Research published in the Journal of The American Academy of Pediatrics in 2015 found that children who are read to during their early years by their parents had much higher levels of brain activation than those infants who weren’t afforded the same level of reading and book exploration.
This study alone showcases just how essential reading (to your child) is to your little one’s development. However, it doesn’t stop there. Reading books helps teach children about the good and bad things in the world around them, relationships, personalities, and how to interact with those around them.
Therefore, when choosing books for your six-year-old, it’s imperative to ensure you select books that facilitate this. For example, fairy tales are sure to fascinate children but also teach them what is real and what isn’t, and, by the same token, fantasy books certainly encourage free play and imagination.
But it’s not just about fantasy and fairy tales! There are a wide array of books out there that will help your six-year-old improve their reading and continue their development.
48 Best Books For Six-Year-Olds – Updated 2021
#1 – If Animals Kissed Goodnight
The beautifully charming illustration in this sleepy book by Ann Whitford Paul depicts perfectly how certain animals kiss their children goodnight. This bedtime book will help your little ones learn the names of numerous animals, their babies’ names, the noises and sounds they make, and the different parts of their bodies.
#2 – I’ve Loved You Since Forever
This loving book by Hoda Kotb is a fantastic depiction of a parent’s devotion and love for their child. It exemplifies the special bond between parent and child – even before the child is born. A combination of heartwarming illustrations of animals and babies with simple text makes this must-read for six-year-olds.
#3 – The Wonderful Things You Will Be
The rhythmic writing in this book by Emily Winfield showcases all the wonderful, beautiful, and amazing things that parents think about their offspring. An upbeat, heartwarming book that perfectly utilizes artistic and humorous drawings, which are sure to captivate both adults and children alike.
#4 – God Gave Us You
This book by Lisa Tawn Bergan is a story about an adorable young polar bear cub who asks her mother a question of the utmost importance – where did the little cub come from? Momma polar bear’s response is reassuring and communicates to her cubs exactly what they wanted to hear.
#5 – 365 Bedtime Stories and Rhymes
This book from Cottage Door Press is a veritable treasure trove of well-loved bedtime stories and rhymes that is sure to put a smile on the face of sleep kids! A different story each night will help to ignite your six-year old’s imagination while simultaneously sending the off to sleep. If you’re specifically looking for a bedtime book, this is the one for you and your child.
#6 – Grumpy Monkey
As you can probably tell from the title, Suzanne Lang’s book is all about a monkey who’s in a bit of a bad mood! His friend, Jim, just cannot work out why his friend monkey is in such a foul mood given that it is so beautiful outside. This book teaches children that sometimes it ok to feel grumpy and down, provided that you don’t upset or hurt others in the process.
# 7 -Where The Wild Things Are
This award-winning picture book by Maurice Sendak depicts the story of a naughty boy, Max, who is sent to bed without any dinner by his mom. When Max goes to his room, he imagines running away and leaving home to visit a land that is full of Wild Things – a place where everything appears to be the complete opposite of everything he expected.
#8 – InvestiGators
John Patrick Green’s heartwarming yet goofy picture novel centers around two alligators who happen to investigate crimes and other strange goings-on – hence the name InvestiGators. In this book, the InvestiGators have an active case, which they solve using their Very Exciting Spy Technology.
#9 – Ronan the Librarian
Tarra Lubbe and Becky Cattie’s book Ronan the Librarian is a hilarious yarn about a barbarian named Ronan who somehow became a librarian after he found a book. Guaranteed giggles with this humorous book, that’s for sure!
#10 – Ways To Make Sunshine
This book by Renee Watson depicts the story of Ryan Hart, a pure-spirited youngster with a lot on her mind. Her parents don’t earn much money, so everyday complications arise. But this doesn’t stop Ryan; she knows exactly how to make sunshine out of bad situations – a great lesson for all children.
#11 – Our Friend Hedgehog
This book by Lauren Castillo introduces us to a hedgehog. But this isn’t an ordinary hedgehog; this is a hedgehog who lives on a small island with her toy dog, Muffy. But everything takes a turn for the worse when a huge storm hits her island, blowing Muffy away. The only way she can get Muffy back is by embarking on a dangerous adventure.
#12 – We’re Different, We’re The Same
A heartwarming yet educational book by Bobbi that features characters from the well-known kid’s TV show, Sesame Street. The lesson it teaches is very important: although people might look different on the outside, inside, we are all very similar.
#13 – I Am Enough
Using the structure of a lyrical ode, Grace Byers’ book teaches little ones the importance of treating others with respect and having love for yourself. But it doesn’t stop there; it also tells us that our existence here on earth has a purpose.
#14 – Oh, The Places You’ll Go!
This well-known book by Dr. Seuss contains hilarious verses and images that perfectly depict the ups and downs that we experience in life. It encourages young readers to strive for success and not give in, no matter how hard life gets. This is a must for any six-year old’s bookshelf; after all, a child’s book collection wouldn’t be complete without a Dr. Seuss book!
