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10 Best Classic Books Children Must Read

Updated on September 1, 2013

Children have vivid imagination when they are young. Every single small narration they hear is seen in their mind’s eye in bright colors and such clarity that they tend to remember every detail even when they become adults. They read books and visualize each sentence as if the entire book is being unfolded before their very eyes. When they read the same books as adults, they realize the experience is not as thrilling nor the imagination so fertile. That is why it is important to read at that young, impressionable age when characters, plots and the morals of a story leave a deep impact on the mind. Some books which should be read by children leaving school, when they have all the time to dream, are given below.

Water Babies by Charles Kingsley – This book tells a very moving story of a young chimney sweep who has a cruel master. One day while cleaning a chimney he falls into the room of a pretty young girl and for the first time sees himself in a mirror. He realizes he is dirty and has not used water ever to clean himself. Seeing him the girl screams and he runs away, more in shock at his appearance, and falls into a stream with the intention of cleaning himself. Here his adventures begin when he is transported into a very new world filled with fairy creatures and dragons. A fairy Queen presides over the well-being of all creatures in the water and he learns to swim, be nice to the animals, develops good manners and is persuaded to meet his former employer (whom he hates) and help him.The narrative is simple yet packed with adjectives and descriptions that will entice children.It is a great book which teaches good morals.

The Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott – Children love cousins! Cousins are friends in the form of relatives, which makes the bond unique. This story is about a young orphan girl who goes to live with her Aunts and their seven boys. Initially shy and very scared of the boisterous boys, Rose slowly befriends her cousins and the little adventures they have together forms the rest of the story. Her relationship with her Uncle Alec and the Clan (as her cousins call themselves) is very endearing.Rose in Bloom is a sequel to Eight Cousins and a truly enjoyable book.These two books make a perfect read.

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain – Every child must read this book. Children of the present generation do not have the kind of fun Tom has in this book since they play more structured games or are stuck to the TV / computer. They will enjoy reading about the tricks Tom performs to outwit his Aunt and the kind of games he and his friends play. Tom is a very naughty boy and his Aunt Polly has a hard time disciplining him. He loves Becky and eventually wins her friendship.He meets Huckleberry Finn and along with Becky , the three join to solve a very exciting mystery together.

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott– Little Women tells an absorbing story of a family struggling with several problems. The father is away at war and the mother is managing to run her life with help from her very mature and responsible daughters. Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy are the four daughters of Mr. and Mrs. March. These girls are going through a financial crisis, but bear it bravely with their mother. They read well, entertain themselves by practicing plays, sew, knit and help people in the neighbourhood. They live next door to a rich family of only a grandfather and his grandson – Laurie. The girls get very friendly with the boy who helps them with all their problems – taking on the role of a brother. He falls in love with Jo, but when she does not profess an interest in him as a lover, he later marries Amy. The sacrifices the children make, their love for each other, their unity and good behaviour will inspire children reading this book.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M.Montgomery– A heart warming tale of a young red-headed orphan named Anne(spelt with an "e") who is adopted by an old couple. Anne comes to live with Marilla and Mathew who to their chagrin, discover that they have got a girl instead of a boy they had requested from the orphanage. The way the old lady and Anne bond, the lessons in etiquette and behaviour Marilla teaches Anne, a few lessons she herself learns from the spirited, straight forward youngster, Anne’s budding romance with the village heart-throb, Gilbert, are narrated very beautifully. Every young girl who has read this book will definitely re-read it again.That is how attached you can become to the characters ! There are many levels to this story and we see Anne going to the University , marrying the love of her life , having children, in subsequent books written by the same author.

Little Lord Fauntleroy by Frances Hodgson Burnett– A couple marry against the wishes of the man’s father. They later get a baby boy who they name Cedric.The man passes away but before dying tells the young child to take care of his mother. The child comes to know he has a grandfather who is a rich Earl and goes to live with him and win him over. The book tells a captivating story of an angry grandfather who ends up loving the grandson and forgiving his parents.This is one childrens book that must not be missed.

Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder - "The Long Winter" and "These Happy Golden Years" - are some of Laura Ingalls Wilder's best books among her set of "Little House" series.These books tell the stories of her life and the time she spent as a farmers daughter."The Long Winter" narrates the story of how the Ingalls along with the people in the village suffer a blizzard and severe food shortage.The moving story of the farmer's family and their hardships makes it one of her best books.In "These Happy Golden Years" , Laura is now 15 years old and takes up a job as a teacher.She meets Almanzo Wilder and the story progresses over three years at the end of which he proposes.This is one very sweet novel which will touch a cord in the heart of everyone who reads it.

Lorna Doone by Richard Doddridge Blackmore – Lorna Doone is a very beautiful love story between a girl who belongs to the Doones(an outlawed clan) and a young boy thirsting for revenge against them. They soon find out that Lorna is not a Doone , but belongs to a rich family and was kindnapped by the Doones when she was a child. John and Lorna are separated due to many problems and finally when they meet she is now rich but still loves him. Eventually they get married. It is an action packed book replete with romance , thrills and exciting characters.

Kon-Tiki – written by Thor Heyerdahl this is a true account of his adventure across the Pacific Ocean on a raft named “Kon-tiki”(meaning “Sun God”) made of just nine balsa logs – the lightest wood in the world. He went on an expedition to prove that it was possible with the technology present in those days, for people to have traveled from South America to Polynesia. On the way , the crew encounter a lot of hardships and come across interesting sights. Children can learn a lot from this true story.

Captains Courageous by Rudyard Kipling – Narrates the story of a spoiled, young millionaire Harvey Cheyne Jr who is washed ashore when he falls from his luxury liner. He joins the crew on a fishing boat and in order to survive with them , he has to come down his high horse and do menial jobs.Soon he learns the meaning of hard work and understands all classes of people.It is an amazing book for children replete with adventure and fun.


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    • aniruvee profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Cairns , Australia

      Thank you so much for reading and commenting on my first hub.It is really encouraging.I read all these books when in school along with Nancy Drews , Hardy Boys , Agathas etc- but I hardly remember any one of them-except maybe Agatha's books. These , I do!

    • FloraBreenRobison profile image


      6 years ago

      Welcome to hubpages. I've been reading all my life. I'm not familiar with Water Babies at all. Some of your list I read before I became a teenager. But I focused mostly on Nancy Drew when I was a child.


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