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Good Books for Kids to Read: How to Find Them

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You can find good books for your kids by starting with our list of genres and then matching books to your children's interests.

.My kids liked to choose their own books at the library, but not because they were excited to explore the stacks. They did it because they were afraid they’d have to read a thick, dusty book that I chose, something good for them, much like spinach or asparagus.  

I knew how to find books to read to them, but not books they wanted to read independently. Over the years, I learned to find books they considered good reading. To do this, I had to figure out the genres that most interested them by watching the types of books that held their attention.

I also paid attention to their favorite movies, and categorized them as adventure, fantasy, mystery, or another genre. These clues, when put together with their personalities and their likes and dislikes, helped me find my kids’ genre preferences, which went a long way in guiding me to choose books they wanted to read and motivated them to read.

If you’ve studied your children, you may know some of the genres your kids prefer too. Here’s what you can do with that information. Go to https://www.pluggedin.com/book-reviews. Next to the words “Book Reviews‚” is a drop-down menu beneath the word “Filter.” If you click on the arrow, you can find a specific genre that your child likes to read. Click on it and on the “Submit” button to receive a list of books that have been reviewed in that genre. By glancing through the reviews, you’ll be able to tell fairly quickly whether the book is appropriate for your child’s age, stage or interests.

If that sounds too daunting, I’ve listed a number of books by their genres as a place for you to begin

Read these book reviews for parents, to verify that a book is good for your kids. 

Adventure books

cover for The Bears on Hemlock Mountain

The Bears on Hemlock Mountain Review 

Jonathan wonders if there might be bears on Hemlock Mountain as he travels over it to borrow a pot for his Ma. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

The Legend of the 10-Gallon Sam and the Perilous Mine Review 

Sam learns a valuable lesson about pride when he receives a new ten-gallon hat, in this allegory about Samson. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Animal stories

cover for The Bravest Dog Ever

The Bravest Dog Ever: The True Story of Balto Review 

Balto was the lead dog of one of the 21 brave dogsled teams who brought diphtheria medicine to Nome, Alaska. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Cover for Otter B Kind

Otter B Kind

Kids can learn more about the godly trait of kindness in this delightful “Otter B” book, which is the second in the “Otter B” series.

Contemporary books

book cover - first day jitters

First Day Jitters Review 

Sarah is nervous because she’s ready to begin classes at her new school. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Freckle Juice Review 

Andrew wishes he had freckles like Nicky. Then a classmate offers him a a freckle-producing drink. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Historical fiction books

book cover for voyage with the vikings

Voyage With the Vikings 

Cousins Patrick and Beth travel back in time to Viking-occupied Greenland and encounter a less-than-friendly Viking. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

book cover for don't forget winona

Don’t Forget Winona 

Winona and her family move west by traveling on Route 66. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Even more historical stories:

  • The Beginner’s Bible: David and the Giant

Humor books

book cover for amelia bedelia

Amelia Bedelia

Amelia Bedelia takes her employers’ instructions literally, oblivious to the Rogers’ true intentions. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

book cover for Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

Cowgirl Kate and Cocoa

Kate gets a cow horse named Cocoa. The two become fast friends. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Mystery books

The cover for Nate the Great

Nate the Great

When Annie’s painting goes missing, she calls detective Nate the Great to discover the reason. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Cover for The Crazy Christmas Angel

The Crazy Christmas Angel Mystery

Eric can’t believe it when his neighbor’s Christmas angel comes to life. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Good books for kids: 8- to 11-year-olds

Read these book reviews for parents, to verify that a book is good for your kids. 

Adventure books

cover for Stories of Danger and Courage

Bible Kidventures: Stories of Danger and Courage

Kids remain engaged as you read them four Bible stories in this choose-your-own Kidventure. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

cover for Stone Fox

Stone Fox

This gripping story places a boy and his dog against an impossible task. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Animal stories

Begin

When a long-missing bear named C.J. sends a distress call, Growly, a bear cub, vows to rescue him. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Tumtum and Nutmeg

Mice Tumtum and Nutmeg protect the children of Rose Cottage from their absent-minded dad’s neglect. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Even animal stories:

  • Squirreled Away 

Classic books

cover for Little Britches

Little Britches: Father and I Were Ranchers

A young boy and his father start life on the Colorado frontier. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

cover for Treasure Island

Treasure Island

When sea captain Billy Bones dies at an Inn, young Jim finds the pirate’s map and embarks on a perilous journey. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Contemporary books

