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50 Books every child should read

Mary Fetzer is a freelance writer and marketing consultant with a marketing degree from Penn State University and 15 years of international business experience. Mary specializes in writing about parenting, children, pregnancy, college, h...

Put these must-have books on your kid's reading list

We rounded up the best of the best in read-aloud, chapter and young adult books. Print out the list and challenge your family to read them all.
  1. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
    An all-time classic, the famed adventures of Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn are based on Twain's recollections of his boyhood life along the Mississippi River.
    Ages 13 and up
  2. Aesop's Fables by Aesop
    This collection of ancient stories is said to date back to around 600 B.C. The tales have been modified for nearly every age group, so look for one that's suitable for your little reader (or listener).
    All ages
  3. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
    If there's anyone who takes things literally, it's Amelia Bedelia. The beloved housekeeper has been charming readers for 40 years.
    Ages 4-8
  4. Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume
    This book gets tweens — their growing curiosity about the world around them and the confusing sense of self encountered along the way.
    Ages 11 and up
  5. Arnie, the Doughnut by Laurie Keller
    You may never eat a doughnut again if Arnie has anything to say about it.
    Ages 4-8
  6. The Berenstain Bears and the Messy Room by Stan Berenstain
    What child hasn't had the messy room tug-of-war with a parent?
    Ages 4-8
  7. Barnyard Dance! by Sandra Boynton
    The illustrations are as irresistible as the catchy rhyme, which you'll find yourself repeating again and again and again.
    Ages 1-2
  8. Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
    Horse fans of all ages root for the handsome horse who is forced to leave his happy home.
    Ages 10 and up
  9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
    Liesel Meminger is a foster child living in World War II Germany. She witnesses hate and loss but finds comfort in books.
    Ages 13 and up
  10. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne
    The innocence of children will move you as you follow Bruno's story. When he is moved to a desolate new place in 1942 Berlin, he befriends a boy whose life is very different.
    Ages 12-17
  11. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? My First Reader by Bill Martin Jr.
    Martin may have written this sing-song tale, but Eric Carle's illustrations are we all remember.
    Ages 0-3
  12. The Call of the Wild by Jack London
    During the Klondike Gold Rush, a dog named Buck is forced to shed his domesticated ways and rely on primordial instincts.
    Ages 12-14
  13. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
    Talking animals, a kind spider and a little girl's unconditional love make this a necessary read for every child.
    Ages 8-10
  14. Curious George by H. A. Rey
    There's not a kid in the world who wouldn't happily trade places with the "Man with the Yellow Hat" to hang out with his curious little monkey.
    Ages 4-8
  15. Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
    Kids totally get this funny, comic-style story (which is so much better than the movie).
    Ages 11 and up
  16. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
    Need a laugh? Borrow this book from your child.
    Ages 8-10
  17. The Flea's Sneeze by Lynn Downey
    When a flea lets out a surprising sneeze, everyone in the barnyard has something to say about it.
    Ages 3-6
  18. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
    What a simple way to describe what happens when we take too much from our precious environment.
    Ages 4-7
  19. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    Parents around the world lull their children to sleep with the lovely prose of this precious book.
    Ages 0-3
  20. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
    Two nut-brown hares declare their love for one another.
    Ages 0-3
  21. Gus Was a Friendly Ghost by Jane Thayer
    When his family leaves for the season, a lonely ghost meets a homeless mouse and an unlikely friendship begins.
    Ages 4-8
  22. Gypsy Girl's Best Shoes by Anne Rockwell
    A beautiful pair of shiny, red, patent leather shoes help gypsy girl make friends in a new city.
    Ages 4-8
  23. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
    The first of seven incredible books, HPATSS is recommended for readers 11 and up, but younger kids will happily sit still as you read aloud.
    All ages
  24. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
    To avoid a bath, Harry sneaks out of the house and gets so dirty that his family doesn't even recognize him.
    Ages 3-5
