45 Favourite Books For Reception Kids (Aged 4-5)

Vicky Gayle
Dec 12, 2023 By Vicky Gayle
Originally Published on Jul 06, 2020
reception child reading
Age: 0-99
Read time: 8.1 Min


Books can be both a magical escape from reality and teach children as they navigate the world inside and around them.

We hope you enjoy this diverse reading list for Reception-aged children of books.

Top Tip: Don't forget parents can often download teachers’ resources for free to accompany many of these children's books!

Alice's Adventures In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Follow Alice’s adventures with the rest of her charming friends. Complete with the unabridged text and re-imagined illustrations, the girl who fell down the rabbit hole is refreshingly modern.

Amazing by Steve Antony

A picture book which just happens to include a wheelchair user and sends a much-needed message to children about celebrating our differences and embracing all forms of friendship.

Anywhere Farm by Phyllis Root

'There's a green-fingered urban gardener in everyone' will be the message taking root in your child's mind after reading Anywhere Farm. Everyday items and the smallest areas of open space will inspire your child to create their own bit of farmland.

Bad Cat! by Nicola Byrne

Fluffykins is a lovely cat but a naughty one too. When he's not scratching the settee, he's knocking something over and will have your child in a fit of giggles with his shenanigans.

Chapatti Moon by Pippa Goodhart

The classic pancake story has been given a brilliant south Asian twist with a cheeky chapatti on the run. The hilarity makes it one of the best picture books.

Crescent Moons And Pointed Minarets: A Muslim Book of Shapes by Hena Khan

Islamic art and its iconic shapes are explored in a striking way inside this picture book that gives children a chance to learn more about Islamic traditions (and maths) in an age-appropriate way.

Daddy Do My Hair: Beth's Twists by Tola Okogwu

Beth loves daddy doing her big, curly hair and he’s happy to be her hairdresser. Their father-daughter bond is wonderful for children to see and is a rhyming story they will want to read again.

Ellie's Magic Wellies by Amy Sparkes

Ellie Pengelly is bored until she gets a pair of new and magical wellington boots. She can't wait to test them out in a juicy puddle but gets a big surprise when she jumps in.

Errol’s Garden by Gillian Hibbs

Lots of children will be able to relate to Errol – a little boy who adores gardening but doesn't have a proper garden. He soon finds a solution and one that unites a diverse community in what could be any inner city of the UK.

reception boy reading

Greta And The Giants: Inspired by Greta Thunberg's Stand to Save the World by Zoë Tucker

Greta must save the forest she lives in against the neighbouring giants for her and the wild animals who share her home. A story inspired by environmental activist Greta Thunberg who has touched the hearts of many.

Hedgehog Holidays by Ruth Green

Like Herbert and Hilda Hedgehog, so many of us are excited for summer weather and day trips. The hedgehogs have the best time at the seaside, but will it be home or away that wins their hearts?

I Do Not Like Books Anymore! by Daisy Hirst

Learning to read is a monster challenge for Natalie who sees squiggles instead of words. With her brother's help, Natalie must find a way to use her love of telling stories to restore her lost faith in reading them.

I'm NOT A Mouse by Evgenia Golubeva

Olivia is nothing like a mouse, in her opinion, and must somehow persuade her mum to stop using a nickname that gets her into so many problems.

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall

Children get to see Jabari overcome his fears at the swimming pool as he prepares for a mighty jump. The relationship between Jabari and his encouraging dad is touching to see in this picture book debut.

Julian Is A Mermaid by Jessica Love

All Julian wants is to dress like a mermaid after being captivated by the glamour of three women on the subway ride with his abuela (Spanish for grandma). But will grandma accept Julian’s pageantry?

Kiki And Bobo’s Sunny Day by Yasmeen Ismail

Bobo is frightened to swim at the beach and when the secret is out, Kiki responds as any best friend would with compassion. A simple story to teach children empathy and how to face their fears with lift-the-flap pages.

Lots: The Diversity Of Life On Earth by Nicola Davies

A stylish non-fiction picture book that introduces children to the amazing creatures living all around them. As a reference book, it's one children can grow with.

Love Is by Diane Adams

An affectionate tale of a little girl who nurses a baby duckling to health until it's time to let it go. The book explores themes of love and loss, but with an uplifting twist at the end.

Lubna And Pebble by Wendy Meddour

After arriving in a world of tents, Lubna finds solace in a pebble then becomes a shoulder to lean on for Amir when he arrives too. This book shows the resilience and openness of children even in the most difficult circumstances.

books for reception kids

Mary Had A Little Glam by Tammi Sauer

Mary has a little glam and wears it very well. She even styles the kids at school, though it's here they learn to tell, the difference between a little glam and keeping it low-key. Not every outfit needs shimmer and beads, but every group needs a Mary.

Max And The Tag-Along Moon by Floyd Cooper

Max's granddad promised him the moon would follow him back home. When it then disappears behind the dark clouds, Max questions the moon and his granddad's word.

