100 Children's Books to Read in a Lifetime

View all Best Recommendations for Kids book lists; This list was last updated on 11/4/2014
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The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

A beautiful paperback edition of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, book two in the classic fantasy series, The Chronicles of Narnia. This edition features cover art by three time Caldecott Medal-winning illustrator David Wiesner, and interior black-and-white illustrations by the series' original illustrator, Pauline Baynes.

Four adventurous siblings—Peter, Susan, Edmund, and Lucy Pevensie—step through a wardrobe door and into the land of Narnia, a land frozen in eternal winter and enslaved by the power of the White Witch. But when almost all hope is lost, the return of the Great Lion, Aslan, signals a great change . . . and a great sacrifice.

Open the door and enter a new world! The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is the second book in C. S. Lewis's classic fantasy series, which has been captivating readers of all ages with a magical land and unforgettable characters for over sixty years. This is a stand-alone read, but if you would like to discover more about Narnia, pick up The Horse and His Boy, the third book in The Chronicles of Narnia.

Supports the Common Core State Standards.

release date: Sep 26, 1986
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The Little Engine that Could
"I think I can! I think I can!" The classic tale of the little engine who wasn't afraid to try. Here is a delightful adaptation of one of the best-selling children's books of all time with a vocabulary specially geared for beginning readers.
The Little Prince
The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupery. Mariner Books,2000
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The Mouse and the Motorcycle

In this imaginative adventure from Newbery Medal-winning author Beverly Cleary, a young mouse named Ralph is thrown into a world of excitement when a boy and his shiny toy motorcycle check into the Mountain View Inn.

When the ever-curious Ralph spots Keith's red toy motorcycle, he vows to ride it. So when Keith leaves the bike unattended in his room one day, Ralph makes his move. But with all this freedom (and speed!) come a lot of obstacles. Whether dodging a rowdy terrier or keeping his nosy cousins away from his new wheels, Ralph has a lot going on! With a pal like Keith always looking out for him, there's nothing this little mouse can't handle.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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The New Way Things Work
The information age is upon us, baffling us with thousands of complicated state-of-the-art technologies. To help make sense of the computer age, David Macaulay brings us The New Way Things Work. This completely updated and expanded edition describes twelve new machines and includes more than seventy new pages detailing the latest innovations. With an entirely new section that guides us through the complicated world of digital machinery, where masses of electronic information can be squeezed onto a single tiny microchip, this revised edition embraces all of the newest developments, from cars to watches. Each scientific principle is brilliantly explained--with the help of a charming, if rather slow-witted, woolly mammoth.
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The Secret of the Old Clock
Nancy Drew solves her first mystery when the accidental rescue of a little girl who lives with her two great-aunts leads on an adventurous search for a missing will.
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The Secret Garden
This timeless classic is a poignant tale of Mary, a lonely orphaned girl sent to a Yorkshire mansion at the edge of a vast lonely moor. At first, she is frightened by this gloomy place until she meets a local boy, Dickon, who's earned the trust of the moor's wild animals, the invalid Colin, an unhappy boy terrified of life, and a mysterious, abandoned garden...
The Real Mother Goose

For nearly a century, The Real Mother Goose® has delighted young children!

For more than seventy-five years THE REAL MOTHER GOOSE has been delighting millions of children, and today the magic is as strong as ever. Heralded as the "standard" Mother Goose by parents, grandparents, teachers, and librarians, this wonderful book with Blanche Fisher Wright's lively, colorful pictures makes an enchanting introduction for the very young.

Mother Goose rhymes are a vital part of childhood. And this collection of essential rhymes have been reproduced exactly as they have been repeated from generation to generation.

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The Phantom Tollbooth
Hailed as “a classic. . . . humorous, full of warmth and real invention” (The New Yorker), this beloved story--first published more than fifty ago--introduces readers to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond. 

For Milo, everything's a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it's exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .
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The Paper Bag Princess
This bestselling modern classic features a princess who rescues a very snooty—and ungrateful—prince.
release date: Jan 01, 1986
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SNOWY DAY
Winner of the 1963 Caldecott Medal!


No book has captured the magic and sense of possibility of the first snowfall better than The Snowy Day. Universal in its appeal, the story has become a favorite of millions, as it reveals a child's wonder at a new world, and the hope of capturing and keeping that wonder forever.
The adventures of a little boy in the city on a very snowy day.


