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35 Books Every Kid Should Read

When the world is filled with Netflix and iPads and VR headsets, it’s become even tougher to get kids to sit down with a good book and just read. These 35 classics will make the task much easier. (Get to work, parents.)

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"Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White 


The best way to teach kids about lasting friendships? Look to Wilbur and Charlotte. (P.S. Skip the 2006 film—the 1973 version is the one to watch.)

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"Bridge to Terabithia" by Katherine Paterson


Two children create a magical forest kingdom and open your little one’s eyes to the boundlessness of imagination.

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"Green Eggs and Ham" by Dr. Seuss


This shouldn’t be the only Seuss book they read (we’re also partial to The Cat in the Hat and How the Grinch Stole Christmas), but it’s a solid jumping-off point.

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"The Berenstain Bears" by Stan and Jan Berenstain


This 300-title series (which debuted in 1962) teaches important life lessons through the experiences of a family of anthropomorphic grizzly bears.

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"Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" by J.K. Rowling


One of our favorite books of all time. (We were definitely too old to be its target audience, but oh well.)

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"The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle


This sweet story depicts the transformation of a caterpillar into a beautiful butterfly and is just really lovely to flip through.

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"Where the Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein


Slightly controversial and impressively witty, this classic collection of poetry and illustrations is an absolute joy (and requires almost zero commitment).

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"A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle


Thirteen-year-old Meg’s father—a government scientist—goes missing while working on a mysterious project. Time travel ensues.

kids books cleary

"Beezus and Ramona" by Beverly Cleary


The first book in Cleary’s popular Ramona series, this 1995 book follows nine-year-old Beezus as she struggles to get along with her eccentric four-year-old sister.

kids books lewis

"The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis


Talking animals, mythical creatures and a White Witch make up the first installment of Lewis’s fantastical Chronicles of Narnia series.

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"Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown


Can you say iconic? Brown’s wildly popular picture book is a bedtime story for the ages. (Keep an eye on the mouse.)

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"Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans


In an old house in Paris that was covered in vines lived one of our favorite fictional heroines of all time: a quirky young girl named Madeline.

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"Harold and the Purple Crayon" by Crockett Johnson


Harold, a precocious four-year-old, has the ability to create his own world by simply drawing it with a magical crayon.

kids books milne

"The Complete Tales of Winnie-the-Pooh" by A.A. Milne


There are, like, three bear protagonists on this list, but we’re just going to say it: Winnie-the-Pooh (and of course Christopher Robin) is our favorite.

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"Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak


We’d be lying if we said little Max’s adventurous exploits with the Wild Things didn’t make us feel a little bit braver as kids.

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"Wonder" by R.J. Palacio


Soon to be a movie starring Jacob Tremblay, this middle grade novel tells the story of a ten-year-old boy with a facial deformity who goes to school for the first time.

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"Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" by Judi Barrett


Aside from having a terrific title, Barrett’s 1978 book is about the residents of a town called Chewandswallow, who receive their meals via weather.

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"The Complete Adventures of Curious George" by Margret and H.A. Rey


He’s an adorable monkey with an insatiable thirst for knowledge…what more could you want from a children’s book?

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"The Story of Ferdinand" by Munro Leaf


Ferdinand is a bull who would rather sit and smell flowers than participate in bullfights, and is a pacifist hero if we’ve ever seen one.

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"Anne of Green Gables" by L.M. Montgomery


Published in 1908, Montgomery’s book about an 11-year-old orphan has been adapted for film and TV countless times, but the original book still reigns supreme.

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"The Rainbow Fish" by Marcus Pfister


In addition to being sparkly and pretty, this special fish teaches invaluable lessons about the importance of sharing and the downfalls of vanity.

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"Diary of a Wimpy Kid" by Jeff Kinney


The first installment in an 11-book series, Diary of a Wimpy Kid follows Greg Heffley, a young boy struggling to fit in as he starts middle school.

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"Rosie Revere, Engineer" by Andrea Beaty


A brilliant inventor dreams of becoming a brilliant engineer in this awesome book about bouncing back from failure (and girl power).

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"Matilda" by Roald Dahl


Name a more iconic fictional villain than Ms. Trunchbull. We’ll wait.

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"Amelia Bedelia" by Peggy Parish


This lovable maid takes everything literally, getting her into all sorts of trouble. Luckily, she bakes really delicious pies to make up for it.

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"The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett


A classic of English children’s literature, Burnett’s 1911 novel tells the story of Mary Lennox, a spoiled young girl who, after being orphaned, must adjust to a new life.

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"Little House in the Big Woods" by Laura Ingalls Wilder


Based on the author’s own Midwestern childhood in the late 1800s, this start to the Little House on the Prairie series will make kids realize how different things were before Snapchat and the Kardashians.

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"Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret" by Judy Blume


Today’s kids might not recognize the more dated references, but anyone on the brink of puberty will relate to Margaret’s struggles and triumphs.

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"The Bad Beginning" by Lemony Snicket


Consider this first installment of Snicket’s (real name: Daniel Handler) Series of Unfortunate Events a funnier take on Dickens.

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"Corduroy" by Don Freeman


A department store teddy bear realizes he’s missing a button from his overalls. Thinking it will up his chances of finding a home, he sets out to find this missing piece.

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"Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault


This fun and colorful book features all 26 letters of the alphabet climbing a coconut tree, and is great for teaching ABCs. FYI, the audiobook is narrated by Ray Charles.

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"Pippi Longstocking" by Astrid Lindgren


Pippi is a lovably disheveled nine-year-old with pigtailed red hair, a taste for adventure and a whole lot of spunk. Her escapades are ridiculous and utterly charming.

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"Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbitt


The concept of immortality might not be the first thing that comes to mind of when you think children’s books, but Babbitt’s novel is insightful and accessible to a younger reader.

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"The Magic School Bus Inside a Beehive" by Joanna Cole


Any of the books in this whimsical series will do. But be warned, your kids will probably be disappointed that their teacher isn’t more like Ms. Frizzle.

kids books thompson

"Eloise: A Book for Precocious Grown Ups" by Kay Thompson


Eloise got to live at the Plaza Hotel and wear a pretty red bow in her hair every day, which is to say she was our hero from ages four to eight.


sarah stiefvater
Sarah Stiefvater

Wellness Director

Sarah Stiefvater is PureWow's Wellness Director. She's been at PureWow for ten years, and in that time has written and edited stories across all categories, but currently focuses...
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