What are your favorite kids’ books?

Over on Go Mighty, I’m putting together a list of 100 great kids books to read with Hank. I’d love your input.

What books did you love way back then, and what do you love even now?

50 thoughts on “What are your favorite kids’ books?

  1. I loved “Le Petit Prince” as a child, and it is still one of my favorite books.
    I would also recommend all of the Astrid Lindgren books. I’m not sure how many are translated into English other than “Pippi Longstocking”, but they are all wonderful.
    Many years ago when I was an au pair, the little girl I took care of loved a book called “Pigs a-plenty, pigs galore” and it was quite funny. She memorized and recited the whole book at age 3.
    My favorite children’s books then, and now, tend to be the ones that don’t treat children like morons. They can be magical. Enjoy reading with Hank!


  2. I have a lot of current favorites:

    The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
    You Are Stardust
    Infinity and Me
    Virginia Wolf
    Fortunately, the Milk
    City Dog, Country Frog
    The Three Questions
    You Can Do It, Sam

    Old favorites:
    James and the Giant Peach
    Harold and the Purple Crayon
    Where the Wild Things Are

    Yay books!


  3. My son’s current favorites: Little Blue Truck, Hop on Pop, and Trucks Go.
    My favorites in his book shelf: Goodnight Moon and The Giving Tree.


  4. Harriet the Spy and the two sequels; The Great Brain series. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler … I keep a copy of Harriet in my office—that’s my all-time favorite.


  5. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
    Llama, Llama, Red Pajama
    Charlotte’s Web (might be a little old for him, because there is tragedy in this one)
    Chronicles of Narnia
    A Wrinkle In Time (and the next two books that go with it)
    Harry Potter
    The Secret Garden


  6. My oldest daughter read My Father’s Dragon when she was in 1st grade and loved it, along with some Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys mysteries. Favorite little kid books, though, include The Maggie B, Bread and Jam for Frances, and Pierre in Love.


  7. This brings up a sore subject for me, because every few months for years now I try to search for the book I love most as a kid. I don’t remember the author or title — but I remember it was the sweet story about a bear looking for the perfect home. He packs up and moves from place to place, never satisfied. Then when he finally finds the perfect place, it’s he home he started with. If anyone knows the book I’m talking about, please let me know!


  8. I loved and read to my kids all of the Russell Hoban books starring Frances the badger–“Bread and Jam,” sure, but also “Best Friends for Frances,” “A Birthday for Frances,” etc. They are alllllll so good. My youngest loved those books and I made up tunes for all the songs Frances sang.

    Also, I recently read Harriet the Spy aloud to my granddaughters. They were almost 9 and 6, and they totally followed it and loved it.


  9. Oh man, so many! The Berenstain Bears series, Junie B. Jones series, Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, If You Give a Mouse a Cookie (and all the other books that have come since), Harry Potter, anything by Robert Munsch, Toes In My Nose (a book of children’s poetry by Sheree Fitch).


  10. I love love love “This is not my hat” and “I want my hat back” both by Jon Klassen. Also love “Prudence wants a pet” by Cathleen Daly. All three are hilarious and perfectly silly.


  11. A Chair For My Mother
    Bridge to Terabithia
    Skinnybones (this book cracked me UP as a kid)
    The War With Grandpa
    Nelson Malone Saves Flight 942
    Shades of Gray (by Carolyn Reeder, not the sad creepy one)

    off the top of my head


  12. You Are My I Love You (warm fuzzy feelings)
    Hailstones and Halibut Bones (for being the only book to put my child to sleep)
    Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site


  13. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (though some don’t like the fact that the police are portrayed by pigs) as well as The Amazing Bone by William Steig.

    King Stork but see if the illustrations are okay with you first.

    How to eat fried worms. I still say “glue glate” and I read it 20 plus years ago.

    I might come back and comment again after I think awhile.


  14. Tomi Ungerer wrote and illustrated some incredible children’s books in the 70s but I read somewhere that he got banned in a bunch of US libraries and schools because he also did some hilarious darkly comic erotic drawings for adults.

    My favourites for kids are: The Beast of Monsieur Racine (SO WONDERFUL – and should be republished by Phaidon in 2014) and The Hat.

    The series I loved as a kid too are the Tim books by Edward Ardizzone – “like Joseph Conrad for little kids” as my dad puts it – terrific adventures. Depends on your kid but the illustrations are wonderful, the characters complex – you can have some really interesting conversations with your kid when you read these.

