HTD Central

47 Children's Books To Read In A Lifetime

Looking for a good read for children between two and twelfe years? Here are 47 classic children's books that could be a good pick for you.

47 Children's Books To Read In A Lifetime

from Kirstin Hartman
I love to learn how to do things and write about it. This is, why I am so proud to be part of HTD Central!

During childhood, reading is an important means of developing language, growing imagination, acquiring knowledge, and establishing interpersonal relationships. Reading also stimulates brain activity, especially in areas that help develop language and thinking.

If you're looking to start your child out on the path to an excellent reading habit, here are 47 classic children's books that go above and beyond standard fairy tales, poems and fables.

1. A Wrinkle in Time - by Madeleine L'Engle

A Wrinkle in Time, one of Madeleine L'Engle's most beloved American novels, has just been adapted for the screen by director Ava DuVernay. It stars Storm Reid, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon, Mindy Kaling, Chris Pine and Deric McCabe.

This five-book series was first published in 1962. It is L'Engle's second fantasy novel, the first being A Wrinkle in Time, published in 1962.

L'Engle published A Wrinkle in Time for young readers. The book was just one of her more than 30 novels, as well as seven works of nonfiction and more than 100 short stories. Her books have been translated into more than 50 languages and have sold more than 100 million copies. A Wrinkle in Time has been adapted for film before, in 1962, and then again in 1999, starring Meg Ryan, Chris Pine and Reese Witherspoon.

This edition of the book includes many bonus features, including new illustrations, a study guide, a timeline, and an excerpt from L’Engle's autobiography, A Wind in the Door.

2. The Classic Treasury of Aesop's Fables - by Aesop, Don Daily

Aesop’s fables have lasted the test of time because they still make sense, and they speak to children. In 1965, Donald A. Davis, a Harvard Classics professor, collected and translated 1,000 Aesop’s fables. This book is updated to include 760 fables, as well as 720 illustrations and 48 plates.

The Classic Treasury of Aesop’s Fables (Baroness Childs, 1965) is a collection of 1,000 of Aesop's fables, translated by Donald A. Davis and illustrated by Gerard Manley Hopkins. The fables are presented in an anthology in which each tale is broken into quatrains. Each fable is accompanied by an explanation, a translation, and a short prose summary.

These fables can be a lot of fun to read, and they certainly contain a lot of wisdom, but there is little disagreement among vertebrate experts that, to the best of our knowledge, the fables, though entertaining, do not contain much, if any, verifiable information about animal behavior.

3. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day - by Judith Viorst, Ray Cruz

Alexander is nine years old and his day is filled with trouble. First, he wakes up on the wrong side of the bed. Then, he gets in trouble at school. Later, all the adults in his life give him a hard time. Then, after school, Alexander loses his favorite toy. Most of all, Alexander is no good at all. He wishes he could go back to bed and sleep until tomorrow. Then, Alexander discovers a magical door to tomorrow. He meets a girl named Judy who has an even worse day than Alexander. Judy wishes she could visit her mommy, and Alexander wishes he could visit his daddy. When Judy decides she wants Alexander's wish granted, Alexander realizes he must make the biggest wish of all.

Author Judith Viorst’s 1969 classic about Alexander the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, and Very Bad Day, with a musical adaptation by Terrence McNally, comes to the West End stage. Directed by Matthew Warchus, the show features original book, lyrics, and music by Terrence McNally, with orchestrations by Larry Hochman. It stars Tom Wilkinson as Alexander.

4. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass (Bantam Classics) - by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is the classic tale of a little girl who falls down a rabbit hole and ends up in a strange and whimsical land. Through a series of adventures, she learns about size, time, perception, and imagination. With its bizarre and imaginative illustrations, it has inspired countless works of art and literature, and it remains a perennial favorite of children.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland is Lewis Carroll's second novel, and was inspired by a dream he had in 1865: "I got up very early in the morning, and was musing to myself, as I looked out of a bedroom window, whether it would not be a good thing, if one could tumble down a rabbit hole and remain there forever."

The "Alice" novel follows Alice on a series of adventures into a fantastic world. She finds herself in a strange and whimsical land, where she must solve riddles and puzzles to escape. Her adventures lead to new ways of thinking and reveal fundamental truths about people and society.

