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Books Kids Need and Love to Read

Updated on July 20, 2014

Books that Children love and that books that Instruct

Kids love to read! Especially when they are exposed to reading in the right way.

I love to read!

I wasn't born with that love of reading, but I swear it wasn't too far after birth that it developed. I was lucky enough to be read to daily by my older sister, mother, grandmother and other great humans.

I found out that books can be friends, and that they can be teachers, and that they shape who we are. And of course literacy is an amazing gift as far as getting employment and coping with life.

Below you will find twenty-five great kids books. They are loosely organized with the books for younger readers at the beginning of the lens, although a well written children's book can be enjoyed by people of all ages.

Kids should read books that instruct without preaching - and they will love books that touch their hearts and maybe make them giggle.

Creative Commons photo of children with precious books from a North Carolina bookmobile in the 1950's

How Do You Choose Just Twenty-Five Children's Books? - Very Carefully, and with Knowledge that it is Incomplete

Huge Stacks of Books in Austrian Library
Huge Stacks of Books in Austrian Library

Choosing twenty five children's books that kids will both love to read and need to read is of course an impossible task. You could fill many libraries with all the worthwhile children's books there are.

And of course this is a personal list. I do not read any language besides English, so there are many foreign language children's books that are lost to me. I am somewhat out of the loop as well, as my own children are adults now.

But I do love children's books, and try to show you at least some of the new quality books that are out there. And there are a lot of them. Ever heard about Ratburger?

For this lens I featured some of the books of authors that I have written about on Squidoo: Hans Christian Andersen, Dr. Seuss, and Lois Lenski.

I have included some of my own children's favorites like The Very Hungry Caterpillar

I chose books that made the List by the Library of Congress of 88 books written by Americans that have shaped Americans like To Kill a Mockingbird or Where the Wild Things Are


I have tried to cover some classics that children need to know because of their impact on history like A Christmas Carol and collections of stories that are embedded in our consciousness and literature like Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose and Arabian Nights

And I have just chosen some books because I want to. :) That is the great thing about reading: you have so much freedom to explore so many different places.

Believe me the hardest thing about writing this lens was reining in my enthusiasm!

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss - This book should be on every family bookshelf

Hop on Pop is Dr. Seuss's book for the youngest readers.

Hop on Pop  (I Can Read It All By Myself)
Hop on Pop (I Can Read It All By Myself)

We helped our first son learn how to read when he was four with Hop on Pop and he read it to his two year old brother. I think reading this book to a non-reader is better than an expensive phonics course because it is fun. I place a copy of Hop on Pop in every basket I make that goes for a family with a new baby.


Dr. Seuss Books worth Reading

I am a total Dr. Seuss fan! He is a poet, a political writer (veiled) at times and always a wise story teller.

Your Favorite Seuss (Classic Seuss)
Your Favorite Seuss (Classic Seuss)

Some of Dr. Seuss's best books: And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street, Horton Hears a Who!, McElligot's Pool, If I Ran the Zoo, Happy Birthday to You!, Dr. Seuss's Sleep Book, Yertle the Turtle, The Cat in the Hat, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, The Sneetches, and Oh, the Places You'll Go! along with memorabilia and Dr. Seuss history.


The Very Hungry Caterpillar - by Eric Carle

This is probably my all time favorite children's picture books: the beautiful story of a caterpillar as he progresses into a butterfly.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Giant hardcover edition (Callaway Classics Series of Timeless Tales from Around the W)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Giant hardcover edition (Callaway Classics Series of Timeless Tales from Around the W)

Eric Carle is a very gifted artist - and my own children loved this book. My youngest son Ben called the caterpillar a "cap-a-potter."


Mother Goose

Not only are Mother Goose rhymes fun, it is essential that kids are exposed to them as that are referenced often in literature.

Do you remember the Mother Goose rhymes your grandmother read to you? I do, and this book will help you make that kind of memory.

Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose
Favorite Nursery Rhymes from Mother Goose

This is a lovely collection of beautiful illustrated Mother Goose tales.


