A ton of books get read at our house, but some are more important than others...especially the ones that form the basis of our curriculum. Here is a list of the books we are using right now. I've made these available to buy through Amazon links. We usually find great books at the library to see how they are first before buying them. These are the ones we have purchased.
Rocky Mountain nature guide, Bezener, Andy
We use this book to do studies on animals. My child picks out an animal each day, reads about it, and writes a story about the animal. We also integrate this book into bigger studies on herbivores, carnivores, etc...
A prairie food chain, Tarbox, A. D. (Angelique D.)
The Odyssey series is amazing and these food chain editions are marvelous. We've read them all and they truly show kids how nature works in a forest from the smallest organism up to the fiercest predators.
*I would also recommend the World Books' Science and Nature Guides. They are amazing.
The illustrated history of the world : from the big bang to the third millennium, Morris, Neil.
Don't use any other book to guide your history curriculum. This book helps you build timelines and learn about history in a smart, structured fashion.
Reading and Phonics
The ordinary parent's guide to teaching reading, Wise, Jessie.
I used this book to help my child learn how to read. We didn't use the entire book because my daughter was fairly advanced when we started using it, however it was great for teaching the harder phonics concepts. You could used this book from the very beginning of a child's journey to reading...if so, I'd begin this book at age 4, and you'll have a fluent reader by age 6.
The books on these lists are not a joke. Yes, there are some "big" books on this list, but the point is that you are the one reading them to the child, and not the other way around. The key here is to expose children to beautiful prose and poems, and form a lifelong bond with them at the same time. Not only that, but reading to children helps them acquire literacy naturally.
Make it a habit. Choose a regular time each day to read the books.