Okay, parents, it’s time to settle in with a great book for your 4 year old at bedtime. Children’s books have changed a lot since we were kids, as well as the data surrounding the importance of reading to young children, especially those under the age of 5.
The best books for young readers and 4-year-olds can quickly become some of your family’s favorite books for years to come. Some of these are classics while others will soon be new classics for any age group.
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Here are some key facts and statistics on the importance of reading to children under the age of 5:
- Brain Development: Reading to children early can help promote brain development and improve cognitive skills, including language, literacy, and comprehension.
- Vocabulary: Research shows that children who are read to at home have a larger vocabulary than those who are not. By exposing young children to a variety of words and sentence structures, reading can help them develop a stronger foundation for language and communication.
- Bonding: Reading to children can also be a special bonding experience between parent and child. It provides an opportunity for quality time and creates positive associations with books and reading that can last a lifetime.
- School Readiness: Children who are exposed to books and reading at an early age are more likely to be ready for school and have greater success in academic settings. They are also more likely to enjoy reading and become lifelong learners.
- Social-emotional Development: Reading to young children can also promote social and emotional development by helping them learn about emotions, relationships, and the world around them. It can also be a calming and comforting activity that helps children feel secure and loved.
- Literacy Skills: Children who are read to at an early age are more likely to develop strong literacy skills, such as decoding, comprehension, and fluency. These skills are essential for success in school and in life.
Overall, reading to children under the age of 5 is a critical component of early childhood development. It can promote brain development, vocabulary, bonding, school readiness, social-emotional development, and literacy skills. By making reading a regular part of your child’s routine, you can help set them on the path to success and lifelong learning
If you’re ready to get your little readers excited about reading, we have some recommendations to jazz up your reading routine and keep your little one engaged.
Books that feature letters of the alphabet, nonfiction books with touch-and-feel components and fun illustrations as well as classic story books are things that younger readers really seem to enjoy.
The Best Board Books for Little Kids
First up, board books. These things are sturdy as hell, perfect for withstanding the rough handling of a 4-year-old. Look for ones with bright colors and simple storylines that’ll capture their attention and keep them entertained.
Here are some of our favorite Board Books for Kids
By Sandra Boynton
Keep reading for more reviews of specific books.
Alphabet Books for Little Learners
But wait, there’s more! Alphabet books. These books can be a fun and engaging way to teach your kid letters and their sounds. Plus, you’ll be laying the foundation for a lifetime of reading.
Here are some of our favorite Alphabet Books .
“Chicka Chicka Boom Boom” by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault – This fun and catchy book features bright colors and rhymes that young children will love. It’s a great choice for teaching children the alphabet and basic phonics skills.
By Tiger Tales
Keep reading for more reviews of our favorite alphabet books for kids.
Picture Books for Kids
Next, picture books. These are like board books on steroids.
They’ve got more complex storylines and characters that your kids can relate to. We’re talking about themes like friendship, family, and adventure. And if you’re lucky, they might even learn something. Todd Parr has some really amazing picture books that help break down everyday life into small beautiful illustrations with simple words.
Mo Willems also has some great stories that are illustrated well and always make the list of best books. During the pandemic, he hosted a you tube channel for kids to learn how to draw their favorite characters from his series.
By Parr, Todd
“Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin Jr. – This colorful book features repetitive text and illustrations of animals that young children will love. It’s a great choice for teaching basic concepts such as colors and animals.
“Dragons Love Tacos” by Adam Rubin – This book features colorful illustrations and a fun storyline about dragons who love tacos but hate spicy salsa. It’s a humorous and engaging read for 4-year-olds.
“The Book with No Pictures” by B.J. Novak – This book is a silly and interactive read that doesn’t actually have any pictures. Instead, it uses words to create funny situations that will have your child laughing out loud.
“The Wonky Donkey” by Craig Smith – This book is a rhyming story about a donkey with a unique personality. It’s a fun read-aloud book that will have your child giggling and repeating the silly phrases.
“I Am Enough” by Grace Byers – This book is a great choice for teaching children about self-love and acceptance. It features beautiful illustrations and an empowering message that will help build your child’s confidence.
“Goodnight Moon” by Margaret Wise Brown – This classic bedtime story is a favorite among young children and features simple, soothing rhymes and illustrations.
“The Very Hungry Caterpillar” by Eric Carle – This beloved book follows the journey of a hungry caterpillar as the main character who transforms into a beautiful butterfly. It’s a fun and educational read for young children.
By Carle, Eric
Usborne Books has some of the best lift-the-flap books I’ve seen. And while I tend to avoid wanting to engage with MLM’s I can’t help but love these books – they’re fantastic quality and are super sturdy. they’re the kind of books we come back to time and again, and they are really popular for resale too if you have a local bookstore that you can sell or donate books back to or donate.
These are some of our favorite lift the flap books
“Dear Zoo” by Rod Campbell – This fun lift-the-flap book features a child who writes to the zoo to ask for a pet. The zoo sends a series of animals, but none of them are quite right. It’s a great choice for teaching children about animals and decision-making.