Carroll’s Alice books are unlike any books before or since. These books contain some of the most profound and imaginative imagery ever written, including imagery that has stuck in our memories for decades. The Alice books are not only great works of literature, but they are great works of film.

5. Amelia Bedelia - by Peggy Parish, Fritz Siebel

"A book in your lap is a good thing,” Amelia Bedelia might say, and Peggy Parish and Fritz Siebel agree. They’re the authors of Amelia Bedelia’s Favorite Masterpieces, a collection of 10 of their favorite books. “A book in your lap is an even better thing,” says Peggy, “because you’re encouraged to read a little farther.”

Peggy Parish was an elementary school teacher in New York City. She created Amelia Bedelia, who was modeled after herself. The illustrations in the first edition of Amelia Bedelia and Other Short Stories by American Management Company used Norman's early pencil and ink drawings, which were later re-colored by hand.

Norman won an Oscar for Disney for the movie, Bedknobs and Broomsticks. Beginning in the early 1950's, Norman created Amelia Bedelia and other characters for different other children's books.

6. And Tango Makes Three - by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell, Henry Cole

In 1986, a penguin couple named Roy and Silo, raising their three chicks on a rocky island off the coast of Antarctica, were abruptly forced to abandon their home and their family.

The chicks were saved and taken into captivity at New York City’s Central Park Zoo, where Roy and Silo would never see their offspring again. Decades later, Roy and Silo were relocated to a new exhibit and introduced to each other for the first time.

7. Anne of Green Gables - by L. M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables is a timeless classic about a young girl who comes of school age in a clean, loving, and pious family. But Anne has a vivid imagination and a mischievous streak, which she tries to suppress through hard work and obedience. One day, Anne is asked to stay home from school. A stranger, who has come to visit her father, has arrived at the same time. Anne, because of her new position at the top of the class, has pride of place in front of the visitor. She, like everyone else, develops a crush on him.

Anne shows great kindness toward Anne, her new friend, and her new friend's mother. Anne of Green Gables was Anne's first published book, and is one of her most popular books. Anne of Green Gables is generally regarded to be Montgomery's best work, and is widely considered to be the best Canadian children's novel ever written.

8. Are You My Mother? - by P.D. Eastman

A comic classic about the joys and dangers of growing up. "Are You My Mother?" by P. D. Eastman is a gentle, charming story about mothers and daughters, and the joys and dangers of growing up. When a young girl discovers her real mother, the two become close. But the girl's father is not happy about it. The angle between the girl and her father is funny, and the story, full of humor and pathos, is timeless. Acknowledging that mother-daughter relationships often take years to develop, the book doesn't preach. Instead, it focuses on the relationship between a mother and daughter, and the joy that can develop from that relationship. Are You My Mother? is the winner of the 1941 Pulitzer Prize for fiction.

The brilliant, bestselling picture book "Are You My Mother?" by P. D. Eastman has been reformatted for digital readers. This digital edition features the original text, but the original illustrations have been replaced with beautiful, full-color photos.

9. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret - by Judy Blume

Margaret is Margaret Rose, an eleven-year-old girl whose best friend is her domineering father, Ted. One day, Margaret discovers that she is pregnant. Margaret's decision to give birth has profound and lasting effects on both her and her mother, Norma.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is a tender and wise coming-of-age teen novel about juggling solitude and friendships at a new boarding school. The story is told from the point of view of Margaret, a young Jewish girl at a Catholic girls school who learns that her faith is not compatible with her friendships. Margaret is faced with difficult decisions about her school and her faith.

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret is the first novel by Judy Blume, and was published in 1962. The story is grounded in realism, as Margaret deals with the ups and downs of adolescence. It is written in a stream-of-conscious style, using a first-person perspective, and contains many elements of humor. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret was nominated for a National Book Award.

10. Beatrix Potter the Complete Tales (Peter Rabbit) - by Beatrix Potter

Bestselling children's author Beatrix Potter penned 21 original tales, including the classic Peter Rabbit. Peter Rabbit, published in 1902, was a hit from the start, and paved the way for Potter's other classics, such as The Tale of Squirrel Nutkin and The Tale of Tom Kitten. This complete collection of Potter's stories includes those timeless tales and, for the first time, the never-before-seen text of The Tale of Mrs. Tiggy-Winkle, which Potter never published.

