Children's Books that Everyone Should Read

  • The Hobbit/Lord of the Rings--J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Wind in the Willows--Kenneth Grahame
  • The Thief of Always--Clive Barker
  • The Phantom Tollbooth--Norton Juster
  • Hope for the Flowers--Trina Paulus
  • The Dark is Rising Series--Susan Cooper
  • The Giver--Lois Lowery
  • Hatchet--Gary Paulsen
  • The Curse of the Blue Figurine--John Bellairs
  • The Neverending Story--Michael Ende (sub. Blondie)
  • A Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle (sub. al)
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - ??? (sub. timepiec)
  • Treasure Island - Robert Louis Stevenson

oh drewbie, you've made me proud..but I don't see those dreaded Harry Potter books on your list....jen

thanks, darlin'; no Harry Potter because, tho i like the series a great deal, I think it is important to read the old masters who have made the original framework that authors like Rowling have draped their stories on. Don't worry, I'll get my hands on HP's fourth book as soon as it comes out.

Consider: The Giving Tree.

My favorite Shel Silverstein:
The Lion Who Shot Back

I completely agree...the Giving Tree is one of the most compelling and inspiring books I've read. A great lesson for the young and old.

The Giving Tree reminds me of The Lorax by Dr. Suess, sometimes, but still it is a fine story...

btw, Steph, gotcha

I agree with your picks wholeheartedly...
I still read The Dark is Rising series every few
years, it is so great.
Another author for young and old is John Bellairs.
I still read his Lewis Barnavelt and Professor
Roderick Childermas books.

Thank you for mentioning John Bellairs--I love the Prof Childermas series as well. I remember "The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt" as his best work, followed by "The Chessmen of Doom". I haven't read any of the newer books put together after his death, however.

How 'bout the Edward Eager books, Half Magic et al.

How 'bout Maira Kalman's Max books?

I'm afraid I've never read either author. Another series that has been suggested to me but which I haven't had time to get into is the "Redwall" series by Brian Jacques.

Got "Redwall" at a book fair here in VA (Green Valley Book Fair, an excellent place where about 50% of the books in my library have come from). Very enchanting...more childish than I imagined it, however. I also just re-read "The Wizard of Earthsea" by LeGuin, and I'm having a heck of a time finding "The Tombs of Atuan"...the local library computer is a straight liar....

I can't say enough good about all of these books: I think children's books are so refreshing because unlike adult fiction, whose writers often loose the point they are writing about, children's authors write from the heart, and write to teach children how to live.

A Wrinkle in Time - Madeline L'Engle

yes, thank you. Very nice. AWIT is a great tale...I think that the sequels (esp. A Wind in the Door) are weaker but still intreging.

i also want to thank you for mentioning John Bellairs...i read so many of his books when i was younger and loved them all. the magic was great and i think some of them even had Edward Gorey illustrations....that was my first introduction to EG, also saw his work on MYSTERY! on PBS...another comment though....i really love the HP books and just finished re-reading #3 in prepartion for the release of #4 The Doomspell Tournament, which will be released in July...i can't wait. but i think your point about reading the old masters is a good one...HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ROALD DAHL? (charlie and the chocolate factory, the witches, matilda)

I was saddened to read about the death of Edward Gorey a few weeks ago...course, I think he would have wanted a more interesting death for himself. I like HP but it's a little too "fluffy". I think the Dark is Rising has more believable characters. Haven't read Dahl, I'm afraid.

Eagerly awaiting my friend to finish with "Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire" (which was purchased at 12:01 AM last Saturday morning) so I can get a crack at it. I hope that Ms. Rowling will wait for a bit before releasing the next book, if for no other reason than to quiet the unending hype of the media locked in the summer slump.

one other thing....thanks for mentioning The Dark is Rising Series...those are some of my favorite books! i really loved them when i read them and still like to re-read them from time to time...good job on this list, ender.

WHAT ABOUT THE NEVERENDING STORY?!?!?!?! I've read that book at least 35 times and I'll swear it's better than anything I've read in college lately. :-) If you haven't already, pick up a copy of the 400 page version by Michael Ende.

Have you read the Anne of Green Gables books by L.M. Montgomery? I didn't read these as a kid, but I watched the movies, starring Megan Follows, about four years ago and I fell in love with them. I just recently read the books for the first time. I haven't read them all, there are eight total, but I read: Anne of Green Gables, Anne of Avonlea, Anne of the Island, Anne of Windy Poplars, Anne's House of Dreams and I tried to read Anne of Ingleside, but I skipped about 15 chapters and went straight to the end. If you haven't read them I would say at least read the first book Anne of Green Gables.

'fraid I haven't read them, as I say often. Guess my folks steered me towards the more "boy books", tho I did like the Ramona series by...dang, who'sherface.

Beverly Cleary. "Boy books" oh I see, LOL. I didn't realize.

Children's books are really my favorite. It seems like they still have good things to say, they still have hope, where sometimes adult books are so realistic they are depressing. Many of these I haven't read, but my list ( a very girlish one) would include A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, Anne of Green Gables, and Little Women. I think I still own The Curse of the Blue Figurine, I loved John Bellairs as a child, although I'd forgotten about him until now. Tolkein never made the best impression on me, for some reason. I made it through The Lord of the Rings, and enjoyed them, but I was always held up by the Hobbit. I could never get past the party at Bilbo Baggins residence.

Is there a way to spell check this, because I'm just awful...

I must confess my absolute favorite is "Velveteen Rabbit." I have several versions of it in my collection, and find it be so simple yet touching. It seems as if it is a book that stays with you, as I have several adult friends who identify it as one of their faves.

Another strong vote for The Narnia Chronicles. I reread those all the time . . . I've also read the Lord of the Rings, but I certainly don't think of that series as children's books. I also recommend From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and Jane Yolen's Pit Dragon trilogy (though those would not qualify as "classics").

thanks for mentioning john bellairs. i read those many times throughout my childhood and they really are great....exciting and well-written. what about the house with the clock in its walls?

you're very welcome. You know, I have never been able to get into any of Bellairs' stories that didn't have Johnny Dixon and Prof. Childermass. I suppose I identified with Johnny when I first read "The Curse of the Blue Figurine" and can't get out of the rut. I'm sorry that Bellairs won't be writing any more tales...

Why do you consider the Lord of the Rings to be a children's story? I can see The Hobbit, but the Lord of the Rings seems to be something much more complex and deep than the typical children's story. I'm just curious about your thoughts.

I notice now that my term "children's book" is a little misleading. As I look over this list I would have to say these books are for the most part "young adult" books. TLOR is one of the absolute best stories I have ever had the pleasure of reading (and re-reading), and so I added it to this list lest a reader just read "The Hobbit" and not experience the much more fulfilling, complex, and beautiful TLOR.

Hey ender22d, I just found this site... if you're still on here, I hope you have taken the time to read the Anne series by L.M. Montgomery. They aren't just for girls. The first couple of movies are the only "real" ones, and every man I know loves them. They stop what they are doing when I have it on and become enraptured, even if they don't want to admit it. It makes everyone laugh, and can teach anyone... something. ;-)