Best Children's Books of All Time

Last updated on 1/19/2016
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Best Children's Books of All Time recommended by Google. See the list here: Best Children's Books of All Time

For more book recommendations, please check out New York Times® Best Sellers, Children's Book Recommendations or the complete list of Featured Book Lists and Award Winners

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Holes

   A modern classic . . . from the New York Times bestselling author who has been recognized with the Newbery Award as well as the National Book Award!

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnatses. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the boys build character by spending all day, every day digging holes exactly five feet wide and five feet deep. There is no lake at Camp Green Lake. But there are an awful lot of holes.

It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. But what could be buried under a dried-up lake? Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.

Includes a double bonus: an excerpt from Small Steps, the follow-up to Holes, as well as an excerpt from Louis Sachar's new middle-grade novel, Fuzzy Mud.

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From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn't just want to run from somewhere she wants to run to somewhere--to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and preferably elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother, Jamie, has money and thus can help her with the serious cash flow problem she invites him along.

Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie, find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at an auction for a bargain price of $250. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn't it? Claudia is determined to find out. This quest leads Claudia to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.
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Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
The complete edition of the bestselling children's favorite, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, is now available as a Classic Board Book!

A told B
and B told C,
“I'll meet you at the top
of the coconut tree.”
     When all the letters of the alphabet race one another up the coconut tree, will there be enough room?
Of course there is always enough room for this rollicking alphabet chant that has been a children's favorite for more than twenty years! Bill Martin Jr and John Archambault's rhythmic text keeps the beat with Caldecott Honor illustrator Lois Ehlert's bold, cheerful art. This winning combination has created a series of enduring Chicka Chicka favorites, and now, for the first time ever, the complete edition of the original Chicka Chicka Boom Boom story is available as a Classic Board Book. With sturdy pages and rounded corners, this portable edition of an irresistible alphabet romp will delight a new generation of young readers.
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.
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Pat the Bunny
The original classic touch and feel book that has been entertaining babies for over 60 years.
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Strega Nona
A book and CD edition of Tomie dePaola's classic bestseller, Strega Nona.

Strega Nona -- "Grandma Witch" -- is the source for potions, cures, magic, and comfort in her Calabrian town. Her magical everfull pasta pot is especially intriguing to hungry Big Anthony. He is supposed to look after her house and tend her garden but one day, when she goes over the mountain to visit Strega Amelia, Big Anthony recites the magic verse over the pasta pot, with disastrous results.

This package includes a paperback book and a CD of Tomie dePaola retelling his classic story against a charming musical score.
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 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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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.
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Stig of the Dump
A Puffin Book - stories that last a lifetime. Puffin Modern Classics are relaunched under a new logo: A Puffin Book. There are 20 titles to collect in the series, listed below, all with exciting new covers and fun-filled endnotes. Clive King's Stig of the Dump is a much-loved modern classic. It is the story of Barney and his best friend, cave-man Stig. Barney is a solitary little boy, given to wandering off by himself. One day he is lying on the edge of a disused chalk-pit when it gives way and he lands in a sort of cave. Here he meets 'somebody with a lot of shaggy hair and two bright black eyes' wearing a rabbit skin and speaking in grunts. He names him Stig. Of course nobody believes Barney when he tells his family all about Stig, but for Barney cave-man Stig is totally real. They become great friends, learning each others ways and embarking on a series of unforgettable adventures. Clive King was born in Richmond, Surrey, in 1924. When he was young his family moved to a village called Ash, near Sevenoaks in Kent, which is the setting for Stig of the Dump. He went to Downing College, Cambridge, and the School of Oriental and African Studies in London. He then served in the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve. His service as a sailor and his work as a language teacher took him all over the world. Clive King lives with his family in Norfolk and is a full-time writer. Also available in A Puffin Book: GOODNIGHT MISTER TOM and BACK HOME by Michelle Magorian CHARLOTTE'S WEB, STUART LITTLE and THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN by E. B. White THE BORROWERS by Mary Norton STIG OF THE DUMP by Clive King ROLL OF THUNDER, HEAR MY CRY by Mildred D. Taylor A DOG SO SMALL by Philippa Pearce GOBBOLINO by Ursula Moray Williams CARRIE'S WAR by Nina Bawden MRS FRISBY AND THE RATS OF NIMH by Richard C O'Brien A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle THE CAY by Theodore Taylor TARKA THE OTTER by Henry Williamson WATERSHIP DOWN by Richard Adams SMITH by Leon Garfield THE NEVERENDING STORY by Michael Ende ANNIE by Thomas Meehan THE FAMILY FROM ONE END STREET by Eve Garnett Other titles by Clive King: Hamid of Aleppo; The Town that Went South; The 22 Letters; The Night the Water Came; Snakes and Snakes; Me and My Million; The Inner Ring series; The Devil's Cut; Ninny's Boat; The Sound of propellors; The Seashore People; A Touch of Class
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Corduroy
A picture book classic!
 