The Ugly Duckling - by Hans Christian Andersen

Hans Christian Andersen was one of the world's best and most prolific children's author, so much so that he has been designated as the "saint" of International Children's book day. No childhood should go treasures like The Little Match Girl or The Emperor has No Clothes. Andersen's work was poignant, well-written and movingly illustrated. He truly was a genius, and every child deserves to be exposed to him.

I have written extensively about Hans Christian Andersen in my lens: International Children's Day.

This treasure of a book, The Ugly Duckling (Caldecott Honor Book) is a story of hope and promise that every child needs to hear.

Lois Lenski was One of America's Best Children's Authors and Illustrators

American History and Culture through Story and Illustration

Lois Lenski is one of my favorite childhood authors and illustrators. She created almost 100 highly researched, memorable books for children - including my favorite Regional series. She won the Newbery Award with Strawberry Girl

Lois Lenski - Children's Illustrator, Children's Author
Lois Lenski was one of my favorite children's authors, and I think she certainly deserves to be better known. Although she was born at the turn of the centur...

Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski
One of my favorite children's novel was Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski This award winning children's novel featured the life of a little girl, her family and...

The Imagination Library is one of the Best Children's Charities that Helps Kids Get Books - Formed by Ms Dolly Parton

Dolly Parton finds an Ideal Way to Share her Love of Children: Providing Children's Books
Dolly Parton finds an Ideal Way to Share her Love of Children: Providing Children's Books

The Imagination Library is a wonderful program that actually puts books in the hands of kids who otherwise could not afford them. Dolly Parton started it because she was so deprived as a child.

The favorite book of the program is The Little Engine that Could.

Dolly Parton Explains Why You Should Read to Young Kids - You'll have them Saying "I Think I Can I Think I Can!"

The Little Engine That Could

Classic tale of a little steam engine that chugged as hard as it could up a big mountain to deliver toys to children saying all the time "I think I can, I think I can."

The Little Engine That Could
The Little Engine That Could

This is the classic tale of persistence and courage regardless of the odds - so inspirational for children.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Books One-Five

Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney have been phenomenally successful with kids. They started as installments on an online magazine - and have taken off as the author has sold millions with the book in print.

Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - Can Math and Grammar be Fun?

Absolutely - if we are talking about The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer.

The Phantom Tollbooth
The Phantom Tollbooth

This book is an amazing journey into imagination. It was presented to me when I made the mistake of telling a librarian "Math is not fun."


Great Roald Dahl Recommendations

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Puffin Modern Classics)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Puffin Modern Classics)

Doesn't a tour of a chocolate factory sound wonderful? Maybe - or maybe it is very scary in Roald Dahl's classic chocolate adventure.


What happens when a genius has idiot parents? This is Matilda's plight - and how she extricates herself from this predicament as well as her oppressive teacher makes an enchanting story.


Kids Love to Read!

When I did student teaching several years ago I found that children would chose a day of just reading over all kinds of other treats. And absolutely nothing could be better for their education.

Roald Dahl
Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl - Welsh Author that Delighted Children For Years

Roald Dahl was born of Norwegian parents in Wales, and he lived from 1916-1990. He had a wonderful, adventurous life - and that certainly came through in his books for kids.

He was known as a wonderful storyteller, and his stories such as James and the Giant Peach and Matilda still amuse kids.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens - In a Pop-Up Version!

This is an Unabridged version of A Christmas Carol- probably Dicken's most popularly known book. This book is Chuck Fischer's latest pop-up creation with paper engineer Bruce Foster - not just for kids but true art. The text is broken up into five pamphlets for easier reading - but not a word is left out.

A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Book
A Christmas Carol: A Pop-Up Book

I will admit that Dickens can be hard to read, but he is so important to Western literature that it is worth the effort. This format is ideal: beautiful, unique and leading itself to being read out loud over a few days by the family.


The Wizard of Oz - By Frank Baum

No desert island collection of children's books would be complete unless it included this classic.

