24 Best
Books for
6 Year Olds

Welcome to Elephant Notes . . . our periodic take on some of the ideas, issues, and news impacting parents, children, and reading.

February 2021

Age six is an integral stage in a child’s reading journey. Six-year-olds can retell familiar stories with confidence and even begin to write stories of their own. There are so many books out there and each child’s literacy development is unique, so it can be hard to know which books are appropriate for your six-year-old. Luckily, we’ve put together a comprehensive list of the best books for six-year-olds.

Searching for great books for a younger child? Check out our selections of the best children’s books by age. 

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Books for Your Six-Year-Old to Read Independently

At this age, children develop a new sense of freedom at the prospect of reading on their own. Here are some of our favorites that will help your child make a smooth transition to reading independently.

Sam and the Firefly 
P.D. Eastman

Sam is a lonely owl in search of a friend to keep him company in the dark night sky. Luckily, he meets the firefly, who brightens up the night and gets the pair  into all sorts of trouble. The two form an unlikely friendship and fill the sky with bright words. 

Sam and the Firefly is the perfect pick for six-year-olds to read on their own. This Dr. Suess-inspired beginner book is full of colorful depictions of the night sky. The illustrations, paired with simple prose, clue young readers in on the plot of this silly bedtime story.

Alyssa Satin Capucilli

Biscuit the golden retriever loves to bark, play, snack, and give kisses. However, this loveable pup does not want to go to bed! This story takes a young reader through sweet little Biscuit’s nighttime routine, which includes just about everything but going to bed! Will Biscuit ever get to sleep? 

We love this “My First I Can Read” book for its repetitive text that helps young readers catch on to its plot. This story full of fun and familiar sounds is an adorable choice for independent six-year-old readers.

Junie B. Jones, First Grader (At Last!)
Barbara Park

Junie B. Jones is no longer a kindergartener! She has finally made it to the first grade, and that means she has a new teacher, has to make new friends, and has to adopt a brand new style. Follow Junie’s first grade antics in this fun series read. 

The 18th installment in the Junie B. Jones series, this book’s straightforward plot is not only easy to follow, but relatable for six-year-olds. Junie encounters the obstacles of joining a new class. This funny story is good choice for more advanced independent readers, and a wonderful way to encourage students in their transitions into a new school year.

We Are In a Book! (Elephant and Piggie Series)
Mo Wilems

Gerald and Piggie are best friends with plenty of differences. Gerald is hesitant and Piggie is not. Piggie loves to smile. Gerald? Not so much. These two friends are in a book, and you are reading it! Learn all about the adventure inside the pages of this fun read. 

We Are In a Book! is the 13th installment in the Elephant and Piggie series, and a wonderful choice for independent readers because of its unique perspective on learning to read. The book introduces important vocabulary specially designed for early readers. The commentary from the characters throughout this story is engaging and fun for a six-year-old audience.

Fun Books for Six-Year-Olds Who Don’t Like to Read

It’s inevitable: some six-year-old are reluctant readers. These silly books will entice your hesitant reader and keep them engaged.

The Book With No Pictures
B.J. Novak

This book has no pictures. What could be fun about that? Turns out, words have more power than you might think!

This book is a great pick for six-year-olds who don’t like to read because of its innovative style. Written to draw the reader in with its intriguing title, cover, and contents, this book’s message is that you don’t need pictures to have a wonderful story. The Book With No Pictures turns the idea of a picture book on its head and encourages kids to find joy in unexpected places.

Mercy Watson to the Rescue
Kate DiCamillo

Mercy Watson is not just a pig, but a “porcine wonder.” At least, that’s what her human family calls her. Mercy the mischievous pig loves to eat buttered toast and get into trouble. That’s just what she does in this fun chapter book. 

We love Mercy Watson to the Rescue for the sense of wonder it instills in its readers. The absurd plot and fun old-fashioned images are engaging and will surely prompt plenty of discussion about the role of this pig in her family. This book is great for reluctant readers because its layout gives the feel of a chapter book with picture book qualities. It is full of cliff-hangers and silly prose that will keep readers hooked.

We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
Ryan T. Higgins

Penelope Rex is a dinosaur who is very excited to start school. It’s the first day of class, and Penelope has one very important lesson to learn: we don’t eat our classmates! Even though her classmates are very tasty, eating them for lunch is not a great way to form a friendship. 

This is a wonderful book for kids who don’t love to read because it is such a unique story. Its hilarious plot and quirky illustrations are engaging for a six-year-old audience. Ryan T. Higgin’s writing style will draw readers in with absurd humor and silly characters in a familiar classroom setting. 