By Campbell, Rod
“Press Here” by Herve Tullet – This book is an interactive read that encourages children to press different spots on the page to see what happens next. It’s a great way to engage your child’s imagination and get them involved in the story.
“Hoppity Frog: A Slide and Seek Book” is a delightful interactive book for young children. The book follows Hoppity Frog as he plays hide and seek with his friends in the pond. Each page features a slide-out panel that reveals a hidden surprise, such as a fish, a turtle, or a dragonfly.
“Don’t Push the Button” is an interactive and whimsical children’s book featuring a lovable creature named Larry who repeatedly warns young readers not to push the big red button in front of him. As the story progresses, children cannot resist the temptation and each time the button is pushed, something unexpected happens, such as a parade or an alien invasion. The book’s colorful and playful illustrations encourage children to use their imagination, making it a fun and engaging read that is sure to make children laugh. It’s an excellent choice for parents or educators looking for an interactive and lighthearted story to share with young children.
“The Monster at the End of This Book” is a classic and beloved children’s book that has been entertaining and delighting young readers for generations. The book stars lovable Sesame Street character Grover, who is terrified of the monster he believes is lurking at the end of the book.
As the story progresses, Grover becomes more and more desperate to stop the reader from turning the pages, convinced that doing so will bring them closer and closer to the monster. However, with each turn of the page, children will discover that the only “monster” at the end of the book is Grover himself, leading to a silly and satisfying conclusion.
The book is written in an engaging and humorous style that makes it a joy to read aloud, while the colorful and expressive illustrations bring the story to life. Overall, “The Monster at the End of This Book” is a timeless classic that continues to captivate and entertain children today, making it a must-read for any young reader’s bookshelf.
By Stone, Jon
Classic Books for Kids
And last but not least, don’t forget about the classics. We’re talking “Where the Wild Things Are,” “Curious George,” and “The Little Engine That Could.” These books have been around for ages for a reason – they’re still just as awesome as they were when we were kids.
These are some of our favorite Classic books for kids .
- “Corduroy” by Don Freeman – This heartwarming story follows the adventures of a teddy bear named Corduroy as he tries to find his missing button. It’s a timeless classic that young children will love.
- “Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak – This imaginative story of Max, a young boy who travels to a magical land filled with wild creatures. It’s a great choice for children who love adventure and fantasy.
- “Guess How Much I Love You” by Sam McBratney – This sweet story features two characters, Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare, as they try to outdo each other in expressing their love. It’s a heartwarming read for young children and parents alike. I loved reading this book to my sons, and the simple text really became like a song to both of us.
- “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein – This touching story follows the relationship between a boy and a tree that selflessly gives everything it has to make the boy happy. It’s a great choice for teaching children about kindness and generosity.
- “The Cat in the Hat” by Dr. Seuss – This classic book features the mischievous Cat in the Hat as he wreaks havoc in the house of two young children. It’s a fun and engaging read for young children and a great way to introduce them to Dr. Seuss.
- “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats – This classic story follows a young boy named Peter as he explores the winter wonderland outside his house. It’s a great choice for teaching children about the joys of winter and the importance of imagination.
- Green Eggs and Ham” by Dr. Seuss – This fun and silly book follows Sam-I-Am as he tries to convince a friend to try green eggs and ham. It’s a great choice for teaching children about trying new things and the importance of an open mind.
- “The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper – This classic story follows a little engine that believes in itself and perseveres to overcome obstacles. It’s a great choice for teaching children about determination and the power of positive thinking.
- “Curious George” by H.A. and Margret Rey – This lovable monkey gets into all sorts of mischief in this series of books, which are great for teaching children about curiosity and problem-solving.
- “We’re Going on a Bear Hunt” by Michael Rosen – This fun and repetitive book follows a family as they go on a bear hunt. It’s a great choice for teaching children about adventure and perseverance.
- “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” by Beatrix Potter – This classic story follows a mischievous rabbit as he tries to sneak into a garden and get some tasty vegetables. It’s a great choice for teaching children about responsibility and the consequences of their actions.
By Silverstein, Shel
More Books for 4-Year-Olds
Here are some more specific books for 4-year-olds that are available on Amazon.com and have received positive reviews and that me and my boys keep coming back to time and again.
- “The Rainbow Fish” by Marcus Pfister – This colorful book follows a fish with sparkling scales who learns about the importance of sharing and making friends. It’s a great choice for teaching children about kindness and acceptance.
- “The Very Best Daddy of All” by Marion Dane Bauer – This heartwarming book celebrates the special bond between a father and child. It’s a great choice for teaching children about love, family, and the importance of a strong support system.
- “The Pout Pout Fish” is a charming and colorful children’s book that tells the story of a fish with a permanent pout. The book follows Mr. Fish as he swims around the ocean, spreading his gloomy attitude to all the other sea creatures he encounters.However, when a new fish arrives and gives Mr. Fish a kiss, he suddenly realizes that he doesn’t have to be unhappy all the time. He begins to see the beauty and joy around him, and his once-permanent pout turns into a cheerful smile.The book’s rhythmic and repetitive text make it a fun read-aloud for young children, while the bright and playful illustrations bring the underwater world to life. “The Pout-Pout Fish” is a heartwarming and uplifting story that teaches young readers about the power of kindness and positivity, making it a great addition to any child’s book collection.
