Children’s book list released just in time for National Read Across America Day on March 2.

If the latest statistics are any indication, turning our children into avid readers is easier said than done. According to the results from the 2011 National Assessment of Education Progress, only about one-third of American fourth-graders are proficient in reading. 

“Teaching our children to become skilled readers early on is key to ensuring their success in school and life,” said Judith Jerald, Early Childhood Advisor, Save the Children’s U.S. Programs.

“This is especially true for the nearly one in four children living in poverty in America, because education is one of the most viable pathways out of poverty.”  And yet, more than 60 percent of low-income families can’t afford to have books in their homes.

That’s why Save the Children, through our early childhood education and school-based programs, strives to help disadvantaged children right here in the United States develop and grow as readers from birth all the way through sixth grade.

The results speak for themselves!  Last year, the number of our program participants reading at or above grade level nearly doubled by the end of the school year. 

This National Read Across America Day, let’s make reading a priority for our children.

Whether your little one is a beginning reader or a reluctant one, this expert-approved children’s book list includes fun and educational reads that will help your child uncover the bookworm within.

Let the lifelong love of reading begin with the books listed on this expert-approved children’s book list.

Children's Book ListGet your toddlers off to an early reading start with this children’s book list:

  • Mine! A Backpack Baby Story by Miriam Cohen
  • Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Taback
  • I Went Walking by Sue Williams
  • Click here for more reading suggestions. 

Children's Book ListEnsure your preschoolers get their daily dose of reading with with this children’s book list: 

  • Best Friends by Charlotte Labaronne
  • How Do Dinosaurs Play with Their Friends by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
  • Mine! Mine! Mine! By Shelly Becker
  • Click here for more reading suggestions. 

Children's Book ListKeep your grade-schooler’s reading skills on track with this children’s book list:

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
  • Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
  • Click here for more reading suggestions. 

Kids say the darndest things… about reading. We asked children in our literacy programs why they love a good book:

  • “You can learn many things in a book. You can even learn how to build a hamster home!” –Kori, 7, Point Pleasant, WV 
  • “I love to read because the pictures and stories help me to imagine that I am somewhere else!” –Nevaeh, 7, Landers, CA  
  •  “I like to read because there are new adventures all the time. Fiction is my favorite, because you can get inside the adventure.” –Brandon, 11, Lobelville, TN 
  • “I love reading because it feeds my sweet tooth and I love sweet things.” –TaTyana, 11, Clarksdale, MS
  • “I love reading because it takes my mind to a different world.” –Macie, 10, Williston, SC
  • “Because my mama likes to read!” –Kayla, 8, Shaw, MS

We thank Save the Children for providing the children’s book list and other information found in this article.


Save the Children works to break the cycle of poverty and improve the lives of children by ensuring they have the resources they need—access to a quality education, healthy foods and opportunities to grow and develop in a nurturing environment.

When disasters like hurricanes and wildfires strike, Save the Children is among the first on the ground ensuring the needs of children are being met. 

Save the Children’s early childhood education, literacy, physical activity and nutrition, and emergency response programs reached more than 147,000 children and families in the United States last year alone.

For more information, visit www.SaveTheChildren.org/usa.


Pat Wyman

Pat Wyman is the best selling author of  Instant Learning for Amazing GradesLearning vs. Testing, CEO and founder of HowToLearn.com and the creator of the Personal Learning Styles Inventory.

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