permanent rotation. I love finding books that make my kids excited about story time (and just maybe encourage them to get through their bedtime routines a little faster). As a children’s picture book author, my own books are inspired by my kids’ everyday lives, and sleep, or lack thereof, is a topic that I always find so very relatable!

Kim's book list on picture books to make bedtime fun

Kim Howard Why did Kim love this book?

To me, this book has a great combination of sleepy and silly elements. The illustrations are warm and cozy, and throughout the book, Bear snores happily in the background.

My kids and I love that while Bear sleeps, a party starts forming in his cave. We love seeing the party grow until Bear wakes up to discover what’s going on.

By Karma Wilson, Jane Chapman (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

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

What is this book about?

It seems like Bear can sleep through anything. As a succession of animals enter his cave to escape the fierce storm, he continues to snore. Mouse makes a nice warm fire, Hare cooks popcorn and Badger brings treats... They are having a great time. But when Bear wakes up and realises he's missed out on the fun, his visitors fear the worst.Can Bear be persuaded to join the party? This read-aloud rhyming story has fun, suspense and a happy ending - with Jane Chapman's beautiful, captivating illustrations and Karma Wilson's absorbing, lyrical words perfectly depicting the companionship of the warm,…


Book cover of Reach for the Stars

Amika Kroll Author Of Strut, Baby, Strut

From my list on encouraging girls to pursue self determination.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love getting lost in books because I get to experience more adventures than I could possibly fit into one lifetime. Books invite the exploration of limitless possibilities—for everyone. When a book can fire my imagination, make me feel a connection, or just make me think deeplythat’s magic, whether it was meant to be fiction or not. I want to write books that do that for others. For this list specifically, I wanted to pick books that encourage girls to embrace the notions that they are allowed to dream really big dreams, that the goals they set for themselves are worth pursuing, and that we all deserve room to be our authentic selves.

Amika's book list on encouraging girls to pursue self determination

Amika Kroll Why did Amika love this book?

Frankly, I like this book because it reminds me so much of mine! Reach for the stars—you can do it! I love it! Straight from the cradle, all the way to adulthood, give love and encouragement! Although this story follows a little girl growing up with many illustrations that include her mother, this book could easily resonate with any adult/child pairing. All those beautiful moments in life where we share and growwhat’s not to celebrate? Warm fuzzies all around.

By Emily Calandrelli, Honee Jang (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Reach for the Stars 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?

From Emmy-nominated science TV star and host of Netflix’s hit series Emily’s Wonder Lab Emily Calandrelli comes an inspirational message of love and positivity.

From the moment we are born, we reach out. We reach out for our loved ones, for new knowledge and experiences, and for our dreams!

Whether celebrating life’s joyous milestones, sharing words of encouragement, or observing the wonder of the world around us, this uplifting book will inspire readers of every age. A celebration of love and shared discovery, this book will encourage readers to reach for the stars!


Book cover of Bringing in the New Year

Jillian Lin Author Of Chinese New Year Wishes

From my list on Chinese New Year.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m the author of children’s books about Asian history and culture. My two kids are the main reason I started writing books. When they were little, I had to delve into my Chinese roots for a family reunion. That’s when I stumbled on the most amazing stories about the emperors, warriors, artists, and inventors that make up the long and colorful culture and history of China. I decided to bring these stories to life so that my kids could learn more about their heritage. No dates, no dry details – just interesting stories that they could enjoy and learn in the process. Luckily, they liked them so much that they encouraged me to share my stories with the world.

Jillian's book list on Chinese New Year

Jillian Lin Why did Jillian love this book?

I love all of Grace Lin’s books – we share the same surname after all! Bringing in the New Year is another great one of hers. This board book is meant for the very young (0-3 years), but older kids will learn from it too. It describes how a Chinese family prepares for the Chinese New Year - decorating the house, making dumplings, and wearing new clothes. Celebrations follow with fireworks and lion dancers to scare away the previous year’s bad luck. The fun color illustrations will be a hit with the little ones, especially the fold-out dragon at the end of the book.

By Grace Lin,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Bringing in the New Year as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 3, 4, 5, and 6.

What is this book about?

This exuberant story follows a Chinese American family as they prepare for the Lunar New Year. Each member of the family lends a hand as they sweep out the dust of the old year, hang decorations, and make dumplings. Then it’s time to put on new clothes and celebrate with family and friends. There will be fireworks and lion dancers, shining lanterns, and a great, long dragon parade to help bring in the Lunar New Year. And the dragon parade in our book is extra long–on a surprise fold-out page at the end of the story. Grace Lin’s artwork is…