One of School Library Journal's "Top 100 Picture Books" of all time (2012) 
One of the National Education Association's "Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children."

Don Freeman's classic character, Corduroy, is even more popular today then he was when he first came on the scene in 1968. This story of a small teddy bear waiting on a department store shelf for a child's friendship has appealed to young readers generation after generation.
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Hatchet
This award-winning contemporary classic is the survival story with which all others are compared—and a page-turning, heart-stopping adventure, recipient of the Newbery Honor.

Thirteen-year-old Brian Robeson is on his way to visit his father when the single-engine plane in which he is flying crashes. Suddenly, Brian finds himself alone in the Canadian wilderness with nothing but a tattered Windbreaker and the hatchet his mother gave him as a present—and the dreadful secret that has been tearing him apart since his parent's divorce. But now Brian has no time for anger, self pity, or despair—it will take all his know-how and determination, and more courage than he knew he possessed, to survive.
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Heidi
At the age of five, little orphan Heidi is sent to live with her grandfather in the Alps. Everyone in the village is afraid of him, but Heidi is fascinated by his long beard and bushy grey eyebrows. She loves her life in the mountains, playing in the sunshine and growing up amongst the goats and birds. But one terrible day, Heidi is collected by her aunt and is made to live with a new family in town. Heidi can't bear to be away from her grandfather; can she find a way back up the mountain, where she belongs?
release date: Jan 01, 1988
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Millions of Cats
Once upon a time there was an old man and an old woman who were very lonely. They decided to get a cat, but when the old man went out searching, he found not one cat, but millions and billions and trillions of cats! Unable to decide which one would be the best pet, he brought them all home. How the old couple came to have just one cat to call their own is a classic tale that has been loved for generations. Winner of a Newbery Honor, this collector's edition—featuring a heavy interior stock, spot gloss and embossing on the cover, and a thread-sewn binding—will bring this beloved tale to a whole new generation of readers.
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Guess How Much I Love You
"Guess how much I love you," says Little Nutbrown Hare. Little Nutbrown Hare shows his daddy how much he loves him: as wide as he can reach and as far as he can hop. But Big Nutbrown Hare, who can reach farther and hop higher, loves him back just as much. Well then Little Nutbrown Hare loves him right up to the moon, but that's just halfway to Big Nutbrown Hare's love for him.
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The Book of Three

The Newbery-winning fantasy series now available in gorgeous new paperback editions!

Since The Book of Three was first published in 1964, young readers have been enthralled by the adventures of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his quest to become a hero. Taran is joined by an engaging cast of characters that includes Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli―all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain. Released over a period of five years, Lloyd Alexander's beautifully written tales not only captured children's imaginations but also garnered the highest critical praise.

The Black Cauldron was a Newbery Honor Book, and the final volume in the chronicles, The High King, crowned the series by winning the Newbery Medal for "the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children."