Where the Sidewalk Ends
Shel Silverstein

Where the sidewalk ends is where a world of wonder begins. Meet all kinds of quirky characters, like a boy who turns into a T.V. and a girl who eats a whale. There are so many incredible sights to see if you only use your imagination. 

Shel Silverstein’s collection of poetry and illustrations is great for hesitant readers because it introduces them to a new, approachable style of writing. This bestseller is a departure from prose that is usually associated with children’s literature, and is instead full of engaging verse and vast profundity. The themes this book explores will prompt your six-year-old to think deeply and dream big.

Amelia Bedelia
Peggy Parrish

Amelia Bedelia takes everything literally. Literally! This trait gets her into some silly scenarios in her job cleaning a fancy family’s house. Hopefully she can make it up to them by baking a delicious pie.

Amelia Bedelia is a good choice for six-year-olds who don’t particularly enjoy reading because it’s just so silly! This book is a nice introduction to the idea of idioms, and a perfect read-aloud option. Readers will find themselves not only laughing at Amelia’s blunders, but working through why they are so funny, providing six-year-olds with a valuable lesson in wit and communication.

Chapter Books

As kids grow older, they grow more interested in longer, more developed stories. Here are some of our favorite chapter books for six-year-olds.

Ramona the Brave
Beverly Cleary

Ramona is growing up, and that means she’s becoming more independent. It also means she gets her very own room! With all this independence, things can be scary. Follow along as Romona confronts classmates, faces the intimidating neighborhood dog, and overcomes whatever might be lurking under her bed.

This classic chapter book is the third in Beverly Cleary’s Ramona series. It is a good choice for six-year-olds with older and younger siblings, who are starting school, and who have a lot of personality. This relatable story is perfect to be read aloud, and teaches an important lesson about bravery and facing fears.

 Little House in the Big Woods
Laura Ingalls Wilder

Travel back in time in the first installment of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House series. All about Wilder’s childhood, growing up during pioneer times, this autobiographical tale tells the story of the family’s life in the Big Woods of Wisconsin. Laura, Mary, Ma, Pa, Baby Carrie, and their dog Jack live through some tough times in their little log cabin, but they have lots of fun along the way. 

This book is a timeless classic that is perfect for parents to read aloud to their six-year-olds. A lengthier chapter book, this story is good for reading in parts before bed. It is an informative and insightful look into the pioneer era that will help your child understand this era in history.

Magic Tree House: Dinosaurs Before Dark 
Mary Pope Osborne

Jack and Annie discover a mysterious tree house, but before they can figure out where it came from, it transports them to prehistoric times! Follow along on this adventure as the pair meet dinosaurs, learn about the past, and try to make it home in time for dinner. 

The first in the famous Magic Tree House series, we love this chapter book for its imaginative look back on time. It teaches readers all about the prehistoric period through the eyes of characters just like them. The simple language and fun pictures make it the perfect choice for young readers. 

Comet in Moominland
Trove Jansson

A comet is coming to Moominland! Moomintroll and his friend Sniff have to take a journey to the observatory to learn more about it. These fantastical characters meet lots of new faces along the way, including Snufkin and Snork Maiden. 

This fantastical children’s chapter book by Finnish author Tove Jansson is the second book of the Moominland series. It is a great chapter book full of imagination and wonder, and it creates a new world for six-year-olds to escape to through lovely illustrations and a fun plot.

Story Books

You can’t go wrong with tales as old as time! Check out the best fairytales and fables for six-year-olds below.

The Tale of Peter Rabbit
Beatrix Potter

Peter and his siblings, Flopsy, Mospy, and Cottontail are four little rabbits. Their mother goes out and warns them to steer clear of Mr McGregor’s garden while she is away. Mischievous Peter doesn’t listen, and he gets himself into a big mess. 

This classic tale is the first, and most popular, of Beatrix Potter’s fables about woodland creatures. This story is a favorite for its lesson about being a good listener and not pushing your limits. Its old-fashioned text and sweet illustrations will be a family favorite.

The Gingerbread Man
Jim Aylesworth

Run, run as fast as you can! You can’t catch him, he’s the gingerbread man! This spirited little guy is freshly baked and ready for an adventure. As soon as he comes out of the oven, he’s out the door. This fairytale is brought to life by Jim Aylesworth in The Gingerbread Man. Gorgeous, detailed illustrations chronicle this cookie’s journey across town. Rhyming refrains and whimsical poetic text tie the tale together. A nostalgic choice for kids and parents alike, this pick will put a smile on your six-year-old’s face. 

