I’m still working on my new movie list – in fact we are thinking about having a regular Family Movie Night, maybe once a week or once a month. Last week we watched The Karate Kid because the whole wax-on-wax-off thing came up somehow while waiting in a line at Disney. Now everyone around here is doing the crane kick. Hi-ya!
Anyway, in the meantime, here is the book list I made for my friend Lee Ann. This one is less about The Classics and more about books that my kids loved and read over and over and over, so now I consider them must-haves for any new parent. In the older age groups, the titles are those that I personally loved as a kid (I was a Serious Reader) that I’m hoping to introduce the kids to soon.
I welcome all suggestions and additions! We are at the library frequently and always looking for new titles to pick up.
Also, here’s a good list of the top 100 children’s books of all time that I often refer to when looking for something new.
Age birth through age 2 (board books)
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton
Zoe’s Snowy Day/Sunny Day/Rainy Day/Windy Day by Barbara Reid
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin and Eric Carle
Jamberry by Bruce Degen
Each Peach Pear Plum by Allan and Janet Ahlberg
Ballerina! by by Peter Sis
Chicka Chicka ABC by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault
Grumpy Bird by Jeremy Tankard
I Love My Mommy Because… by Laurel Porter-Gaylord
I Love My Daddy Because… by Laurel Porter-Gaylord
A Boy and His Bunny by Sean Bryan
Age 3-5 (storybooks)
Tikki Tikki Tembo Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent
The Hockey Sweater by Roche Carrier
If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura J Numeroff
George Shrinks by William Joyce
Rollie Pollie Ollie by William Joyce
Miss Lina’s Ballerinas by Grace Maccarone and Christine Davenier
Stella books: Stella Star of the Sea, Stella Queen of the Snow, Stella Princess of the Sky by Marie-Louise Gay
Little Pea by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive The Bus by Mo Willems
Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
Cowboy and Octopus by Jon Scieszka
Crictor by Tomi Ungerer
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman
Sheep in a Jeep by Thomas Allen
Where is the Green Sheep? by Mem Fox
Curious George by H.A. Rey
The Big Honey Hunt by Stanley and Janice Berenstain
Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin and Betsy Lewin
Olivia by Ian Falconer
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt
Russell the Sheep by Rob Scotton
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Wild About Books by Judy Sierra
Stanley’s Party by Linda Bailey
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
The Mitten by Jan Brett
Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers (all his books, really, are so beautiful)
The Incredible Book Eating Boy by Oliver Jeffers
Ninja Cowboy Bear by David Bruins
Snowmen at Night by Caralyn Buehner and Mark Buehner
The Gingerbread Pirates by Kristin Kladstrup and Matt Tavares
These are still to read aloud to them, too hard to read themselves:
Winnie the Pooh stories (the real ones, not the Disney ones) by A.A. Milne
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar
Pippi Longstocking (highly recommended!) by Astrid Lindgren
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler
The Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
Clementine by Sara Pennypacker
The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCillo
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus
Can likely read themselves:
Ricky Ricotta books by Dav Pilkey
Ivy and Bean books by Annie Barrows and Sophie Blackall (precocious readers)
Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown
Read aloud books:
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
How to Train Your Dragon (and many sequels) by Cressida Cromwell
Stuart Little by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, if you can stand to read it out loud without sobbing
The Wonderful World of Oz – L. Frank Baum
* (we have a picture book abridged version of this that the kids adore, suitable for all ages – illustrated by Charles Santore)
Rolling Harvey Down the Hill by Jack Prelutsky
Firewing and Silverwing by Kenneth Oppel
Read themselves books:
Captain Underpants books by Dav Pilkey
Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney (borderline in terms of literary value)
Bunnicula by Deborah Howe
How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
Freckle Juice by Judy Blume
Uncle by J.P. Martin
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The NeverEnding Story by Michael Ende
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
The Great Brain by James Fitzgerald
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater
Hatchet by Gary Patchet
Artemis Fowl by Eoin Colfer
Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert O’Brien
A Wrinkle In Time by Madeleine L’Engle
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin
This Can’t Be Happening at MacDonald Hall (and other Bruno and Boots books) by Gordon Korman
Holes by Louis Sachar
Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan (whole series)
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
Superfudge by Judy Blume
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key
Escape to Witch Mountain by Alexander Key
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Age 13 and up
Harry Potter books by J.K. Rowling (I know, everyone is reading these at age 6 nowadays, but my kids found the first one difficult to get through with all the new language, and a little scary – we are saving the rest for when they are older)
The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe books by C.S. Lewis
The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
16 thoughts on “The Book List”
I’d recommend “Goodnight, Gorilla” for the birth-2 list.
We also love Oliver Jeffers and Mo Willems. Mason just wrote a story on the weekend and I could hear the influence of Oliver Jeffers in it. Evan doesn’t go anywhere without an Elephant & Piggie book these days. We read another “Lily” book, “Julius is the Baby of the World”, frequently. As a big sister with a little brother, it kind of resonates with me.