The Annotated Wizard of Oz  (Centennial Edition)
The Annotated Wizard of Oz (Centennial Edition)

Most children and adults know the Wizard of Oz characters from the movie but the delightful characters of Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto - as well as the Tinman, the Cowardly Lion and the Brainy Scarecrow deserve to be discovered in their true source - this wonderful book by Frank Baum. This edition seems to be the most complete available - it has all the original illustrations as well as additional ones that were available in the notes.


I Love to Write about Books - and the Written Word - Other Reading Related Lenses I have Written

International Children's Book Day
Hans Christian Andersen was a hugely talented Danish writer who turned the world of children's books on its head with the publication of his more than 200 ch...

The Butter Battle Book by Dr. Seuss
Dr. Seuss' s Butter Battle Book is a book that Theodor Seuss Geisel - aka Dr. Seuss wrote as a pointed criticism of the Cold War hostilities between the Unit...

Lois Lenski - Children's Illustrator, Children's Author
Lois Lenski was one of my favorite children's authors, and I think she certainly deserves to be better known. Although she was born at the turn of the centur...

Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk
The Confessions of a Teenage Jesus Jerk by Tony DuShane is an initiation novel about a Jehovah's Witness kid from the San Francisco Bay area kid who came to ...

The Cat in the Hat Comes Back by Dr. Seuss
All Dr. Seuss books are my favorites! The Cat in the Hat is one of the most famous characters that Dr. Seuss created, and The Cat in the Hat Comes Back (Begi...

The tooth Book by Dr. Seuss
The The Tooth Book (Bright and Early Books for Beginning Beginners) is a fun book by Dr. Seuss that helps your kids as they deal with their teeth: thinking a...

Red Scarf Girl - by Ji-Li Jiang
Red Scarf Girl by Ji-Li Jiang was one of those books that I could not put down once I picked it up. Even though it is a young adult's memoir, I totally found...

Oh Say Can You Say by Dr. Seuss
In the wonderful book: Oh, Say Can You Say? Dr. Seuss adds sense to nonsense by challenging children and their parents alike to read some of the most challen...

Write A Great Postcard that Your Friends and Family Will Enjoy and Remember
I love to write postcards, and I think the people who receive them from me are happy to get them. Postcards prove it isn't as much the quantity that you writ...

Thank a Mailman Day! February 4
Thank A Mailman! They are underappreciated for fighting snow, dogs, rain and leg cramps just to bring us our mail. My daddy was a mailman, so I guess I am pr...

Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
In the book Horton Hears A Who! the question is a "person a person no matter how small?" is answered. Horton the elephant thinks so, and he present...

The Literacy Site
I love to read! There is no skill more valuable than learning to read for a person's life. When you learn to read you have a chance at improving your financi...

The 16% Solution: How to get High Interest Rates in a Low Interest World with Tax Lien Certificates
Tax Lien and tax deed investing is supposed to be profitable and safe. What can we do as an investor? Can we really get 16% interest in this world? The autho...

Scratch Beginnings by Adam Shepard
In the book, Scratch Beginnings: Me, $25, and the Search for the American Dream, by Adam Shepard the author sets out to answer that very question. Could he m...

Happy Birthday Dr Seuss
I love Dr. Seuss so I am happy to light a candle on his birthday cake.

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Please Sign My Guestbook! - Let me Know Your Feelings about Kids Books and this Lens

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    • profile image


      5 years ago

      Just had to walk through again to FB like and G+ this gem. My security word is megawow....Squidoo knows these thins somehow!

    • profile image


      5 years ago

      This is so much more than a book list....its a reading experience and even pop quizzes! I love how you encourage reading, its such an important key to the door of learning for children and you make it very inviting!

    • Mawkjump profile image


      6 years ago

      Children's books are an invaluable resource. Thanks for highlighting so many wonderful titles.