Me And My Sister by Rose Robbins

This brother and sister love spending time together, but life with an autistic sibling has its differences. Me and my Sister is a glimpse into how these differences make a person special and not inferior.

My Hair by Hannah Lee

One girl's search for the best party hair is brought to life with vibrant illustrations. My Hair is a story every young girl will see themselves in while showcasing the creativity and cultural importance of hairstyles in the black community.

My Monster And Me by Nadiya Hussain

Nadiya Hussain teaches children how to overcome anxiety in her story about a boy who eventually shrinks the huge monster following him with help from his grandma.

My Name Is Not Refugee by Kate Milner

A book that shows the reality of a refugee's journey, narrated by the child involved. This is a sensitive retelling of a sad situation which is what makes it suitable for children of Reception age.

Perfectly Norman by Tom Percival

Norman had always felt normal until he grew a pair of wings. He loves them but isn't sure everyone else will agree, so he hides them. Norman doesn't like this option either so must find a way to love himself, wings and all.

Polonius The Pit Pony by Richard O’Neill

Traveller communities are shown positively in this unique picture book, based on true events, which follows Polonius' escape from his current life to join a family of travellers instead.

Ravi’s Roar by Tom Percival

The tiger inside Ravi feels great to embrace, but he discovers nobody wants to play with a growling tiger. Ravi must learn to control his roar in a healthy way instead.

reception girl reading

Ruby's Worry by Tom Percival

Ruby wants to feel like herself again when her worry starts to grow bigger. Another of Tom Percival's picture books with poignant but simple illustrations that demonstrate a problem shared is a problem halved.

Sam and the Spider by Genevieve Yusuf

Sam feels overwhelmed at school but is reminded to stay strong by her creepy crawly best friend. Sam and the Spider will nurture empathy in children, especially for those with special educational needs.

Sleep Well Siba And Saba by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl

Forgetful sisters, Siba and Saba, find the items they lose during the day during their dreams. However, one night, their dreams start to reveal something unexpected. The pictures are just as dreamy as the story itself set in Uganda.

Sulwe byLupita Nyong'o

The Hollywood actress wrote Sulwe for children of colour to love the skin they're in. But all children can learn from Sulwe's journey of self-love and acceptance because we all have our differences.

Super Duper You by Sophy Henn

A rhyming picture book teaching children to embrace all their quirks and the personality traits which make them unique. A must-read we say.

Superhero Gran by Timothy Knapman

A fast-paced picture book for children to celebrate just how brilliant grandparents are for the super everyday things they do. A fun follow-up from Superhero Dad and Superhero Mum.

The Adventures Of Grandad Wheels! By Brian Abram

The Adventures of Grandad Wheels are a light-hearted series of children’s books about the crazy adventures of a granddad, who has a spinal cord injury, his grandson, and a whole host of other colourful characters.

The Lost Stars by Hannah Cumming

Fed up with being unappreciated compared to technology, the stars decide to go on holiday. What will everyone do without their natural light in the skies? Well, that's the big question.

The Obamas by Violet Lemay

A lift-the-flap picture book about one of the most iconic couples in the world. The book combines bold graphics with motivational quotes and facts about why the Obamas are so influential.

The Rabbit Listened by Cori Doerrfeld

When Taylor builds an amazing tower from building blocks, the child is distraught to see it destroyed. A bunch of animals share their advice to help Taylor with the disappointment, but which will Taylor listen to?

family reading

The Steves by Morag Hood

Two puffins, both named Steve – what could possibly go wrong? Well, one of them must be the best Steve, unless they realise fighting isn't worth the bother.

The Truth About Old People by Elina Ellis

Elina Ellis busts the myths about older people with this children's story about an animated pair of grandparents who are far from slow and boring.

Through The Eyes of Me by Jon Roberts

Kya is autistic and tells the reader what it's like in her world for both parents and children to better understand autism and how the condition affects a person.

Through The Eyes of Us by Jon Roberts

In the second book of Roberts' series, Kya is in school where readers are introduced to best friend Martha. Martha is also autistic but very different to Kya. A great book for teaching children about autism.

Under The Same Sky by Britta Teckentrup

A thought-provoking and poetic book to show children the beauty of our global community. After all – we're all under the same sky.

We’re All Wonders by R.J Palacio

"I know I can't change the way I look. But maybe, just maybe, people can change the way they see," August thinks. He’s an ordinary boy with an extraordinary face, who just wants to be accepted for who he is.

When Sadness Comes To Call by Eva Eland

Sadness is personified in this poignant story that can help children accept their emotions rather than being afraid of them. The Bookseller described the story as "gentle and profound," which is what you want for such a heavy topic.

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Written by Vicky Gayle

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Vicky Gayle

Vicky is an avid explorer living in Birmingham and is an auntie to four nieces and nephews. She believes in being a tourist in her own town and enjoys discovering new experiences. She has a Bachelor's degree in Journalism from the University of Central Lancashire. Vicky loves to share her finds and regularly sends event ideas to her friends. As many of her friends are parents, she is always on the lookout for child-friendly activities to recommend. Vicky is open-minded and willing to try most things at least once.

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