Recommended Reads

Are you tired of aimlessly browsing the stacks to find a good book to read with your kids? Has your home library been well-loved to the point of unreadability?  Do you need a new story to love? Never fear, EveryDay Learners has some fantastic recommendations for you! All the books on this list have been recommended by Michael O. Tunnell and James S. Jacobs, nationally-recognized children’s literature experts based in Provo, Utah. We’ve picked out some top ten lists for you (complete with the availability of each book at local libraries), and if you want even more recommendations, click here. There are dozens of other great books to read, and the master list is organized by subject area and genre--making it easy to find the perfect book for your family. Keep scrolling to see our top ten picture books, early readers, and chapter books!

 

Top ten picture books

1. Anno's Counting Book by Mitsumasa Anno (1977)

This lovely, contempletive book introduces children to basic math concepts in a fun way. It's a counting book depicting the growth in a village and surrounding countryside during 12 months. There are 3 copies of this book at the Provo Library and 4 copies at the Orem Library.

 
 

2. Freight Train by Donald Crews (1978)

Who doesn't love a great train book? Colors and the names of the cars on a freight train are introduced with sparse but rhythmic text and brilliantly colored illustrations. A Caldecott Honor Book. The Provo Library has 4 copies of this book and the Orem Library has 3 copies.

 
 
 

3. Julius, the Baby of the World by Kevin Henkes (1990)

Life changes pretty quickly with a new baby--and not always in ways you expect! Lilly is convinced that the arrival of her new baby brother is the worst thing that has happened in their house, until Cousin Garland comes to visit. You can find 4 copies of this book at the Provo Library and 4 more copies at the Orem Library!

 

4. Frog Goes to Dinner by Mercer Mayer (1974)

Ever had a pet that behaved badly? This family sure has! Having stowed away in a pocket, Frog wreaks havoc and embarrasses his human family at the fancy restaurant where they go for dinner. The Orem Library has 4 copies of this one, and the Provo Library has one too.

 
 
 
5. Big Bad Bruce by Bill  Peet (1982)
Bruce, a bear bully, never picks on anyone his own size until he is diminished in more ways than one by a small but very independent witch. If you love bear stories, you're in luck! The Provo Library has 5 copies and the Orem Library has 3 copies of this one. 
 
 
 

6. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1963)

All of us get wild sometimes, but it's comforting to remember that we can always come home. A naughty little boy, sent to bed without his supper, sails to the land of the Wild Things, where he becomes their king. Winner of the Caldecott Medal. This beloved classic is widely available, with 9 copies in the Provo Library collection and 8 copies in the Orem Library one.

 
 
 

7. Doctor De Soto by William Steig (1982)

What would you do if someone who doesn't like you needs your help? This clever mouse dentist outwits his wicked fox patient. A Newbery Honor Book. There are 3 copies of this book at the Provo Library and 6 copies at the Orem Library.

 
 

8. Jumanji by Christ van Allsburg (1981)

You may have seen the film adaptation of this book before, but how long has it been since you've read it? Left on their own for an afternoon, two bored and restless children find more excitement than they bargain for in a mysterious and mystical jungle adventure board game. Winner of the Caldecott Medal. This is another very popular book, with 8 copies at the Provo Library and 2 copies at the Orem Library.

 
 
 

9. Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber (1972)

Doing something new is always exciting and a little bit scary. See how a little boy is excited at the prospect of spending the night at his friend’s house, but worries about how he’ll get along without his teddy bear. You can find 3 copies of this one at the Provo Library and 4 copies at the Orem Library.

 
 
 

10. Flotsam by David Wiesner (2006)

Spark your imagination with this gorgeous, wordless picture book. A boy spots a mysterious, old camera that washes up on the beach and discovers a fantasy-filled mystery waiting for him on the roll of film inside. The Provo Library has 9 copies of this one, and the Orem Library has 6 more.

 
 

Top ten early reader books

1. The Golly Sisters Ride Again by Betsy Byars (1994)

Join the zany, crazy, showstopping Golly sisters, May-May and Rose, as they take their traveling show through the West! 2 copies of this book can be found at the Provo Library, and 3 can be found at the Orem Library.

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2. Minnie and Moo, Wanted Dead or Alive by Denys Cazet (2006)

 

When best friends Minnie and Moo try to help Mr. Farmer with his finances, they are mistaken for the Bazooka sisters, dangerous outlaws. Will they be able to escape the law? There are 6 copies of this one at the Provo Library and 2 copies at the Orem Library.

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3. Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel (1970)

Two best friends, Frog and Toad, go on several adventures and learn about friendship. Lovely illustrations accompany text that shows how important daily life can be. This popular book is available at the Provo Library (5 copies) and the Orem Library (11 copies).

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4. Uncle Elephant by Arnold Lobel (1981)

When a little elephant's parents are lost at sea, his kindly uncle takes care of him until they are found. There are 3 copies of this one available at the Provo Library and 5 at the Orem Library.

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5. Little Bear by Else Minarik (1957)

Join Little Bear and his supportive mother as they experience several adventures. In this book, Little Bear has a birthday party and visits the moon! You can find 6 copies of this favorite at the Provo Library and 4 at the Orem Library.

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6. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (1963)

See what happens when a very literal-minded housekeeper is left in charge for the day. You'll be surprised at how she follows her instructions! There are 4 copies of this book at the Provo Library and 6 at the Orem Library.