Thank you for reminding me about Gordon Korman. I want to read a Bruno and Boots book right now. Also, I liked Encyclopedia Brown books (Donald J. Sobol) very much when I was a kid (9 or 10?). Maybe they’re not well-written classics, but I loved them nonetheless.
Goodnight Gorilla! I love that book. It’s interesting that the lack of words causes my kids (especially Little Miss Sunshine) to ask about a million questions each time we read it. I guess they are not visual people!
As for Encyclopedia, I read every single one of those books as a kid so last year I got them all and excitedly read them to the Captain. He sat through them okay but I have to say, they sadly do not hold up. They read a little dated and plus, far too many of the mysteries could not be solved without extensive knowledge of American history. It did lead to a few interesting conversations but didn’t have the Sherlock Holmes factor I remember.
Hah! I HATE kids books with no words. I don’t want to make up the story as we read – I just want to read it, dammit. I LOVE the idea behind Good Dog, Carl, but just HATE when my daughter wants me to “read” it. So much work 😉
Our kids adored Goodnight Gorilla because it was a slightly different book every time we read it…though I always had to add lots of commentary about the mouse and the banana, who were apparently the actual main characters in the story.
My 6 year old and I have been reading intro chapter books for thr last 18 months. He really likes Geronimo Stilton and the Hardy Boys Series and we are about to try Super Fudge. For the 0-2 we love everything by Sanda Boynton
I loooooooved the Hardy Boys as a kid. I think I have read every single one, and most of the Nancy Drew as well. I’ve been avoiding them for the kids because I’m afraid they will seem dated, and if the kids shun them I will be heartbroken. But if they are going well for you, I will put them on our library list and give it a try.
Great list – thank you!
We loved almost all of Sandra Boynton’s books (especially “The Going to Bed Book”) and my 5 1/2 year old still goes back to them from time to time. I love sharing the “classics” with him and was so thrilled to see the Bruno and Boots books on your lists – I loved those.
My Little Man (the 5 1/2 year old) is a tad sensitive so although he’s eager to read chapter books (both aloud to us and vice versa), I have to be so careful about what we read him. Anything with a lot of fantasy or too much suspense is hard for him, especially before bed.
For the older set, I would add the Trixie Belden books (good for boys and girls, in my opinion) and maybe even the Cherry Ames books.
Us too – we have sensitive kids. We are constantly looking for longer chapter books we can read to them, but that don’t have any scary content (that’s why Harry Potter was a bit of a backfire). Most of the ones on this list have been a hit in terms of level and of content.
As for Sandra Boynton, I ADORE The Going To Bed Book. I must have read it a million times. I think I could have filled this list just with Sandra books, we own at least 20 of them, but to be fair I think I only listed the one. Seriously, though, you cannot go wrong with any of her titles.
You know what happens when you post a book list? You immediately think of one you forgot, DOH. Would like to add Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card to the 10-12 area.
Thanks for this awesome list! A trip to the library is in order, stat!
Super list! I’ve got some new ideas for our next trip to the library.
Despite having wonderful parents, I used to love books about plucky orphans. A few of my favourites were:
“Mandy” by Julie Andrews
“Heidi” by Johanna Spyri
“The Little Princess” by Frances Hodgson Burnett
And I love Anne of Green Gables, but my favourite L.M. Montgomery book is “Jane of Lantern Hill”. A little harder to find, but worth the look.
All of these are probably suitable for 9-12 year olds.
Is that Julie Andrews, Julie Andrews? She is my hero. It’s going on the list right away. And I LOVED The Little Princess as a kid – actually I loved The Secret Garden even more. I can’t believe I left that off.
As for Heidi, I actually have never read it! I will put it on our list as well.
Yes, that Julie Andrews! She’s so talented!
Love love love this list. Thank you! Going to scope out some of those 3-5 books at the library this weekend!
Finally getting a chance to really look through your book list. Love all the suggestions, especially the ones for older kids, since we’re just getting into that range. Hana is plowing through books at an alarming rate, so ideas for new ones to try are very welcome.
Many of our faves are on your list, but I thought I’d suggest a few others we particularly love.
Everywhere Babies – Susan Meyers
Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen
Pajama Pirates – Andrew Kramer
Sir Charlie Stinky Socks and the Really Big Adventure – Kristina Stephenson
Suki’s Kimono – Chieri Uegaki
And as for read-on-their-own books, our kids recently discovered The Flying Beaver Brothers by Maxwell Eaton III and love them. The first one is The Flying Beaver Brothers and The Evil Penguin Plan. It’s a graphic novel. Very funny.
Thanks for the suggestions! We’ve never read any of these. Those Beaver Brothers ones in particular look perfect for Gal Smiley, she is really into graphic novels. I just ordered the first two from Amazon. Yay!
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