50 Best Books For Year One Kids (Aged 5-6)

best books for year 1 kids
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What better way to ease the boredom of lockdown than by surrounding yourself with a pile of books and losing yourself in a good story?

Books are a brilliant way to while away the hours at home as a family without resorting to yet more screen-time. From the physical experience of turning a page to the excitement of reading a new book for the first time, reading in Year 1 is all about having fun and building confidence.

Before you hunker down, do check out this guide to building the perfect reading den idea for kids and don't forget that you can listen to stories every day with a children's author.

Whether children are already confident readers, racing through pages as quickly as they can, or only just getting to grips with reading, introducing them to new books and making sure they always have something interesting to read is a great way to encourage a love of learning and reading. To encourage that, we've put together the ultimate reading list for you and your little ones.

What Books Should Year 1 Be Reading?

Children in Year 1 learn to read at different rates, but giving them plenty of books to choose from helps encourage independent reading skills. We've picked out some great books to appeal to children in Year 1 in this list, but children of all ages can still enjoy these books.

year 1 kid reading

The Tiger Who Came To Tea by Judith Kerr

Sophie and her mum are having tea when the doorbell rings and teatime goes awry – they weren’t expecting a tiger!

Alfie And The Birthday Surprise by Shirley Hughes

Alfie thinks his neighbour, Mr MacNally, could do with cheering up, so he organises a birthday surprise – but what could it be?

This Is Not A Bedtime Story by Will Mabbitt

A great bedtime story for Year 1 children to practice their reading skills.

Oh No, George by Chris Haughton

George tries to be good in this funny storybook that’s great for reading aloud.

The Way Back Home by Oliver Jeffers

Follow the adventures of a boy who finds an aeroplane in his cupboard and decides to see how high he can fly it.

Mister Magnolia by Quentin Blake

Follow the adventures of Mr Magnolia in this classic rhyming picture book.

What Are The Best Books For Beginners?

Reading books is a tricky skill. Children in Year 1 are just beginning to get to grips with reading for themselves, so surround them with plenty of books to practice on – picture books are a good start. In this list, we've picked some great books for children aged between five and six years old.

book for year 1 kid

Elmer by David McKee

This 30th birthday edition of David McKee's picture book about Elmer the elephant is a great book to encourage reading aloud.

Socks by Elizabeth Lindsay and Nick Sharratt

From sockodiles to Goldisocks, Year 1 readers will love this rhyming story about everyone’s favourite thing to wear on their feet!

Little Monster Did It by Helen Cooper

In this story about a new baby, Little Monster does naughty things but Amy gets the blame.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

A true classic, this soothing book is just the ticket to help children drift off to sleep at bedtime.

Tad by Benji Davies

Tad is a book about a tiny tadpole in a big pond and a lovely coming of age story.

The Chocolate Monster by Pip Jones and Laura Hughes

There’s a reward of a hundred thousand chocolate bars if you can catch the chocolate monster and find his chocolate hoard!

Awesome Jokes That Every 6 Year Old Should Know! by Mat Waugh and Yurko Rymar

Jam-packed with jokes for six-year-olds, this is a rib-ticklingly funny read.

What Is A Good Book To Read For Year 1 Children?

Children love listening to grown-ups reading books. And you don't have to wait until bedtime to read to your child – if you have a child in Year 1, they'll love being read to at any time of day. In this list, we've put together a selection of books that we think five and six-year-olds will find especially fun to listen to.

best books for 5 year olds

The Puffin Book Of Stories For Five-Year-Olds by Wendy Cooling and Steve Cox

A wonderful collection of seventeen exciting stories by much-loved writers – perfect for reading aloud to children in Year 1.

The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith

Max the hedgehog is determined to find a way to cross the very busy road to reach the park – will he succeed?

The Rhythm Of The Rain by Grahame Baker-Smith

Beautifully-illustrated on every page, this non-fiction book captures the mystery and majesty of the water cycle from raindrops to the ocean.

Winnie And Wilbur Under The Sea by Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul

Follow Winnie and Wilbur as they go on a lively adventure under the sea.

Dougal's Deep-Sea Diary by Simon Bartram

Join Dougal on his search among the mermaids and sea creatures for the lost city of Atlantis in this page book.

Today I’m A Monster by Agnes Green

Angry feelings come and go but love and acceptance are here to stay – that’s the lesson at the heart of this compassionate book about emotions.

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Follow Milo on a magical journey in his car through the phantom tollbooth.

The Giraffe And The Pelly And Me by Roald Dahl

When Billy finds a giraffe, a pelly and a monkey living inside a weird old wooden house he creates the Ladderless Window-Cleaning Company!

The Enchanted Wood by Enid Blyton

Join Joe, Beth and Frannie as they explore the Enchanted Wood on the doorstep of their new home.

