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50 great books to entertain quarantined kids, whether they're newborns or high schoolers

Hannah Yasharoff
Reviewed.com

— Recommendations are independently chosen by Reviewed’s editors. Purchases you make through our links may earn us a commission.

Our colleague Hannah Yasharoff from the USA TODAY Life team is here to share some reading ideas your kids, whether to read to your infants, recommend to your high schoolers or pass along to somewhere in between, to stay entertained while stuck at home.

The old adage that books can take you anywhere feels especially poignant now. 

There are plenty of good viewing options while you and your family are home under quarantine: Streaming offers many happy TV shows. Or you can catch up on beloved movies that are scary, triumphant or sweet. Need more ideas? Check out our comprehensive list of 100 things to do while stuck inside during a pandemic

But if you're looking to keep the kids entertained and away from screens for a little while, reading can offer an escape, whether that's exploring made-up worlds or tackling ideas and issues closer to home. These 50 book options – some classics, some new favorites – are the perfect antidote. 

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Newborns to age 3 

"Baby Paleontologist," by Dr. Laura Gehl: A colorful board book to help introduce your little one to science concepts. ($8.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Baby Shark!," by Stevie Lewis: Finally get that song out of your head? Sorry. Here it is again, but in book form – your kiddo will love it. ($8.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Blanket of Love," by Alyssa Satin Capucilli: A sweet, soothing story about the various ways we can find comfort all around. ($7.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Bob Ross: My First Book of Colors," by Robb Pearlman: Fun for parents and kids, this one features Bob Ross' iconic artwork. ($8.79 at Books-A-Million)

"Chicka Chicka Boom Boom," by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault: A lively, rhythmic story with fun colors to boot. ($7.03 at Books-A-Million)

"Dr. Seuss's Spring Things," by Dr. Seuss: In a new book from the world of Dr. Seuss, Thing 1 and Thing 2 explore all things fun about spring. ($8.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed," by Eileen Christelow: A goofy and visually engaging retelling of the classic rhyme. ($12.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Good Night, Gorilla," by Peggy Rathmann: As the zookeeper says goodnight to each animal, a mischievous gorilla has other ideas. ($7.03 at Books-A-Million)

"Moo, Baa, La La La!," by Sandra Boynton: Help your little one get to know animals and their sounds, accompanied by whimsical pictures. ($5.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Peekaboo Morning," by Rachel Isadora: The whole family joins in for a sweet game of peekaboo. ($7.99 at Books-A-Million)

"The Snowy Day," by Ezra Jack Keats: The simple premise of a boy exploring on a snowy day coupled with beautiful illustrations makes this one an oldie but a goodie. ($7.03 at Books-A-Million)

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle

"The Very Hungry Caterpillar," by Eric Carle: Another classic with stunning visuals and language that's fun to listen to and repeat. ($10.99 at Books-A-Million)

"When I Grow Up: Great Leaders," by Lucy Semple: Teach your kids from day one that they can become anything by looking back at what some of the world's most iconic leaders were like when they were little. ($8.24 at Books-A-Million)

Ages 4 to 8 

"The Chicken of the Family," by Mary Amato: When Henrietta's sisters teasingly convince her she's actually a chicken, she sets off to find where she really belongs. ($2.99 at Books-A-Million)

"The Day the Crayons Quit," by Drew Daywalt: After Duncan's crayons go on strike, there's only one solution: to draw a beautiful picture with each color represented equally.  ($15.83 at Books-A-Million)

“Dragons Love Tacos,” by Adam Rubin: A silly tale of what happens when dragons get together to share tacos. (Spoiler alert: They're big fans.) ($14.94 at Books-A-Million)

"The Empty Pot," by Demi: Honesty is rewarded in this simple story of a Chinese boy who fesses up to the Emperor when he fails a task. ($10.99 at Books-A-Million)

"The Giving Tree," by Shel Silverstein: Love and sacrifice go hand in hand in Silverstein's tear-jerking classic. ($15.83 at Books-A-Million)

"The Giving Tree" by Shel Silverstein

"The Gruffalo," by Julia Donaldson: A mouse walking through a forest loses all fear of bigger animals once he invents an even scarier imaginary friend: The Gruffalo. ($8.99 at Books-A-Million)

"The Hello, Goodbye Window," by Norton Juster: A sweet story about a little girl's grandparents as seen through the lens of a big front window at their house. ($16.71 at Books-A-Million)

"Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time," by James Howe: Two best friends with completely opposite opinions learn to enjoy a day snowed in together.  ($15.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Inch and Miles: The Journey to Success," by John Wooden: Friends Inch and Miles use a magic whistle to learn all the keys to succeeding (in life and sports) in this motivational story by the late UCLA basketball coaching great. ($16.95 at Books-A-Million)

"Last Stop on Market Street," by Matt de la Peña: This Newbery Medal winner takes CJ and his grandma on a bus ride after church, where he learns about the dynamic world around him. ($15.83 at Books-A-Million)

"Last Stop on Market Street" by Matt de la Peña

"The Quiltmaker's Gift," by Jeff Brumbeau: A kindly old quiltmaker agrees to make a quilt for a greedy monarch, but only after he changes his ways. ($17.59 at Books-A-Million)