- “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff – This fun book follows a chain of events that happen when a mouse is given a cookie. It’s a great choice for teaching children about cause and effect. This nine-book collectors series is a great gift.
- “The Gruffalo” by Julia Donaldson – This charming story follows a mouse as he outwits various animals in the forest by telling them about a fictional creature called the Gruffalo. It’s a great choice for teaching children about creativity and problem-solving.
- “Little Blue Truck” by Alice Schertle – This fun book follows a friendly blue truck as he makes friends with various animals on the farm. It’s an excellent choice for teaching children about friendship and kindness.
By Schertle, Alice
New York Times Best Seller Book Series for Kids
Here are some popular children’s books on the New York Times best-seller list. These are longer books for you and your child to read together, but they convey a positive attitude that older readers will love.
- “The One and Only Sparkella” by Channing Tatum – This heartwarming book follows a young girl named Ella, who loves sparkles and is trying to find her place in the world. It’s a great choice for teaching children about self-esteem and the importance of being yourself.
- “I Promise” by LeBron James – This inspiring book follows a group of children as they learn the importance of teamwork, perseverance, and hard work. It’s a great choice for teaching children about the value of determination and dedication.
- “The Questioneers” is a series of children’s books written by Andrea Beaty and illustrated by David Roberts. The series follows a group of young friends, including Ada Twist, Iggy Peck, and Rosie Revere, who love to ask questions, solve problems, and invent things.In each book, the characters encounter a problem or challenge that they must overcome using their creativity, ingenuity, and love of learning. Whether it’s building a bridge to save a stranded family or discovering the source of a mysterious noise in the neighborhood, the Questioneers always find a way to work together and come up with innovative solutions.The books are written in a playful and engaging style that encourages young readers to explore their own curiosity and creativity, while the whimsical illustrations bring the characters and their inventions to life. “The Questioneers” is a fun and inspiring series that celebrates the joys of learning, problem-solving, and working together, making it a great choice for parents or educators looking to inspire young minds.
- “The World Needs More Purple People” by Kristen Bell and Benjamin Hart – This fun and colorful book encourages children to embrace their unique qualities and improve the world. It’s a great choice for teaching children about diversity and acceptance.
- “You Matter” by Christian Robinson – This beautifully illustrated book reminds children that they are important and that they matter, no matter who they are or what they do. It’s a great choice for teaching children about self-worth and the value of kindness.
- “The Proudest Blue” by Ibtihaj Muhammad – This powerful book follows two sisters on the first day of school, as one of them wears a hijab for the first time. It’s a great choice for teaching children about identity, cultural differences, and the importance of acceptance.
- “Dog Man” series by Dav Pilkey – This popular series follows the adventures of a half-dog, half-human superhero named Dog Man. It’s a great choice for kids who love comic books and graphic novels. My oldest is currently obsessed with this series (He’s eight now.) It’s really helped him transition from easy readers into longer form books.
- “The Bad Guys” series by Aaron Blabey follows a group of misfit animals trying to do good deeds and change their reputation. It’s a great choice for kids who love silly humor and adventure.
- “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” series by Jeff Kinney follows the misadventures of a middle school student named Greg Heffley. It’s a great choice for kids who are just starting to read chapter books.
By Pilkey, Dav
Reading is one of the most important skills a child can develop. Not only does it open up a whole new world of knowledge and imagination, but it also lays the foundation for future academic success. Studies have shown that children exposed to reading at an early age are more likely to do well in school and have higher literacy levels as adults.
In addition to academic benefits, reading also has many emotional and social benefits for children. It can help build empathy and understanding, as children are exposed to different perspectives and experiences through books. It can also help children develop their social skills, as they learn to communicate and interact with others through stories and discussions.
But perhaps the most important benefit of reading for children is the bond it creates between parent and child. Reading together can be a special and intimate experience, allowing parents to connect with their children in a unique way. It can also help create a love of reading that lasts a lifetime, as children grow up to become adults who value books and all they have to offer.
Overall, learning to read is a crucial part of a child’s development. By exposing children to books and reading at an early age, we can help set them up for success in school and in life. So go ahead and cuddle up with your little ones, pick out a good book, and watch their minds grow and their imaginations soar!
Reading is an important activity for children of all ages, but especially for those under the age of 5. Not only does it help with language development and cognitive skills, but it’s also a great way to bond with your child and create lifelong memories. And with so many amazing children’s books available today, there’s never been a better time to start building your child’s library.
From classic favorites like “Goodnight Moon” and “Where the Wild Things Are,” to newer hits like “The One and Only Sparkella” and “The Questioneers” series, there’s something for every child to enjoy. So go ahead and dive into the wonderful world of children’s literature, and watch your child’s imagination soar!