Potter's work has delighted generations of readers, and her books have inspired artwork, songs, and films. Her legacy lives on in her great-grandchildren's Potter-inspired works, and in her enduring legacy.

Beatrix Potter was known for her detailed artwork and lovingly rendered characters. This complete collection of her stories, presented in a beautiful hardcover edition, showcases her brilliance as a writer and illustrator.

11. Betsy-Tacy (Betsy-Tacy, 1) - by Maud Hart Lovelace, Lois Lenski

At once charming, funny, and revealing, Betsy-Tacy is the story of three unforgettable children. Betsy and Tommy are best friends, and their adventures together are filled with hilarious mishaps and endearing moments, but they also show kids what growing up is like. Betsy and Tommy's older sister, Tacy, is smart and spirited, while her brother's friend, Joe, is kindhearted, loyal, and immensely appealing. In A Wrinkle in Time, readers are introduced to Meg Murry, a girl with special powers who is called to adventure on an incredible journey. Meg, her brother, Charles Wallace, and her mother, Mrs. Murry, are forced from their home and set out on a transcendental quest that takes them to other worlds and times. Meg is guided by three celestial beings known as the "Mrs. Who" and "Mrs. Whatsit," who help her understand her special power and her destiny.

The Betsy-Tacy books are beloved by millions of readers. Maud Hart Lovelace and Lois Lenski have been writing the series for five decades and more than 20 million copies have been sold. It’s no surprise that the books have been adapted into several movies, including 1997’s “Betsy-Tacy” and 1999’s “Betsy-Tacy at the Edge of Seventeen.” This series is appealing to kids, teens, and adults alike, which is why we’re sharing this review on The List.

Maud Hart Lovelace and Lois Lenski were living in Minneapolis in the 1950s when they decided to write a series of books for young readers. They loved books, they helped their children read, and they wanted to tell the story of their own childhood in small-town Minnesota. The Betsy-Tacy books are set in 1900, when Maud was 8 and Lois was 10.

12. Black Beauty - by Anna Sewell

Black Beauty is the tale of a horse named Black Beauty who, after being neglected by uncaring owners, is rescued by the noble and kind Mr. John Bold. Mr. Bold raises his horse with love and care and gives him a new name, Beauty. As one of the best-known stories of the 19th century, Black Beauty has touched millions of lives, providing comfort to readers through many dark times.

Anna Sewell was one of the world's most celebrated writers. But, before she penned Black Beauty, her most famous work was the 1861 novella "Poor Miss Finch," the story of a mistreated girl who leaves her abusive family and finds love in an unlikely place, a carriage maker. In 1893, Sewell’s novel Black Beauty was published, with illustrations by Howard Pyle. In its first few years, more than 500,000 copies sold, making it the best-selling children’s novel of all time.

The publication of Black Beauty in 1869 didn’t exactly cause a sensation. In fact, it was mostly ignored. The books author and rights holder, Anna Sewell, died in 1874, before there could be any public response to her novel. It wasn’t until 1926 that the novel became really famous—and it cemented its place in the literary canon.

13. Pippi Longstocking - by Astrid Lindgren, Michael Chesworth, Louis S.

Written by Astrid Lindgren, this children’s classic classic, Pippi Longstocking, is one of the best-loved books of all time. First published in 1945, the story follows the adventures of the title character, a fearless girl who does whatever she wants. Pippi Longstocking was a rebellious character long before the term became popular.

As a child, I loved Pippi Longstocking. Her antics and wardrobe were unforgettable, and Pippi’s fearlessness was a trait I admired. As an adult, though, I fell in love with the story all over again. By reading the book as an adult, I found out just how deep the messages are hidden beneath the bold, colorful writing.

14. Bridge to Terabithia - by Katherine Paterson, Donna Diamond

With more than 40 million copies sold, Katherine Paterson's 1978 novel, "Bridge to Terabithia," sparked a book series, a movie, and now a modern musical adaptation, which launched on Broadway in September of 2009. The book, narrated by the main character, Jess Aarons, a young loner, is told mainly through his perspective, but incorporates the perspective of Terabithia, a 12-year-old neighbor whom Jess meets after stealing her bicycle.

The story explores themes of friendship, courage, and overcoming obstacles. The coming-of-age novel was adapted into a movie by the same name, directed by Lee Daniels, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar and Nicholas Cage. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

15. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business - by Esphyr Slobodkina

Esphyr Slobodkina’s stunning Caps for Sale is a glorious picture book, a celebration of the creativity and imagination of children and parents alike. In Caps for Sale, Slobodkina demonstrates how each of us, in our own way, makes our mark on the world.

Slobodkina’s illustrations, rendered in vivid watercolors, are as expressive as the text. Her characters are drawn with immense emotional range and complexity, hinting at the hardships that children must endure under difficult circumstances.

This book was a joy to read to my children, and they in turn have read it and shared it with their own children. It is highly recommended.

16. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - by Roald Dahl

In 1964 Roald Dahl published one of the most popular children's books of all time. The story centers on Charlie Bucket, who wins a trip to Willy Wonka's chocolate factory. There, he and his friends have the opportunity to sample a variety of delectable delights. Along the way, Charlie meets many of the eccentric employees of the factory, including Grandpa Joe and Veruca Salt, the daughter of the head chef.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a timeless story of a young boy getting more than he bargained for. The story introduces Dahl's famous characters, including Wonka, the eccentric candy manufacturer; Grandpa Joe, a grandfatherly figure who serves as Charlie's conscience; and Veruca Salt, the spoiled little brat who puts greed before all else.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is a classic tale that can be enjoyed over and over. Every child needs their own copy of this classic tale.

17. Charlotte's Web - by E. B White, Garth Williams

This book has charmed generations of readers with its story of Wilbur the pig, the kindly spider catcher who owns the barnyard, and the gentle Charlotte, who saves Wilbur’s life by spinning him a silken web that he uses to escape violent bullies.

This book inspired the 1970 animated film Charlotte’s Web, which earned an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, and the novel The Web, published three years later. The popularity of Charlotte’s Web inspired the Broadway musical Charlotte’s Web in 1995, and the novel Charlotte’s Web, based on the original story by E. B. White, in 1999.

We’ve chosen our own personal favorite version of the story, by E. B. White. First published 50 years ago, it is the version that children most enjoy. The story is classic, the characters charming, and the language simple.

18. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom - by Bill Martin Jr., John Archambault, Lois Ehlert

The first book in a hilarious new series of silly board books that will enchant preschoolers, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom is a rollicking celebration of all the things that make the world go around. This bright and bold board book, with its cheerful, rhyming text and lively illustrations, will make reading fun for even the littlest of readers.

This book makes an excellent gift for 3-5 year olds. It is interactive and filled with rhymes and catchy tunes. Children learn to sing and dance along the tracks.

19. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs - by Judi Barrett, Ronald Barrett

Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs is a children's picture book written and illustrated by Judi Barrett and Ronald Barrett. The book's plot features food raining down from above and being consumed by large animals. The book was adapted into a 2009 computer-animated film of the same name. The book has been translated into 32 languages.

20. Coraline - by Neil Gaiman, Dave McKean

Coraline is Neil Gaiman's surreal, magical novel that is simultaneously original and emotionally resonant.

The novel is narrated by the story's titular character, Coraline, a young girl who discovers she lives in an alternate reality, "The Other Mother," where her parents are replaced by two sinister and sinisterly-identical parents. As the story progresses, Coraline encounters other "Others" who give her this alternate life, only to manipulate her into evil.

Years later, Coraline returns to her Other Mother home and discovers that she has been allowed not only to return to the real house, but also to enter the titular "Other Mother," whose surface appearance reveals an infinite series of doors that allow Coraline to explore her home and learn what lies beyond it.

Coraline is a book for adults and children of all ages. Not since Lewis Carroll has an author written such a novel with a sense of delight and wonder.

21. Corduroy - by Don Freeman

My daughter LOVED Corduroy! It's one of our favorite books. I started out with a first-grader and was surprised by how young kids really get into the story. I think it's a great idea to have these books available - so if you have kids, get them to read them to you!

Corduroy is a warm and tender story about a lovable, stuffed bear who wants more than anything to be loved, yet has a hard time expressing himself. With ever-so-subtle humor, Freeman exposes the child within all of us.

