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 best 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, 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 some of the best, most loved, and most well-written must-read children’s books for every kid.
25 Best Books for Children
Children’s Books Ages 0-2
Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton — a silly, fun, rhyming story about the sounds that animals make.Buy Here
Belly Button Book by Sandra Boynton — a quirky story about hippos who love their belly buttons.Buy Here
On The Night You Were Born by Nancy Tillman — a beautiful book that celebrates your uniqueness.Buy Here
Press Here by Herve Tullet — an interactive picture book that harnesses imagination and interactivity.Buy Here
Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems — hilarity ensues when the bus driver leaves the bus, and a pigeon wants to take over.Buy Here
Children’s Books Ages 3-5
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak — a boy named Max takes an imaginative journey to a place where wild things live.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi — the subject is pretty self-explanatory, and it’s a fantastic book for potty trainers.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein — a poignant picture book about the gift of giving and the capacity to love. A true must-read children’s book.Buy Here
Children’s Books Ages 5-7
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.Buy Here
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein — a masterful collection of poems and drawings that will have your child laughing and stretching their imagination.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
Ivy + Bean by Annie Barrows — unlikely friends become BFFs in this humorous first book of the series.Buy Here
Children’s Books Ages 8-11
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
Children’s Books Ages 12+
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
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.Buy Here
This list is only the tip of the iceberg for the best children’s books. But I believe kids should 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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