  25. Heidi by Johanna Spyri
    An orphan named Heidi is sent to live with her grandfather in the Swiss Alps, where she transforms the lives of Peter, his grandmother and the sickly Klara.
    Ages 10-12
  26. How the Grinch Stole Christmas! by Dr. Seuss
    It doesn't matter whether you first read the book or watch the TV special — they're exactly the same!
    Ages 5-8 
  27. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
    James finds love and acceptance in a giant peach filled with oversized friends.
    Ages 8-12 
  28. Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne
    None of the animals can help a mother kangaroo who hasn't any pocket, but a kindly construction worker from the city can.
    Ages 4-8 
  29. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis
    It may be more than 50 years old, but this fantasy adventure easily rivals the hot books of today. Ages 11 and up
  30. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper
    The little blue engine demonstrates persistence to get that train full of toys up over the hill.
    Ages 4-7
  31. Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik
    Illustrator Maurice Sendak helps tell the story of precious Little Bear who is rescued from childhood conundrums by dear, devoted Mother Bear.
    Ages 3-5 
  32. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Follow little Laura as she travels west with Pa, Ma, Mary, Carrie and Jack.
    Ages 8-12 
  33. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
    Fall in love with the March sisters — Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy — as they and Marmee pull together to survive in New England during the Civil War.
    Ages 10-17 
  34. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss
    The Once-ler helps children understand the impact of pollution on the environment.
    Ages 6-9 
  35. The Mitten by Jan Brett
    The ultimate story about sharing leaves every curious reader wondering how all of those animals fit inside that glove.
    Ages 4-7
  36. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
    Young readers are so impressed by the young heroine's bravery as she faces a frightening trip to the hospital.
    Ages 4-7
  37. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
    For 75 years, children have rooted for Mike and his trusty steam shovel Mary Anne. This book will never go out of style.
    Ages 5-8
  38. Miss Suzy by Miriam Young
    When mean red squirrels force Miss Suzy from her beloved oak tree home, she is very sad. Find out how a band of toy soldiers come to her rescue.
    Ages 4-8
  39. Old Black Witch! by Wende Devlin
    Nicky and his mother buy a run-down New England house to turn it into a quaint country tearoom. Little did they know that they also bought a grouchy old witch.
    Ages 5-8
  40. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
    Every child imagines what he would do if that mysterious tollbooth appeared in his or her bedroom.
    Ages 8-10
  41. Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
    This childhood favorite, first published in 1940, was one of the first touch-and-feel books of all time. Babies love the colors, flaps, textures and surprises.
    Ages 0-3
  42. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
    Tommy and Annika are fascinated by their new friend and neighbor. Pippi Longstocking has a pet monkey, no parents and a ton of adventure up her sleeve.
    Ages 8-12 
  43. Quiet, Loud by Leslie Patricelli
    A bald, diaper-clad baby leads us through hilarious examples of things that are quiet and things that are loud. The illustrations are to die for.
    Ages 1-3 
  44. Storm is Coming! by Heather Tekavec
    The farmer sends all of the animals to the barn to keep them safe from the storm... but "Who is Storm?"
    Ages 4-8 
  45. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
    Peter runs into big problems when he ignores his mama and sneaks into Mr. McGregor's garden.
    Ages 3-5 
  46. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
    Anyone who's ever wanted a little brother will change her mind after reading this fun favorite.
    Ages 8-10
  47. Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
    When a mother favors one son, Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo, over the other, Chang, it leads to big problems.
    Ages 4-8
  48. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
    The best pirate book of all time features the brave Jim Hawkins and the one-legged Long John Silver.
    Ages 9-12
  49. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    For more than 40 years, children have giggled their way through the munch, munch, munch of a very hungry caterpillar.
    Ages 0-3
  50. The Wednesday Witch by Ruth Chew
    A girl named Mary Jane. A witch named Hilda. A cat named Cinders. Add perfume called "Mischief" and you're in for a wild ride.
    Ages 8-12

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