101 Best Children’s Books – Classic Children’s Books

Providing kids the very best in children’s literature books, to encourage and develop good reading skills to last throughout a lifetime, means that parents must be diligent about finding the best children’s books available and taking the time to read to their children. Many of the most popular children’s books are often referred to as classic children’s books and with very good reason.

Some of my best memories as a mom was spending time reading children’s story books to my kids like the infamous Little Golden Books and as they got older, my children continued to enjoy reading a large variety of fiction and non-fiction children’s books and their interest in reading has never waned. I’m so glad there are more people writing children’s books, especially the very cool Personalized Children’s Books and children’s audio books that have become so popular over the years.

Here is the Top 101 list of children’s books that many parents agree are the best children’s books for kids and teens, listed by age group:

Children’s Books for Infants – 3 Years

1.  The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carie
2.  Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
3.  Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr.
4.  The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
5.  The 20th-Century Children’s Book Treasury by Janet Shulman
6.  The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
7.  The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise
8.  Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
9.  Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton
10.  Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
11.  Clap Hands by Helen Oxenbury
12.  Spots, Feathers, and Curly Tails by Nancy Tafuri
13.  What’s Up, Duck? A Book of Opposites by Tad Hills
14.  Go, Dog, Go! By P.D. Eastman
15.  Fortunately by Remy Charlip
16.  Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag
17.  Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
18.  Up, Down, and Around by Katherine Ayres
19.  Wheels on the Bus by Jerry Smith
20.  Peek-A Who? By Nina Laden
21.  The Going-To-Bed Book by Sandra Boynton

Children’s Books for Kids 4 – 8 Years

22.  The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
23.  Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
24.  The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
25.  Where The Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
26.  Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
27.  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
28.  The Mitten by Jan Brett
29.  Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
30.  Oh, The Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
31.  Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola
32.  The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
33.  How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
34.  The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
35.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault
36.  The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne
37.  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff
38.  The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
39.  Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
40.  Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
41.  Math Curse by Jon Scieszka
42.  Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman
43.  The Napping House by Audrey Wood
44.  Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
45.  The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
46.  Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss
47.  The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
48.  Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judi and Ron Barrett
49.  Corduroy by Don Freeman
50.  101 Dalmations by Walt Disney

Children’s Books for Kids 9 – 12 Years

51.  Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
52.  Hatchett by Gary Paulsen
53.  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
54.  Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
55.  Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
56.  A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
57.  Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
58.  Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
59.  The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Warner
60.  The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
61.  Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan
62.  The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
63.  Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
64.  Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli
65.  The BFG by Roald Dahl
66.  The Giver by Lois Lowry
67.  James and the Giant Peach: A Children’s Story by Roald Dahl
68.  Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
69.  Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor
70.  Jack and the Beanstalk by Steven Kellogg
71.  Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien
72.  Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
73.  Harry Potter Books by J. K. Rowling
74.  Of Mice and Men by Ruth Coleman and Tony Buzan
75.  The Battle of the Labyrinth by Rick Riordan
76.  All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
77.  Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card
78.  The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis and Pauline Baynes

Children’s Books for Teens 13 and Up

79.  Agatha Christie books by Agatha Christie
80.  Harry Potter Books by J. K. Rowling
81.  Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
82.  Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
83.  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
84.  Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte
85.  Robinson Crusoe by Daniel Defoe
86.  Great Expectations by Charles Dickens
87.  Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
88.  A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
89.  The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
90.  The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas
91.  The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
92.  Chicken Soup For the Teenage Soul by Jack Canfield
93.  The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
94.  The Hunchback of Notre Dame by Victor Hugo
95.  One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest by Ken Kesey
96.  To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
97.  The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
98.  White Fang by Jack London
99.  Moby Dick by Herman Melville
100.  The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
101.  The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

There is no need to spend a lot of money on books for kids, because there are many cheap children’s books on this list that will fit into anyone’s budget. We were signed up for a children’s book of the month club so we never missed out on any of the best classic children’s books, and the very best of the new children’s books as soon as they were published.

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53 Responses to “101 Best Children’s Books – Classic Children’s Books”

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  1. Lin says:

    Hi Ben,

    I can appreciate what you’re saying, but I did decide to remove Stanek’s book from my list. I don’t think it’s any big loss not to have it listed, but if you decide to get his book, I hope you enjoy it as my kids say they have.

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  2. [...] and/or magazines for kids or adults makes a great Christmas gift that avid readers will enjoy. Children’s classic books are always a good choice, as are newly released books or kid magazines that are fun and educational [...]