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Best Recommended Reading Books for 6 Year Olds

best books for year olds

Recommended Children’s Books For Children Age 6

Explore BooksForTopics’ top picks of good books for 6-year-olds! We have chosen the best books to appeal to children aged 6. From funny stories to animal adventures, find the books we recommend adding to your book collection.

Our experts have chosen these books for six-year-olds to make it easy for parents, teachers, or anyone searching for recommended reading lists for children. Our list includes books that have been reviewed by an experienced panel of teachers and children’s reading experts.

Whether you’re on the hunt for exciting adventures for children with wild imaginations, inspiring real-life stories, or engaging illustrated stories for those setting off on their own independent reading journeys, our list is designed to match the age and stage of children at the age of six. From beloved animal classics like The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark to super-fun picturebooks like The Bumblebear and popular first independent chapter book series like Isadora Moon, our top 20 picks encompass an engaging range of themes and styles.

For more comprehensive school-aligned booklists, browse our lists of 50 Best Books for Year 2 or 50 Best Books for Year 1.

Explore our book recommendations for children age 6 and let the reading adventures begin…

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Picturebook Stories for 6 Year Olds

Simon Philip & Kate Hindley

We adore this charming story about a young boy who is tasked with finding a hat in order to be allowed into a party. When the boy struggles to find one, a helpful animal friend steps in to save the day. However, when he arrives, a tough doorman and an even tougher series of entry requirements lead to a snowballing of humorous actions and a hilarious climax.

The story is filled with wonderfully illustrated, silly characters and a ridiculous storyline that will have children and adults alike laughing out loud.  This is a picturebook to recommend to anyone looking for a fun and engaging story to share with children. With vibrant illustrations and humorous characters, We Must Bring a Hat is a sure-fire hit in the classroom and a book that children will ask for over and over again. We think this is a perfect choice for entertaining storytimes with Year 2.

Nadia Shireen

We love this highly original picturebook from Nadia Shireen.

The story is about a bear called Norman, who concocts a plot to get more honey by dressing up as a bee and attending bee school. Children will love Norman’s hilarious attempts to convince his teacher and classmates that he’s a real bee. This is a really funny book with hilarious twists and turns, and ultimately a happy resolution about acceptance and being true to oneself.

The illustrations add to the sheer fun and this book is a real hoot to read aloud. Children love being in on the secret of knowing more than the characters about who Norman really is.

Hugely enjoyable and a big hit with 5-7 year olds.

David Litchfield
A giant story of belonging and friendship from David Litchfield, author of The Bear and the Piano. Billy doesn't believe his Grandad when he tells him there's a giant living in his town, doing good deeds for everyone. He knows that a giant is too big to keep himself hidden. And why would he want to keep himself a secret? But as time goes on, Billy learns that some secrets are too big to stay secret for long.This delightful heartfelt story of belonging and friendship teaches the importance of tolerance and acceptance to young children. 
Jory John
 & Pete Oswald

If you’ve ever felt like academic success is hard to reach, this sweet picture book about different types of intelligence will resonate with you.

The central character, Cookie, grapples with traditionally academic challenges within the classroom of Ms. Biscotti. However, a transformative moment occurs when an assignment requires a bit more creative originality, leading Cookie to uncover her hidden poetic talent. As her peers also showcase their distinct abilities, ranging from artistic endeavors to inventive creations, Cookie gains a profound understanding of the different types  of intelligence. Through sharing her poem, her self-assurance grows, igniting a belief in her potential to become the “Smart Cookie” she aspires to be.

This is a really funny book and is always a winner with children (we also love the other books in the series – check out The Couch Potato, The Good Egg and The Cool Bean). Enhanced by the vivid illustrations of Pete Oswald, the narrative seamlessly weaves clever wordplay with a universal message of self worth and being willing to grow. The story underscores the significance of valuing different kinds of strengths and fostering self-worth in a classroom, and provides an opportunity for adults and children to reflect on the classroom culture they want to create.

Matt Carr

Created in Matt Carr’s signature comic-book style with a palette of bold primary colours, this entertaining story follows Spyder, a secret agent arachnid whose codename is 008. Spyder is sent on a highly important mission to save one boy’s birthday cake from the destructive intentions of an uninvited Bluebottle.

The text is full of puns but the humour is perfectly pitched for adults and children alike. It was wonderful to see that the secret agent was female (because why wouldn’t she be?). There are oodles of extra details to spot, such as the various images on the screen of the agent’s spy gadget and the spider webpage at the end of the book.
 This delightful, cool and engaging picture book is a favourite at BooksForTopics HQ and is a real winner in the Key Stage 1 classroom.