"Keats's sparse collage illustrations capture the wonder and beauty a snowy day can bring to a small child."—Barnes & Noble

"Ezra Jack Keats's classic The Snowy Day, winner of the 1963 Caldecott Medal, pays homage to the wonder and pure pleasure a child experiences when the world is blanketed in snow."—Publisher's Weekly

"The book is notable not only for its lovely artwork and tone, but also for its importance as a trailblazer. According to Horn Book magazine, The Snowy Day was "the very first full-color picture book to feature a small black hero"—yet another reason to add this classic to your shelves. It's as unique and special as a snowflake."—Amazon.com

 

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The Story of Babar
The classic first story about literature's most beloved pachyderm. After his mother is killed by a hunter, Babar avoids capture by escaping to the city, where he is befriended by the kindly Old Lady. He becomes educated and cultured and, upon his return to the great forest, is crowned King of the Elephants. Translated from Jean de Brunhoff's original French, the adventures of the world's most popular elephant and his friends have enchanted generations. Delightfully amusing illustrations make this short collection of classic Babar tales a book to treasure for children young and old.
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The Story of Ferdinand
Ferdinand is the world's most peaceful--and--beloved little bull. While all of the other bulls snort, leap, and butt their heads, Ferdinand is content to just sit and smell the flowers under his favorite cork tree. Leaf's simple storytelling paired with Lawson's pen-and-ink drawings make The Story of Ferdinand a true classic. Commemorate the 75th anniversary of the book's original publication with this beautiful and affordable 8x8 paperback edition.
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The Tale of Despereaux Book Group Kit
"Forgiveness, light, love, and soup. These essential ingredients combine into a tale that is as soul-stirring as it is delicious." — BOOKLIST (starred review)

Welcome to the story of Despereaux Tilling, a mouse who is in love with music, stories, and a princess named Pea. It is also the story of a rat called Roscuro, who lives in the darkness and covets a world filled with light. And it is the story of Miggery Sow, a slow-witted serving girl who harbors a simple, impossible wish. These three characters are about to embark on a journey that will lead them down into a horrible dungeon, up into a glittering castle, and, ultimately, into each other's lives. What happens then? As Kate DiCamillo would say: Reader, it is your destiny to find out.

From the master storyteller who brought us BECAUSE OF WINN-DIXIE comes another classic, a fairy tale full of quirky, unforgettable characters, with twenty-four stunning black-and-white illustrations by Timothy Basil Ering. This paperback edition pays tribute to the book's classicdesign, featuring a rough front and elegant gold stamping.
release date: Jan 01, 1987
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The Tower Treasure
A dying criminal confesses that his loot has been stored "in the tower." Both towers of the looted mansion are searched in vain. It remains for the Hardy boys to make an astonishing discovery that clears up the mystery and clears the name of a friend's father.
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The Very Hungry Caterpillar
THE all-time classic picture book, from generation to generation, sold somewhere in the world every 30 seconds! Have you shared it with a child or grandchild in your life?

"The very hungry caterpillar literally eats his way through the pages of the book—and right into your child's heart..."
Mother's Manual

"Gorgeously illustrated, brilliantly innovative..."
The New York Times Book Review

release date: Dec 12, 2000
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The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963
A wonderful middle-grade novel narrated by Kenny, 9, about his middle-class black family, the Weird Watsons of Flint, Michigan. When Kenny's 13-year-old brother, Byron, gets to be too much trouble, they head South to Birmingham to visit Grandma, the one person who can shape him up. And they happen to be in Birmingham when Grandma's church is blown up.
release date: Sep 01, 2007
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The Wednesday Wars

In this Newbery Honor-winning novel, Gary D. Schmidt offers an unforgettable antihero. The Wednesday Wars is a wonderfully witty and compelling story about a teenage boy's mishaps and adventures over the course of the 1967–68 school year in Long Island, New York.

Meet Holling Hoodhood, a seventh-grader at Camillo Junior High, who must spend Wednesday afternoons with his teacher, Mrs. Baker, while the rest of the class has religious instruction. Mrs. Baker doesn't like Holling—he's sure of it. Why else would she make him read the plays of William Shakespeare outside class? But everyone has bigger things to worry about, like Vietnam. His father wants Holling and his sister to be on their best behavior: the success of his business depends on it. But how can Holling stay out of trouble when he has so much to contend with? A bully demanding cream puffs; angry rats; and a baseball hero signing autographs the very same night Holling has to appear in a play in yellow tights! As fate sneaks up on him again and again, Holling finds Motivation—the Big M—in the most unexpected places and musters up the courage to embrace his destiny, in spite of himself.

