Perhaps the young person in your life has a voracious appetite for books and is always in search of a new read; or maybe you’re desperately seeking some reading material that will hold your tween’s attention for as long as a tablet can. Either way, we’re pleased to report that there is no shortage of excellent books for young minds—just refer to our roundup of classic children’s books and we promise you’ll find something to satisfy any kid, from distractible toddler to surly teen.

RELATED: The Best Kids’ Books for Every Age

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1. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney and Anita Jeram

In this sweet story about the special love shared between parent and child, Little Nut Brown Hare tries to one-up his father Big Nut Brown Hare with an I-love you-more competition. The back and forth between father and son is tender, full of imagination, and made all the more vibrant by the colorful illustrations. Plus, the ending is particularly heartwarming: Little Nut Brown Hare wears himself out and his father gets the last word—“I love you to the moon, and back.”

Best for ages 0 to 3

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2. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd

This beloved book by Margaret Wise Brown is about as soothing a bedtime story as you can find. There’s no real narrative here, as the book revolves around a little bunny’s sweet bedtime ritual of saying goodnight to everything in the room and, finally, to the moon. The illustrations in this classic, which alternate between color and black-and-white, are simple but striking, and the soft, rhyming prose reads like a warm hug.

Best for ages 0 to 4

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3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Acclaimed picture book author and illustrator Eric Carle is behind this enduring favorite about a caterpillar’s transformation into a beautiful butterfly. As the title suggests, the caterpillar in question gets himself from point A to point B by doing a whole lot of eating, but it’s the interactive pages and gorgeous artwork that set this simple story apart. The holes punched out of each piece of food serve as an invitation for little hands to explore—and Carle’s signature collage technique is, of course, a feast for the eyes.

Best for ages 0 to 4

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4. Corduroy by Don Freeman

Upon visiting a department store with her mom, a little girl falls in love with a teddy bear named Corduroy—a purchase her mother pooh-poohs, citing (among other things) that the bear is missing a button on his shoulder strap. Things start getting interesting when the store closes its doors and Corduroy comes to life, searching high and low for the lost button (presumably to make himself a more appealing product). While the bear’s after-hours adventure amounts to naught, there is a silver lining: The little girl comes back the very next day to scoop up her new friend—because she doesn’t care how he looks. As for Corduroy, he realizes it was a friend, not a button, that he really wanted all along. Aww…

Best for ages 1 to 5

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5. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keates

This quiet and charming board book won the Caldecott Honor back in 1962 for its unprecedented portrayal of multicultural urban life, and it's every bit as rewarding a read today. Little kids will enjoy the simple and wholly relatable storyline about a little boy experiencing joy and wonder on a snowy day. Plus, the combination of colorful collage art and minimalist narrative is ideal for young ones, and just downright soothing to boot. In other words, grab a preschooler and get snuggly.

Best for ages 2 to 6

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6. Little Blue Truck by Alice Schertle and Jill McElmurry

The rollicking rhymes in this popular board book make for an easy-breezy read—seriously, you’ll be reciting this one in your sleep before you know it—and the positive messages about friendship and teamwork are sure to give your preschooler something to ponder. If you want to give your little kid an extra dose of socialization before bedtime while still keeping things light, this favorite will do the trick.

Best for ages 2 to 6

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7. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae and Guy Parker-Rees

Lively rhyming verses make for a peppy read in this book about learning to accept and love our differences. At the beginning of the story, Gerald the Giraffe is uncomfortable in his own skin: Impressively tall, but terribly awkward, Gerald resigns himself to staying off the dance floor and wanders away from the party and into the jungle. However, Gerald’s perspective unexpectedly shifts when he meets a wise cricket with some empowering words to share: “Sometimes when you’re different, you just need a different song.” Indeed, the positive messages here are hard to miss and the triumphant ending is the icing on the cake.

Best for ages 2 to 7

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8. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss’s best known book, The Cat in the Hat, has been a quintessential childhood read since it was first released in 1957—and it still deserves a spot in every little kid’s library. A spunky storyline about two siblings who get into mischief with a charming trouble-maker of a cat unfolds by way of fast-paced and catchy rhymes for a read-aloud that’s easy to rattle off and thoroughly enjoyable to listen to. Best of all, the book includes both a happy ending and some model behavior: The rule-abiding brother and sister duo manage to clean up the cat’s mess before their mother gets home.

Best for ages 3 to 7

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9. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

Misfortune unexpectedly strikes when Sylvester, a sweet and innocent donkey with a fondness for pebbles, stumbles upon a tiny stone with spectacular power—namely, the power to grant wishes. This exciting discovery takes a turn when, in a moment of panic, Sylvester accidentally wishes to become a rock himself. Although this picture book is a quick and easy read, its nuanced narrative, which features parents mourning the unexplained disappearance of a son, promises to inspire the full spectrum of emotion in young readers. Don’t worry, though: Sylvester doesn’t remain a rock for long. In fact, the real magic happens when he comes back to life and basks in the joy of a sweet family reunion.