Julia Donaldson
 & Axel Scheffler

A firm favourite in Reception classrooms from national treasure Julia Donaldson. This is the story about a dragon called Zog, who is determined to try his best at dragon school but doesn’t always manage to win the teacher’s gold star. The story shows how perseverance and following dreams can lead to positive outcomes, and that different people’s strengths emerge in different situations.

This is an exciting and original story with a brilliantly strong rhyming structure. Zog is a memorable character and Axel Scheffler’s bright illustrations of the different coloured dragons are a bit hit with young children. A great read-aloud for EYFS and a real modern classic.

Chapter Books for Storytime with 6 Year Olds

Pip Bird
 & David O'Connell
Chapter book

The first in a joy-filled series of illustrated chapter books, telling the funny story of Mira’s adventures as she starts unicorn school. Mira wishes to be paired up with the most beautiful, sparkly unicorn of her dreams, but the reality presents a grumpy, untidy, doughnut-eating unicorn named Dave.

This humorous adventure series explores themes of friendship, inclusion and loyalty, with a backdrop of rainbows, glitter and a dose of unicorn toilet humour, too. Children love the idea of the secret unicorn school – a bit like a sparklier version of Hogwarts. Illustrations, age-appropriate humour and a diverse cast of characters make this a super choice of chapter book story for readers aged 6-8.


Kes Gray
Chapter book

The Daisy and the Trouble With… books by Kes Gray are a hit with younger readers getting to grips with the independent reading of chapter books. Children enjoy the funny, illustrated adventures recounting the ups and downs of Daisy’s life as she gives her take on visits to the zoo, going on holiday, having a birthday or taking part in sports day. Mishaps seem to follow Daisy wherever she goes and she finds herself in plenty of sticky situations to sort out. Kes Gray’s line illustrations add a familiar warmth and humour to these popular chapter books.

In this story, Daisy visits London with her grandparents, who are keen to see the Tower of London, Buckingham Palace and Big Ben. Daisy, on the other hand, is mostly interested in seeking out pigeons.

A super loveable series for Year 2 and beyond.

Jill Tomlinson
 & Paul Howard
Chapter book

This beautiful story about a little barn owl who struggles to fight his fear of the dark is a true classic story book for children.

Plop the barn owl is afraid of the dark. To help him overcome his fear, Mummy Owl sends Plop on a mission to seek out the opinions of others about the dark. He finds out from children, adults and a cat that they all have things they love about the dark. In the end, Plop decides he can embrace the night time darkness like a true nocturnal creature.

This is a joyful short chapter book, tenderly told by Jill Tomlinson, whose animal stories are highly recommendable for Key Stage 1.

Lynne Reid Banks
 & Tony Ross

This is a deliciously fun story that minibeast fans will love!

This classic chapter book follows the story of Harry, who is a poisonous centipede, and his best friend George. It’s not easy being small and navigating a world where everything bigger feels confusing and scary, especially flying swoopers, furry biters and the most dreaded creatures of all – Hoo-Mins!

Children love the centipede’s-eye-view world of the story, told with brilliant humour and a dash of empathy. A great chapter book choice for Year 1 and Year 2 children.

Animals and Nature Stories for Children Aged 6

Michael Morpurgo
 & Michael Foreman

A longer illustrated story from Michael Morpurgo and illustrated by Michael Foreman, all about a boy from a cornish fishing village who helps a beached dolphin find its way back into the sea.

This heartwarming story tells of the special bond between children and animals, which is characterised by unconditional love and loyalty. Poignant at times and magical at others, we love this beautifully rich story of a friendship between a boy and a dolphin, which never fails to captivate KS1 audiences at storytime.

The School of Life

This is a beautiful collection of poems, all themed around different emotional states. Working through the alphabet (Anger, Boredom, Curiosity and so on), each feeling is likened to an animal and starts with the line ‘If ….were an animal’, helping children to identify the words we use to describe emotional states and how the feelings might cause people to behave or react.

The bright illustrations help children to make the link between the emotions and their paired animal. Anger is compared to a lion, boredom is a limp jellyfish, obsession to an otter and zeal to busy, working ants. Children will have loads of fun creating their own comparisons. A comprehensive resource pack is also available to download from the publisher.

A lovely book to help develop emotional literacy, we recommend this as a great addition to book collections in schools and homes.

