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Classic children’s books you should read to your child

Must-read classic children's books to share with your kids

happy toddler boy reading a picture book
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Most parents make reading books a part of the nightly bedtime ritual. They’re fun and help kids settle down for bed. Reading to kids is also essential for cognitive and language development. It helps kids expand their vocabulary, and of course, it’s a special time parents and children can share together.

Perhaps you have a special book from your childhood you can’t wait to share with your little ones or stories you read in school. The great thing about reading to kids is it doesn’t have to end once they hit kindergarten. Older kids enjoy being read to as well and there is a wealth of classic children’s books to share together. We have an amazing list of classic books from picture to chapter that never go out of style and are a wonderful read every time you open the cover.

Classic children’s books

baby reading
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Do you have a favorite children’s book? Maybe it was anything by Dr. Seuss or Eric Carle. Reading to children is essential and the abundance of children’s classics makes it easy to find great kids’ books to read. It’s never too early to start reading to kids, and there isn’t a set age to stop. When your kids reach the early elementary years, you can start sharing chapter books together, reading a couple of chapters each night, depending on the length. Here is a list of classic children’s books that have stood the test of time.

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

This fun read by Bill Martin Jr. is always a hit with kids. The rhyming book is a wonderful way to introduce kids to the alphabet.

Goodnight Moon

A perfect bedtime read by Margaret Wise Brown, Goodnight Moon, has been helping kids drift off to sleep for ages.

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See

Parents probably remember this classic from Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle. Its repetitive style is a must-read from babies on up.

Make Way for Ducklings

If you visit Boston, you can actually see statues of these little ducklings in the Public Garden. The book by Robert McCloskey is beloved by children and adults everywhere.

Caps for Sale

A hysterical anytime read, kids and parents will get a laugh out of this Esphyr Slobodkina tale of a cap salesman who can’t get his wares back from a group of monkeys.

More classic children’s books for younger readers

A mother and daughter reading together
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Be sure to add these to the list of must-read kids’ books. Remember, having books at home is wonderful because you can revisit them anytime. Don’t forget to take advantage of your local library’s children’s sections and free story time programs.

Classic children’s books for older readers

Kids reading outside on a summer day
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Just because kids reach a certain age doesn’t mean they don’t enjoy being read to. Those bonding and educational benefits don’t end at a certain age. So, keep reading to your kids for as long as possible. When kids hit the later elementary years, start reading these classic chapter books that are timeless.

Beverly Cleary Books

As one of America’s most popular and endearing children’s book authors, the list of must-reads by Beverly Cleary is lengthy. These chapters books from Beezus and Ramona and The Mouse and the Motorcycle to Dear Mr. Hensaw and Henry Huggins, are funny, sweet, and wonderful to read with your children. There is a reason why Cleary’s books continue to be sold around the globe.

Harriet the Spy

For more than 50 years, Louise Fitzhugh’s book has delighted kids. Harriet’s notebook and what happens when it gets into the hands of her friends is a life lesson children can relate to, even in today’s digital world.

Charlotte’s Web

EB White’s classic barnyard tale of enduring friendship is one for the ages. It’s a fabulous book to share with your kiddos.

Anne of Green Gables

A family trip to Prince Edward Island may be in the works after reading L.M. Montgomery’s classic to your child. There is a series of books on Anne you can share together. There is also a Netflix series Anne with an E that is recommended for ages 12 and up that you can watch together as well.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

This is the first book in JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series. When it first came out, it ignited the reading bug in countless tweens, teens, and adults. It’s the perfect read-aloud book, especially if you’re great with accents to share every night with tweens.

More classic children’s books for older readers

Five kids reading books on a park bench
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There really is a huge list of classics for tweens and teens. The school year can get super busy. So, earmark summer for sharing classics together. If you’re searching for more timeless titles, try these.

It can be hard to entice kids to read books in today’s digital age. Social media, video games, and streaming services are very attractive, which makes getting kids to read even more important. Reading to your kids from as early as infancy helps them develop vital cognitive and language skills while helping to grow a lifelong love of reading. All the classic children’s books on this list have stood the test of time for a reason. They are wonderful reads, and sharing them with your kids makes special memories that last a lifetime.

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Dawn Miller
Dawn Miller began her professional life as an elementary school teacher before returning to her first love, writing. In…
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