 

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7. Annie and Snowball and the Magical House by Cynthia Rylant (2010)

A young girl named Annie takes her pet rabbit, Snowball, to her new friend Sarah's house to play. While there, they enjoy seeing the pretty house full of frilly things, walking in the beautiful garden, and making a tiny garden house for a fairy tea party! The Provo Library has 2 copies of this one, and the Orem Library has 3.

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8. Henry and Mudge and the Great Grandpas by Cynthia Rylant (2005)

When Henry and his dog Mudge go to visit Great-Grandpa Bill in a home with lots of other grandpas, they lead all of them on a wonderful adventure. This book shows how important intergenerational family relationships are and how fun it is to spend time together. There are 5 copies of this book at the Provo Library and 3 at the Orem Library. 

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9. Mr. Putter and Tabby Clear the Decks by Cynthia Rylant (2010)

To relieve the boredom of a long, hot summer, Mr. Putter and his cat Tabby join their fun-loving neighbor, Mrs. Teaberry, and her mischievous dog Zeke on an adventurous sightseeing boat cruise. You can find 3 copies of this book at the Provo Library and 5 copies at the Orem Library.

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10. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (1957)

This beloved children's classic tells the story of two children who, bored on a rainy day, meet a Cat in the Hat who shakes things up in an unforgettable way. There are 16 copies of this popular book at the Provo Library, and the Orem Library has 6 more.

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Top ten chapter books (for older readers)

1. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman (2008)

This supernatural story is more suited for older readers. Nobody Owens, a child marked for death by an ancient league of assassins, escapes into an abandoned graveyard, where he is reared and protected by its spirit denizens. Newbery Award winner. This popular book is widely available, with 27 copies at the Provo Library and 10 at the Orem Library.
 
 

2. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (2002)

This imaginative retelling of the classic fairy tale tells the story of Princess Anidori, who is gifted beyond her understanding but endangered by those who are supposed to protect her. Throw in some swashbuckling adventure, a good deal of magic ability, and a smattering of romance and you have the ingredients for a very satisfying fantasy tale. Both the Provo Library and the Orem Library have several copies of this book (16 and 13, respectively).
 
 

3. Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo (2000)

Ten-year-old India Opal Buloni describes her first summer in the town of Naomi, Florida, and all the good things that happen to her because of her big ugly dog, Winn-Dixie. A Newbery Honor Book. This work of realistic fiction can be found at the Provo Library (7 copies) and the Orem Library (10 copies).
 
 
 

4. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (1990)

This beloved novel tells the story of Jeffrey Lionel Magee's struggle to come to terms with his situation as an orphan and as an unusually talented runner. As he searches for himself and a place to call home, he finds friends in unexpected places. Winner of the Newbery Medal. You can find 17 copies of this book at the Provo Library and 6 at the Orem Library.
 
 

5. A Single Shard by Linda Sue Park (2001)

Tree-ear, a thirteen-year-old orphan in medieval Korea, lives under a bridge in a potters’ village, and longs to learn how to throw the delicate celadon ceramics himself. When he finally gets the chance to learn, will he be able to prove himself? Winner of the Newbery Medal. There are 10 copies of this novel at the Provo Library and 7 copies at the Orem Library.

 
 
 

6. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (1958)

When Kit Tyler is orphaned, she decides to travel from her home in Barbados to live with relatives in 17th century Connecticut. Little does she know that her upbringing and talents have put her in danger of being punished as a witch. Winner of the Newbery Medal. You can find 12 copies of this classic at the Provo Library and at the Orem Library.
 
 
 

7. Lincoln, a Photobiography by Russell Freedman (1987)

This is a great choice for history buffs. Explore the life of our 16th president through photographs and text, and experience the challenges that he faced as a national leader during the Civil War. Winner of the Newbery Medal. The Provo Library has 12 copies of this book and the Orem Library has 3. 
 
 
 

8. Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Phillip Hoose (2009)

On March 2, 1955, an impassioned African American teenager, fed up with the daily injustices of Jim Crow segregation, refused to give her seat to a white woman on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of being celebrated as Rosa Parks would be just nine months later, fifteen-year-old Claudette Colvin found herself shunned by her classmates and dismissed by community leaders. Winner of a Newbery Honor Medal. You can find 4 copies of this biography at the Provo Library and 5 copies at the Orem Library.

 
 
 

9. Shadow Spinner by Susan Fletcher (1998)

Do you love historical fiction, storytelling, or reimaginines of classic literature? You'll love this one! When Marjan, a 13-year-old crippled girl, joins the Sultan’s harem in ancient Persia, she gathers for Shahrazad the stories that will save the queen’s life. There are 5 copies of this novel at the Provo Library and 7 copies at the Orem Library.
 
 
 

10. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor (1976)

This classic novel explores the difficult issue of discrimination. A black family living in the South during the 1930s is faced with discrimination. Because the family owns its own land and is uncharacteristically independent for the era, they have an particularly difficult time living with such prejudice. Winner of the Newbery Medal. You can find 8 copies of this novel at the Provo Library and 6 copies at the Orem Library.

 
 
 

If you are looking for more recommendations based on genre or subject, click here to see Tunnell and Jacobs’ entire list from Children’s Literature, Briefly.