Chloe Savage

Seeing the elusive and never-before-seen Giant Arctic Jellyfish is Dr Morley’s life ambition. She adores jellyfish and has spent her life studying and researching the ultimate jellyfish: The Giant Arctic Jellyfish. Once her crew are assembled, they embark on their adventure to the cold Arctic on their boat to search the icy waters. They find a whole array of Arctic creatures in their polar habitat including narwhals, polar bears, beluga whales and orcas. They travel around the Arctic taking scientific samples and measurements: trying to find clues of the where abouts of the jellyfish but there is no sign. As time goes on, the team try and stay positive, but this is difficult in the harsh and cold conditions. After months, with still no sign, the team decide to pack up and return home – Dr Morley takes one last look around her – will she ever achieve her dream of the seeing the mysterious jellyfish?

A moving adventure story which shows the importance of perseverance in finding, chasing and achieving one’s dreams. The book is beautifully illustrated and adds to the story and adventure. As you read along, you can spot the Giant Arctic jellyfish on most pages – Where’s Wally? style – which is really engaging for younger readers and makes you urge on Dr Morley and her team.

The story is easy to read and follow and some of the language is suitably challenging for KS2 as well as KS1. I really enjoyed the story and illustrations and read it to my child, who enjoyed it so much that he has now claimed the book for his own.

Anthony Browne

This is a beautiful and timeless story by renowned author-illustrator Anthony Browne, and a true Year 1 classic read.

This story follows a lonely girl called Hannah, who loves gorillas and longs for her Dad to spend time with her, perhaps taking her to the zoo. The night before her birthday, Hannah’s toy Gorilla magically comes alive and takes her on brilliant adventures, visiting the cinema, a cafe and the zoo, where they meet the real life gorillas. The next morning Hannah celebrates with her dad and wonders whether her night time adventures were as real as they felt.

This is a really unique and interesting picture book – not one to be rushed over but one to spend time thinking about and discussing. The story is emotive and thought-provoking, and the illustrations are rife with intriguing details (including repeated gorilla shapes and patterns to spot everywhere) and evoke the depth of the characters’ unspoken emotions.

I adore this first class picture book and, even now, find something new to consider on every read.

Colour-Illustrated short chapter books for 6 year olds

Matty Long
Chapter book

A fun and easy-to-read book, and a good addition to the Year 2 book corner for enhancement when looking at fantasy creatures or adventure narratives.

Matty Long – known for Super Happy Magic Forest – has an iconic illustrative style that appeals to younger children. The main character Croaky Hopper is funny and the storyline moves quickly. Croaky is different to other frogs and not content to stay home when his dreams of wild adventures are just a leap away – especially when he signs up for Woggle Scouts and ends up on an expedition to find the legendary Sasquatch.

We love the vibrant character of Croaky and his energetic personality will resonate with readers in the age group of the intended audience – his thirst for adventure, his frustration at not being able to bound away and recklessly follow his dreams and his impulsive spirit that causes him to sometimes leap before he thinks. This story sells the benefit of being part of a club or team, and shows how different personalities can achieve their goals in different ways through working together.

The book feels like a chapter book, but the printed format is familiar to those who like picturebooks or early graphic novels. Children enjoy the full-colour illustrations and ease of reading. The text is large and the sentence structure is easy enough for children to understand and read in a short session.

Boundingly great fun for 5-8 year olds and with the promise of more in the series on the way, this is a winner of an early chapter book for newly independent readers.

Aisha Bushby
 & Kubra Teber
Chapter book

This is a sweet short chapter book, but it manages not to be saccharin-sweet.  I am sure it will have wide appeal.  A little person, Tiny, is born in the sunflower patch of Oakwood Primary School’s garden, human in every respect but her size.  That’s why the garden’s animal residents are are so hostile towards her, at least initially.  They suspect she will be like the other human children who, apart from kindly Nour, are all rather clumsy.  When frog’s habitat is destroyed, Tiny has a chance to show she is friend not foe and, when she risks all to help him, all opposition melts away and the garden community is united as never before.

For the discerning reader there is a message here: about cooperation, friendship, and perhaps even prejudice, making it suitable for sharing in class.  Equally, it will give much pleasure to the child who reads it at home, and to the parent or librarian eager for alternatives (or follow-on) to the Daisy Meadows series.

Philip Reeve
 & Sarah McIntyre
Chapter book

In this short, illustrated chapter book, Pedro is an endearing main character. His longing to have an adventure, and the obstacles to achieving that, will strike a chord with many KS1 children. They will be cheering him on, through danger and disappointment, to his enrolment as a fully signed-up member of the Adventuremice team.

