40 Must-Have Books for Preschoolers

Children are very curious by nature, therefore,  I consider this list of books to be perfect for preschoolers. With absolutely gorgeous illustrations they give a wonderful presentation of the world surrounding kids. As a Montessorian, I picked mainly books with realistic content that represent the real world and open children’s hearts and minds towards understanding people with different cultures and traditions. Every single one of these books is on my “must-have” list. I chose books that also encourage children to be empathetic, and discover the unlimited source of beauty in nature and art.

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Importance of Nonfiction and Realistic Books in Preschool

Reading is important for preschool children as it aids in the development of language skills, cognitive and social skills. Reading helps children develop their vocabulary and comprehension, prepares them for academic learning, and stimulates their imaginations. Moreover, reading promotes social and emotional development, helps children cope with difficult emotions, and improves their ability to communicate with others.

Children who have a solid foundation in reading are more likely to succeed academically and develop a love for reading that can last a lifetime. Therefore, it is essential to cultivate a habit of reading in preschool children.

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The best children’s books for Montessori preschool are those with clear illustrations, simple language, and engaging stories that foster an appreciation for the natural world and encourage curiosity and exploration. 

Nonfiction books are crucial for preschool children because they provide valuable knowledge and information about the world around them. These books expand vocabulary, encourage curiosity, and promote a love of learning. Nonfiction books can help preschoolers learn about different animals, plants, and cultures. They can also teach children about science, history, and many other subjects. Reading nonfiction books together with caregivers can be an excellent opportunity for children to ask questions and explore new ideas. This can help build the foundation for lifelong learning and critical thinking skills.

A Butterfly is Patient
Amazon)

An incredible variety of butterflies are celebrated here in all of their beauty and wonder, from the tiny Arian Small Blue to the grand Queen Alexandra’s Birdwing.

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An Egg is Quiet

( Amazon)

A beautifully simple introduction to eggs of all kinds; from tiny hummingbird eggs to giant ostrich eggs, from fossilised dinosaur eggs to gooey fish eggs, it’s an entirely fresh look at the familiar.

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Feathers: Not Just for Flying
Amazon)

More curious readers are invited to explore informative sidebars, which underscore specific ways each bird uses its feathers for a variety of practical purposes.

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Yucky Worms
(Amazon)

Worms – fun, fascinating and wriggly worms! The humble earthworm plays a significant role in the environment, as all farmers and gardeners know: it aerates the soil, composts dead matter into rich humus in which seeds can germinate and plants can grow.

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A Rock is Lively
(Amazon)

From dazzling blue Lapis Lazuli to volcanic Snowflake Obsidian, an incredible variety of rocks are showcased in all their splendor.
 A Nest is Noisy
Amazon)

From tiny bee hummingbird nests to orangutan nests high in the rainforest canopy, an incredible variety of nests are showcased here in all their splendor.

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What Do You Do with an Idea?
(Amazon)

This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child’s confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens. This is a story for anyone, at any age, who’s ever had an idea that seemed a little too big, too odd, too difficult. It’s a story to inspire you to welcome that idea, to give it some space to grow, and to see what happens next.

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Each Kindness.

(Amazon)

With its powerful anti-bullying message and striking art, it will resonate with readers long after they’ve put it down. Chloe and her friends won’t play with the new girl, Maya. Every time Maya tries to join Chloe and her friends, they reject her. Eventually Maya stops coming to school. When Chloe’s teacher gives a lesson about how even small acts of kindness can change the world

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The Invisible Boy
(Amazon)

Meet Brian, the invisible boy. Nobody ever seems to notice him or think to include him in their group, game, or birthday party . . . until, that is, a new kid comes to class. When Justin, the new boy, arrives, Brian is the first to make him feel welcome. And when Brian and Justin team up to work on a class project together, Brian finds a way to shine. This gentle story shows how small acts of kindness can help children feel included and allow them to flourish.

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How We Make Stuff 
(Amazon)

Where do our clothes come from? What’s the link between gorillas and mobile phones? Does chocolate grow on trees? Answering these questions and many more, How We Make Stuff is an engaging exploration of the way we use Earth’s natural resources.

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See Inside Your Body

(Amazon)

This astonishingly inventive title allows young children to discover the inner workings of the human body in a gently humorous, yet wholly accurate way.