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The Westing Game
A Newbery Medal Winner

"A supersharp mystery...confoundingly clever, and very funny." —Booklist, starred review

 

A bizarre chain of events begins when sixteen unlikely people gather for the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will. And though no one knows why the eccentric, game-loving millionaire has chosen a virtual stranger—and a possible murderer—to inherit his vast fortune, on things for sure: Sam Westing may be dead…but that won't stop him from playing one last game!

Winner of the Newbery Medal
Winner of the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award
An ALA Notable Book
 

 

"Great fun for those who enjoy illusion, word play, or sleight of hand." —The New York Times Book Review

"A fascinating medley of word games, disguises, multiple aliases, and subterfuges—a demanding but rewarding book." —The Horn Book
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The Wind in the Willows
Another beautiful book by renowned artist Robert Ingpen in the popular Sterling Illustrated Classics series.
 
For more than a century, The Wind in the Willows and its endearing protagonists--Mole, Mr. Toad, Badger, and Ratty--have enchanted children of all ages. Whether the four friends are setting forth on an exciting adventure, engaging in a comic caper, or simply relaxing by the River Thames, their stories are among the most charming in all English literature. This keepsake edition of Kenneth Grahame's beloved novel features gorgeous art throughout, making it a must-have for every child's library.
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Dorothy, the Tin Woodman, Scarecrow, the Cowardly Lion, and a host of other curious creatures come to life as they set out on an exciting quest down the Yellow Brick Road in search of the elusive Wizard. Reset in large, clear type and accompanied by 20 beautiful black-and-white illustrations. A selection of the Common Core State Standards Initiative.
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Treasure Island
One of the most enduringly popular adventure tales, Treasure Island began in 1881 as a serialized adventure entitled "The Sea-Cook" in the periodical Young Folks. Completed during a stay at Davos, Switzerland, where Stevenson had gone for his health, it was published in 1883 in the form we know today.
Set in the eighteenth century, Treasure Island spins a heady tale of piracy, a mysterious treasure map, and a host of sinister characters charged with diabolical intentions. Seen through the eyes of Jim Hawkins, the cabin boy of the Hispaniola, the action-packed adventure tells of a perilous sea journey across the Spanish Main, a mutiny  led by the infamous Long John Silver, and a lethal scramble for buried treasure on an exotic isle.
Rich in atmosphere and character, Treasure Island continues to mesmerize readers with its perceptive views of the changing nature of human motives.
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Tuck Everlasting

Doomed to―or blessed with―eternal life after drinking from a magic spring, the Tuck family wanders about trying to live as inconspicuously and comfortably as they can. When ten-year-old Winnie Foster stumbles on their secret, the Tucks take her home and explain why living forever at one age is less a blessing that it might seem. Complications arise when Winnie is followed by a stranger who wants to market the spring water for a fortune.

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Walk Two Moons

In her own singularly beautiful style, Newbery Medal winner Sharon Creech intricately weaves together two tales, one funny, one bittersweet, to create a heartwarming, compelling, and utterly moving story of love, loss, and the complexity of human emotion.

Thirteen-year-old Salamanca Tree Hiddle, proud of her country roots and the "Indian-ness in her blood," travels from Ohio to Idaho with her eccentric grandparents. Along the way, she tells them of the story of Phoebe Winterbottom, who received mysterious messages, who met a "potential lunatic," and whose mother disappeared.

As Sal entertains her grandparents with Phoebe's outrageous story, her own story begins to unfold--the story of a thirteen-year-old girl whose only wish is to be reunited with her missing mother.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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Watership Down
A phenomenal worldwide bestseller for more than forty years, Richard Adams's Watership Down is a timeless classic and one of the most beloved novels of all time.

Set in England's Downs, a once idyllic rural landscape, this stirring tale of adventure, courage, and survival follows a band of very special creatures on their flight from the intrusion of man and the certain destruction of their home. Led by a stouthearted pair of brothers, they journey forth from their native Sandleford Warren through the harrowing trials posed by predators and adversaries, to a mysterious promised land and a more perfect society.
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Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
This Newbery Honor book features magic, adventure, friendship, and even a dragon who can't fly!

In the valley of Fruitless Mountain, a young girl named Minli lives in a ramshackle hut with her parents. In the evenings, her father regales her with old folktales of the Jade Dragon and the Old Man on the Moon, who knows the answers to all of life's questions. Inspired by these stories, Minli sets off on an extraordinary journey to find the Old Man on the Moon to ask him how she can change her family's fortune. She encounters an assorted cast of characters and magical creatures along the way, including a dragon who accompanies her on her quest for the ultimate answer.