Opening Moves book cover

Opening Moves

Councilman Philip Glossman and his evil boss, Regis Blackgaard, scheme against Whit in the town of Odyssey. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Frindle

Can one word change an entire town? Nick Allen is going to find out, and he’s using the word frindle to do it. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Even more contemporary stories:

Fantasy books

The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

Four siblings find their way into a magical land in need of deliverance from evil. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Cover for The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail

The Mouse With the Question Mark Tail

A tiny mouse travels around Buckingham Palace in search of answers. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Even more fantasy stories:

Mystery books

Cover for Young Whit & the Traitor's Treasure

Young Whit & the Traitor’s Treasure

Confederate gold has been missing since the end of the Civil War. Did one of Johnny’s ancestors steal it? If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Cover for Theodore Boone - Kid Lawyer

Theodore Boone: Kid Lawyer

Theo has plans of being a lawyer and must defend himself much earlier than expected.  If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Good books for kids: 12- to 14-year-olds

Read these book reviews for parents, to verify that a book is good for your kids.

Adventure books

cover for great turkey walk good books for kids

The Great Turkey Walk

In 1860, 15-year-old Simon Green tries to herd turkeys 1,000 miles to sell them out West in Denver. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

cover for jump into the sky — good books for kids

Jump Into the Sky

A young African-American named Levi travels through the Jim Crow South looking for his father. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Biography/Diary books

anne frank cover - good books for kids

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

Anne Frank, a Jewish girl, kept a diary of her experiences in  the Netherlands, after the Nazis took control during World War II. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

cover of boy who harnessed the wind - good books for kids

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

William Kamkwamba is a young man from Malawi, a small nation in southeastern Africa, doesn’t let hard times get him down. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Even more biography/diary stories:

Classic books

oliver twist cover - good books for kids

Oliver Twist

An orphan boy becomes a pickpocket in London and eventually finds his way home. If your kid reads this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with your children about it.

cover carry on Mr. Bowditch

Carry on Mr. Bowditch

Nathaniel Bowditch grows up in the sailing community of Salem. If your kid reads this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with your children about it.

Contemporary books

cover of the pitcher's duel - good books for kids

Pitcher’s Duel

Chip pitches in the state tournament while he also fights to defend his coach. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

The Christy Miller Collection_Volume 1

Nathaniel Bowditch grows up in the sailing community of Salem. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Even more contemporary stories:

Fantasy books

The Fellowship of the Ring

Nine unlikely travel companions must journey to Mt. Doom and destroy Sauron’s enchanted ring. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

cover kingdom's dawn - good books for kids

Kingdom’s Dawn

An allegory that includes knights and medieval battles that teach about God and His kingdom. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Even more fantasy stories:

  • The Dark Is Rising
  • “The Wilderking” series No. 1: The Bark of the Bog Owl
  • “The Wilderking” series No. 2: The Secret of the Swamp King

Historical fiction books

cover elijah of buxton - good books for kids

Elijah of Buxton

Elijah is the first free-born child of the runaway slave community of Buxton in Canada. As he helps a friend, he faces the horrors of slavery. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

cover for little women

Little Women

The March sisters struggle to improve themselves daily by following the advice of their parents learning how to love each other better. If your kids read this book, you can get parent-child discussion questions to talk with them about it.

Good books for kids: Teens

Read these book reviews for parents, to verify that a book is good for your older kids to read. If your teens read one of these books, you can get discussion questions to talk with them about it. 

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Your Teen Needs You Most of All

No parent of teens is perfect and even the best can learn how to better connect with their son or daughter. Get practical action steps to better connect with your teenager in 8 Essential Tips for Parenting Your Teen in this FREE video series!

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.

There Is Still Hope for Your Marriage

You may feel that there is no hope for your marriage and the hurt is too deep to restore the relationship and love that you once had. The truth is, your life and marriage can be better and stronger than it was before. In fact, thousands of marriages, situations as complex and painful as yours, have been transformed with the help of professionals who understand where you are right now and care deeply about you and your spouse’s future. You can restore and rebuild your marriage through a personalized, faith-based, intimate program called, Hope Restored.
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Understand How to Respect and Love your Son Well

Why doesn’t my son listen to me? Have you ever asked that question? The truth is, how you see your son and talk to him has a significant effect on how he thinks and acts. That’s why we want to help you. In fact, we’ve created a free five-part video series called “Recognizing Your Son’s Need for Respect” that will help you understand how showing respect, rather than shaming and badgering, will serve to motivate and guide your son.