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See Inside Planet Earth

( Amazon)

Delve deep into the mysteries of Earth’s geography to reveal the hidden secrets of life on our planet. This title includes double page spreads on mountains, deserts, the oceans, the atmosphere and icy landscapes such as Antarctica, each one bursting with flaps to lift to reveal scientific and natural history information.

                                           Strange Trees: And the Stories Behind Them

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Amazon)

This colorfully illustrated collection of the most bizarre—but real—trees from around the world, once again reminding us that the art of nature is far stranger than fiction. The perfect book for inquisitive naturalists with imaginations, Strange Trees also includes a map of the world showing where the trees grew.

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Lift the Flap Questions & Answers
(Amazon)

This quirkily illustrated book has lots of answers and will engross curious children. You can find the answers to intriguing questions such as How do I smell things? What makes me burp? Why do I need to wash my hands? Why is blood red? And lots more.

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The Day the Crayons Quit
(Amazon)

Poor Duncan just wants to colour in. But when he opens his box of crayons, he only finds letters, all saying the same thing: We quit! Beige is tired of playing second fiddle to Brown, Blue needs a break from colouring in all that water, while Pink just wants to be used. Green has no complaints, but Orange and Yellow are no longer speaking to each other. The battle lines have been drawn. What is Duncan to do?

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Water Dance  
Amazon)

Travel with author-illustrator Thomas Locker and follow our planet’s most precious resource–water–on its daily journey through our world.

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Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes

(Amazon)

There are living things so tiny millions could fit on a dot. Although they are invisible, they are everywhere and they multiply very quickly. They are vital for life on earth, and do all sorts of things – from giving us a cold and making yoghurt to wearing down mountains and helping to make the air we breathe.

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A Moment In Time

(Amazon)

A fun loving story in rhythm and rhyme about a family of four and their moment in time. It’s a balmy, summer Cape Cod day and this visiting family is savoring every moment. Experience the delight, the joy and exhilaration a mindful moment can bring!

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A First Book of Nature 
( Amazon)

From beachcombing to stargazing, from watching squirrels, ducks and worms to making berry crumble or a winter bird feast, this is a remarkable book – part poetry, part scrapbook of recipes, facts and fragments – and a glorious reminder that the natural world is on our doorstep waiting to be discovered.

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How Animals Live  
( Amazon)

Animals have cleverly adapted to life all over the planet, from the freezing poles to the hottest, driest deserts. This book explores the extraordinary diversity in animal life, and readers are encouraged to reflect on how a tiny change can have a huge impact on a whole habitat and beyond.

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A Life Like Mine: How Children Live Around the World 
Amazon)

After ten years of study and consultation, UNICEF, the premier organization devoted to the care and welfare of the world’s children, published the results of the Convention on the Rights of the Child. Using these tenets as a base, A Life Like Mine profiles children from all over the globe leading their lives in different and fascinating ways.

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Over the Hills and Far Away: A Treasury of Nursery Rhymes from Around the World 
(Amazon)

There are 150 rhymes in this collection, from countries all over the English-speaking world, including Great Britain, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ghana, South Africa and the Caribbean. This comprehensive collection contains all the best-loved nursery rhymes, but also some new discoveries, and vibrant rhymes from Native American, First Nation, Inuit and Maori cultures.

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Kids’ Multicultural Art Book: Art and Craft Experiences from Around the World
(Amazon)

This book helps children to explore roots, rhythms, and traditions from all corners of the earth while crafting their own art and artefacts. It includes step-by-step instructions for fifty projects including Korhogo Mud Cloth and Wodaabe Mirror Pouch from Africa.

Ecoart!: Earth-Friendly Art and Craft Experiences for 3 to 9 Year Olds
Amazon)

This work combines the author’s intuitive sense of each child’s need for self-expression and interaction with nature with her wealth of imaginative experiences.

Nature’s Art Box   
(Amazon)

Whether it’s a city park, a suburban backyard, a farmer’s field, or the sandy seashore, there’s a treasure trove of natural art materials out there. Twigs, vines, pinecones, flowers, leaves, rocks, shells, moss, feathers – they’re all gifts of the earth.


