Sharing books with preschoolers is as important as it is joyful. At this age, books can leave a lasting impression on young imaginations, form a key part of language and literacy development and provide young children with important insights into the experiences of others. Storytime is often a favourite part of the day – whether in the classroom or snuggled up at bedtime – and early positive experiences with books can be the foundations of a lifelong enjoyment of reading.
Many adults can remember their own favourite books from the preschool years – and sometimes off by heart! We’ve picked out 50 recommended books for today’s children in the nursery and preschool years (ages 3-4). From stories with repeated verses to join in with (like Nick Sharratt’s Shark In the Park or Michael Rosen’s Little Rabbit Foo Foo), to laugh-out-loud favourites (like Poo at the Zoo or Octopants) to sincere stories about animals trying to figure out the world around them (like Best Test or Little Bear’s Spring), we’ve got something for all tastes.
For books about being kind or managing emotions, try Find Out About Feelings, Layla’s Happiness or Kindness Makes us Strong. If stories to prepare children for starting school or making friends is what you’re looking for, try Lulu’s First Day or Caryl Hart’s Mini Monsters series. For a read-aloud with the extra wow factor, we recommend The Rabbit, The Dark and the Biscuit Tin, guaranteed to produce ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at storytime.
Some of the stories on our list are classic books that have been entertaining children for generations, like Owl Babies or Jill Murphy’s Peace at Last. Others are inspired by very recent events, such as How Do You Make a Rainbow?, which reflects colourfully on the joy of finding positivity through community and kindness during difficult times.
We’ve also included a selection of non-fiction books suitable for this age group, from books about nature (like Find Out About: Animal Babies and the bright and playful Love Our Earth), to the space-themed Cosmic Machines or the inspirational story of Amelia Earhart. If you are looking for books themed around a particular topic, be sure to check out our EYFS topic booklists.
You can find out more about the process of collating our Recommended Reads booklists here.
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