#15 – The Day You Begin
This book by Jacqueline Woodson teaches us a fundamental lesson: feeling different is completely acceptable and normal. It teaches children that at times in their lives when they feel like an outsider, they will be brave enough to deal with the situation they find themselves in and reach out for help from others.
#16 – The World Needs More Purple People
World-famous actress Kristen Bell pairs up with director Benjamin Hart to show young children that purple people are exemplary human beings. Why? Because they bring everyone together – friends, families, and communities! Not only that, but they’re also very kind and will speak up for what is right…hence why the world needs more purple people!
#17 – Hair Love
As you’ve no doubt guessed, this book is about hair…but not just any hair! Matthew A. Cherry’s Hair Love is a tale all about a young girl called Zuri and her crazy hair that has a mind all of its own! It twists, curls, and coils whichever way it so desires, so Zuri’s father decides to step in and style it, but soon realizes he has a lot to learn!
#18 – When God Made You
It goes without saying that children, like adults, long to find their place in the big, wild world surrounding them. Matthew Paul Turner’s playful book, When God Made You reassures young readers that they are deeply appreciated and loved throughout every aspect of life, which will help them to spread their little wings and fly high!
#19 – Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive The Bus
This has to be one of the funniest books on this list, if not the funniest! Mo Willems’ book depicts the story of a pigeon who takes the place of a bus driver when the driver decides to take a break. But don’t worry; this pigeon really is rather special!
#20 – Julian is a Mermaid
Jessica Love’s exuberantly illustrated book tells Julian’s story, a boy who is mesmerized by the three women who are dressed spectacularly. Julian wants to dress like the three women he saw but is worried about what others may think of him if he does. This book should definitely be on your list of must-have books for your six-year-old as it teaches many important lessons that are exceptionally relevant, particularly in the modern world.
#21 – Dog Man
Dav Pilkey’s Dog Man is a story that centers around….yes, you guessed it, a dog man! Part-man, part-dog, the hero of the book sets out to solve crimes. The book is the first of nine (we highly recommend getting the full set if your little one enjoys the first one) and teaches young readers to understand and explore kindness, self-importance, persistence, and empathy. This set of books is an adventure and life lessons all rolled into one.
#22 – We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
Introducing Penelope Rex. It’s her very first day of school, and she’s super excited to meet her new classmates and make new friends. The problem is, she finds it rather difficult to make new friends as she finds them all so delicious! This book from Ryan T. Higgins is sure to induce smiles and laughter, that’s for sure!
#23 – Bob’s Books
Written explicitly to help build young readers’ comprehension, spelling, and reading skills, Lynn Maslen’s Bob Books are the perfect addition to any bookshelf. Brimming with colorful illustrations that boost engagement and fun, children will absolutely adore this set of books and will want to read them time and time again. Drama, hilarity, and adventure all rolled into one!
#24 – One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish
Another classic children’s from Dr. Seuss. This book contains silly rhymes that will certainly have children (and probably you) in stitches! The combination of colorful illustrations and simple words make this a book that your child should be able to read by themselves…but you may want to join in just because it’s so funny!
#25 – NarWhal: Unicorn of the Sea!
This book by Ben Clanton is all about two underwater friends – NarWhal the narwhal and Jelly the jellyfish – an unlikely duo, that’s for sure! While they might not have a lot in common, they both absolutely love to eat waffles, party, and go on adventures. Join them on their adventures and discover the whole ocean with NarWhal and Jelly!
#26 – How Martha Saved Her Parents from Green Beans
David LaRochelle’s book How Martha Saved Her Parents From Green Beans illustrates one girl named Martha and her absolute hatred for green beans. When some very mean green beans decide to kidnap Martha’s Mom and Dad, it’s down to her to save her parents and stop the evil vegetables from taking over her entire town!
#27 – Ada Twist, Scientist
Introducing Ada twist, a scientist who has always been curious about the world around her. Just like her friends Rosie and Iggy, Ada’s mind has always been full of questions. This book by Andrea Beaty conveys a vital message that when things go wrong or don’t go according to plan, it’s imperative to keep thinking and solve the problems that lay before you. Oh, and stay curious no matter what!
#28 – Iggy Peck, Architect
Another book by Andrea Beaty and yet another interesting character! This time we meet Iggy Peck, Architect. Since Iggy was little, he built bridges, buildings, and towers (hence the name architect). Luckily for him, his skills come in handy when he gets stuck on an island in the middle of enjoying a picnic!
#29 – Zoo in the Sky
This book by Jacqueline Mitton takes you on an illuminating journey through the night sky….to a zoo! On your ride through the starry sky, you’ll meet a Great Bear, a scaly dragon, a Great Dog, a Hare, and many more animals. Rich text, fascinating illustrations, and studded shiny stars make this a once-in-a-lifetime book adventure!
#30 – Pete the Cat
James Dean’s interactive storybooks introduce children to one cool character, namely Pete the Cat. Pete, the Cat, goes for a walk wearing his brand new white shoes, but as he makes his way down the street, his shoes change color thanks to all the things he steps in!
