Best Children’s Books by Age Group

This post contains affiliate links. If you click and buy we may make a commission, at no additional charge to you. Please see our disclosure policy for more details.

It can be difficult knowing what books to buy for your kids. There are so many to choose from now, and some of the best ones can easily get lost in the crowd. That’s why we have compiled a list of the best children’s books by age group!

Whether you’re buying for your children or you’re a young person venturing to the book store to choose a novel for the first time, there’s something for everyone on this list. From the classics to the virtually unheard of, we have a great line-up of the best children’s books by age group.

Best Children's Books by Age Group

Toddler/Pre-School

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

This classic children’s story has to be included among the best children’s books, especially for beginner readers. It has been published for over fifty years and has provided children with hours of interactive fun.

Not only does this story teach children about growth, but it also allows children to play along with the story.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

This book is perfect for bedtime and offers a relaxing tale of a young rabbit saying goodnight to each of the familiar things in sight. It might even inspire your child to enjoy bedtime a little more and get into their own routine of saying goodnight to their favorite things to lull them to sleep.

The Fish Who Could Wish by John Bush

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

This story about a fish who can get anything he wants just by wishing isn’t a tale of greed, but of individuality. When the fish wishes to be the same as all of the others, he loses the individuality that makes him so special. It’s a great message and a fun tale for young children.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

The last thing you’d expect to stroll into your afternoon tea is a tiger…but that’s exactly what happens to young Sophie in this story. This story is perfect to liven up a rainy day, just as Sophie’s rainy day was improved by the arrival of her new best friend, Tiger.

Dogger by Shirley Hughes

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

This tale of love and devotion to a childhood toy will be relatable to any young child. Dave loses his favorite toy, Dogger, but soon finds him at a yard sale, and would do anything to get his toy back. It’s a tale of hope and the irreplaceable connection between a child and their toy.

Mr Tickle by Roger Hargreaves

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

Mr Tickle is the first in a long series of books that is sure to capture your child’s imagination. The story originated when Roger Hargreaves’ son asked him what a tickle would look like. From there, the classic story was born. This silly, fun tale is sure to have your children giggling and desperate for the next book in the series.

Grade School

The Paddington Treasury: Six Classic Bedtime Stories by Micheal Bond

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

The tales of Paddington are classic, and they’re perfect for any youngster at bedtime. Each story takes the world’s favorite bear on a trip to a location in London, allowing your child to travel with Paddington to some of the best places in the United Kingdom.

Holes by Louis Sachar

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

Stanley Yelnats is unlucky by nature, which is probably why he ends up in a juvenile detention center. There, he is forced to dig holes all day every day as a form of ‘character building.’ But Stanley senses that something else is going on behind the scenes of the camp and he’s determined to find out what…

This story is suitable for all readers, but it might appeal most to a younger audience that is graduating onto older fiction.

The Story of Tracy Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

Troubled child, Tracy, has been in care for as long as she can remember. She dreams of the day her mum will return to take her away, but in the meantime, she’s willing to entertain the idea of someone to love her until then…

This short, funny read is packed full of laughs, tears and great illustrations by Wilson’s well-known illustrator, Nick Sharratt.

Pre-Teen

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K Rowling

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

It’s a classic for a reason. The Harry Potter books will survive for generation after generation because they were such a crucial part of the upbringing of so many children. The Philosopher’s Stone follows the story of Harry discovering he’s a wizard and attending the magical school, Hogwarts, for his first year.

Matilda by Roald Dahl

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

Matilda Wormwood is underappreciated by her family, but that doesn’t stop her from being brilliant. When she is finally allowed to attend school, she discovers not only her own intelligence but her ability to move things with her mind. There are plenty of mean adults trying to stand in her way, but Matilda isn’t going to let that stop her.

Matilda is an uplifting tale of positivity, strong friendships, and unconditional love, a perfect book for proving that good people always win and the bad guys tend to get what they deserve…

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

When four young children venture through the back of a wardrobe, they discover the land of Narnia. As it turns out, Narnia is destined to be saved by them from the White Witch, but first, they must find the mighty Aslan. With the help of some unlikely characters, the four children lead the battle of good against evil.

This story is both a classic and a family-friendly story that everyone can enjoy, perfect for children who have already read Harry Potter and are looking for another fantasy to dive into.

The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

Three newly orphaned children are forced into a Series of Unfortunate Events – which also happens to be the title of this book series – where they are taken into the care of the malicious Count Olaf. They must keep their wits about them to keep their hands on their enormous fortune and to escape the deadly scenarios which Count Olaf forces them through.

This is perfect for kids who want a mix of mystery, humor, and horror in their next read but aren’t quite ready for YA fiction.

Teenager

Lord Loss by Darren Shan

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

For budding Stephen King fans, Darren Shan’s books are the underrated gateway into horror fiction for teenagers. His stories aren’t for the faint-hearted, but his imaginative and original series about demons begins here with Lord Loss, featuring a young boy called Grubbs and his personal battle with the closest thing to the Devil anyone has ever experienced.

Gone by Micheal Grant

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

This series often goes overlooked in the sea of YA dystopian fiction, but for any teenager who loves stories of survival, Gone is a classic. The series follows a group of teenagers who are suddenly left to fend for themselves when all the adults in their town disappear completely. And when some of the kids begin to develop special powers, the divide between them becomes much more complicated than just high school cliques and loyalties.

I Was Born for This by Alice Oseman

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

Young British author, Alice Oseman, really understands how to speak to the teenage masses. I Was Born for This captures the intensity of being a fangirl, the power of friendship and even discusses mental health. It has a diverse cast and is the perfect gateway into older fiction from the age of thirteen onward.

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

Adam Silvera is the next generation’s answer to John Green. His original stories are both moving and inventive, speaking to a slightly older teenage audience and to young queer readers.

The two main characters, Mateo and Rufus, have been told that they have a maximum of twenty-four hours to live, and so they consult an app called Last Friend to find someone to spend their final hours with. In doing so, they find each other…and also love.

This story is definitely for older teenagers, but it offers a perfect LGBT romance for any young person still finding themselves as their childhood comes to an end.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

Best Children's Books by Age Group
View Best Price on Amazon

Fangirl was an instant classic the moment it was released. Young readers all across the globe found themselves in Cath, a writer and college student who is obsessed with Simon and Baz, the main characters in her favorite book series. As she navigates love, education and growing up, she must either choose to embrace the coming changes or remain in her comfort zone.

This book is suitable for teenagers and young adults but is particularly poignant for kids who are prepping for college or are thinking about it.

There are so many great books out there that it’s impossible to showcase them all! Make sure to check out some of our other articles for more suggestions, such as our 100 Best Books of All Time selection!

Leave a Comment

Sharing is Caring

Help spread the word. You're awesome for doing it!