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Best Books: 25 Must-Read Books For Kids

By Monica Bielanko |

If this image makes you weepy for your childhood then we are, as Anne of Green Gables says, “kindred spirits”.

Where would I be without Beverly Cleary?

For that matter, where would I be without Judy Blume and Zilpha Keatley Snyder? I can’t say for sure, but likely living in a van down by the river.

These fabulous women along with Ann M. Martin, she who wrote The Babysitters Club series, and Francine Pascal of Sweet Valley High legend, inspired within me a lifelong love of reading.

The first books I recall absolutely totally falling in love with are about the inimitable Ramona Quimby.  How I loved Ramona and the cast of characters that populate her world. But there are so many more.

Who remembers Mrs. Piggle Wiggle? Pippi Longstocking? The Boxcar Children? How To Eat Fried Worms? Bonus points if you remember the series of books about a boy named Soup!

If, like me, you’re hoping to inspire within your kids a lifelong love of reading and are looking beyond the standard Harry Potter/Diary of a Wimpy Kid mania that is currently all the rage, click onward for dozens of the best books for kids ever written. Even if you don’t have kids the books are definitely worth a click down memory lane.

*Note: whenever possible I used images of the book covers I had as a kid so I might spark your memory too. What I’m saying is, you will not be seeing Selena Gomez associated with Ramona Quimby here although you will see a photo of Megan Follows as Anne Shirley because DUH.

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Top 25 Books for Kids

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler

Who didn't dream about hiding out at the Metropolitan Museum of Art after reading this awesome adventure starring Claudia Kincaid and her little brother, Jamie? Author E.L. Konigsburg is one of only five authors to win two Newbery Medals - one for this book.
E.L. Konigsburg

So I left stuff like Charlotte’s Web off the list for obvious reasons. I mean, if you aren’t aware of Charlotte’s web you should get your citizenship in humanity revoked. But what other stuff am I missing? What books do you think of first when you think of your childhood? What books will you absolutely share with your kids?

More From Monica on Strollerderby:

The Hubs, Preggers, Totes, Adorbs and The Sluttiest Word In The English Language

Cops Kick Boy With Cerebral Palsy Out Of Pool Over Water Wings

Couple Finds Python In Crib Wrapped Around Baby

You can also find Monica on her personal blog, The Girl Who.


22 classic novels as explained by a 6-year-old
25 things every kid should experience
7 things you should never say to a child
18 memories from childhood my kids won’t have
20 totally inappropriate vintage ads featuring children

More on Babble

About Monica Bielanko


Monica Bielanko

Monica Bielanko was raised on the wild frontier of late 1970's Utah. She is a recovering Mormon who married the guitar player of an unknown band. She's been married to her Babble Voices writing partner, Serge Bielanko, for the past nine years. Her personal blog, The Girl Who was in the top ten of last year's Top 50 list. Read bio and latest posts → Read Monica's latest posts →

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18 thoughts on “Best Books: 25 Must-Read Books For Kids

  1. A says:

    Growing up in England, it was The Famous Five, Secret Seven & Mallory Towers books by Enid Blyton. I loved ALL Roald Dahl books. The Wind in the Willows. When I got a bit older yes, Judy Blume, and Sweet 16, which were very sappy!

  2. DeathMetalMommy says:

    I love so many of these books and will still read them to this day…if I had the time. I’ll take A Wrinkle in Time or Anne of Green Gables over 50 Shades any day.

  3. BonnieLee says:

    My favorite Judy Blume book was Starring Sally J. Friedman as Herself and Otherwise Known As Sheila the Great.. remember those? Two imaginative quirky girls and their families. I also read All in the Kind Family … 5 sisters and everyday after lunch they were given 1 penny to do with what they wanted… They went to the CANDY store and actually gots tons of candy for one cent!

  4. MB says:

    Love these choices! I would add The Cat Ate my Gymsuit and The Westing Game. For the very adventurous, The War between the Pitiful Teachers and the Splendid Kids.

    And ditto on Sally J. Friedman!!

  5. Saffron G says:

    Stig of the dump, that is a book which has been re listened to many times in my household. My son has trouble reading for various reasons, so we get a lot of our stories via Itunes/story cd’s and its a joy for all of us, long car journey’s, night time stories :)
    The Borrowers,
    The chronicles of Narnia,
    The Horrid Henry books.

  6. Leanne says:

    Awesome list. I can’t wait to read these to my girls when they get a bit older. Such great memories of my own childhood reading so many of these.

  7. Cris says:

    LOVED Sideways Stories as a kid!

  8. Jayrod64 says:

    I’m not sure if these books are even still around,but when I was a kid I used to love the Magic Treehouse series.

  9. Deborah Watson says:

    My favorite book is the BFG, The Big Friendly Gaint and The Cat ate my Gym suit!!

  10. Jessica W. says:

    The Borrower, The 5 Little Peppers, The Children & It, the Oz series. :)

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  12. Elizabeth B says:

    I loved the Little House on the Prairie books and so did my daughter. And “Where the Sidewalk Ends” is also a family favorite.

    I have a book that I got when I was a kid called “Shadow Castle” by Marian Cockrell, and it was my absolute favorite book (and again, one of my daughter’s favorites). It’s written so well that I still like to read it every now and then.

  13. Hanni says:

    This was so fun to look through and brought back so many memories (Island of the Blue Dolpins – don’t remember much about it, but I remember the cover)! Using the old book covers definitely triggered some thoughts of hours spent hiding from my mom while I was curled up with a good book. I always loved the Great Brain books, too. Right now, I’m reading the Borrowers series to my daughter…I didn’t read it as a kid and we’re loving it!

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