    • evelynsaenz1 profile image

      Evelyn Saenz 

      6 years ago from Royalton

      What a wonderful list of children's books. I have read all of them except the Red Scarf Girl. Many of these books I have read aloud to my children. They loved each and every one. :)

    • kburns421 lm profile image

      kburns421 lm 

      6 years ago

      I've read some of these books, but The Phantom Tollbooth will forever be one of my absolute favorites. I read it for the first time in the fourth grade, and I still love it even now at the age of 21. I think you managed to put together a pretty great list.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      I agree with this excellent list of books to read for kids.

    • Gypzeerose profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Jones 

      6 years ago

      @tfsherman lm: Thanks from someone who absolutely knows kids books.

    • tfsherman lm profile image

      tfsherman lm 

      6 years ago

      Lots of info here about all my favorite writes!

    • Gypzeerose profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Jones 

      6 years ago

      @free-sms: If you love to read and read TO them and with them - the question is more how do you keep them from reading. Also limit TV and video games big time. Plus kids always want you to read to them when you are sleeping..........

    • free-sms profile image


      6 years ago

      How do I get my kid to read ?!

    • DeepaVenkitesh LM profile image

      DeepaVenkitesh LM 

      6 years ago

      wow, thanks, I was searching for such a list and your DETAILED LENS is the right place to hang out with my son. keep writing dear, touchwood

    • workinghome profile image


      6 years ago

      I'm always looking for new ideas for my daughter. This helped, thanks!

    • sunny saib profile image

      sunny saib 

      6 years ago

      Everyone loves Dr. Seuss..!!

    • evannecarter profile image


      6 years ago

      Wonderful selection of books: Hope you can add The Wind In the Willows by Kenneth Grahame to your list.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great choices.

    • WriterJanis2 profile image


      6 years ago

      Really good reading choices.

    • SandyMertens profile image

      Sandy Mertens 

      6 years ago from Frozen Tundra

      Great selection of books.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Great piece. Supplying young people with books provides an escape from the many troubles of the modern world. I appreciate the efforts made to spread the joy that is reading and your thoughtful recommendations

    • Gypzeerose profile imageAUTHOR

      Rose Jones 

      6 years ago

      @sentanta lm: I am so glad to find someone who has actually read this book! I can't get my kids to read it - they don't know what they are missing. I am reading another book about China, about 3 generations of Chinese women. The mother - in the middle - was very much a Communist revolutionaries. I am amazed and saddened to learn of all the oppression and unnecessary poverty that has gone on in China all these years.

    • sentanta lm profile image

      sentanta lm 

      6 years ago

      I read Red Scarf Girl when I was in college for a course on Chinese history, and. I couldn't believe the life of a teenager during Cultural Revolution. Well worth a read even for us grown ups.

    • mrsclaus411 profile image


      6 years ago

      These are great selections.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Good books you have there!

    • Mark Shirbroun profile image

      Mark Shirbroun 

      6 years ago

      Great selections - most of these are awesome to revisit as an adult as well! Thanks for a wonderful lens.

    • Tonto Murray profile image

      Tonto Murray 

      6 years ago

      Outstanding lens. Blessings.

    • RetroMom profile image


      6 years ago

      What a great lens.

    • profile image


      6 years ago

      Beautiful work.

    • sudokunut profile image

      Mark Falco 

      6 years ago from Reno, Nevada

      A great selection although I have to admit I'd never heard of Lois Lenski before.

    • pacrapacma lm profile image

      pacrapacma lm 

      6 years ago

      Nice lens! I really enjoyed learning about the Imagination Library. I'm involved with United Way and hope to bring this program to our community. I'm off to research more about it now.

      Your book choices are great. Congrats on being included in the Summer Reading Monster Board, and thanks for visiting my teen reading list lens. Please come over and vote or add to the Plexos on my lens. I'd love your input.

    • OhMe profile image

      Nancy Tate Hellams 

      6 years ago from Pendleton, SC

      Congratulations on making the Best of Squidoo Summer Reading Monster Board.

    • merfzel profile image


      6 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks for this lens!! I'm a mother of 4 and a teacher, so I read like crazy to my kids. Great lens...


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