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Looking for the best books your 4-year-old can get into? It’s still hard to believe that tiny bb you just brought home from the hospital basically yesterday is now a talkative, wisecracking, *strongly* opinionated 4-year-old. We’re betting their interests look a little bit different now, and that goes for everything including the food they want to eat, the toys they play with, and the books they want to read.
Four years is a transition period—your kiddo is through with board books but not quite old enough to sit through longer picture books or chapter books juuuust yet. It may also be a time when they’re transitioning into preschool, where they’ll be coming across all different kinds of kids. So it’s important to include some books that address and celebrate the diversity among younger children. We’ve added a few books to this round-up that are must-haves for your kids bookshelf and must-reads before starting school. (And shockingly, none of our picks include the same Disney characters your kiddo usually gravitates toward – *gasp*!)
Books for 4-year-old kids “should offer fun opportunities of engagement—both visually and rhythmically,” says author and illustrator Sujean Rim, who wrote the Birdie series. “Look for picture books with captivating images for a child to point to, ask about, or giggle at, or find a story with a rhythmic cadence,” she notes. The most important thing? Books for this age group should be super fun to read aloud to make story time enjoyable for kiddos—and for parents.
Below are 15 of our favorite books for the 4-year-old in your life: From how to deal with separation anxiety, to a magical knight’s tale about accepting who you are, to a mystery complete with a map and clues for sleuthing—we’ve found your (and your 4-year-old’s) new fave read.
The Best Books for 4-Year-Olds
Chester the Raccoon is feeling nervous about starting up school and does not want to go. Mrs. Raccoon shares with Chester a family secret called the Kissing Hand which helps reassure him of her love any time he finds the world to be a little scary and overwhelming.Ever since first being published back in 1993, The Kissing Hand has become a children’s classic that has helped children and parents in time of separation, especially when going to school or away to camp.
Feeling different, especially as a kid, can be a tough, but as you learn, different types of people make our world a more beautiful and vibrant place. In the book, Just Ask, United States Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor uses her own experience as growing up as a child with diabetes to write about other children will all sorts of challenges. It encourages kids to ask each other questions about one another, because too often we’re too afraid to ask or address the topic which does more harm than good.
The Snail and the Whale is a story about an unlikely friendship between a tiny snail and a big humpback whale. The tiny snail has big dreams of seeing the world, so she catches a ride on a friendly whale. Together they travel visiting beautiful places, but one day the whale swims too close to shore and gets stuck. Now it’s up to the tiny snail to save her new friend, but will she be able to?
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