Look What I Did with a Leaf!  
( Amazon)

This book will show young art and craft lovers how to use nature’s bounty to create fanciful animals and natural scenes.

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This Is the Way We Go to School 
Amazon)

This book shows in text and illustrations, the many different modes of transportation children all over the world use to get to school.

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 Words Are Like Faces   
(Amazon)

This book expresses the significance of words in everyday life. The rhymed couplets are easy to memorize, and the underlying meaning demonstrates the role of language and how words affect us. The book teaches us to embrace words and treat them carefully.

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The Name Jar 
Amazon)

The new kid in school needs a new name! Or does she? Being the new kid in school is hard enough, but what about when nobody can pronounce your name? Having just moved from Korea, Unhei is anxious that American kids will like her. So instead of introducing herself on the first day of school, she tells the class that she will choose a name by the following week.

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 Sam and Dave Dig a Hole   
(Amazon)

Sam and Dave are on a mission. A mission to find something spectacular. So they dig a hole. And they keep digging. And they find …nothing. Yet the day turns out to be pretty spectacular after all. Attentive readers will be rewarded with a rare treasure in this witty story of looking for the extraordinary – and finding it in a manner they’d never expect.

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Press here 

Amazon)

Children and adults alike will giggle with delight as the dots multiply, change direction, and grow in size! Especially remarkable because the adventure occurs on the flat surface of the simple, printed page, this unique picture book about the power of imagination and interactivity will provide read-aloud fun for all ages!

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Look 
Amazon)

This oversized board book is an invitation to play: when the book is opened, a die-cut in the middle of the book frames the world around the reader, allowing him or her to compare what they see on the page with what they see through the die-cut. Each spread presents something new to look for: numbers, letters, colors, textures, sizes, shapes and more are showcased on each individual spread.

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Come Over to My House 
Amazon)

There are brick houses, stick houses, tall houses, thin houses, but the best houses of all are those where your friends live. Young readers will enjoy the bouncing rhythm and catchy rhyme in this delightful look at people’s homes throughout the world.

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 A Child of Books
(Amazon)

New York Times best-selling author-illustrator Oliver Jeffers and fine artist Sam Winston deliver a lyrical picture book inspiring readers of all ages to create, to question, to explore, and to imagine.

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Beautiful Oops!
Amazon)

We all make mistakes – grown-ups and children alike. But little kids sometimes have trouble dealing with their mistakes, whether it’s a piece of artwork they’ve torn by accident, or juice they’ve spilled on their favorite drawing. In this book, every page begins with a ‘mistake’ that ultimately unravels, lifts out, or pulls up to become a surprising work of beauty. Kids see firsthand as they go through the book that any smudge, smear or stain can lead to something absolutely marvelous – with a little imagination.

Inch by Inch 
Amazon)

Meet a winning, winsome inchworm, proud of his ability to measure anything under the sun. When a hungry nightingale threatens to eat him for breakfast unless he can measure her song, it’s a good thing he’s so skilled – and so tricky.

The Biggest House in the World

(Amazon)

A young snail dreams of having the biggest house—or shell—in the world. Then one day, his wise father tells him the story of another snail with the same dream.

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What Does It Mean to Be Present? 
Amazon)

This refreshing, vibrant picture book engages all of the senses to demonstrate the myriad of ways a child can seize the moment.



In My Heart: A Book of Feelings (Growing Hearts) 
(Amazon)

Starring the same little girl in the same charming illustration style as Hello In There!, In My Heart explores emotions–happiness, sadness, bravery, anger, shyness and more.

Silence 
Amazon)

What can you hear when you are completely silent? Beautifully illustrated and gently written, Silence encourages children to stop, listen, and reflect on their experiences and the world around them.

Big and Little

                                                                      (Amazon)

Each spread of Big and Little shows animals that are related to each other but vary greatly in size. All animals are illustrated on the same scale, so readers can compare them throughout the book.

Printables for Preschool Students You Might Find Helpful in Your Classroom

About Anastasia - Anastasia is an early childhood teacher and the founder of Montessori Nature - a blog about Montessori living and learning and nature-based explorations. With many years of experience working in a Montessori environment and homeschooling her children, she directed her passion for all things Montessori and nature into creating educational resources. You can learn more here and browse her printables on Teachers Pay Teachers.

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