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At the important developmental stage of kindergarten, the stories you tell your children will not only entertain them but also teach valuable, lasting lessons in a way that only vibrant illustrations and masterful writing could do. The best books for kindergartners can tell fun, engaging stories while also educating your child and helping them develop strong reading habits. The books on this list will expand your child’s imagination, teach them important principles, prepare them for future education, and much more. Here are eight great books for your kindergartner:

The Day You Begin

Most kids feel nervous about their first day at school. Will they fit in? Will they make friends? As a parent, you probably have similar concerns (and more). The Day You Begin addresses these concerns and prepares your child to enter the classroom with confidence. Jacqueline Woodson begins the book with “There will be times when you walk into a room and no one there is quite like you.” That line captures the central theme of the book: Everyone is unique, we all feel different sometimes, and that diversity makes us beautiful.

The Kissing Hand

Just as it’s sometimes difficult for you to wave goodbye to your child on that first day, your kindergartner may also be worried about leaving their parent for the school day. The Kissing Hand speaks to those concerns in the form of a young raccoon named Chester. Chester is worried about being away from his mother and doesn’t want to go to school. To help Chester, his mother tells him the family secret of the kissing hand. That secret helps Chester bring the comfort of home, and of mom, to school.

The Kissing Hand is the perfect book for comforting anxious kids and teaching them how to comfort themselves wherever they are. It also reminds your little ones that their parents love them even when they’re not physically close, all with the help of a sweet story and beautiful illustration.

The Napping House

“There is a house, a napping house, where everyone is sleeping.” The first line of The Napping House will likely be nostalgic for you, and now you can pass on its classic words to your child. On a gloomy day, a grandma napping on her comfy bed is joined by a child, a dog, a cat, and a mouse. But when one final creature starts a chain reaction that wakes everyone up, the gloomy, sleepy house transforms into a sunny home of family fun. The repetition in The Napping House will help your child quickly learn to read along.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie is another classic book that follows the antics of a little mouse who teaches a little boy that if you give a mouse a cookie, he’s going to want much more. It all ends with the little mouse, ready for a nap, asking for the little boy to read him a book. The story’s told in a circular style of if-then statements that will teach children about cause and effect, and that their actions have consequences, all with bright and fun illustrations.

The Day the Crayons Quit

Your child will never see their crayons the same way after reading The Day the Crayons Quit. This book follows Duncan, who one day opens his crayon box only to find that his crayons are tired of being used for the same jobs and have gone on strike. Black wants to be more than just outlines, and blue wants to be used for more than water. Duncan must find a solution that satisfies the crayons and lets him finally color his picture. This story shows problem-solving in action and will expand your child’s imagination and help them think outside the box.

Where the Wild Things Are

Few stories are as timeless as Where the Wild Things Are. This story, originally published in 1963, is all about imagination and lessons that transcend time. Max, a sassy child who dresses in a wolf suit and back-talks to his mother, gets sent to bed without any dinner. But Max doesn’t go to sleep. Instead, his room becomes a forest, and he sails off in a boat “to the place where the wild things” are, where he becomes king.

After some adventures with the wild things, though, Max is pulled back home when he remembers his parents’ love and the draw of a hot supper. This bedtime classic will stimulate your kid’s imagination while reminding them what’s most important.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

There may not be a more fun way to teach your kids the alphabet than with Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. The shenanigans begin when “a” tells “b,” “c,” “d,” and “e” to meet at the top of the coconut tree. When the whole alphabet joins, the letters crash and the capital letters (mamas, papas, uncles, and aunts) come to help their little ones. That crash doesn’t deter the letters, though, and they soon call out a new challenge: “Dare double dare, you can’t catch me. I’ll beat you to the top of the coconut tree!”

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom will not only teach your kids their ABCs, but will do so with a rhythm that will help them get involved in the reading.

Be My Neighbor

Teach your kindergartner that they’re part of a much larger human family with Be My Neighbor. Inspired by Fred Rogers and Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood, Be My Neighbor teaches kids that community can go far beyond the walls of your home. This book will take your kindergartner to Vietnam, Austria, Kenya, other schools, places of worship, and much more. Be My Neighbor can help kids look outside themselves, learn about the broader world, and start loving their neighbor.

The books you read to your child as they develop their literacy will stick with them for decades to come. These eight stories will entertain and inspire, will educate and comfort your kindergartner, and will prepare them to succeed in school.