Reconnected: The Digital Experience

Is the love there, but not the spark? Reawaken fun in your marriage and move from roommates to soulmates again with the help of this 7-part online video experience. Learn how to connect emotionally and spiritually as husband and wife using techniques such as dreaming together and establishing deep, heartfelt communication. The Digital Experience includes 7 teaching videos, an online study guide and access to additional tools and resources to help spouses reconnect.

Next Steps: Marriage Assessment

We want your marriage to be thriving and healthy. Take the free Marriage Assessment from Focus on the Family to learn how to strengthen your bond with your spouse and get the tools to help you need to grow closer together. 

Next Steps: Fruit of the Spirit Devotionals for Couples

The Fruit of the Spirit Devotional is a free series of nine short videos to get you into God’s Word and inspire you to seek the Holy Spirit’s help in loving your spouse.

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Headshot of Guy and Amber Lia

Mr. and Mrs. Guy and Amber Lia and Mrs. Jean Daly

Amber Lia is a work-at-home mom, blogger, public speaker, and co-author of two best-selling books. Her husband, Guy, is a former TV, feature film, and VFX development and production executive who has worked on popular TV shows and films. Guy and Amber own Storehouse Media Group, a faith- and family-friendly TV and film production company based in Los Angeles,

Cover image of the book "Marriage Triggers" by Guy and Amber Lia

Marriage Triggers: How You and Your Spouse Can Exchange Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses

A husband-wife team offers practical advice for married couples to end the cycle of reactionary arguments by examining the most common issues that trigger disagreements and apply God’s Word to radically transform relationships.

What to Do When You're Not Okay - Part 2

Life can be pretty stressful. Between work, relationships, and other obligations, the pressure builds, and we lose sight of who we are. Counselor Debra Fileta helps you better understand your emotions, assess your mental, physical, and spiritual health, and intentionally pursue a path to wellbeing. In dealing with anxiety, depression, and panic attacks, Debra understands the importance of self-examination as well as the benefits of seeking professional help. She offers biblically-based advice, tools, and encouragement to help you get on a path toward healing and wholeness.

Author Debra Fileta in the Focus on the Family broadcast studio

Mrs. Debra Fileta

Debra Fileta is a licensed professional counselor specializing in relationship and marital issues. She is also a public speaker and the author of multiple books, including Married SexChoosing Marriage: Why It Has to Start With We > Me, Love in Every Season, and Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are, How You’re Doing, and Why It Matters. Debra’s popular relationship advice blog, TrueLoveDates.com, and her Love + Relationships podcast reach millions of people each year offering guidance on topics including love, sex, and marriage. Debra resides in Pennsylvania with her husband, John, and their four children.

Are You Really Okay?

Are You Really OK: Getting Real About Who You Are

In Are You Really OK? author and licensed counselor Debra Fileta challenges you to get real with who you are and how you’re doing spiritually, emotionally, mentally, and physically so you can recognize where you need growth and healing.

Embracing Your Role as a Spouse

As a spouse, you have three roles to play—a friend, a partner, and a lover. On this one-day Focus on the Family broadcast, Pastor Kevin A. Thompson explores those different roles and challenges you to live them out by investing emotionally, physically, and mentally in your relationship. As friends, he suggests we learn to play and laugh together. As partners, he equips us with solid ways to handle conflict and communication. As lovers, he offers some thoughts on how to bring back the sizzle. He shares five keys to saving your marriage: humility, respect, mercy, communication, and resilience. You’ll be encouraged to intentionally invest in your marriage.

Headshot of Kevin Thompson

Pastor Kevin Thompson

Kevin A. Thompson (MDiv, Beeson Divinity School) is lead pastor at Community Bible Church, a growing multi-site church with four locations in western Arkansas. Every year he meets with nearly one hundred couples with a range of needs, from pre-marital counseling to navigating the most serious betrayals. A marriage and parenting conference speaker, he and his wife, Jenny, have two children and live in Fort Smith, Arkansas. He blogs at kevinathompson.com.

Cover image of Kevin Thompson's book "Friends, Partners & Lovers"

Friends, Partners, and Lovers: What It Takes to Make Your Marriage Work

With engaging stories and clear, simple language, pastor Kevin Thompson shows how to live out three distinct roles in marraige. Using solid biblical principles, he helps you and your spouse grow your friendship, be supportive partners through the good times and the bad, and develop a healthy and satisfying sex life.