Henry Holt is proud to present this classic series in a new, redesigned paperback format. The jackets feature stunning art by acclaimed fantasy artist David Wyatt, giving the books a fresh look for today's generation of young fantasy lovers. The companion book of short stories, The Foundling is also available in paperback at this time.

In their more than thirty years in print, the Chronicles of Prydain have become the standard of excellence in fantasy literature for children.

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Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Book 7)
Readers beware. The brilliant, breathtaking conclusion to J.K. Rowling's spellbinding series is not for the faint of heart--such revelations, battles, and betrayals await in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows that no fan will make it to the end unscathed. Luckily, Rowling has prepped loyal readers for the end of her series by doling out increasingly dark and dangerous tales of magic and mystery, shot through with lessons about honor and contempt, love and loss, and right and wrong. Fear not, you will find no spoilers in our review--to tell the plot would ruin the journey, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is an odyssey the likes of which Rowling's fans have not yet seen, and are not likely to forget. But we would be remiss if we did not offer one small suggestion before you embark on your final adventure with Harry--bring plenty of tissues.

The heart of Book 7 is a hero's mission--not just in Harry's quest for the Horcruxes, but in his journey from boy to man--and Harry faces more danger than that found in all six books combined, from the direct threat of the Death Eaters and you-know-who, to the subtle perils of losing faith in himself. Attentive readers would do well to remember Dumbledore's warning about making the choice between "what is right and what is easy," and know that Rowling applies the same difficult principle to the conclusion of her series. While fans will find the answers to hotly speculated questions about Dumbledore, Snape, and you-know-who, it is a testament to Rowling's skill as a storyteller that even the most astute and careful reader will be taken by surprise.

A spectacular finish to a phenomenal series, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows is a bittersweet read for fans. The journey is hard, filled with events both tragic and triumphant, the battlefield littered with the bodies of the dearest and despised, but the final chapter is as brilliant and blinding as a phoenix's flame, and fans and skeptics alike will emerge from the confines of the story with full but heavy hearts, giddy and grateful for the experience. --Daphne Durham

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Lost and Found
From the illustrator of the #1 smash hit The Day The Crayons Quit comes a humorously warm tale of friendship. Now also an animated TV special!

What is a boy to do when a lost penguin shows up at his door? Find out where it comes from, of course, and return it. But the journey to the South Pole is long and difficult in the boy's rowboat. There are storms to brave and deep, dark nights.To pass the time, the boy tells the penguin stories. Finally, they arrive. Yet instead of being happy, both are sad. That's when the boy realizes: The penguin hadn't been lost, it had merely been lonely.

A poignant, funny, and child-friendly story about friendship lost . . . and then found again.
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Bridge to Terabithia

This Newbery Medal-winning novel by bestselling author Katherine Paterson is a modern classic of friendship and loss.

Jess Aarons has been practicing all summer so he can be the fastest runner in the fifth grade. And he almost is, until the new girl in school, Leslie Burke, outpaces him. The two become fast friends and spend most days in the woods behind Leslie's house, where they invent an enchanted land called Terabithia. One morning, Leslie goes to Terabithia without Jess and a tragedy occurs. It will take the love of his family and the strength that Leslie has given him for Jess to be able to deal with his grief.

In addition to being a Newbery Medal winner, Bridge to Terabithia was also named an ALA Notable Children's Book and has become a touchstone of children's literature, as have many of Katherine Paterson's other novels, including The Great Gilly Hopkins and Jacob Have I Loved.

Supports the Common Core State Standards

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A Little Princess
Alone in a new country, wealthy Sara Crewe tries to settle in and make friends at boarding school. But when she learns that she'll never see her beloved father gain, her life is turned upside down. Transformed from princess to pauper, she must swap dancing lessons and luxury for hard work and a room in the attic. Will she find that kindness and genorosity are all the riches she truly needs?
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Are You My Mother?
A baby bird goes in search of his mother in this hilarious Board Book adapation of P.D. Eastman's classic story, perfect for babies and toddlers!
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