"Miss Rumphius," by Barbara Cooney: Alice makes a vow to make the world a more beautiful place in this sweet story. ($7.99 at Books-A-Million)

“When I Grow Up,” by "Weird Al" Yankovic: The music parody icon brings his signature silly, smart wordplay to an exploration of potential future jobs. ($17.99 at Books-A-Million)

Ages 9 to 13 

"All-of-a-Kind Family," by Sydney Taylor: A family at the turn of the century has fun exploring the city, spending time together and learning about their faith. ($6.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Because of Winn-Dixie," by Kate DiCamillo: India Opal struggles with moving to a new town until a stray dog she names Winn-Dixie helps her build a new community. ($7.03 at Books-A-Million)

"Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life," by Rachel Renee Russell: When Nikki gets a scholarship to a fancy new middle school, she has to start all over again, navigating a new crush and worrying about a new mean girl. ($12.31 at Books-A-Million)

"Esperanza Rising," by Pam Munoz Ryan: Esperanza lives a lavish, extravagant life in Mexico until a tragedy leads her and her mother to flee to California and join a farm labor camp. ($7.03 at Books-A-Million)

"From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler," by E.L. Konigsburg: Siblings Claudia and Jamie run away from their home in the suburbs to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art. ($8.99 at Books-A-Million)

"The Hundred Dresses," by Eleanor Estes: Wanda's classmates tease her for claiming to have 100 beautiful dresses at home, despite wearing the same dress every day. ($7.99 at Books-A-Million)

"Mandy," by Julie Andrews Edwards: Orphan Mandy finds the place of her own she'd been longing for when she discovers a deserted cottage in the woods. ($7.99 at Books-A-Million)

"The Mouse and The Motorcycle," by Beverly Cleary: A young child and a young mouse bond over a shared interest in the boy's toy motorcycle. ($7.03 at Books-A-Million)

"The One and Only Ivan," by Katherine Applegate: Ivan the gorilla lives a life independent of the jungle, but a visit from elephant Ruby makes him see the world differently. ($7.82 at Books-A-Million)

"The People in Pineapple Place," by Anne Morrow Lindbergh: While exploring his new town, August discovers a side street full of new friends invisible to others, who hail from another time period.  ($26.95 at Books-A-Million)

"Sideways Stories from Wayside School," by Louis Sachar: Silly vignettes from a helter-skelter school are perfect for reluctant readers. ($7.03 at Books-A-Million)

"Travel Team," by Mike Lupica: Danny may be the shortest kid on his basketball team, but he has the biggest heart. ($8.99 at Books-A-Million)

Ages 14 and up 

"An Absolutely Remarkable Thing," by Hank Green: April May is thrust into viral fame when she accidentally discovers a giant, robot-like structure. ($14.07 at Books-A-Million)

The cover of Hank Green's debut novel "An Absolutely Remarkable Thing."

"The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," by Sherman Alexie: A boy growing up on an Indian reservation leaves to go to high school in an all-white farm town. ($15.99 at Books-A-Million)

"All American Boys," by Jason Reynolds: Two teenagers, one black and one white, struggle in the aftermath of a violent incident in their community. ($10.54 at Books-A-Million)

"To All the Boys I've Loved Before," by Jenny Han: Lara Jean has written letters to every boy she's had a crush on. But they've been kept safely in her own room – until they're all mysteriously mailed at once. Now a Netflix rom-com favorite. ($9.66 at Books-A-Million)

"Every Day," by David Levithan: A main character referred to simply as "A" wakes up in the body of a different person each day. ($9.66 at Books-A-Million)

"Fangirl," by Rainbow Rowell: When Cath and her twin sister go off to college, she struggles with holding on to their past as writers of a "Harry Potter"-knockoff fan fiction story as Wren begins a new life without her. ($9.66 at Books-A-Million)

"Most Likely" by Sara Watson

"The Great Gatsby," by F. Scott Fitzgerald: A classic for a reason: Millionaire Jay Gatsby's love for married Daisy Buchanan is a cautionary tale about the American Dream. ($13.71 at Books-A-Million)

"Most Likely," by Sarah Watson: A diverse friend group of high school seniors forges tvery different paths as they try to make the most of their final year together. One of them will go on to become president of the United States, but which one of the four remains a mystery throughout. ($17.99 at Books-A-Million)

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower," by Stephen Chbosky: An introverted teenage boy goes through the heartbreaks and triumphs of high school. ($11.54 at Books-A-Million)

"Turtles All the Way Down" by John Green

"Prep," by Curtis Sittenfeld: A teenage girl observes and integrates herself into the foreign world of rich, jaded prep school kids. ($14.95 at Books-A-Million)

"Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda," by Becky Albertalli: In the source material for the movie "Love Simon," a teenage boy's email addressing his sexuality winds up in the wrong hands, turning into a blackmail scheme that could threaten to out him before he's ready. ($9.66 at Books-A-Million)

"Turtles All the Way Down," by John Green: The latest novel from Green (brother of Hank Green) follows 16-year-old Aza, who finds herself in the middle of solving the mystery of a disappeared billionaire while battling mental health struggles. ($13.19 at Books-A-Million)

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