Teachers will enjoy sharing this gentle tale in a classroom setting and children will miss out if they cannot clearly see the bright and breezy illustrations. For this reason, perhaps it’s best recommended as a library book which children – and their parents – can read at home or even on holiday. It’s a book to inspire (day-)dreams and great ambition.

A small book (a little over 100 pages) with a big heart that carries a message about humans looking after the marine environment, and about what courage and kindness look like in practice. Either, or both, could be the starting point for some interesting discussions.

The final pages – a map of The Mouse Islands, ‘How to Draw Pedro’ and ‘About the Authors’ – are a great addition to this latest book from the talented Reeve-McIntyre duo, which reflect their humour and their generosity.

Harriet Muncaster
Chapter book

This is part of a series responsible for turning many young children into independent readers. Isadora Moon is half fairy, half-vampire and each book in the series follows her adventures with friends and family. In this book, Isadora has reached school age and has an important decision to make. Her mum wants her to attend fairy school and her dad wants to send her to vampire school. Isadora tries out each school, with their very different priorities and curriculums, and in the process answers some important questions about her own heritage and identity. This is a humorous chapter book, with attractive black-and-pink illustrations and a high appeal to modern young readers.

Non-Fiction Books for Six Year Olds

Helaine Becker
 & Dow Phumiruk

This recommendable narrative non-fiction book celebrates the life of Katherine Johnson, a mathematician who played a crucial role in the smooth running of the Apollo 11 mission to land on the moon.

The story emphasises Katherine’s lifelong passion for mathematics – how she loved to count as a child and how she overcame barriers of inequality and prejudice to reach her dream of using her mathematical talents while working for NASA.

A fantastic biography that celebrates mathematics, space, women in STEM and following dreams.

Yuval Zommer
This large-sized informative compendium is the kind of non-fiction that children like to come back to again and again to pore over its pages. Each double-page spread dives into a different sea-themed question, such as 'Are jellyfish made of jelly?' or 'Why do crabs run sideways?'. There is never too much text on each page, but what you find is accessible chunks of information cleverly interspersed into each ocean scene. The illustrations are stunning and come together to make wonderful spreads that serve as a treasure trove of visual delights for young eyes, as text and pictures work together to build an understanding of underwater habitats and the life they hold.

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Guidance: About the Age 6 Recommended Book List

What books do 6-year-olds like to read?

Picturebooks are popular reading choices with children at this age, both for independent reading and for shared storytimes with adults, where the words and pictures can be discussed and enjoyed together. Many 6-year-olds children love You Must Bring a Hat or The Smart Cookie, which are both popular hits with this age group because of their use of tongue-in-cheek humour to engage readers. Thought-provoking picturebook stories like Michael Morpurgo’s Dolphin Boy and Grandad’s Secret Giant have the right amount of emotional depth for children at this age, proving to be absorbing story time choices.

Many 6-year-olds begin to enjoy early illustrated chapter books at this age, often starting with books with full-colour illustrations and short chapters, like Isadora Moon and AdventureMicePopular choices for chapter books to read to six-year-olds include Harry the Poisonous Centipede and The Naughtiest Unicorn.

What are the most popular authors and series for children aged 6?

Popular picturebook authors and illustrators for 6-year-olds include Nadia Shireen, Julia Donaldson, David Litchfield, Simon Philip, Kes Gray, Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Oliver Jeffers, Steve Smallman, Nick Sharratt and Dapo Adeola. Popular early chapter book authors for 6-year-olds include Alex T. Smith, Alex Falase-Koya, Harriet Muncaster, Philip Reeves, Sarah McIntyre, Pamela Butchart and Zanna Davidson.

The most popular series for 6-year-olds include colour-illustrated early chapter books like Isadora Moon and Claude, collectable series like The Naughtiest Unicorn and Dog Man, character-lead stories like Daisy, and Dirty Bertie or biographical series like Little People Big Dreams.

Where can I purchase the books on the BooksForTopics Best Books for 6-Year-Olds booklist?

Where can I find out about the best new books for six-year-olds?

Each month we feature our top five Books of the Month, highlighting new titles that our Review Panel recommend for primary school children.

You can also check out the New Books section of our website, or sign up to our mailing list to keep on top of news and reviews from the children’s book world.

What other booklists for 6-Year-Olds are available?

Looking for more of the best booklists for 6-year-olds? BooksForTopics has got you covered!

Here are a few:



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