• 22 Books to Make Your Grandkids Life-Long Readers

    22 Books to Make Your Grandkids Life-Long Readers

Many people who “don’t like reading” have simply yet to find the right books. Don’t let your grandchildren be one of these people and make them life-long readers with this curated grandkids book list!

Grandkids Book List By Age

Age 4-6

Reading Milestones:

Kids in this age range begin recognizing familiar symbols like stop signs as well as rhyming words. They will also be able to “sound out” difficult words by age six but will still need some help with more complicated books.

How to Be a Good Creature by Sy Montgomery

Explore the quirks of 13 different animals and how they communicate with each other with this poetic children’s memoir. Author and adventurist, Sy, travels the world to find some of the rarest and most interesting “friends” while maintaining a theme of the otherness and sameness of people and animals.

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff

Teach your grandkids the concept of cause and effect with this fun and ridiculous account of giving a mouse a cookie. If follows the chain of events this simple act begins to unravel, helping young children grasp the idea of consequences.

The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Exactly what it sounds like, this book features no pictures. However, it does show young children that the written word can be just as powerful as an image. Filled with mischief and fun, these tales will bring joy and laughter to young readers.

How to Babysit a Grandpa and Grandma by Jean Reagan

Teach your grandkids what it means to spend time with you with this box set of two books. With a “how-to” narrative, this book walks your grandkids through the best way to babysit you. Giving instructions like looking for lizards and flowers while on walks, this book promotes bonding in a fun and playful way.

Age 7-8

Reading Milestones:

At this age, your grandkids may start reading longer books independently and understand the context of pictures to help figure out what is happening in a story. During this time, children can learn by reading. 

Holes by Louis Sachar

The Yelnets family is cursed and Stanley is the most recent victim of the curse’s bad luck. After an unfortunate and complicated turn of events, Stanley is convicted of a crime and sent to a detention center in the desert. What do they do here? 

They dig holes. But are these holes to teach them discipline, or done for more mysterious and lucrative reasons?

James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

A whimsical story about a mistreated orphan boy who is swept up in a world of adventure and new friends. In the vein of Jack and the Beanstalk, James imbues a peach tree with some magic crystals and then strange events take place. A peace grows the size of a house and when James discovers a door and goes inside, the adventure begins.

Squids Will Be Squids by Jon Scieszka

Make learning how to morally deal with difficult people fun while laughing all the while. This collection of fables includes silly tales about a wide range of unpleasant people and how it is important to change people’s names while writing about them.

A Horn for Louse by Eric A. Kimmel

Meet young Louis Armstrong, who isn’t like most kids his age. He doesn’t go to school because he needs to help his mother earn money. Every day, he rides around the city playing his tin horn. Until one fateful day, he comes to a pawn shop and sees a trumpet in the window. 

Age 9-10

Reading Milestones:

At this age, your grandkids’ imaginations are in full bloom while their understanding of various types of text is beginning to develop. At this age, many children enjoy fantasy and fiction.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

Harry Potter is not like other 11-year-old boys. Harry Potter is a wizard and the day of his eleventh birthday is the day that marks a move from the miserable closet under the stairs to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. The first book in one of the best selling children’s series of all time, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone is a great young reader’s introduction to fantasy. 

Redwall by Brian Jacques

Not into wizards or the adventures of children? No problem.

Redwall is the story of the anthropomorphic mice from Redwall Abbey defending their home against an army of rats. A swashbuckling adventure suitable for young preteens.

Amulet by Kazu Kibuishi

Another entry in the fantasy genre, this graphic novel is the perfect young introduction to the format. Brother and sister Emily and Navin embark on a dangerous journey after the death of their father. They move in with their mother, in a strange house filled with strange monsters and robots.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney

Ok, one none fantasy entry. This is the first in a book series that follows Greg struggling with the beginning of a new school year as he navigates the halls of middle school.

Age 11-12

Reading Milestones:

At this age, your grandkids should be able to understand character development and see changes take place in the characters over time. This is a great time to introduce them to character-driven stories.

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Join protagonist, Percy Jackson, in the first book of the Percy Jackson series. After having some trouble in school, Percy is sent to a boarding school where strange things start happening, like his teachers turning into actual monsters. After one such teacher tries to kill him, Percy’s mom comes clean and tells him he is actually a demigod and sends him off to study in the most magical of places. Long Island.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

The writing style might be a bit of a challenge at this age, however, for the fantasy lover in your family, this book is an absolute must-read. In a hole in the ground, there is a hobbit named Bilbo Baggins. He becomes the unwitting thief in a group of dwarves as they adventure through Middle Earth to claim their mountain home back from a great dragon named Smaug.

As Brave as You by Jason Reynolds

Join Genie and Ernie as they leave their Brooklyn home for the first time to spend the summer in Virginia with their grandparents. In a misguided effort to show their bravery, the two brothers create more trouble for themselves then they can handle. That is until Genie discovers their grandfather has been successfully hiding the fact that he is blind and wants to learn how he is able to hide it so well, redefining how Genie thinks of bravery.

Age 13-14

Reading Milestones:

At this age, your grandkids will be interested in expanding their vocabulary and also may be developing opinions about society at large. This is a great time to introduce them to political and social ideas in literature in a way that they can form their own opinions. The best way to expose young teens to these ideas in a way that they may come to their own conclusions is fiction.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne

Emotionally heavy, this book joins Bruno as a young boy who finds a fence. There is another little boy on the other side, wearing what Bruno calls “striped pajamas.” Described as a fable by the author, it is not hard to imagine this story as an all-too-real-tale of children during the holocaust.

The Giver by Lois Lowry

The first book of a trilogy, readers join Jonas on the day he becomes the new Receiver of Memories. This is a prestigious position that is only chosen once every few decades. Though honored, the more Jonas learns about the past the more he believes in wrong with the world he lives in.

On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

After the disappearance of Taylor’s closest friend, a manuscript is the only hint to what may have happened to her. The manuscript outlines the lives of five children from Jellicoe Road many years before and to find her friend, Taylor must dig deeper into their lives.

Age 15-16

Reading Milestones:

At this age, your grandkids reading skills should be highly developed and their reading preferences will come down to personal taste. This age group will understand themes, irony, satire, and subtext. 

The Martian by Andy Weir

For any lover of science and space travel, this book takes readers on a trip to Mars and the catastrophe that strands botanist, Mark Watney, alone on the surface. With humor and genius, Watney tries to survive long enough for a rescue mission.

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

If your grandchild enjoyed The Giver, A Brave New World is another step in the direction of classic dystopian literature.

The Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Tally is about to turn sixteen and become pretty. It’s what everyone does and she couldn’t be looking forward to it more until her new friend Shay casts doubt on the idea that being pretty is the best thing a person can do.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

An honest look at the triumph and turmoil of high school, this story unfolds in a series of letters discussing Charlie’s family, friends, and first time experiences. This story speaks to the spirit of the teenage experience.

Create Your Own Grandkids Book List

We love talking about books and giving you recommendations, like this scary book list and this global destinations list. But the best grandkids book list is the one you build together. Ask them what they like and what they are interested in and listen to what they say and you will have them well on their way to life long reading.


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