D.E.A.R for parents

  • Favorite Read-Aloud Titles for Families of D.E.A.R. Readers

    Compiled by children’s reading experts from Reach Out and Read, NEA, and Reading Rockets 

    For Families with Soon-to-be Readers 
    (Age 4 and under)


  • Amelia Bedelia's Family Album by Peggy Parish
  • Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
  • Baby Says by John Steptoe
  • Bigmama's by Donald Crews
  • black is brown is tan by Arnold Adoff
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
  • New Shoes for Sylvia by Johanna Hurwitz
  • Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
  • "More More More," Said the Baby by Vera B. Williams
  • Pete's a Pizza by William Steig 

    For Families with Up-and-Coming Readers
    (Age 5 to 7)


  • Big Max by Kin Platt
  • Chato’s Kitchen by Gary Soto
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
  • Days with Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel
  • The Fairy's Mistake by Gail Carson Levine
  • The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson
  • How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
  • The Hundred Dresses by Eleanor Estes
  • Morris Goes to School by B. Wiseman
  • My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett
  • Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
  • A Three Hat Day by Laura Geringer
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by John Scieszka 

    For Families with Growing Readers
    (Age 8 – 11)


  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
  • Dragonwings by Lawrence Yep
  • Freaky Friday by Mary Rodgers
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • Lyddie by Katherine Paterson
  • Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli 
  • My Daniel by Pam Conrad
  • Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin 

    For Families with Sophisticated Readers 
    (Age 12 and older)


  • Boy by Roald Dahl
  • The Cry of the Wolf by Melvin Burgess
  • The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
  • A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck
  • The Mennyms by Sylvia Waugh
  • The Pinballs by Betsy Byars
  • Ruby Holler by Sharon Creech
  • Sabriel by Garth Nix
  • The Sea of Trolls by Nancy Farmer
  • Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Watership Down by Richard Adams 

    Start a Series!

  • Artemis Fowl
  • The Borrowers
  • Chronicles of Narnia
  • Little House
  • Magic School Bus
  • Marvin Redpost
  • Redwall
  • Series of Unfortunate Events
  • Warriors 

    For Families Who Prefer Reading Silently

    These read-aloud titles make great silent reads as well! Then after D.E.A.R. time, everyone can share their reading experience. Or create a D.E.A.R. theme that gets family members reading books about the same topic. Focus on fiction, nonfiction or a mix! 

    More Drop-Everything Reads
    Multi-Cultural Read-Aloud Titles for D.E.A.R. Families

    This list was compiled by the Quicklists Consulting Committee of the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association. 

    Ages 0-4
  • Bebe Goes Shopping by Susan Middleton Elya
  • Bee-Bim Bop! by Linda Sue Park
  • Hands Can by Cheryl Willis Hudson
  • Jazz Baby by Lisa Wheeler
  • Knuffle Bunny Too by Mo Willems
  • My Grandma = Mi Abuelita by Ginger Foglesong Guy
  • Peekaboo Morning by Rachel Isadora

    Ages 5-7
  • The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice N. Harrington
  • Little Mama Forgets by Robin Cruise
  • Little Red Riding-Hood by Jerry Pinkney
  • Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale by Carmen Deedy
  • My Father's Shop by Satomi Ichikawa
  • Oscar's Half Birthday by Bob Graham 

    Ages 8-11
  • Clementine series by Sara Pennypacker
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath
  • Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
  • Indian Shoes by Cynthia Leitich Smith
  • Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything by Lenore Look
  • Rules by Cynthia Lord
  • The Year of the Dog by Grace Lin
  • Younguncle Comes to Town by Vandana Singh

    Ages 12 & Up
  • Ask Me No Questions by Marina Budhos
  • Elijah of Buxton by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • If A Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko
  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
  • Weedflower by Cynthia Kadohata
  • The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt