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Best Books for Children

The books listed here are suitable for children from six to ten years old, and many are loved by older children, too. This list includes a variety of books: picture books, books for beginning readers, chapter books, and novels. Your child will likely enjoy reading some of thebooks by himself, and he’ll enjoy hearing others read aloud. Keep in mind that this list is by no means a complete guide to the best authors and books for young children. An author listed may have written many titles, of which only one or two are noted. Other authors who have written excellent books are not listed at all. The purpose of this page is simply to suggest books you and your child may enjoy.

The books on this list are often recommended by experts in the field of children’s literature. Our family has enjoyed many of them over the years, but that doesn’t guarantee that your child will. The best way to determine what books your child will enjoy is to read children’s books — lots of them. Read award-winners and award-losers. (Some of the best loved books are runners-up!) Read books about children’s books, too.

Give your child high-quality books for his birthday and other special occasions. Visit your local bookstore and browse the shelves of the children’s section. But be cautious when asking for recommendations. Many clerks aren’t knowledgeable about children’s books, and they may simply recommend what everyone else is buying. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but bear in mind that today’s buying trends tend to be based more on advertising and popular culture than on quality. The librarians in the children’s room of your library are excellent sources of information. They can usually make suggestions tailored to your child’s reading ability and interests. The most popular books are usually checked out as soon as they are returned, so reserve them ahead of time if you can. If you have a computer with Internet access, you may be able to reserve books from home — a lifesaver for those who visit the library with small children! Alternatively, you could schedule an afternoon or evening to visit the library without children in tow and spend some time getting to know the best in old and new children’s books.

  • Aesop: Aesop’s Fables
  • Allard, Harry: Miss Nelson Is Missing! and The Stupids Step Out
  • Andersen, Hans Christian: The Little Match Girl
  • Atwater, Richard and Florence: Mr. Popper’s Penguins
  • Babbitt, Natalie: Tuck Everlasting
  • Bang, Molly: Dawn
  • Banks, Lynne Reid: The Indian in the Cupboard
  • Bemelmans, Ludwig: Madeline series
  • Brenner, Barbara: Wagon Wheels
  • Brink, Carol Ryrie: Caddie Woodlawn
  • Brunhoff, Jean de: The Story of Babar
  • Bulla, Clyde Robert: The Chalk Box Kid
  • Burningham, John: Cannonball Simp, Harquin, and Would You Rather?
  • Burton, Virginia Lee: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel and The Little House
  • Byars, Betsy: The Summer of the Swans
  • Carlson, Natalie Savage: The Family under the Bridge
  • Caudill, Rebecca: Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley?
  • Cleary, Beverly: Ramona the Pest
  • Coerr, Eleanor: Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes
  • Cohen, Barbara: Molly’s Pilgrim
  • D’Aulaire, Ingri and Edgar: D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
  • Dahl, Roald: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
  • Dalgliesh, Alice: The Bears on Hemlock Mountain and The Courage of Sarah Noble
  • dePaola, Tomie: 26 Fairmount Avenue
  • Estes, Eleanor: The Hundred Dresses
  • Gardiner, John Reynolds: Stone Fox
  • Gipson, Fred: Old Yeller
  • Godden, Rumer: The Mousewife
  • Grahame, Kenneth: The Reluctant Dragon
  • Haywood, Carolyn: “B” Is for Betsy and Little Eddie
  • Henry, Marguerite: Five O’clock Charlie
  • Henry, O.: The Gift of the Magi
  • Holling, Holling Clancy: Paddle-to-the-Sea
  • Isadora, Rachel: Ben’s Trumpet
  • Johnson, Crockett: Ellen’s Lion
  • Lewis, C. S.: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (and other books in the Chronicles of Narnia series)
  • Lindgren, Astrid: Pippi Longstocking
  • Little, Jean: Lost and Found
  • Lobel, Arnold: Frog and Toad Together
  • Mills, Lauren: The Rag Coat
  • Milne, A. A.: The House at Pooh Corner, Now We Are Six, When We Were Very Young, and Winnie-the-Pooh
  • Minarik, Else Holmelund: Little Bear
  • Mosel, Arlene: The Funny Little Woman and Tikki Tikki Tembo
  • Mowat, Farley: Owls in the Family and Two against the North (or Lost in the Barrens)
  • Munsch, Robert: Love You Forever and The Paper Bag Princess
  • Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds: Shiloh
  • Newberry, Clare Turlay: Mittens
  • Numeroff, Laura Joffe: If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
  • Parish, Peggy: Amelia Bedelia
  • Perrault, Charles: Cinderella
  • Polacco, Patricia: Just Plain Fancy
  • Potter, Beatrix: The Tale of Peter Rabbit
  • Rawls, Wilson: Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Rey, H. A.: Curious George series
  • Robinson, Barbara: The Best Christmas Pageant Ever
  • Selden, George: The Cricket in Times Square
  • Sendak, Maurice: Where the Wild Things Are
  • Seuss, Dr.: The Cat in the Hat, The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, Green Eggs and Ham
  • Sobol, Donald: Encyclopedia Brown series
  • Sorensen, Virginia: Miracles on Maple Hill
  • Speare, Elizabeth George: The Sign of the Beaver
  • Sperry, Armstrong: Call It Courage
  • Steig, William: The Amazing Bone, Brave Irene and Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
  • Stevenson, Robert Louis: A Child’s Garden of Verses
  • Taylor, Mildred D.: Song of the Trees
  • Waber, Bernard: Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile and The House on East 88th Street
  • White, E. B.: Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little, and The Trumpet of the Swan
  • Wilder, Laura Ingalls: Little House in the Big Woods (and other books in the Little House series)
  • Williams, Margery: The Velveteen Rabbit
  • Yolen, Jane: Owl Moon
  • Zion, Gene: Harry the Dirty Dog

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Copyright 2001 by Patricia Kuffner. Excerpted from The Children's Busy Book with permission of its publisher, Meadowbrook Press.

To order this book visit Meadowbrook Press.


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