    Lots of other great suggestions on this thread though! I just wanted to add some that not many seem to have heard of. (The Tomi Ungerer ones are SO COOL, it baffles me that he’s not as well known as Sendak etc.)


  15. Tiera – Are you by any chance talking about PJ FunnyBunny? The name of the book is “It’s Not Easy Being a Bunny” It’s by Marilyn Sadler. PJ is tired of being a bunny – having long ears, eating cooked carrots, and playing with all his brothers and sisters. He goes away to try to be various things: a bear, a pig, a moose, etc. Finally he realize that what he really wants to be is a BUNNY! The storyline is exactly what you describe, except the protagonist is a rabbit. Hoping I found what you were looking for!


  16. ANYTHING by Kevin Henckes. Poppleton series. Franny B. Kranny. Lemony Snicket, Magic Treehouse, Mysterious Benedict Society for a bit older.


  17. Tiera: Sounds like “The Trip to Panama” by Janosch. This book is about a bear an da tiger, so maybe the wrong one, but still very nice


  18. Mama Do You Love Me?

    Yo? Yes!

    Charlie Parker Plays Sax

    The Snowy Day

    Bunnicula (although I don’t think this has aged well)

    The Famous Five (really hasn’t aged well, alas)


  19. @Tiera: Another suggestion, and the way I found a book that had been my grandmother’s when she was a girl & thrown out when my mom died: try calling the children’s departments of large used bookstores, like The Strand in New York City or Powell’s in Portland, OR. There are people with vast knowledge in those stores. Another suggestion: the children’s literature departments of your local colleges. The profs there may know the book as well.

    Good luck!


  20. Blue Rabbit books

    Henry & Mudge books

    Pumpkin Soup

    There’s a Monster at the End of This Book (not scary)

    Magic Growing Powder


  21. Tiera– It would help to know around when you were a kid reading said book, to narrow down publication dates. Also can you remember anything about the illustrations? Like, does the art work give you any idea about when it was illustrated? Or if it was pencil drawings or water colors or chalk/pastel?


  22. Ack! How to choose? I am a first grade teacher. SO many good ones.

    Westlandia by Paul Fleischman is just magical.
    Anything by Mo Willems is a MUST. Seriously.
    The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds is so sweet. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5mGeR4AQdM
    Chester by Melanie Watt is laugh-out-loud funny.
    For a chapter book read-aloud, I love Mrs. Piggle Wiggle. It was written in 1947, and despite having to stop often to explain things (listening to the news on the radio, smoking a pipe), it is a hit year after year.


  23. Roald Dahl’s Matilda and his Charlie and the Chocolate Factory were early favorites. E.L. Konigsburg’s From the Mixed up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler was fascinating for a rural kid. My brother and i recited Shel Silverstein’s Where the Sidewalk Ends together. In late elementary, i discovered/ADORED Susan Cooper’s Dark Is Rising series, and Anne McCaffrey’s Pern-related novels.


  24. Of the bedtime novels I’ve read to my kids (now 9 and 11) the past few years, these were the biggest hits:
    ‘Nightbirds on Nantucket’ by Joan Aiken (an exciting old-fashioned kind of yarn)
    ‘Clover Twig’ by Kaye Umansky (a nice but not too-nice witch story)
    Judy Bloom’s ‘Fudge’ books
    Also some of the stories in ‘Marcovaldo’ by Italo Calvino (I hand-picked them…not all of them are on kid level)

    We also love Chris Riddel’s books and the hilarious ‘Alvin Ho’ series (both have lots of amazing illustrations).


  25. I just had to add my votes for:

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    as well as the follow-up – Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator (now that I think of it, it might be a bit racist in the depiction of some cultures, but still worthwhile for the wordplay)

    The Phantom Tollbooth – I re-read this every couple of years. I just got the anniversary edition; the Jules Feiffer illustrations are awesome. If it’s too much for him now at 5 years old, try it again when he’s ten.

    Thanks for bringing up this list. I’ve added a whole lot of titles to my wish list.


  26. Omg I could do this all day. Almost too much for me to have to make a favorites list. Loved them then and love them now.

    Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
    Little Bear’s Visit
    Frog and Toad Are Friends


  27. I have a little 7 month old and we love reading time. Our favorites so far:

    The Pout Pout Fish
    Green Eggs and Ham
    Llama Llama Red Pajama
    Giraffes Can’t Dance
    George and Martha
    Guess How Much I Love You
    Love You Forever (We started reading this in the NICU when she was born early and neither my husband or I could get through it without crying. My Mom passed away a few years ago and the sentiment of being cared for by a parent who loves you, then taking care of that parent when they are old, and then taking care of your newborn baby doesn’t quite hit home until you are holding your baby in your arms. I guess this is more my favorite then hers at this point. If we do our job right she will love it when she is older.)


  28. Best ever kids book Bark George by Jules Feiffer. My boys are now 14 and 10 and we STILL read this one and laugh out loud. It goes with us everywhere.


  29. Not enough people know Tim Egan. Serious Farm, Burnt Toast on Davenport Street, Metropolitan Cow, A Mile From Ellington Station, The Pink Refrigerator, more. They are all incredibly weird genius and no one seems to have heard of them.


  30. Old favorites:
    The Giant Jam Sandwich (John Vernon Lord)
    All-of-a-Kind Family (Sydney Taylor)
    Boxcar Children (Gertrude Chandler Warner)
    The Little House (Virginia Lee Burton)
    Katy and the Big Snow (Virginia Lee Burton)
    Scrambled Eggs Super! (Dr. Seuss)
    Wacky Wednesday (Dr. Seuss)
    Bread and Jam for Frances (Russell Hoban)
    Corduroy (Don Freeman)

    Newer favorites:
    Ish (Peter H. Reynolds)
    Charlie Parker Played Be Bop (Christopher Raschka)
    But Not the Hippopotamus (Sandra Boynton)
    Horten’s Miraculous Mechanisms (Lissa Evans)


  31. A really really really resoundingly pee-your-pants second to Leslie: Tove Jansson’s Moomin series (the comics and the stories) are the best thing to happen to kid lit, and only cement the Scandinavian as more culturally adept than we could ever aspire to be.

    Plus, one of the main characters is a certifiable anarchist! For real!


  32. I knew by heart all of Roald Dahl’s Revolting Rhymes and I loved them. Could probably rattle them off now too!

    I loved the Frances books too but probably just because of my name.

    My mum read me the Narnia books when I was a bit older and I enjoyed them too.


  33. Do not pass up the SCAREDY SQUIRREL series. Seriously! The first in the series is the best…with a surprise ending. Awesome illustrations. Good for kids and adults both, oddly enough.


  34. My favorite book from childhood was Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH and, in sharing it with my own children (my 6-year-old is currently having it read to him for the third time, and this is the first time for my 4yo daughter) I can say that it is equally entertaining for adults (many philosophical problems with beautifully open opportunities for conversation) and has weathered the test of time.

    I loved the Narnia Chronicles as a kid, find them problematic as an adult. I wish His Dark Materials (trilogy by Philip Pullman) was around when I was a kid.

    I loved the Barbapapa books and I thought Richard Scarry was an artistic genius.

    I also fondly remember a book called, “There’s a Rainbow in my Closet” which I believe is out of print.


  35. This is an amazing list. Maggie, will you share your compilation of it with all of us? Some of mine are too young for Hank, but great books:

    –Bob & Company by Delphine Durand;
    –All of A.A. Milne, and the Pooh Bear stories are hilarious;
    –All of Roald Dahl’s children’s books;
    –Steven Kellogg’s books;
    –James Marshall’s books;
    –Mercer Mayer’s books;
    –Dr. Seuss’s books;
    –Bill Peet’s books;
    –Arnold Lobel’s books;
    –books illustrated by Feodor Rojankovsky;
    –Virginia Lee Burton’s books–Eli’s particular favorite is “Life Story”;
    –The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf;
    –Nisse Va Chez Le Coiffeur by Landstrom–perhaps you can find it in English;
    –Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Barrett;
    –Boris’s Glasses by Landstrom and Cohen;
    –Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel;
    –Mr. Wolf’s Pancakes by Fearnley;
    –Lyle, Lyle Crocodile by Waber;
    –Keiko Kasza’s books–esp. The Wolf’s Chicken Stew;
    –The Relatives Came by Rylant and Gammell;
    –Toy Boat by Randall de Seve and Loren Long;
    –House Held Up By Trees by Ted Kooser (poet laureate);
    –All Mo Willems books–hilarious!;
    –A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Stead;
    –Pippi Longstocking;
    –Mrs. Piggle Wiggle books;
    –Wolf! by Bloom;
    –The Wind In The Willows by Graham;
    –Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White, and other of his children’s books; and
    –The Howards Go Sledding by Wahl.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s