Freeman, who also wrote and illustrated the popular classic, The Trumpet of the Swan, created more than 100 original drawings for Corduroy. The illustrations, which perfectly match the text’s gentle humor, were executed by master artist and illustrator Paul O. Zelinsky. The duo studied together at the Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY.

22. D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths - by Ingri d'Aulaire, Edgar Parin d'Aulaire

The Children's Book of Greek Myths, written by Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, is a classic work about the mythology of ancient Greece. Including the Trojan War, the Iliad, and the Odyssey. With richly illustrated tales of gods and heroes, this tale relates many famous tales, including the tales of Perseus and Perseus and Athena, the Titanomachy and tales of Prometheus and Pandora. A fun and educational read, the D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths is a great book for anyone interested in Greek mythology.

23. Diary of a Wimpy Kid - by Jeff Kinney

Diary of a Wimpy Kid is a series of middle-grade novels written by Jeff Kinney. The series chronicles the life of Greg Heffley, a fifth-grader, and his family.

The books began in 2003 with Wimpy Kid, the first book of which was illustrated by Jeff Mack (now of Naughty Dog fame). Since then, other authors and artists have contributed works for the book. Steve Sheinkin, for instance, is the author and illustrator of the second and third books in the series, Rodrick Rules and Dog Days.

The series is so popular that The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie was released in 2010, and The Getaway released on January 10, 2012.

24. Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! - by Mo Willems

Children's author Mo Willems has a way with words that will captivate even finicky preschoolers. His best known book is "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" His other books include "Knuffle Bunny" and "Pigeon Falls in Love." His books will feature brilliantly designed illustrations with bright, bold colors. The author's characters will jump right off the page.

Willems's books are perfect for very young children. The storylines are simple, and the pictures will captivate in early childhood. His books introduce children to new vocabulary and concepts. "Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!" introduces kids to the idea of opposites. The pigeon is the opposite of a bus. Willems's books are perfect for very young children, for parents who need to read aloud with their children, and for parents who need to get their preschooler interested in reading.

The book is a simple and funny story that teaches children that pigeons shouldn't drive. It was originally published in 2003, and has received numerous positive reviews.

25. Dr. Seuss's Beginner Book Collection - by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss's Beginner Book Collection is a collection of 16 classic Dr. Seuss stories, including Green Eggs and Ham, One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish, The Cat in the Hat, Horton Hears a Who, and more.

The stories in this collection are wonderfully illustrated for young children, while the large font is easy to read. The Beginner Book Collection is a great resource for children to read on their own or read aloud to parents or teachers. A reading series for kids that spans multiple grade levels, Beginner Book Collection books will build up a child's reading comprehension skills, vocabulary, and writing skills.

Dr. Seuss is one of the most famous children’s authors—and for good reason. His books are accessible, clever, and full of heart. And they’re perfect for young readers.

26. Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective - by Donald J. Sobol

Children’s book Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective is a series of mysteries written by Donald J. Sobol. The series, which was first published in 1955, chronicles the adventures of Encyclopedia Brown, a very unusual boy detective.

Derived from the fictional character with the same name created by Lester Dent, the fictional Encyclopedia Brown first appeared in the 1942 short story "The Case of the 6-Foot Secret." The stories present mystery-solving through the eyes of a child, who is inquisitive, analytical, and logical. Much of Encyclopedia Brown’s personality was modeled after the real-life detective, Arthur Conan-Doyle, whom Sobol had studied at Princeton University.

The stories were illustrated by Robert McCloskey, who also illustrated the Sherlock Holmes stories. Sobol wrote all of the Encyclopedia Brown stories in collaboration with McCloskey. They wrote the bulk of the series in the 1950s, but Sobol continued to write new stories until 1983.

27. Esperanza Rising - by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising is a beautifully illustrated story by award-winning author Pam Muñoz Ryan. The inspiring story of Esperanza, a young girl who loses her oldest brother, her family, and her home after being deported to Mexico, and how she rebuilds her life after returning to the U.S., this book is a great companion for children, featuring beautifully detailed and textured illustrations.

28. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - by E.L. Konigsburg

From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler is a classic children's story by E.L. Konigsburg, originally published in 1955. This classic children's classic is about a brother and sister who escape their frantic parents by running away together. The children report for duty at an impenetrable Department of Social Services and attempt to live a normal life.

