40 Books Every Child Should Read

As the Half Pint Library book drive draws to a close, we are reminded once again of the importance reading plays in a child’s development.  It is a fact that children who live in a print-rich environment are much more likely to learn how to read on schedule and have a bigger and better vocabulary.

Did you know that children’s books actually contain 50% more rare words than primetime television (or even college students’ conversations)? As essential as early literacy is, the wealth of children’s literature that we have available to choose from can be overwhelming. So we consulted with our HPB Bibliomaniacs and asked: What do you consider to be some of the best children’s books ever written? And without further ado, here are 40 Books Every Child Should Read:


Does anyone else have the unquenchable desire to raid the children’s section of your local Half Price
for The Poky Little Puppy, Where the Sidewalk Ends and There’s a Monster at the End of
this Book
?! I sure do.

Remember, the 2012 Half Pint Library book drive ends on Saturday, March 31. Please donate a new or
gently used kids book, and help share the love of reading with children in need.

How many of these books do you remember reading? What’s your childhood favorite?

— Julie

73 thoughts on “40 Books Every Child Should Read

  1. I'll love you forever, I'll like you for always…is from a book titled Love You Forever by Robert Munsch. Always makes me cry, too. Especially since I'm now the grandmother in our family and realize that the roles are reversing.

  2. The "My Father's Dragon" Series! Plus "Tikki Tikki Tembo", "Stone Soup", "Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears", and "The Sissy Duckling".

  3. I would add to this list the picture/story book, "I Call My Hand Gentle" by Amanda Haan, pictures by Marina Sagona, a lovely, colorful book for all young children about the importance of gentle hands. A small treasure.

  4. Does no one else like Baba Yaga… the boney legged… the witch … and her house on chicken legs? Oh well, you had to read it just right…..

  5. The 1,000 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins, by Dr. Seuss?Some of my favorites: If I Ran the Zoo, Dr. Seuss. Go Dog Go, Dr. Seuss. The Runaway BunnyRegardless, read, read, read to, with and for kids. Even older kids love picture books and to be read to!

  6. When I was little I remember having a book about a little house and it was a sad house and sat between two big houses…I think at some point it gets moved and is a happy house again. Does anyone have a clue what book this is? It drives me crazy that I can't remember it!!!

  7. Gretchen, perhaps you are thinking of The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton. Great picture book.To pile on yet more books into this list: the novels by Eleanor Estes, e.g., Pinky Pye, Ginger Pye, and others.The Little white Horse and Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge.The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark TwainThe Sixty-Eight Rooms, a newer book.

  8. The Empty Pot 🙂 If you don't like Skippy John Jones you probably have not read it to a classroom of 2nd grade English language learners. They were rolling on the floor with laughter. You have to read it with the accent 🙂 It's fun, truly. We named our litter of kittens after them,

  9. This brought back wonderful memories. Now I want to go back and reread all of them. Did anyone mention the poetry by Robert Louis Stevenson? I'm no poet, but I think poems enrich our lives.

  10. Great list. There are a couple of titles I might remove – but you left off one that is at the top of my list for all ages: The Empty Pot by Demi. Hands down the most awesome book ever. Especially for a great Guidance Lesson.

  11. Don't let the pigeon drive the bus is a very good book for the children. As a teacher, I have read many books and also created a must read book list for my students. I have included some of of the books in my list that is mentioned in your blog as well.

  12. Pingback: Discovering Great Children's Books - Donna Perugini Children's Author Donna Perugini Children's Author

  13. What about Stone Soup, The Little Old Woman Who Used Her Head,The Kid Who Batted 1.000, and The Toothpaste Millionaire? So many choices, so little time…

  14. The Jack Tales (Richard Chase), Ramona the Pest (Beverly Cleary), Wiley and the Hairy Man, and a songbook with every camp song ever.

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