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Great Books to Read Aloud to Kids

Parul Solanki
Reading aloud to kids is one of the best ways to increase their vocabulary, introduce them to new things, and get them hooked on to books. This story provides a great list of books for kids that they are sure to enjoy.
"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents."
―Emilie Buchwald

With children being hooked on to video games, reading together, repeating the words over and over again, and looking under the flap for missing characters, seem like a thing of the past.
Most parents can remember their own childhood when they would cuddle up to their mother or father who would read out fascinating stories about lost bunnies, evil witches, and smart cats at night.
For me, being read to was the single most important reason for my lifelong love for books. This is because reading aloud provides a wealth of information and opens up a new, fascinating world for the child. This comforting and cozy activity also creates the perfect bond between a parent and child.
If you are a parent looking to inculcate this important activity, then here is a list of some classic as well as modern children's books that are sure to interest your little one.

12 Good Read-aloud Books for Kids

The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler
For Ages: 0 to 5 years

"Silly old fox! Doesn't he know?
There's no such thing as a gruffalo!"

A bestselling modern classic, The Gruffalo is an amazing story of a quick-witted mouse who scares away the fox by inventing the character of a scary creature called 'gruffalo'
. Later, the mouse comes face to face with an owl, a slimy snake, and even a hungry and extremely scary 'gruffalo', which it smartly tackles and manages to scare away.
The sly, witty style of writing and the rhyming prose is excellent for children.
The story teaches a child that something that may seem scary is often not so when tackled smartly. This sturdy board book offers some excellent illustrations to stimulate the child's mind while you and the child both enjoy the book.

Where the Wild Things Are

by Maurice Sendak
For Ages: 0 to 5 years

"Let the wild rumpus start."

The winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal as the 'Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year', and a favorite since the last fifty years, 'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak, is the story of a young boy named Max.
Max manages to intimidate these creatures and makes himself their king. He then goes about on a wild rumpus with his band of monsters. However, once the monsters are asleep, Max misses the people he loves, and comes back.
One of the most enchanting and unique artworks in children's literature along with an amazing story about a realistic and fun character, is what makes this book a classic and a must-have for parents wanting to read to their kids.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit

by Beatrix Potter
For Ages: 0 to 5 years

"Once upon a time there were four little Rabbits, and their names were―Flopsy, Mopsy, Cottontail, and Peter."

Written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter, this is a classic tale of disobedient young Peter Rabbit who gets chased around the vegetable garden by Mr. McGregor.
Although he does escape, the young rabbit is punished by his mother who puts him in bed and gives him chamomile tea, while his obedient sisters have a much better treat.
This is a realistic tale of how the thing that is off-limits becomes irresistible.
The adventures of the young rabbit, the small conflicts along the way, and the beautiful and detailed illustrations make this an amazing book for children. The plot is fairly simple, and keeps the child engrossed as you read to him/her.

Goodnight Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown
For Ages: 0 to 5 years

"Goodnight stars, goodnight air, goodnight noises everywhere."

This simple, yet classic bedtime book by Margaret Wise Brown recounts an endearing story of a rabbit's routine before he goes to bed. He goes around the room saying goodnight to everything that he sees.
The story is enhanced with some vivid and colorful illustrations by Clement Hurd. The rhyming in the book makes it an enjoyable read, and children love listening to it. Rhyming is also believed to increase the phonological awareness as the child learns to associate sounds in different words that sound the same.

Pippi Longstocking

by Astrid Lindgren
For Ages: 5 to 8 years

"You understand Teacher, don't you, that when you have a mother who's an angel and a father who is a cannibal king, and when you have sailed on the ocean all your whole life, then you don't know just how to behave in school with all the apples and ibexes."
The character of Pippi Longstocking is every child's dream come true. With her red pigtails and rambunctiousness, Pippi lives alone in a dilapidated villa in a Swedish village. Since her mother is dead and father is the king of a cannibal tribe, Pippi learns to fend for herself, and pretty much does whatever she wants to.
She has a monkey and a horse for companionship as well. The story of her hilarious escapades with next-door neighbors, Tommy and his sister Annika make this book a fun and interesting read.
Written by the award-winning author, Astrid Lindgren, this Swedish story may have been a shock to the readers in 1945, but over the years, people have grown to love the feisty character who refuses adult conventions and goes on wild adventures.

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

by L. Frank Baum
For Ages: 5 to 8 years

"I think you are wrong to want a heart. It makes most people unhappy. If you only knew it, you are in luck not to have a heart."

