From the time I learned to read, I was hooked. For me, reading was a way to travel outside my little world. I could explore new ideas and realities from the safety of my favorite spot on the couch. My love of reading bloomed quickly and grew rapidly as I devoured all of the must-read children’s books, book after book.
Before long, I was also writing my own stories. Often I was found forgoing playing with friends and avoiding sleepovers. I would have rather stayed up late with my flashlight, a fresh stack of paper, and a pencil. My mother basically threatened to take my books if I didn’t go outside and run amok with the other children. It was a problem, sort of, but one of the best kinds.
Even today, as a grown woman, I can get hopelessly lost in a book. I don’t have as much time to read as I would like. And I am still honing my craft as a writer. But this first love of mine, this deep longing to dive into a new story or create my own, feeds my soul. I am determined to pass on this love of reading, learning, growing, exploring, and creating to my kids, whether they like it or not! Today, I’m sharing with you some of the best, most loved, and well-written must-read children’s books for every kid.
25 Must-Read Children’s Books
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton — a silly, fun, rhyming story about the sounds that animals make.
Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton — a quirky story about hippos who love their belly buttons.
On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman — a beautiful book that celebrates the uniqueness of you.
Press Here by Herve Tullet — an interactive picture book that harnesses imagination and interactivity.
Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems — when the bus driver leaves the bus, and a pigeon wants to take over, hilarity ensues.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak — a boy named Max takes an imaginative journey to a place where wild things live.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. — all the letters of the alphabet race up the coconut tree and find there may not be enough room.
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi — the subject is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s a fantastic book for potty trainers.
The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf — Ferdinand is a different kind of bull who loves to sit under his tree and smell the flowers.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein — a poignant picture book about the gift of giving and capacity to love. A true must-read children’s book. 🙂
The Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka — hilarious, unconventional, and eclectic spoofs of fairy tales that can easily be read aloud.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein — a masterful collection of poems and drawings that will have your child laughing and stretching their imagination.
Mercy Watson to the Rescue by Kate DiCamillo — the story of a jolly little pig who becomes a family pet. The first book in a series.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz — Alexander has a very bad (but sweetly funny) day.
Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows — unlikely friends become BFFs in this humorous first book of the series.
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White — a beautiful book about friendship, love, life, and loss that will be a favorite for years to come.
Stuart Little by E.B. White — the story of a mouse raised by humans who goes on the adventure of a lifetime to rescue a friend.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling — Harry is an orphan living in a closet of his cruel aunt and uncle’s house when he receives the news that he is really a wizard and is being summoned to an infamous wizarding school.
Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery — an eleven-year-old orphan is mistakenly sent to live with relatives on a farm and makes a giant impression on the community’s residents.
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett — a young orphaned girl who comes to live with her eccentric, rich uncle and discovers a world of secrets and mysteries, including a very special secret garden.
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee — a remarkable story of a girl coming-of-age in a world of prejudice, violence, and injustice as she watches her attorney father defend an innocent black man for a crime he didn’t commit.
The Giver by Lois Lowry — a young boy lives in a utopian society but soon learns that his “ideal” world is not all it seems to be.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins — in a dystopian society that was once North America, one boy and one girl from each district are forced to fight each other to the death until one young woman decides to fight back against the system.
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain — the story follows Huckleberry Finn as he travels up the Mississippi River, meeting colorful people and places along the way.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak — a powerful tale of a young girl surviving Nazi Germany by stealing books and sharing them with her neighbors and the Jewish man hiding in her basement.
This list is only the tip of the iceberg for the must-read children’s books. But I believe kids ought to devour them before they become responsible, boring adults with little to no free time. This list can also give you a head start for getting your kiddos into reading at any age.
Which of these must-read children’s books did you love as a child? Which have you not read but hope to read to your child?
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