THE Books That Can Turn Your Child On To Reading

Helping children develop a love of reading is ideal, but often fraught with confusion, stress, and if the pressures are too much, a distaste for reading.  This is especially true for children who find reading difficult.

Before your child can become a lifelong reader, there needs to be a desire to read.  A big part of that is a positive attitude to reading.

At this age, it’s important to play the long game, not pressure too hard, and to think about reading interventions that can help if your child is reluctant.  Meanwhile, try to delight your child with the books below, creating a window into the worlds that books can open up.

And when your child is ready, you can help them discover books that ignite a passion for reading. Bright colors, visually engaging illustrations, and storylines they can identify with or find humor in are the best choices for this age group.  The books below are known game-changers, books that can turn your child on to reading.

Pro tip. Some of these books are part of a series. If your child loves the book, get into a reading groove by finding others in the series!

Take a look at some incredible, award-winning options (as well as some you may not have heard of) below.


turn your child on to reading

The Art of Miss Chew – Patricia Polacco

Available on Amazon here

Is your child a budding artist? Do they struggle to read well? Then they’ll love this story of Trisha, who spends a summer with her artist grandmother and decides that’s what she wants to do, too!

This true story teaches children about the joy of artistic creation and the value of encouragement from teachers who can see a child’s strengths.

Written in a first-person narrative, the author herself was eventually diagnosed as dyslexic, which was highly misunderstood by most teachers at the time. Trisha struggles most when one teacher tells her she should be studying more and that she’s “wasting her time” on art.

However, Miss Chew is willing to go to battle for Trisha, and in the end, this heartfelt autobiography encourages understanding, compassion, and pursuing your strengths in life!


where the wild things areWhere The Wild Things Are – Maurice Sendak

Available on Amazon here

Children young and old tend to have a special place in their hearts for Max and the wild things once they dive into this story.
Max’s pajamas make him look somewhat like a wolf, so after he’s sent to his room for misbehaving, he imagines his bedroom turning into a jungle with a boat that brings him to the land of the wild things; he finds giant monsters with big claws and teeth.

Viewing himself as brave, he tames the wild things which all agree that Max himself is the most outlandish of them all and makes him their king! He calls for a “wild rumpus” where he and the monsters dance, hang from trees, and have a perfect time—Until Max realizes that he misses home. Maybe his mother’s punishment wasn’t so bad after all.

This classic story was one of the first ever to explore a child’s anger, but in a way that wasn’t condescending. Max is allowed to express his feelings, fully let go with the ‘wild
rumpus,’ and then return to his mother and home when he’s worked it all out.

The emotional resonance is not lost on the celebration of childlike imagination, which makes this book not only a reminder that feelings are valid but working them out in a healthy, creative way is just as important.


olivia falconer

Olivia – Ian Falconer

Available at Amazon here

The Caldecott Honor Book and #1 New York Times bestseller features everyone’s favorite pig, Olivia!
Olivia is a profoundly relatable character for high-energy kids who are constantly on the move. By page two, she’s jumping, twirling, playing ball, and jumping rope!

It’s impossible for anyone who knows, loves, or was a bold, imaginative, and endlessly curious child to not giggle at how much Olivia’s life resembles theirs.

Olivia is busy and takes everything she does to the next level. Changing her outfits dozens of times before deciding she’s dressed, frolicking in her room when she’s supposed to be sleeping, painting on the walls, and she knows for sure that she could paint like Jackson Pollock in 5 minutes! She hates naps, too!

From a parent’s perspective, what’s so lovable about this book is that Olivia’s quirks and traits are highly celebrated instead of stifled—a rarity for high-energy kids these days.


the giving treeThe Giving Tree – Shel Silverstein

Available at Amazon here

“Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.”

So begins this 50-year-old tale of generosity, unselfishness, and a tender story of love, sadness, and consolation.
Shel Silverstein books, in general, will almost always top the list of outstanding books for kids (and adults). This one, however, brings a lesson in parable form with a touching interpretation of the gift of giving and the ability to accept another’s capacity to love in return.

Every day the boy would come to the tree to eat her apples, swing from her branches, or slide down her trunk…and the tree was happy. But as the boy grew older, he began to want more from the tree, and the tree gave and gave and gave.

Introduce your child to the beauty of self-sacrifice and generosity with this beloved tale.


amelia bedeliaAmelia Bedelia – Parish, Peggy

Available on Amazon here

When Amelia Bedelia made her debut in 1963, young readers discovered the joy of laughing out loud while reading about the crazy antics of this charming but literal-minded housekeeper!

With a list of what’s to be done, Amelia sets about her duties on her first day at work. Amelia seems confused when she’s told to draw the drapes or dress the chicken, so the results are hilariously different than Mrs. Rogers’ expectations may have been! Being that she’s pretty precise in her thinking. Being that she’s pretty exact in her manner of thinking.

With side-splitting hilarity, Amelia Bedelia is the ridiculous way to get kids to love reading. Great for kids who read independently but still need a little help.

“No child can resist Amelia [Bedelia] and her literal trips through the minefield of the English language—and no adult can fail to notice that she’s usually right when she’s wrong.”—The New York Times Book Review


If your child is not a reader yet, consider Gemm Learning. Give us 6 months to change your child’s attitude to reading.