12 Best Read-Aloud Books

12 Best Read-Aloud Books

February 03, 2021

Happy World Read Aloud Day! Time to grab your favorite books and share stories with your community. Here are our 12 book recommendations for fun and enriching reading aloud and storytime with your kids.

For 12 years, the world has been celebrating World Read Aloud Day every February 3. Created by the nonprofit organization LitWorld and powered by Scholastic, Inc., its goal is pretty simple: to strengthen kids and communities through the power of stories. Now more than ever, we believe the little ones––together with their parents and guardians––need this opportunity for connection and learning. So let's all read aloud today?

Join 173 countries and get together with your kids and loved ones––virtually and socially distanced, of course––to read some of the best books for read-alouds. 


1. The Very Noisy Bear by Nick Bland

Music has caught the ears of one very sleepy Bear. Bear’s friends Moose, Zebra, Lion, and Sheep have formed a band, and since Bear is already awake, they invite him to join. But first, they’ll have to find him just the right instrument to play. He tries the drums, the guitar, and the trumpet. Turns out he’s a very noisy bear. Then finally he tries the microphone, and it seems Bear has found just the right instrument to play.

Nick Bland’s fifth book with Bear and his friends is a wonderful celebration of friendship, teamwork, and finding your talents.

2. Anatole by Eve Titus

Anatole is a most honorable mouse. When he realizes that humans are upset by mice sampling their leftovers, he is shocked! He must provide for his beloved family––but he is determined to find a way to earn his supper. And so he heads for the tasting room at the Duvall Cheese Factory. On each cheese, he leaves a small note––"good," "not so good," "needs orange peel"––and signs his name.

When workers at the Duvall factory find his notes in the morning, they are perplexed––but they realize that this mysterious Anatole has an exceptional palate and take his advice. Soon Duvall is making the best cheese in all of Paris! They would like to give Anatole a reward, if only they could find him.



3. The Knight Who Wouldn’t Fight by Helen Docherty

Why should a knight have to fight? What’s so great about scaring people, anyway? Leo, the mouse is a little knight who likes to read books, not fight. The others laugh – but he doesn’t care what people say. After all: how do you tame a dragon? How do you stop an angry troll? What should you do if a griffin attacks you?

We bet you think a knight should draw his sword and fight! But Leo knows that most monsters just want to enjoy a nice cozy chat. And if you read them a story, they really love that. Especially if it’s about them…

  • Adorable rhyme about a bookish little knight turned hero
  • The best-loved team behind The Snatchabook and Abracazebra
  • Laugh-out-loud celebration of reading, stories, and sharing
  • Ogres, dragons, trolls, knights, and a message of peace


4. Blackout by John Rocco

One hot summer night in the city, all the power goes out. The TV shuts off and a boy wails, "Mommm!" His sister can no longer use the phone, Mom can't work on her computer, and Dad can't finish cooking dinner. What's a family to do?

When they go up to the roof to escape the heat, they find the lights––in stars that can be seen for a change--and so many neighbors it's like a block party in the sky! On the street below, people are having just as much fun––talking, rollerblading, and eating ice cream before it melts.

The boy and his family enjoy being not so busy for once. They even have time to play a board game together. When the electricity is restored, everything can go back to normal ... but not everyone likes normal. The boy switches off the lights and out comes the board game again.

Using a combination of panels and full bleed illustrations that move from color to black-and-white and back to color, John Rocco shows that if we are willing to put our cares aside for a while, there is party potential in a summer blackout.



5. David Goes to School by David Shannon

A companion to the Caldecott Honor-winning classic No, David! by bestselling picture-book creator David Shannon!

David's teacher has her hands full. From running in the halls to chewing gum in class, David's high-energy antics fill each school day with trouble––and are sure to bring a smile to even the best-behaved reader.



6. Square Eyes by Craig Smith

Panda and his friends sit inside on the couch all day, glued to the TV screen or multi-screening with tablets too, so in this fun song, singer/songwriter Smith encourages them to get up, get outdoors, and exercise!

From Craig Smith, creator of the phenomenally successful The Wonky Donkey, is another hugely popular song for kids––now in picture book format.



7. Soaring Saturday by Sophia Lee

It's Saturday, Sara's favorite day of the week! She spends the day delivering letters with her Papa, and loves looking at pictures on the postcards. She looks at pictures of far-off countries her imagination takes her to strange and wonderful places in her world of make-belief. This is a beautiful book about the power of imagination and the love between parent and child.

Read our Book of the Week feature of this book on our blog.



8. Be Yourself, Baba by Hitomi Otani

Baba is a gentle soul who loves helping others. However, spelling confuses him, maths puzzles him, and he will never be a sports hero or one of the popular crowd. Then, something special happens to make Baba realize that he too has qualities that make him lovable to those around him. The story celebrates compassion, self-confidence, and the healing power of friendship.



9. Monday Is One Day by Arthur A. Levine

One by one, the days of the week roll by. Monday is one day, Tuesday is blue shoes day, and Wednesday is halfway day. When Saturday and Sunday finally come, it's time for little ones and the adults who love them to play, share, and celebrate. Every day of the week offers a special opportunity for families to enjoy being together!

Arthur A. Levine is the author of several books for children. His most recent picture book, Monday Is One Day, was hailed by Caldecott Honor medalist, Brian Selznick, as a "delightful book," and was lauded by Booklist magazine in a starred review as "that rare book perceptive enough to recognize that the random moments are those we treasure most." Arthur has been a children"s book publisher and editor for twenty-five years. Mr. Levine lives in New Jersey with his family.



10. Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes

Until Chrysanthemum started kindergarten, she believed her parents when they said her name was perfect. But on the first day of school, Chrysanthemum begins to suspect that her name is far less than perfect, especially when her class dissolves into giggles upon hearing her name read aloud. That evening, Chrysanthemum's parents try to piece her self-esteem back together again with comfort food and a night filled with hugs.

Chrysanthemum thinks her name is absolutely perfect—until her first day of school. "You're named after a flower!" teases Victoria. "Let's smell her," says Jo. Chrysanthemum wilts. What will it take to make her blossom again?



11. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin Jr.

A big happy frog, a plump purple cat, a handsome blue horse, and a soft yellow duck––all parade across the pages of this delightful book. Children will immediately respond to Eric Carle's flat, boldly colored collages. Combined with Bill Martin's singsong text, they create unforgettable images of these endearing animals.



12. The Dot by Peter Reynolds

With a simple, witty story and free-spirited illustrations, Peter H. Reynolds entices even the stubbornly uncreative among us to make a mark — and follow where it takes us.

Her teacher smiled. "Just make a mark and see where it takes you."

Art class is over, but Vashti is sitting glued to her chair in front of a blank piece of paper. The words of her teacher are a gentle invitation to express herself. But Vashti can’t draw––she’s no artist. To prove her point, Vashti jabs at a blank sheet of paper to make an unremarkable and angry mark. "There!" she says.

That one little dot marks the beginning of Vashti’s journey of surprise and self-discovery. That special moment is the core of Peter H. Reynolds’ delicate fable about the creative spirit in all of us.



Check more of our books for reading aloud with your kids and families. 



Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published