January 8, 2009

80 Favorite Children's Books

I apologize beforehand for such a lengthy post, but I couldn't narrow the list down any further. I have the books sorted into younger/older children, but some books are meant to be read over and over no matter how old. Children of all ages enjoy being read to, even once they can read. I left out the true "classics" on this list, and just focused on books that I like.

  1. A Chair for My Mother - Vera B. Williams
  2. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - Judith Viorst - be sure to check out the other Alexander books.
  3. Amelia Bedelia series - Peggy Parish - older elementary children will probably enjoy these books the best, as all of her situations occur from taking phrases literally. Younger children will still enjoy the messes she creates. A good book to read for a mixed-age group.
  4. Bedtime for Francis - Russell Hoban
  5. Blueberries for Sal - Robert McCloskey
  6. Caps for Sale - Esphyr Slobodkina
  7. Chrysanthemum - Kevin Henkes - be sure to check out other books by this author!
  8. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs - Ron & Judi Barrett
  9. Courduroy - Don Freeman
  10. Diary of a Worm - Doreen Cronin
  11. Dr. Seuss books - just about every book written by him is entertaining for children. Your tongue may get tangled in knots from re-reading the nonsense words over and over, but your kids will love it.
  12. Five Little Peppers and How They Grew - Margaret Sidney
  13. Goggles - Ezra Jack Keats
  14. Goodnight, Gorilla - Peggy Rathmann
  15. Goodnight Moon - Margaret Wise Brown - just go ahead and buy all of MWB's books. You won't regret it. Make sure the books are hardback and strongly bound. I've yet to meet a child who doesn't love hearing her stories read over and over.
  16. Happy Birthday, Moon - Frank Asch
  17. Harold and the Purple Crayon - Crockett Johnson
  18. Henry and Mudge series - Cynthia Rylant - if you liked the adventures of Henry and Risby as a kid, you will love the Henry and Mudge books
  19. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie - Laura Numeroff
  20. If You... series - various authors - explore what life was like in colonial times, on the mayflower, with various NA tribes, and other historical events. Educational for child and adult alike.
  21. Ira Sleeps Over - Bernard Weber
  22. Joseph had a Little Overcoat - Simms Taback
  23. Leo Lionni - if you like Eric Carle, you will love Leo Lionni.
  24. Love You Forever - Robert Munsch - if you have a 1st-3rd grader, they will love reading Munsch's books for themselves. This particular book is serious (and a tear-jerker!), but his other tales are hilarious.
  25. Make Way for Ducklings - Robert McCloskey
  26. Mercer Meyer's Little Critter series - I think that the older ones are best. The newer ones are still good, but they try too hard to teach a message. These books are great for 1st-3rd graders learning to read books themselves.
  27. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel - Virginia Lee Burton
  28. Mouse Paint - Ellen Stohl Walsh
  29. My Great-Aunt Arizona - Gloria Houston
  30. No, David! - David Shannon - actually, all of the David books are great. David gets into a lot of trouble, however, so little kids might copy what they see and hear.
  31. Olivia series - Ian Falconer
  32. Pat the Bunny - Dorothy Kundhart
  33. Prayer for a Child - Rachael Field
  34. Richard Scarry books - these books are filled with so much detail on each page, your child will actually sit down and study the pages. Quietly. You're welcome :)
  35. Sarah Morton's Day: A Day in the Life of a Pilgrim Girl - Kate Waters - a wonderful book to enrich your studies
  36. Sheep in a Jeep - Nancy E. Shaw and Margot Apple - the entire sheep series is delightful
  37. The 100 Dresses - Eleanor Estes
  38. The Flea's Sneeze - Lynn Downy
  39. The Giving Tree - Shel Silverstein - I know some people criticize this book by trying to assign it an environmental or political message, but I never thought of any of that as a child.
  40. The Grey Lady and the Strawberry Snatcher - Molly Bang
  41. The Little House - Virginia Lee Burton
  42. The Little Mouse, the Red, Ripe Strawberry and the Big, Hungry Bear - Don Wood - a great read-aloud
  43. The Moffats - Eleanor Estes
  44. The Napping House - Audrey Wood
  45. The Relatives Came - Cynthia Rylant
  46. The Runaway Bunny - Margaret Wise
  47. The Snowy Day - Ezra Jack Keats
  48. The Story about Ping - Marjorie Flack
  49. The Velveteen Rabbit - Margery Williams - my favorite book as a child. I read this book aloud to my students every year.
  50. Toes, Ears, and Nose - Marion Dane Bauer
  51. Tomie De Paola books - many of his books have magic mentioned, but I still love his books.
  52. Tops & Bottoms - Janet Stevens - this is a wonderful book to use when teaching about plants.
  53. Trucks - Donald Crews
  54. Value Tale series - Johnson and Pilleggi - this is the series that got me to love reading. Each book is a kid's biography of a famous person and how a specific character trait helped them develop into the adult they were known for.
  55. We're Going on a Bear Hunt - Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury - great read-aloud, especially if you get into the sound effects!
  56. When I was Young in the Mountains - Cynthia Rylant
  57. Where is Baby's Belly Button? - Karen Katz
  58. Where the Wild Things Are - Maurice Sendak
  59. When Marion Sang - Pam Munoz Ryan
  60. When Sophie Gets Angry - Really, Really, Angry - Molly Bang

