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.)
35 Books Every Kid Should Read
"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.)
"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.
"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.
"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.)
"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).
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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?
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.
"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.