Age-Appropriate Books for Children

There’s a big difference between what a child can read and what is age-appropriate for them. Just because a child is able to decode the words in a book doesn’t mean that they can read that book. There may be ideas presented in the story that are too complicated for them to understand, or it may be too mature for them at this point in their lives.

We must also consider that every child is unique. While one child at age 8 may be ready to handle a story about death, another child of the same age may find it too distressing. When helping our children select books for reading, we need to take into account these individual differences.

Nevertheless, it is always helpful to have access to a list of age-appropriate books for children and the following was provided by our school:

Pre-school/Kindergarten

We really loved Mo Willems‘ books and we particularly enjoyed his Elephant and Piggie books.

Year One

  • They All Saw a Cat – Brendan Wenzel
  • I Want My Hat Back – Jon Klassen
  • Matilda’s Cat – Emily Gravett
  • Monkey and Me – Emily Gravett
  • Wolf Won’t Bite – Emily Gravett
  • Egg Drop – Mini Grey
  • Biscuit Bear – Mini Grey
  • Click Clack Moo – Cows That Type – Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
  • Penguin – Polly Dunbar
  • Handa’s Surprise – Eileen Browne
  • Fortunately, Unfortunately – Michael Foreman
  • Billy’s Bucket – Kes Gray
  • Where’s My Teddy? – Jez Alborough
  • Owl Babies – Martin Waddell
  • Knuffle Bunny – Mo Willems
  • Six Dinner Sid – Inga Moore
  • Wild – Emily Hughes
  • The Snail and the Whale – Julia Donaldson
  • The Storm Whale – Benji Davies
  • Where the Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak
  • Possum Magic – Mem Fox

Year Two

  • Traction Man – Mini Grey
  • The Pea and the Princess – Mini Grey
  • Little Red – Lynne Roberts
  • The Paper Bag Princess – Robert Munsch
  • The Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown – Cressida Cowell
  • The Smartest Giant in Town – Julia Donaldson
  • Into the Forest – Anthony Browne
  • Gorilla – Anthony Browne
  • Meerkat Mail – Emily Gravett
  • Scaredy Squirrel – Melanie Watt
  • On the Way Home – Jill Murphy
  • The Worst Witch – Jill Murphy
  • The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark – Jill Tomlinson
  • Sam and Dave Dig a Hole – Jon Klassen and Mac Barnett
  • The Dark – Lemony Snicket
  • Pumpking Soup – Helen Cooper
  • The Bear and the Piano – David Litchfield
  • Wombat Divine – Mem Fox
  • Koala Lou – Mem Fox

Year 3

Chapter Books:

Picture Books:

  • Beegu – Alexis Deacon
  • Tuesday/Flotsam – David Weisner
  • Instructions – Neil Gaiman
  • The Tunnel/Willie’s Stories – Anthony Browne
  • The Day the Crayons Quit – Drew Daywalt
  • The Green Ship  – Quentin Blake
  • Hermelin the Mouse Detective – Mini Grey
  • Once Upon an Ordinary School Day – Colin McNaughton
  • The Garden of Abdul Gasazi – Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Pirate Cruncher – Jonny Duddle
  • The Pirates Next Door– Jonny Duddle

Year 4

Chapter Books:

  • The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – Kate DiCamillo
  • The Firework Maker’s Daughter – Phillip Pullman
  • The Ice Palace – Robert Swindells
  • The Fastest Boy in the World – Elizabeth Laird
  • Varjak Paw – S. F. Said
  • Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone – J.K. Rowling
  • The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis
  • Charlotte’s Web – E.B.White
  • The Minpins – Roald Dahl
  • Noah Barleywater Runs Away – John Boyne
  • Arthur: The Seeing Stone – Kevin Crossley-Holland
  • Platform 13 – Eva Ibbotson
  • Malkin Moonlight – Emma Cox
  • The Boy, The Bear and The Boat – Dave Shelton

Picture Books:

  • Leon and the Place Between – Grahame Baker-Smith
  • Jumanji – Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Polar Express – Chris Van Allsburg
  • The Day I  Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish – Neil Gaiman
  • The Wolves in the  Walls – Neil Gaiman
  • Flotsam – David Weisner
  • Gentle GiantMichael Morpurgo
  • Sinbad the Sailor – Marcia Williams
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and other fairly stupid tales – Jon Sciezka and Lane Smith
  • The Day of Ahmed’s Secret – Florence Parry

Year 5

Chapter Books:

  • Frindle – Andrew Clements
  • The Boy in the Tower – Polly Ho-Yen
  • The Magician’s Elephant – Kate diCamillo
  • Stormbreaker – Anthony Horowitz
  • Danny, Champion of the World – Roald Dahl
  • The Bag of Bones – Vivian French
  • Wolf Brother – Michelle Paver
  • Goodnight Mr Tom – Michelle Magorican
  • Aquila – Andrew Norris
  • Phantom Tollbooth – Norton Juster
  • The Daydreamer – Ian McEwan
  • Kensuke’s Kingdom – Michael Morpurgo
  • Inventions of Hugo Cabret/Wonderstruck – Brian Selznick
  • Holes – Louis Sachar

Picture Books:

  • Night of the Gargoyles – Eve Bunting
  • The Lost Happy Endings – Carol Ann Duffy
  • How to Live Forever – Colin Thompson
  • Mirror – Jeannie Baker
  • Journey/Quest/Return – Aaron Becker
  • Voices in the Park – Anthony Brown
  • Greenling – Levi Pinfold
  • The Whale – Vita and Ethan Murrow

Year 6

  • Carrie’s War – Nina Bawden
  • Tom’s Midnight Garden – Phillipa Pearce
  • The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Joan Aiken
  • The Graveyard Book – Neil Gaiman
  • The Nowhere Emporium – Ross MacKenzie
  • The Middle of Nowhere – Geraldone McCaughrean
  • Pax – Sara Penny-Packer
  • The Weirdstone of Brisingamen – Alan Garner
  • Marianne Dreams – Catherine Storr
  • The Girl of Ink and Stars – Kiran Millwood Hargrave
  • Pigheart Boy – Malorie Blackman
  • My Name is Mina – David Almond
  • Coraline – Neil Gaiman
  • The London Eye Mystery – Siobhan Dowd
  • The Giver – Lois Lowry
  • Wonder – RJ Palachio
  • The Arrival/ Rules of Summer/ The Lost Thing/ Tales of Outer Suburbia – Shaun Tan
  • Shakleton’s Journey/ The Wolves of Currumpaw – William Grill
  • Varmints – Helen Ward
  • Rose Blanche – Roberto Innocenti
  • Way Home – Libby Hathorn
  • The Journey – Francesca Sanna
  • The Promise – Nicola Davies
  • Grandfather’s Journey – Allen Say

Don’t forget that you can always check out the book on Commonsense Media if you’re not sure about its age-appropriateness.

Related:

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

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