The Town Mouse, and the Country Mouse 
Helen Ward

These two mice couldn’t live in more different environments. The country mouse hears all about his cousin’s experience in the city and would love to visit. He soon learns that he is more content to dwell in the quiet countryside. 

This lovely retelling of Aesop’s original fable presents a magical depiction of 1930s New York City at Christmastime and an idyllic countryside scene. Ward’s adaptation uses sweet and gentle illustrations to teach Aesop’s lesson of contentment. We love this book for six-year-old’s because it is a great introduction to the genre of fable and makes for a fun storytime pick for the whole family.

Picture Books

As much as six-year-olds enjoy the new excitement of chapter books, picture books still hold a special place in their hearts. Here are some of our best picks. 

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Mo Willems

The bus driver is tired and needs a break, but you’ll never suspect who volunteers to take his place. This pigeon is persistent, but he’s not equipped to drive the city bus! Or is he? 

This lively story is a wonderful picture book for six-year-olds. Its interactive nature will engage young readers and the cartoon-style drawings are exciting and fresh. The innovative conversational approach Mo Willems employs in his silly narrative makes this book a great addition to any collection.

Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud 
Katie Harnett

No one wants to be friends with the lonely raincloud. He isn’t all sunshine, that’s for sure! Ivy the florist isn’t looking for a sunny friend, though. She meets the raincloud, and the two turn out to make an unlikely pair. 

This award-winning book is a great pick for young readers. It uses charming illustrations and detailed design to craft a sweet narrative about feeling lonely and finding friendship. Ivy and the Lonely Raincloud is a sophisticated picture book that six-year-olds will love.

Where the Wild Things Are
Maurice Sendak

Max has been naughty and is sent to bed without dinner. He imagines escaping on a faraway adventure to where the wild things are, meeting lots of big beasts who want to crown him their king. Follow along on Max’s journey through his imagination. 

This Caldecott-winning picture book is a beloved classic. The intricate illustrations and imaginative plot work together to create a meaningful, timeless narrative for young readers. This book is a lovely addition to storytime.

The Day The Crayons Quit
Drew Daywalt

Duncan just wants to color, but that’s not as easy as it seems. His crayons are on strike! Each color is fed up with another, and they all have their reasons for quitting. The crayons air their grievances to Duncan the only way they know how: on paper! Learn what becomes of the disgruntled crayons in this fun story. 

This is a lively and entertaining picture book for six-year-olds. The original plot introduces a spunky cast of colorful characters, and leads readers to think about drawing in a new light. The Day The Crayons Quit is a great choice for teaching your six-year-old about conflict resolution, and makes a perfect option for independent reading as well.

Classic Books

These books will be enjoyable for six-year-olds and their parents alike. Check out some of our favorite classic books.

Ludwig Bemelmans 

Madeline is the youngest little girl of twelve at the orphanage, but that doesn’t stop her from being brave. She confronts the tiger in the zoo when no one else will. Follow along on Madeline’s journey in Paris and learn all about this spirited little red-headed girl. 

Madeline is a timeless pick and the first in a series of eight lovable stories. This classic and colorfully illustrated story is cherished by many for its depiction of a lively young girl and a trip to the Paris hospital. The rhyming text in this book is great for six-year-olds to read independently.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Judi Barrett

Take a visit to the quaint little town of Chewandswallow, where the weather is quite peculiar. Imagine living in a place where it snows mashed potatoes and rains soup and juice. What could possibly go wrong? 

This bestselling tale of edible weather is memorable and favored by many. The illustrations are charming and the matter-of-fact text creates a humorous tone that your six-year-old will recognize and love. This story will make a wonderful addition to your young reader’s collection.

Arthur’s Nose 
Marc Brown

Arthur Read isn’t too happy with his nose. It’s long, large, and just doesn’t look like everyone else’s! This aardvark takes a trip to the rhinologist, but learns a lot about himself, too. Follow along as Arthur discovers why he is unique. 

This introductory story in the Arthur’s Adventure series introduces a  fun and popular cast of animal characters kids and parents alike will adore. We love this book for its message about being kind to yourself. This is a great option for six-year-olds to read on their own. 

Oh, the Places You’ll Go! 
Dr. Suess

There are so many sights to be seen and people to meet! Follow along on this imaginative adventure through life’s ups and downs with rhyme, rhythm, and a whole lot of fun. 

This endearing narrative of the journey of life is a timeless classic. The wacky words, colorful illustrations, and rhythmic nature of this story make is a memorable read that six-year-olds will love. Perfect for marking milestones in their lives, this book imparts a meaningful message about persevering and achieving your dreams.


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