Thanks to the recent spread of the Coronavirus, we’re spending an unprecedented amount of time indoors, with no foreseeable end in sight. If you’re worried that you’ve already found the end of the internet in an effort to entertain your restless family, we’re here to help!

Here at Parent Cue, we believe there are six things every kid needs over time:

  • Love
  • Words
  • Work
  • Tribes
  • Fun
  • and Stories

In fact, these things may be the most important things you give your kid—other than food. Kids need food.

Share stories with your family

One way we can leverage all this extra “togetherness” is to share stories with our family. Stories over time give your kid a bigger perspective. Stories—even fiction stories—help kids process the world around them.

And with so many BIG changes happening—changes that are difficult for even us to process—stories are one of our greatest resources to give kids and teens context for a time when things won’t feel so strange or scary anymore.

To help get you started, we’ve curated a list of the top 10 books that you can share with your kid and student in the days to come.

Whether you’re reading these books aloud together or reading them separately to talk about later, these stories can create meaningful discussions and ongoing conversations between you and your kid or student.

Bonus points if you can find the movie version of these stories to compare and contrast with the book!


  1. Feelings By Aliki
  2. The Hat By Jan Brett
  3. The Little House By Virginia Lee Burton
  4. Stellaluna By Janell Cannon
  5. The Monster At The End Of This Book By Jon Stone
  6. Corduroy (Series) By Don Freeman
  7. Pete The Cat (Series) By Eric Litwin And James Dean
  8. Make Way For Ducklings By Robert Mccloskey
  9. Little Critter (Series) By Mercer Mayer
  10. Curious George By H.a. Rey And Margret Rey

Younger Elementary School

  1. Beforever (Series) By American Girl
  2. Cam Jansen And The Mystery Of The Babe Ruth Baseball By David A. Adler
  3. Fly Guy (Series) By Tedd Arnold
  4. Ivy + Bean (Series) By Annie Barrows
  5. Freckle Juice Fudge-a-mania By Judy Blume
  6. The Family Under The Bridge By Natalie Savage Carlson
  7. Henry Huggins (Series) By Beverly Cleary
  8. The Mouse And The Motorcycle By Beverly Cleary
  9. Mercy Watson (Series) By Kate Dicamillo
  10. The Tale Of Despereaux By Kate Dicamillo

Older Elementary School

  1. The Indian In The Cupboard By Lynn Reid Banks
  2. El Deafo By Cece Bell
  3. Walk Two Moons By Sharon Creech
  4. How To Train Your Dragon (Series) By Cressida Cowell
  5. My Side Of The Mountain By Jean Craighead George
  6. Diary Of A Wimpy Kid (Series) By Jeff Kinney
  7. Anne Of Green Gables (Series) By L. M. Montgomery
  8. Percy Jackson (Series) By Rick Riordan
  9. The Invention Of Hugo Cabret By Brian Selznick
  10. Wonderstruck By Brian Selznick

Middle School

  1. The True Confessions Of Charlotte Doyle By Avi
  2. Al Capone Does My Shirts (Series) By Gennifer Choldenko
  3. Out Of My Mind By Sharon Draper
  4. Princess Academy (Series) By Shannon Hale
  5. The Outsiders By S.E. Hinton
  6. The Thing About Luck By Cynthia Kadohata
  7. An American Plague: The True And Terrifying Story Of The Yellow Fever Epidemic Of 1793 By Jim Murphy
  8. Eragon (Series) By Christopher Paolini
  9. Jacob Have I Loved By Katherine Paterson
  10. The Hobbit By J.R.R. Tolkien

High School

  1. Uncle Tom’s Cabin By Harriet Beecher Stowe
  2. Girl With A Pearl Earring By Tracy Chevalier
  3. Narrative Of The Life Of Frederick Douglass By Frederick Douglass
  4. The Great Gatsby By F. Scott Fitzgerald
  5. The Kite Runner By Khaled Hosseini
  6. A Prayer For Owen Meany By John Irving
  7. The Life Of Pi By Yann Martel
  8. The Lovely Bones By Alice Sebold
  9. The Art Of Racing In The Rain By Garth Stein
  10. The Color Purple By Alice Walker

What is the Phase Project?

Does reading about phase-specific content interest you? Want to know more about the phase your kid or teen is in right now?

The Phase Project is a synthesis of personal experience, academic research, and gatherings of leaders and educational experts from across the child development spectrum. Designed in partnership with Parent Cue, The Phase Project is an 18-part series to help you parent your child through every year.

Click here to learn more or to purchase a guide of your own. See a story missing from our lists? Comment below to share your favorites with us!