Grace Lin, author of the beloved Year of the Dog and Year of the Rat, returns with a wondrous story of adventure, faith, and friendship. A fantasy crossed with Chinese folklore, Where the Mountain Meets the Moon is a timeless story reminiscent of The Wizard of Oz. Her beautiful illustrations, printed in full-color, accompany the text throughout. Once again, she has created a charming, engaging book for young readers.

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Where the Red Fern Grows

For fans of Old Yeller and Shiloh, Where the Red Fern Grows is a beloved classic that captures the powerful bond between man and man's best friend.
 
   Billy has long dreamt of owning not one, but two, dogs. So when he's finally able to save up enough money for two pups to call his own—Old Dan and Little Ann—he's ecstatic. It doesn't matter that times are tough; together they'll roam the hills of the Ozarks.
   Soon Billy and his hounds become the finest hunting team in the valley. Stories of their great achievements spread throughout the region, and the combination of Old Dan's brawn, Little Ann's brains, and Billy's sheer will seems unbeatable. But tragedy awaits these determined hunters—now friends—and Billy learns that hope can grow out of despair, and that the seeds of the future can come from the scars of the past.
 
Praise for Where the Red Fern Grows
 
A Top 100 Children's Novel, School Library Journal's A Fuse #8 Production
A Must-Read for Kids 9 to 14, NPR
Winner of Multiple State Awards
Over 7 million copies in print!
 
“A rewarding book . . . [with] careful, precise observation, all of it rightly phrased.” —The New York Times Book Review
 
“One of the great classics of children's literature . . . Any child who doesn't get to read this beloved and powerfully emotional book has missed out on an important piece of childhood for the last 40-plus years.” —Common Sense Media
 
“An exciting tale of love and adventure you'll never forget.” —School Library Journal
 
“A book of unadorned naturalness.” —Kirkus Reviews
 
“Written with so much feeling and sentiment that adults as well as children are drawn [in] with a passion.” —Arizona Daily Star
 
“It's a story about a young boy and his two hunting dogs and . . . I can't even go on without getting a little misty.” —The Huffington Post
 
“A brilliant literary work.” —TeenInk.com
 
“We tear up just thinking about it.” —Time on the film adaptation




From the Paperback edition.
release date: Jan 20, 2004
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Where the Sidewalk Ends 30th Anniversary Edition

If you are a dreamer, come in,
If you are a dreamer,
A wisher, a liar,
A hope-er, a pray-er,
A magic bean buyer . . .

Come in . . . for where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein's world begins. You'll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.

Shel Silverstein's masterful collection of poems and drawings is at once outrageously funny and profound.

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Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things Are is fifty years old! Let the wild rumpus with Max and all the wild things continue as this classic comes to life as never before with new reproductions of Maurice Sendak's artwork. Astonishing state-of-the-art technology faithfully captures the color and detail of the original illustrations. Sendak himself enthusiastically endorsed this impressive new interpretation of his art before his death in May 2012. Winner of the 1964 Caldecott Medal for the Most Distinguished Picture Book of the Year, Where the Wild Things Are became an iconic book that has inspired a movie, an opera, and the imagination of generations. It continues to be one of the best loved books of all time the world over, by the one and only Maurice Sendak.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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Wonder
Wonder is a novel written by celebrated children's writer rj palacio. August or auggie is a young ten-year-old boy who has been born with an incredible facial abnormality. He is a normal young kid who eats ice cream and plays on his xbox but his abnormality drives other children away on roads and on playgrounds. Owing to his abnormality, his parents have him homeschooled till the age of ten. But now auggie must go to school, a real one at that, with other children. August dreads his first day in school and the book talks about his trials and trepidations. The book is a children's book that can be enjoyed in one sitting. Like most children's books the language is simple and palacio creates a mark with his debut children's book in the genre. Palacio's language is simple and easy to understand. The story is gripping and very touching. About a boy with a facial abnormality the book can touch the chords of many and is selling like hot cakes. The book talks about august's interactions with his parents, other children and about how he faces school despite his abnormality. The book can be read by children upwards the age of ten and is recommended by teachers for parents to read to their children. It creates in children a compassion for those who are less fortunate and talks about the normalcy that is innate in us and that makes us human despite our differences. The book was published by rhuk in 2013 and is available in paperback. Key features:the book is written in lucid and clear language and is easy to understand. The book, wonder, can be enjoyed by children and parents alike and talks about a young 10-year-old's tryst with destiny. With a facial abnormality august wants only to be accepted and liked by his peers and how he goes about it.
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