Best for ages 3 to 7

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10. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans

Now a full-blown media franchise, Madeline has humble roots as a beloved classic book, penned and illustrated in 1939 by French author Ludwid Bemelmans. Madeline is a story about a brave and vivacious young boarding student who experiences a harrowing medical emergency (i.e., appendicitis), but recovers quickly with the love and support from her headmaster and friends. This feel-good story about an inspiring young heroine is told with rhythmic verse and picturesque scenes of 1930s Paris—a romantic combination that goes a long way toward explaining why this Caldecott Honor book remains a home library staple more than 80 years later.

Best for ages 3 to 7

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11. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams

Grab the tissues, friends, because The Velveteen Rabbit is so loaded with nostalgia, it will likely turn you to mush. This perennial favorite features a heartwarming storyline about a boy’s plush rabbit who becomes real. Although the book has some sad moments, like when the boy’s doctor insists all his stuffed animals be burned after a bout of scarlet fever, the happy ending is hard to miss: A fairy pays the Velveteen Rabbit a visit and gives him a new chance at life—a privilege enjoyed only by those stuffed animals who were truly and fiercely loved.

Best for ages 3 to 7

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12. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn

A mother raccoon helps quell her son’s first day of school fears with a family tradition known as ‘the kissing hand.’ This sweet ritual involves placing a kiss in the palm of her child’s hand, so he knows that her love and presence is with him wherever he goes. The text here is straightforward (and refreshingly free from cutesy rhymes), but heartfelt and the artwork is beautiful and full of emotion. Combine the two and you have a tender and comforting must-read for little kids—especially those who struggle with separation anxiety.

Best for ages 3 to 7

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13. The Book with No Pictures by B.J. Novak

Get ready to be goofy, parents, because The Book with No Pictures is a read-aloud book designed to make you appear ridiculous, whether you like it or not because, well, you must read every word that’s written. Wildly funny and oh-so clever, this book does a bang-up job of conveying the power of the written word—and we promise your kid won’t miss the pictures one bit.

Best for ages 3 to 8

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14. Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola

Tomie de Paola is the author and illustrator behind this Caldecott Honor book, which borrows its rich narrative from an Italian fable, but seasons it with warmth and humor for a kid-friendly retelling that just feels right. In this parable a good witch with a magic pot returns from a trip to find that her well-meaning assistant has made big mischief (and a big mess) in her absence. The storyline is replete with positive messages about the importance of showing compassion and forgiveness when confronted with someone else’s mistakes. Plus, there’s rich vocabulary, colorful pictures and oodles of noodles (i.e., plenty for young readers to digest).

Best for ages 3 to 9

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15. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

When Max gets sent to his room without dinner for misbehaving, the young wild child decides to sail away to a distant land, populated with wild things just like him, where he can be king. Maurice Sendak’s offbeat illustrations convey the magic and adventure of the story to great effect and the narrative is at once an ode to the power of imagination and the comfort that home and family provide. (Hint: When Max returns from his journey, he does indeed have a steaming hot bowl of dinner at his door.)

Best for ages 4 to 8

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16. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

A threadbare story about selfless love, The Giving Tree is a somewhat melancholy classic that leaves plenty of room for interpretation—so much so that it has inspired contentious debate since it was first published in 1964. Some would argue that the messages presented in this book—which revolves around a decidedly one-sided relationship between a boy and a tree—aren’t wholly positive, but this one is fairly innocuous (i.e., kids aren’t likely to read too much into it) overall, if not a little sad. Mostly, The Giving Tree makes our list because, regardless of how you feel about the narrative, it’s sure to kick off a conversation about relationship dynamics—and it’s not every day a children’s book gives you so much to talk about.

Best for ages 4 to 8

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17. Sulwe by Lupita Nyong'o and Vashti Harrison

Sulwe is a children’s book that tells the story of a 5-year-old girl whose skin is darker than that of her mother and sister. It’s not until Sulwe (meaning “Star”) embarks on a magical journey through the night sky that she discovers how special she truly is. Nyong’o has admitted that the book is based on her personal experiences as a child, and says that she wrote the book to “inspire children to love the skin they’re in and see that beauty radiates from within.” File this one under modern classics with a heartwarming message and beautiful illustrations, to boot.

Best for ages 4 to 8

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18. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein

Whimsical, weird and at times surprisingly evocative, this collection of tongue-in-cheek poems from Shel Silverstein is a shining example of writer and cartoonist’s inimitable style. From short and goofy rhymes (i.e., “I have a hot dog for a pet”) to downbeat head-scratchers about sad clowns, there’s something to suit the temperament and stoke the creativity of every young reader between the pages of this book.