#31 – Penny and Her Marble
This is one of our favorites and one we think should be on every six-year old’s bookshelf. When in Mrs. Goodwin’s front yard, Penny found a marble and decided to dust it off and take it home with her. The question is, did the marble actually belong to Penny? To find out, read this brilliant book by Kevin Henkes.
#32 – Madame Badobedah
This book by Sophie Dahl contains a very valuable lesson. The story is set in the Mermaid Hotel, a hotel owned by Mabel’s Mom and Dad. One day, an old lady walks in with bags crammed full of jewelry and coins. Mabel’s’ parents are suspicious of the old lady…but are first impressions always correct?
#33 – Magnificent Homespun Brown
Magnificent Homespun Brown by Samara Cole Doyon was written to encourage the reader to embrace their skin color and promote self-love and self-care. If your child is a fan of mesmerizing illustrations, this is certainly a book to consider.
#34 – Fox and Rabbit
An anxious rabbit and a care-free fox make an usual yet perfect pairing whatever they’re doing, be that planting a tree in their garden or hunting for hidden treasure. In fact, there’s nothing that this team can’t do. A fantastic book by Beth Ferry and one sure to be a hit with six-year-olds!
#35 – Stella Endicott and the Anything-Is-Possible Poem
Stella Endicott is overjoyed when her school teacher asks the whole class to pen a poem of their own. Stella writes a wonderful poem, but to her dismay, her annoying classmates tell her that her poetry is nothing but a pack of lies. They end up arguing and are all sent to the principal’s office.
#36 – Peter & Ernesto: Sloths in the Night
This book penned by Graham Annable depicts the story of two sloths who live in (and love) the jungle. Although they love living in the jungle, they’re fully aware of just how dangerous it can be when night falls. But things take a turn for the worst when one of their best friends disappears, and they have to gather up their pals and embark on a quest to find their lost buddy.
#37 – The Magnificent Makers: How to Test a Friendship
This story revolves around two best buddies who absolutely love science. One day, a magic portal to the Science space opens at their school, and they don’t waste a moment stepping through and exploring what it has to offer. This book covers many different scientific topics that young children tackle in everyday schooling – a fun introduction to science by Theanne Griffith.
#38 – Real Pigeons Fight Crime
Did you know that crime-fighting pigeons actually exist? They protect your street and neighborhood and are more than willing to fight crime in order to keep the peace and keep you safe! This wonderfully illustrated book by Andrew McDonald is a hilarious read and is sure to your little one giggling all the way through!
#39 – Paolo, Emperor of Rome
This picture book by Mac Barnett depicts the life of the affectionately name Paolo, a dachshund who has found himself trapped in a hair salon in the middle of Rome, Italy. However, one day he manages to escape and starts living life the way he always wanted to. This is one of the best books on the list and one that your little one is sure to love!
#40 – Baloney and Friendship
Greg Pizolli’s series of graphic novels are centered around Baloney and his friends, a group of pals who engage young readers as they perform some rather questionable magic spells. When they’re feeling unsure or down, they encourage the reader to give them a boost in confidence. This interactive book is certainly highly entertaining!
#41 – This Way, Charlie
A heart-warming tale of two horses by Caron Levis. Jack likes to keep himself to himself, but when Charlie arrives, a powerful bond between them grows, which blossoms into a wonderful friendship.
#42 – Everyone’s Awake
Colin Meloy uses witty rhymes and great-looking pictures to tell a family’s story and their bedtime routine that always leaves the entire family in stitches with laughter! This is a perfect bedtime book, but expect your little one to laugh their head off!
#43 – Charlie and Mouse Outdoors
Meet Charlie and Mouse, two loving and almost inseparable brothers. Laurel Synder’s book depicts their adventures, which they embark on with other members of their family and get up to all sorts of capers!
#44 – Little Readers: Bold Women in Black History
An inspiring and essential book by Vashti Harrison, and one that is certainly suitable for all ages. It contains real-life stories of 40 pioneering black women through American history, specifically focusing on their will to never, ever give up regardless of what adversity they faced.
#45 – Sulwe
This book by award-winning actress Lupita Nyong’o tells the story of Sulwe, a child who has the skin color of night. Throughout this book, Nyong’o instills in the reader the utmost importance of self-love and self-esteem and encourages young readers to recognize and appreciate their totally unique beauty – valuable lessons for any six-year-old.
#46 – All Are Welcome
The story in All Are Welcome is centered around a school where absolutely everyone is welcome, no matter what their background. Children are allowed to wear parkas, hijabs, yarmulkes, and anything they like because diversity should be celebrated, as the book points out.
#47 – The Giving Tree
Published over fifty years ago, The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein is still as relevant today as it ever has been. Often described as a ‘masterpiece’ in the context of children’s books, this story depicts a tree that becomes an apple bearer and shade provider for a boisterous young child.
#48 – Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Do-It-Yourself Book
Not so much a storybook but instead an opportunity for your six-year-old to write their own version of the popular and well-loved Diary of Wimpy Kid series. It encourages young readers to write, draw, illustrate, doodle, and just be creative with pens and pencils!