Sharing Your Faith with Grace and Purpose

You can confidently and lovingly share your faith—you just need to learn some new tactics to do so! In this Focus on the Family Daily Broadcast, apologist Greg Koukl outlines the “Columbo” tactic of asking questions, the “self-defeating argument” tactic to find holes in your opponent’s arguments, and other specific methods for engaging in faith-building conversations with others. Greg pulls from his over 30 years of experience debating atheists and agnostics to help you share your faith with grace and truth.

Mr. Greg Koukl

Greg Koukl is a writer, public speaker and talk show host who’s spent 30 years advocating for and defending the Christian worldview. Greg has written or contributed to 15 books, including The Story of RealityTactics, and Precious Unborn Human Persons. Greg has published nearly 230 articles and has spoken on 80 college and university campuses in the U.S. and abroad.

Tactics front cover

Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition: A Game Plan for Discussing Your Christian Convictions

In a world increasingly indifferent to Christian truth, followers of Christ need to be equipped to communicate with those who do not speak their language or accept their source of authority. In Tactics, 10th Anniversary Edition, Gregory Koukl demonstrates how to artfully regain control of conversations, keeping them moving forward in constructive ways through thoughtful diplomacy. You’ll learn how to stop challengers in their tracks and how to turn the tables on questions or provocative statements. Most important, you’ll learn how to get people thinking about Jesus.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 1

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order BookHave a New Kid by Friday and Making Children Mind Without Losing Yours.

Bundle of Why Your Kids Misbehave

Why Your Kids Misbehave and What to Do about It

Tantrums. Talking back. Throwing toys or food. Meltdowns. Slamming doors. Kids know just how to push your buttons. You’ve tried all sorts of methods, but nothing seems to work. In this book, Dr. Kevin Leman reveals exactly why kids misbehave and how you can turn that behavior around with practical, no-nonsense strategies that really work . . . and are a long-term win for both of you.

Giving up Sugar, Tasting God's Goodness

As a latchkey kid, Wendy Speake turned to sugar for comfort. Every Friday, she would pedal to the candy show and use her allowance to fill her bag with candy. And one day, when she was older and a mom of three young boys, she came to realize that she was still “pedaling” away from her stress and using sugar as comfort, instead of turning to Jesus. She was joyless, worn out, tired, and in need of a change. In this interview, Wendy will challenge Christians to take 40 days to focus on fasting from something they turn to instead of Jesus for comfort. She invited people to break free from a dependence on sugar and taste the goodness of God.

Author Wendy Speake smiling as she holds up her book "The 40-Day Social Media Fast"

Mrs. Wendy Speake

With a background in Hollywood as a trained actress, Wendy Speake ministers to women as a bible teacher by applying the power of drama, poetry and comedy to the study of Scripture and real-life application of biblical truths. She has co-authored two books with Amber Lia titled Triggers: Exchanging Parents’ Angry Reactions for Gentle Biblical Responses and their latest, Parenting Scripts: When What You’re Saying Isn’t Working, Say Something New. Wendy is also the co-author (with Kelli Stuart) of Life Creative: Inspiration for Today’s Renaissance Mom.

Cover image of the book "The 40-Day Sugar Fast"

The 40-Day Sugar Fast: Where Physical Detox Meets Spiritual Transformation

Welcome to the 40-Day Sugar Fast, a fast that begins with us giving Jesus our sugar and ends with Jesus giving us himself–the only thing that can ever truly satisfy our soul’s deep hunger. On this 40-day journey you’ll learn how to stop fixating on food and other things you use to fill the voids in life and instead fix your eyes on Christ. Anyone who runs to sugar for comfort or a reward, who eats mindlessly or out of boredom, who feels physically and spiritually lethargic, or who struggles with self-control will discover here not only freedom from their cravings but an entirely new appetite for the good things God has for us.

Understanding the Root of Your Child's Misbehavior - Part 2

Often, children act out because they are used to getting attention through bad behavior. Dr. Kevin Leman offers advice to help parents transform their child’s behavior. He discusses the benefits of allowing your kids to learn from real-life consequences and describes the importance of understanding your child’s temperament based on his birth order.

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman

Dr. Kevin Leman is an internationally known family psychologist and an award-winning, New York Times best-selling author. He is also a popular public speaker and media personality who has made countless guest appearances on numerous radio and TV programs. Dr. Leman has written more than 50 books including The Birth Order Book