  1. A Gathering of Days: A New England Girl's Journal 1830-1832 - Joan W. Blos - excellent if you are studying this time period
  2. Anne of Green Gables series - L. M. Montgomery - I personally only like the first 2 books, and the writing style is not for everyone. But if you have a daughter who is a dreamer, she just might find a bossom friend in Anne.
  3. Artemis Fowl series - Eoin Colfer - I have only read the first 3 books, so I can't vouch for the entire series. There is some magic (fairies) in the books, so read at your own discretion
  4. Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Patterson - don't waste your time on the movie.
  5. Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis
  6. Charlotte's Web - E.B. White - read the book before you watch the cartoon. Disreguard the movie.
  7. Chronicles of Narnia series - C. S. Lewis - a wonderful read-aloud, especially for children who are good at "seeing" a book in their minds. Focus on the Family radio has a wonderful version on CD. This is a series you can read over and over and glean something new each time.
  8. Dear Mr. Henshaw - Beverly Cleary - this book deals with the topic of divorce
  9. Encyclopedia Brown - Donald Sobol - perfect for the budding scientist or detective. Enjoyable for boys and girls.
  10. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - E.L. Konigsburg
  11. Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh - the book is MUCH better than the movie!
  12. Henry Huggins series - Beverly Cleary - buy a good set of these for your son and keep them for the grandkids.
  13. Little House in the Big Woods - Laura Ingalls Wilder - I can read this book over and over. The entire Little House series is wonderful, and nothing like the TV show.
  14. Marguerite Henry books - perfect for the horse-lover.
  15. Number the Stars - Lois Lowry - a moving tale of life in Denmark during WWII. An excellent resource to supplement studies.
  16. Ramona Quimby series - Beverly Cleary - buy a good set of these for your daughter and keep them for the grandkids.
  17. Roll of Thunder, Hear my Cry - Mildred D. Taylor - the entire series (Let the Circle Be Unbroken, The Road to Memphis, Roll of Thunder, and The Land) is a thought-provoking series on what life was like during the 1930s in the South. Some harsh realities are discussed, most suitable for older elementary and junior high.
  18. Sarah, Plain and Tall series - Patricia MacLachlan - the first book is an excellent supplement for studies on how the midwest was settled, as well as the harsh realities that faced people in those times. The other books in the series are well-written and enjoyable.
  19. The Giver - Lois Lowry - moving and thought-provoking. Parents might want to read this book first, not for young children.
  20. The Watsons go to Birmingham - Christopher Paul Curtis - I read this book aloud to my 2nd graders and they understood the story, although older students would get more out of the tale. Be warned that the n-word is used.

Did I leave any of your favorites out?


  1. Hey Heather - I just happened on your blog, hope that's all right. I just had to comment when I saw you posting on children's books. My wife and I love reading children's books - silly I know. So I was making sure you had 'Olivia,' 'David,' and 'Harold and the Purple Crayon' on your list. The only one I would add is 'The Secret Knowledge of Grown-Ups' by David Weisnewski. Funny, incredible cut paper illustrations, great for slightly older children.
    Anyway, great to make your blog acquaintance. God bless and happy blogging!

  2. Your blog was fast becoming one of my favorites! I think that this post has sealed the deal. We just LOVE books at our house. The kids were excited to see so many of our favorites listed.

  3. I love your list - the only one I'd add is Chicka Chicka Boom Boom which is the only book we have 3 copies of because it has gotten so loved that the pages fall out.

  4. thank you so much for the list of books, it gives me a good guide on what to read to my little one :)


Thank you so much for caring enough to leave a comment! I typically don't respond to each separate comment here on my blog. If you would like to ask me a question and have my reply, please feel free to e-mail me at heathershodgepodge@hotmail.com