This book was written for young adults, but can be enjoyed by the whole family.

29. Goodnight Moon - by Margaret Wise Brown, Clement Hurd

The first edition of Goodnight Moon came out in 1942 and quickly became a beloved classic of childrens books. The book tells the tale of a bunny who tries to scare off a cat that wants to play, but ends up falling asleep instead.

Goodnight Moon is the story of a bunny who tries to scare off a cat that wants to play, but ends up falling asleep instead. He talks himself into a deep sleep by daydreaming of mice and things beginning with “m.”

30. Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site - by Sherri Duskey Rinker, Tom Lichtenheld

In 1995, the Goodnight Moon book was published by Clement Hurd. It was an instant success, with millions of copies sold. In 2013, Goodnight Moon celebrated its 25th anniversary, making it one of the longest-running picture book series of all time.

Now, two decades later, a long-awaited sequel, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site, is finally here! With this book, Sherri Duskey Rinker takes the beloved characters of Goodnight Moon and gives them a whole new look. Bright and bold, friendly and familiar to children everywhere, Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site has one job: to teach children about construction and the joys of waking up to a new day.

31. Grimm's Complete Fairy Tales - by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Margaret Hunt

Go with the classic, time-honored fairy tales that generations of children have grown up with. Our test winner has the classic illustrations of the original edition, plus an easy-to-follow story line.

Joseph Jacobs (1785-1836) was a lawyer, teacher, and poet. He was best known for his translations from English into German of Aesop's fables. And Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm (1786-1859) were both illustrators, but in 1812 they were hired as educators at Bernau, a little town in Germany. They earned a reputation as strict but effective teachers. In 1822 the Grimms published their first collection of folk tales, “Children's and Household Tales.”

When they were children, Wilhelm and Jacob collected many folk tales from far and wide. The brothers sent their tales to friends, and those friends published them. Eventually these tales were collected and published in many editions in many different languages. The tales have been passed down through many generations, and they have been retold many times to amuse and delight children.

32. Guess How Much I Love You - by Sam McBratney, Anita Jeram

“Guess How Much I Love You” is a touching story, told through pictures, about a mother bear and her daughter. The story is based on the Author’s love for his own daughter and his love of nature.

33. Harold and the Purple Crayon - by Crockett Johnson

A 1956 children's book called Harold and the Purple Crayon is a story about creativity and imagination. The book has simple text and mostly white pages, which gives early readers a chance to practice their reading skills. It won the Caldecott Medal in 1958, and in 2009, it was voted one of the 100 most influential children's books of the 20th century. The book stars Harold, a little boy who is bored of playing by himself. Instead, he turns his purple crayon into a kind of magic wand and uses it to draw and doodle. The story follows his adventures and discoveries. The book has been adapted into a 2010 musical and a stage play, both of which won Tony Awards.

Author Crockett Johnson (1904-1998) was an innovative illustrator and cartoonist, and Harold and the Purple Crayon is his best-known work. Harold and the Purple Crayon was first published in 1958, six years after Johnson's death. The book has since sold more than 20 million copies, and in 1969 it was adapted into the first animated Disney film.

34. Harriet the Spy - by Louise Fitzhugh

In 1960, Louise Fitzhugh published her first book of poetry, Harriet the Spy, a coming-of-age story about a young girl who spies on her friends. It was an immediate success, and she has updated the story in 1964's Harriet the Spy Grows Up, 1970's Harriet the Spy and the Hot-Dog Crisis, and 2005's Harriet the Spy: No Longer a Spy. Harriet has had a major influence on children's literature, with books like Eloise and the 1993 Disney movie The Parent Trap. Harriet the Spy is also well known for her use of language; she uses descriptive phrases like "Tippy-tippy" and "snort," along with a vast vocabulary. For Harriet the Spy's 50th anniversary, she's been named one of the 100 most-loved children’s books by PBS.

35. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - by J.K. Rowling, Mary GrandPré

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was an instant bestseller when it was first published in 1997. Now, after seven novels, five screenplays, and 9.6 million copies sold, J.K. Rowling's world is still almost as big as it was when she began. You can relive the magic of Harry Potter, the Sorcerer's Stone, and Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by rereading them, or reading for the first time.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is a captivating adventure for wizards and Muggles alike. Harry, a third year student at the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, receives a letter from Hogwarts summoning him to attend its prestigious annual summer program. In his absence, a Slytherin student named Draco Malfoy seizes control of Hogwarts. Harry quickly discovers that Draco's wicked agenda will affect everyone at Hogwarts, including Harry's closest friends.

As a young girl, J.K. Rowling dreamed of writing her own books. From the time she was 11 years old, she wrote, illustrated, and published her own series, "The Tales of Beedle the Bard." Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone was her first book.

Rowling's magical stories captured the world in 1997, and the series continues to grow in popularity to this day.

36. Holes - by Louis Sachar, Vladimir Radunsky, Bagram

A young boy named Stanley Yelnats is sent to a detention camp for "problem kids" when his parents mistake him for a thief. The cruel warden takes pleasure in locking Stanley in cramped, filthy holes. With no hope of ever getting home, Stanley must endure each day in isolation. But through his hardships and struggles, Stanley discovers the strength to overcome his captors.

37. Island of the Blue Dolphins - by Scott O'Dell

In "Island of the Blue Dolphins", Scott O'Dell recounts the lives of twelfe-year-old Karana, her little brother Keoke, and their "mother", a sea otter named Kuka. When Karana is carried away by a storm and washed ashore on the mysterious island, she encounters Keoke's father, a peaceful old giant who guides her and the others to their destiny.

The book is about adventure, friendship, survival, and the ability of human beings to transcend their limitations. It illustrates the power of the human spirit and the strength of family bonds. It celebrates the essential qualities of life, such as kindness, patience, courage, and optimism.

38. Jumanji 30th Anniversary Edition - by Chris Van Allsburg, Robin Williams

Jumanji was written by Chris Van Allsburg in 1984. The book was a New York Times bestseller, and the film, released in 1995, was a huge box office success. Now, two decades later, Jumanji is celebrating the 30th anniversary of both its book and film debuts. To celebrate this momentous occasion, Jumanji has come home. The Jumanji 30th Anniversary Edition includes the original dust jacket and commemorative slipcase, plus striking new cover art by Patrick McDonnell and a foreword by Chris Van Allsburg.

These wildly imaginative stories, based on a real-life board game, have been delighting readers with odd and fantastical adventures for more than thirty years. Now, to celebrate Jumanji’s 30th Anniversary, this boxed set includes all three Jumanji film adaptations, as well as the original Jumanji board game.

39. Little House on the Prairie - by Laura Ingalls Wilder, Garth Williams

When Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote Little House in the Big Woods in 1932, the world was a very different place. Gone were the horse and buggy and kerosene lamps. In their place were cars, electricity, and modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing. In her stories, Wilder wrote about the hardships of living in the frontier, but she also celebrated the beauty and wonder of nature. In 1941, Laura Ingalls Wilder returned to the story of the Ingalls family in the first book in the Little House series of books, Little House on the Prairie. The book was an instant success, immediately becoming a touchstone for American childhood.

Little House on the Prairie tells the story of twelve-year-old Laura Ingalls and her family, as they leave the safety of their home in Kansas in hopes of a better life. The three Ingalls children brave blizzards, storms, and war, living alone in the wilds of Dakota Territory. They struggle to raise crops, build a house, and care for farm animals all while trying to survive.

40. Little Women - by Louisa May Alcott

The classic tale of four sisters coming of age in the 19th century continues to resonate with millions of girls of all ages. However, most young girls are not likely familiar with the book by its author. And yet Louisa May Alcott wrote this beloved classic when she was only 20 years old. Little Women is Alcott’s most popular and enduring work, and this beautifully illustrated edition will help young women of all ages discover its universal appeal. Little Women is Louisa May Alcott's classic coming-of-age novel about four sisters - Jo, Beth, Meg, and Amy - coming of age in the early 19th century.

As Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy each grows into her own person, questions arise about love, marriage, and life. There are happy days, sad ones, and days all mixed up. Little Women turns back the years to back to a time when a girl's heart was pure and life was filled with magic and wonder.