A true American classic that has it all―adventure, wonderful characters, and a great storyline.
The book recounts the story of Dorothy Gale and her dog, Toto, who find themselves in the Land of Oz after their house is swept off in a tornado. They meet the Scarecrow, Tin Woodman, and the Cowardly Lion on their way to Emerald City to meet the all-powerful Wizard of Oz.
This is a great transition read-aloud book for a child who is used to picture books. It has a few illustrations, and the storyline is simple to understand. You can split it into sections while reading to a kid.


by Ludwig Bemelmans
For Ages: 5 to 8 years

"In an old house in Paris that was covered with vines, lived twelve little girls in two straight lines."

Set in the lovely city of Paris, the Madeline series written by Ludwig Bemelmans was first published in 1939.
Madeline lives in a Catholic boarding house along with eleven other girls and their teacher, Miss Clavel. Her spunky spirit and humor make her a favorite at school. In this story, she suffers from appendicitis, and has to take a trip to the hospital to have her appendix removed.
Children are sure to love the small and brave Madeline. The amazing illustrations and the rhythmic writing style make it a perfect read-aloud book.

The Cat in the Hat

by Dr. Seuss
For Ages: 5 to 8 years

"Look at me!
Look at me!
Look at me NOW!
It is fun to have fun
But you have to know how."
This is the story of the eccentric stranger cat and the two kids he entertains while their mother leaves them alone, unattended. There is an inherent magic that the famous Dr. Seuss brings to this book.
The storyline is funny, naughty, and extremely witty. The oddities of the mischievous cat are foiled by a grumpy goldfish who acts as a moral babysitter for the children. The nonsensical rhymes and the rhythm makes it a great book for children of all ages.


by Roald Dahl
For Ages: 8 to 12 years

"Matilda said, "Never do anything by halves if you want to get away with it. Be outrageous. Go the whole hog. Make sure everything you do is so completely crazy it's unbelievable..."
Matilda is a fascinating and heartwarming story of a super-genius young girl with a love of books, and some great telekinetic powers, whose dim-witted parents just refuse to see her potential. It is only when she goes to school that the kindhearted Miss Honey spots her intellectual abilities.
However, the school headmistress, Miss Trunchbull makes things harder for Matilda at school. The story about how Matilda deals with the troublesome adults in her life make an interesting read.

Charlotte's Web

by E.B. White
For Ages: 8 to 12 years

"Why did you do all this for me?' he asked. 'I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you.' 'You have been my friend,' replied Charlotte. 'That in itself is a tremendous thing."

The story of a pig called Wilbur and a clever, friendly spider named Charlotte, Charlotte's Web is tale of friendship and hardships.
Wilbur, the runt of the litter is doomed to be slaughtered. However, Fern, an eight-year-old brave girl saves and adopts him. However, Wilbur is separated from his beloved Fern and sent to the farm owned by Fern's uncle, Homer Zuckerman. There he befriends a spider named Charlotte A.
Cavatica, or simply Charlotte. When Charlotte finds out that Zuckerman plans to slaughter Wilbur, she devises a brilliant plan to save her friend.
Considered one of the best children's book of all time, Charlotte's Web is a touching story of friendship, affection, and the pain associated with separation.
The characters are well-drawn and extremely endearing. It may be a book for young kids, but Charlotte's Web can be a fascinating read for adults as well. So, go ahead and enjoy the story as you read it aloud to your child.

The Little Prince

by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
For Ages: 8 to 12 years

"Grown-ups never understand anything by themselves, and it is tiresome for children to be always and forever explaining things to them."

One of the most famous works by pioneering aviator and aristocrat, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 'The Little Prince' was first published in French in 1943.
Since then, it has been translated into 250 languages, and is one of the most famous children's books of all time. It is a tale of a pilot stranded in a desert where he meets a young boy who has come to Earth from a tiny asteroid and whom the narrator refers to as the 'Little Prince'.
The simple story about loneliness and love written in a beautiful prose style makes this classic worth the read. The character of the innocent and endearing 'Little Prince' tugs at your heart strings, and makes you want to know more and more about his story.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

by J.K. Rowling
For Ages: 8 to 12 years

"It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends."

If you have not been living under a rock for the last fifteen years, then you would have definitely heard of the scrawny, bespectacled Harry Potter and the fantasy world of witches and wizards at Hogwarts.
Resigned to a life of neglect thanks to his cruel aunt and uncle, Harry realizes on his 11th birthday that he is actually a wizard, and has to go to the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. He is whisked away into the fantasy land by Hagrid, a large, loving giant.
The entire Harry Potter series provides a wonderful escape for you and the child into a fantasy world filled with adventure and fun. If you have not read the book, then you are sure to enjoy reading it aloud to your child.

Other Great Books to Read Aloud to Children

  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
  • Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
When reading aloud to kids, choose simple picture books for toddlers. As the child grows and his or her attention span increases, you can move on to chapter books with less illustrations. This selection of excellent literature for your kid will not only keep him/her engrossed for hours, but also make you fall in love with children's books all over again.