Mr Grumpy’s Motorcar by John Burningham

An enchanting book that’s beautifully illustrated and sure to make the list of family favourites.

My Strong Mind: A Story About Developing Mental Strength by Niels van Hove

Introduce your child to the idea of developing mental strength in this innovative book.

Polly Hopper And The Time Dreams by Andrew Gunn

This chapter book about Polly Hopper and the dream world she inhabits is ideal for keen readers to listen to.

Toto The Ninja Cat And The Great Snake Escape by Dermot O’Leary and Nick East

Toto and Silver seem like ordinary cats but they have late-night ninja adventures in London – can they find the giant snake?

The Complete Adventures Of Clever Polly And The Stupid Wolf by Catherine Storr

Follow Polly as she outwits the wolf in every one of these enchanting stories.

Grandpa Mudcake And The Angry Chihuahua by Sophia J. Ferguson

Find out what happens in this quirky picture book when Grandpa Mudcake takes Tony the chihuahua to the park.

Rooster Wore Skinny Jeans by Jessie Miller

Rooster loves his skinny jeans but the other animals laugh at him for wearing them – and then he looks in the mirror.

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

A delightful book about Gerald the giraffe finding acceptance as an outsider.

reading to key stage 1 kids

The Squirrels Who Squabbled by Rachel Bright and Jim Field

Sharing isn’t easy but two greedy squirrels learn how to stop squabbling in this laugh-out-loud storybook.

Poo In The Zoo by Steve Smallman and Ada Grey

Bob the ZooKeeper is tired of scooping up poo until a glowing poop appears out of nowhere – where did it come from?

The Girl, The Bear, And The Magic Shoes by Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks

Josephine has some lovely new running shoes and they turn out to be magic!

Emily Brown And The Thing by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton

A strange splish-splosh noise is keeping Emily Brown and her rabbit, Stanley, awake but they’re determined to find out who’s making the noise.

Centrally Heated Knickers by Michael Rosen

A delightfully funny anthology of one hundred poems about science and technology.

My Scruff by Simon James

A glorious story about belonging and the importance of friendship – especially of the furry kind.

A New Home For A Pirate by Ronda Armitage and Holly Swain

A funny book about a pirate who always feels seasick!

Once Upon A Wild Wood by Chris Riddell

A familiar fairy tale with a new modern twist that is sure to enthrall young readers and parents alike.

The Queen’s Spaghetti by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

Ideal for reading aloud to children, this adorable book reveals what happens when Queen Nellie makes too much spaghetti!

Chicken Nugget by Michelle Robinson

There’s something fishy – or foxy – about little Chicken Nugget's long-lost-cousin Franz – is he who he claims to be?

Superhero Dad by Timothy Knapman and Joe Berger

Children who are afraid of the dark will love this book about superhero dads – their super snores can be heard miles away!

Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival

Ravi the tiger can usually control his temper but not today – in this picture book, he’s about to learn about expressing himself and saying sorry.

The Boy Who Grew Dragons by Andy Shepherd and Sara Ogilvie

This chapter book is a whimsical story about finding magic in the most unexpected places.

The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy

Join Mildred Hubble for her first year at boarding school – Miss Cackle's Academy for Witches!

Worms! Dirty Bertie by Alan MacDonald and David Roberts

Bertie is a boy with disgusting manners who is always up to no good.

Mummy Fairy And Me by Sophie Kinsella and Marta Kissi

Ella Brook’s mummy might look like a normal mummy but she’s not – she can turn into a fairy!

Whatever Next by Jill Murphy

A delightful picture book about a baby bear who finds a rocket, makes friends with an owl and goes to the moon for a picnic.

What A Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, And Protecting Our Planet by Jess French

Support your child's learning with this book about our impact on Planet Earth – did you know that every plastic toothbrush ever made still exists?

Fantastically Great Women Who Changed The World by Kate Pankhurst

An informative book about inspiring women who have helped protect our natural world.

The Bear And The Piano by David Litchfield

One day, a young bear stumbles upon a piano in a forest. What happens next will delight young readers.

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Disclaimer

At Kidadl we pride ourselves on offering families original ideas to make the most of time spent together at home or out and about, wherever you are in the world. We strive to recommend the very best things, that are suggested by our community and are things we would do ourselves - our aim is to be the trusted friend to parents. 

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Kidadl provides inspiration for everything from family days out to online classes, arts, crafts and science experiments. We recognise that not all activities and ideas are appropriate and suitable for all children and families or in all circumstances. Our recommended activities are based on age but these are a guide. We recommend that these ideas are used as inspiration, that ideas are undertaken with appropriate adult supervision, and that each adult uses their own discretion and knowledge of their children to consider the safety and suitability.

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