41. Llama Llama Red Pajama - by Anna Dewdney

Llama Llama Red Pajama is the perfect bedtime story. It offers children a friendly, familiar, and fun introduction to reading. Llama Llama Red Pajama teaches children that reading is fun, that it's a way to communicate with others, and that reading is magical.

This 55-page chapter book from Anna Dewdney, author of the bestselling Llama Llama series, will lull your child to sleep, entertain them, and help them develop their reading skills. Llama Llama Red Pajama also works as a wonderful read-aloud book.

42. Madeline - by Ludwig Bemelmans

If you have a child older than age 5, the classic book "Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans, originally published in 1944, should be your child's favorite. Madeline is a young girl whose imagination is as boundless as her own. Her adventures are as wonderful as they are mischievous. "Madeline" is an enchanting tale of a little girl who yearns for adventure and exuberance while her parents keep life simple.

43. Make Way for Ducklings - by Robert McCloskey

Robert McCloskey's Make Way for Ducklings is, hands down, the best children's book ever written. This deceptively simple story tells the story of how four little ducklings end up (temporarily) living among the noisy, bustling city, oblivious to the devious plan of a not-so-bright architect who plans to wipe them all off the map. When the ducklings realize their dire situation, they take matters into their own beaks and "make way" for their own kind.

Make Way for Ducklings has been a staple of children's literature for more than five decades, and for good reason. Robert McCloskey's masterful artwork perfectly captures the spirit of a congested and loud city. His depictions of the bustling city streets, the dirty, noisy, crowded streets, and the serene, quiet, and orderly streets are priceless.

44. Maniac Magee - by Jerry Spinelli

Maniac Magee is one of the most beloved books of all time. It was made into a feature film in 1995, but the original book remains a classic. Written in 1986, it is the story of a young orphan named Jim, who spends his time matchmaking birds, playing in the mud, and racing. The protagonist of the book is Jim, but those who read Maniac Magee often overlook its central cast: the other characters, the neighbors, the adults in the neighborhood, and the city itself. To truly understand and appreciate this book, readers must understand Detroit, Michigan though the eyes of a child.

A central example of this is the character of Maniac Magee’s neighbor, Mr. McGee, who only appears at the end of the book. Mr. McGee is an eccentric, lusty, and hapless man who spends his time making elaborate birdhouses, painting signs, and tending to his lawn.

45. Mike Mulligan And His Steam Shovel - by Virginia Lee Burton

Today, children's picture books are as varied, sophisticated, and imaginative as any adult literature. This beautifully illustrated book tells the story of Mike Mulligan, a hard-working and fun-loving steam shovel, and of his attempts to dig up a railroad tunnel. When Mike's steam shovel is accidentally smashed, he's left with an unhappy family and no job. With help from his mule, a miner, and an old farm boy, Mike finds a new steam shovel, and with the help of his generous wife, they try to dig the tunnel.

46. Mr. Popper's Penguins - by Richard Atwater, Florence Atwater

Mr. Popper's Penguins is a delightful tale of love and adventure written by Mr. Richard Atwater and illustrated by his wife, Florence Atwater. The story is set in a penguin colony in Antarctica, and the meaning behind the illustration is that penguins are independent birds and can live alone.

This classic story features Mr. Popper, a penguin scientist who purchases baby penguins from a mysterious benefactor and takes them home to his large, sea-faring family. When the penguins begin to grow, Popper comes up with a plan: He’ll use his scientific expertise to introduce them to Antarctica. But will his idea work? Mr. Popper’s Penguins is an uplifting story about family, courage, and perseverance – and it’s a classic that young readers will thoroughly enjoy.

47. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - by Robert C. O'Brien, Zena Bernstein

This book tells the tale of how the mad world of rats takes over all the hustle and bustle of a typical city - the world of rats during World War II. Mrs. Frisby, a talented mouse, has to deal with all the dangers and hazards of rats running wild in the city, including a massive rat infestation that is destroying everything. With the help of Professor Orwell, she sets out on a mission to return rats to their rightful home in the sewers, with the help of her mischievous friend, Bernard, who finds a clever way to lure the rats to their goal zones.

As a classic children's story, this fun read teaches us an important lesson: For the sake of peace, everyone must abide by the rules. The powerful lessons of this story are applicable to both children and adults. This book will help kids understand the importance of following rules and looking after the world around us.

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