Best Books for Kids: Early Childhood Educators Share Their Top Children's Book Picks by Donna John

Best Books for Kids: Early Childhood Educators Share Their Top Children's Book Picks

What do early childhood education teachers read to their students? 30Seconds® contributor Mike Prochaska (and now Bill Ellis!) have been interviewing these amazing people and found out. If you're an ECE teacher and have a book to add to the list, please tell us in the comments section. Be sure to read all the amazing interviews in our Early Childhood Education category.

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"The Scarecrows' Wedding"
"The Scarecrows' Wedding" $15
"It has to be ‘The Scarecrow’s Wedding’ by Julia Donaldson. It is fantastic, and all the boys and girls love the story in my group," says Duncan Greenhorn, an ECE teacher in Scotland.
"Hairy Maclary From Donaldson's Dairy"
"Hairy Maclary From Donaldson's Dairy" $2
“I don't think I have a favorite, but nothing seems to beat the old classics such as 'Hairy Maclary,' Dr. Seuss and 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar,'" says Conrad Treweek, who works with kids ages 2 to 5 and is currently teaching English to students in Spain.
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar"
"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" $7
The all-time classic picture book, from generation to generation, sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds! Have you shared it with a child or grandchild in your life?
"Little Tree"
"Little Tree" $14
“I love reading ‘Little Tree’ by Loren Long. It connects so well with my teaching philosophy," says Peter Dargatz, a kindergarten teacher from Wisconsin.
"Oi Frog!"
"Oi Frog!" $7
"So many to choose from. One of my new favorites is 'Oi Frog!' by Kes Gray and Jim Field," says Glenn Denny, who writes the blog, The Male Practitioner, and works in early learning and child care in Scotland.
"The Giving Tree"
"The Giving Tree" $13
“My favorite book to read to a classroom is 'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein. It is filled with lessons on so many levels applicable within so many grade levels," says Steven Weiland, who works with kids in Uganda with the Peace Corps.
Books By Mem Fox
Books By Mem Fox $3 & Up
“My favorite books that I like to read to the children are generally the ones that are born from children’s ideas during play. Mem Fox or Dr. Seuss are always classics!" says Brett Gent, who currently works in a public preschool in the suburbs of Adelaide [Australia].”
"The Day the Crayons Quit"
"The Day the Crayons Quit" $12
"We have so many we love to read. I guess when I was in the older classroom my favorite would have to be ‘The Day the Crayons Quit.’ The children loved it!" says Nathan Johnson, who works at Regand Park Early Childhood Education Centre in Dubbo, New South Wales, Australia. This is also Adam Antrobus's favorite. He's a teacher at Ingle Farm Primary School in Australia.
"The Very Silly Sheep"
"The Very Silly Sheep" $2
"For the younger room [it would] probably have to be ‘The Very Silly Sheep.’ I love being able to make the different animal noises and get a reaction out of the children. We make funny noises together," adds teacher Nathan Johnson.
"Don't Wake Up the Bear!"
"Don't Wake Up the Bear!" $5
Burl Tooshkenig, who works in the Early Childhood Education field in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, loves reading "Don't Wake Up the Bear!" to his classroom.
"The Ravenous Beast"
"The Ravenous Beast" $2 & Up
“Oh, I have loads but 'The Ravenous Beast' has to be one of my favorites," says David King, who works at a preschool in Dublin, Ireland.
"The Gruffalo"
"The Gruffalo" $8
"Hands down ‘The Gruffalo!’" says Barbara Sheridan, the founder and lead teacher at Barrie Forest Kindergarten and Nature School in Ontario, Canada. This book is also Steven White's favorite. He's an early childhood teacher at Tiptoes Children’s Day Nursery in the United Kingdom.
"Where Is the Green Sheep?"
"Where Is the Green Sheep?" $5
“'Where Is the Green Sheep?’ is a favorite, as it allows the children to participate as they are able to describe the colors of each sheep. They also often laugh at some of the sheep such as the train sheep, the swing sheep and the slide sheep," says Darren Moore, a daycare worker who loves working with young children.
Books By Shaun Tan
Books By Shaun Tan $4 & Up
"Anything by Shaun Tan or 'Tadpole’s Promise' by Jeanne Willis," says Dr. Martyn Mills-Bayne, a lecturer in Early Childhood Education from Adelaide, South Australia.
"Tadpole's Promise"
"Tadpole's Promise" $13
Follow the predictable changes of a tadpole and a caterpillar to their natural conclusion in this award-winning picture book.
"The Sad Book"
"The Sad Book" $14
"I generally don’t make the decisions of what I read. If I’m asked to read, it’s always whatever the child who is asking’s choice. Many kids in my program like 'The Sad Book' by Michael Rosen," says Travis Manley, a childcare center owner from Nebraska.
Books by William Joyce
Books by William Joyce $4 & Up
"I am a big fan of anything William Joyce," says childcare center owner Travis Manley.
"Koala Lou"
"Koala Lou" $6
Noel Jensen, an early childhood lecturer, loves Mex Fox’s "Koala Lou." "Just love that book and it resonates with me knowing the story behind the story Mem shared with me.," he says.

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Meredith Schneider
Love this! These would be great for my 6yr old.
Donna John
Awesome list! Great to know what teachers are reading to our kids. More coming soon, too!
Elisa Schmitz, 30Seconds
I love this! I wish I'd had these recos when my kids were little. So wonderful! Donna John Mike Prochaska Bill Ellis
Mike Prochaska
Mine personally is the ghost of sifty sifty sam and laughing with my kids when you see the ghost that mean at the beginning doing the dishes at the end with a belly full of food
Mike Prochaska
Also love nightmare in my closet because now my daughter can read it to me
Mike Prochaska
And where the wild things are!! Because my kindergarten son almost read the enltre book to me
Ann Marie Patitucci
Great list. Donna John ! I personally love books that have lessons related to social-emotional learning. They're important for kids of all ages, but it's certainly important that our little ones get a strong foundation in social emotional learning.
Abraham Alarcon
Awesome list! Thanks for sharing!

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