Best for ages 4 to 9

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19. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

We’ve all been there—you know, those days when nothing seems to work out right. After he wakes up with gum in his hair, it quickly becomes apparent that Alexander is having just such a day in this hilarious and spot-on book about unfortunate situations, the big feelings they provoke and, well, learning how to deal. The subject matter here is highly relatable for readers of all ages, but especially useful for young kids who are only just starting to master the art of keeping their cool in the face of disappointment.

Best for ages 4 to 9

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20. Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Excellent writing and a moving message are among the many reasons that E.B. White’s classic story of friendship, love and loss has held up so well over the more than 60 years since its debut. Try this one as a read-aloud for a younger kid, or let your tween tackle it on his own—either way, this poignant book about a pig and his unlikely bond with a spider (i.e., Charlotte) will make a big impression.

Best for ages 5 and up

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21. Ramona series by Beverly Cleary

Beverly Cleary taps into the little kid psyche with unparalleled charm and skill, so it should come as no surprise that all the books in her classic Ramona series are winners. These chapter books explore sibling dynamics, peer interactions and the highs and lows of grade school life with a masterful combination of age-appropriate humor and pure heart that has stood the test of time. Bottom line: These page-turners will help little kids and tweens process their own complicated feelings while the antics of the spirited main character promises to bring boatloads of laughter.

Best for ages 6 to 12

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22. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Jester

This quirky fantasy relies upon rich wordplay, charming illustrations, and incredible wit to convey a lifetime’s worth of valuable lessons to young readers—the biggest one of all being that life is never boring. Indeed, the initially disenchanted main character, Milo, learns this for himself when a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his bedroom and takes him on a magical, mind-bending adventure to unknown lands. The Phantom Tollbooth is a one-of-a-kind book that promises to stir the imagination, while providing a refreshing challenge to grade school readers.

Best for ages 8 to 12

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23. The BFG by Roald Dahl

A long-time favorite, The BFG is a fanciful story about a young girl, Sophie, who’s kidnapped from her orphanage by a towering giant with a tender heart. Although fearful at first, Sophie learns that the Big Friendly Giant has only the best intentions and joins forces with him to vanquish a far more threatening crew of ogres with a nasty (and rather gruesome) plan to gobble up Earth’s children. Brimming with suspense and magic, this Roald Dahl classic is as enjoyable to revisit as it is the first time you pick it up—and the made-up words that readers encounter during their stay in giant land make for an interesting literacy test to boot.

Best for ages 8 to 12

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

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the first novel in C.S. Lewis’s famous trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, introduces readers to the land of Narnia—a place that the book’s protagonists stumble upon after exploring the depths of (you guessed it) a magic wardrobe during an ordinary game of hide-and-seek. Once transported to this strange, new land, the four siblings discover a host of fantastical creatures, a whole world of adventure and, well, their reason for being there in the first place—to free Narnia from the power of the White Witch and the eternal winter she has cast. Riveting from start to finish, this one will go down easy.

Best for ages 8 and up

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25. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series is more than a modern classic, it’s a cultural phenomenon that has been going strong for more than 20 years—and any kid who picks up one of these lengthy novels will be able to explain exactly why. J.K. Rowling’s tremendously popular books are packed with excitement, intriguing characters and, of course, magic. Indeed, Rowling’s world of wizardry is so juicy and full of adventure that readers will lament how quickly the pages fly—so it’s a good thing there are another seven books after this one to keep your kid occupied.

Best for ages 8 and up

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26. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

This Newbery Medal winner has enchanted young readers with its mix of spirituality, science and thrilling adventure ever since it was published in 1963. The storyline, which begins when three young children are invited by a mysterious stranger to embark on an extraordinary journey through time and space, can get complicated and a tad intense at times—so this one will likely go over little kids’ heads. That said, tweens will eat this one up; in fact, L’Engle’s imaginative writing inspires such a sense of wonder, it continues to turn out new generations of sci-fi fans.

Best for ages 10 and up

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27. Holes by Louis Sachar

A Newbery Medal and National Book Award winner, Holes tells the story of a young boy, Stanley, who gets sent to a detention center where he’s told he must dig holes to build character. It isn’t long before Stanley starts putting together the pieces of the puzzle and realizes that he and the other boys have been put to work digging holes because there’s something hidden underground that the warden wants. Magical realism and dark humor set this book apart from the typical young adult fodder, and the clever plot serves up so much intrigue that even the most resistant reader will devour it from cover to cover.

Best for ages 10 and up

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28. The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein

This prequel to the famed Lord of the Rings trilogy is a hefty novel best read by bigger kids and one of J.R.R. Tolkein’s early works. It’s also superbly written. Though not a children’s story per se—but lighter than its Lord of the Rings siblings—this classic book delivers adventure in spades and a vocabulary boost to boot. File this one under ‘excellent fiction for tweens and teens.’

Best for ages 11 and up

Buy it ($16)

RELATED: 50 Kindergarten Books to Help Foster a Love of Reading

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