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Great Children's Books That I Would Read Again Today

Updated on August 23, 2017

Books I Read Then and Still Love Now

Books are important for all children. They stimulate the imagination, calm the body, teach the brain and provide hours of enjoyment.

Evening story time can be very important for children and rewarding for parents--and so can reading aloud. These are a few of my favorite childhood books that I still think of fondly today. Many are classics, award winners and perennial favorites. However, other may be lesser known. Many of these books were introduced to me by Waldorf school teachers who read to their students extensively in early elementary school, and I hope you like them too. Remember that Waldorf schools don't really approve of TV, so school-age kids spend a lot of time reading books and searching through card catalogs!

These are just a few of my favorites because there are surely too many to name! This reading list for school-age kids includes my favorite books, authors and series.

* Illustration provided by Wikimedia Commons user Mysid through a public domain / CC0 license.

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The Three Billy Goats Gruff - A Classic Read Alound Book for Beginners

The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Other Read-Aloud Stories
The Three Billy Goats Gruff and Other Read-Aloud Stories
This classic book includes the Three Billy Goats Gruff, the Three bears and several other traditional children’s stories. It’s designed specifically to be read aloud, so there aren’t many illustrations and all drawings are in black in white. This is the first book I actually read aloud to my dad, and I have to say it was a great moment for both of us. I wasn’t a very good reader, and it actually made my dad cry with joy when I read this story aloud. I still remember the goat’s clip, clop, clip clop on the bridge as the horrid troll with those eye as big as saucers thinks the largest goat is going to be his snack.

Grimm Fairy Tales - The Ultimate Fairy Tale Compilation

The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm All-New Third Edition
The Complete Fairy Tales of the Brothers Grimm All-New Third Edition
The Brothers Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm, are undoubtedly the most successful fairy tale authors. Their fantastical stories written in the 1700 and 1800s still stand among the greatest ever created. Hansel and Gretel, the Goose that Laid the Golden Egg and many, many others are household names around the world. This complete compilation includes 250 of the original Grimm Fairy Tales as well as two dozen formerly unpublished stories and lost letters.

Norwegian Fairy Tales - Stories Gathered from the Salty Seas of Sacadinavia

Norwegian Folk Tales (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
Norwegian Folk Tales (The Pantheon Fairy Tale and Folklore Library)
Trolls, ogres, witches and fantastical creatures abound in these traditional Fairy Tales gathered from Norway. This book is adapted directly from classic Norwegian fairy tales, so there’s nothing more authentic. Learn how the sea became salty, and discover countless Grimm-style fairy tales told from a Norwegian perspective. This one is ideal for story time.

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths - A Beautifully Illustrated Tale of Classic Greek Myths

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths
D'Aulaires' has put together an exceptional collection of all the Greek myths with the addition of fantastic illustrations that will capture the imagination of any youngster. Reading this book is a great preparation for the classic parables and archetypal characters of Greek mythology, and it’s aimed at a very young audience. We covered a lot of this book in fifth grade and the stories continue to serve me well. The drawings of the Argus, the 100-eyed monster, Perseus fighting Medusa and the evil Gorgons are a few of the books exceptional illustrations that I remember to this day. This book is publish by Delacorte Books for Young Reader and is recommended for adults and children in third grade and up.

Little House on the Prairie and Laura Ingalls Wilder - A Historcal Education

My classmates and I were introduced to the Little House on the Prairie in fourth grade when the beloved reading teacher Mrs. Turk shared it with us. (She also make the best, best, best ever browns for everyone after class plays). Anyway, this book is a true step back and a historical education into the cross of the frontier and life for the real Americans.

Ma talks about Injuns while holding a gun and Pa wears a bear skin coat. I guarantee you'll love each book in the series.

Start with The Little House in the Big Woods and then read The Little House on Plum Creek, which was built into a mountain and covered with sod! Next read the Little House on the Prairie next and finish up with Farmer Boy, a male version of early farm life based on childhood Laura Ingalls Wilder's husband Almanzo Wilder.

These books are an education for children and adults alike. This series is a true testament to a writer who didn't get an English major from a fancy college or study to become who she was.

Ideal for kids ages 6 and up.

The Little House (9 Volumes Set)
The Little House (9 Volumes Set)
Get all nine books in this spectacular, best-selling series, which is sure to remain a classic!

Astrid Lindgrin's Pippi Longstocking - Stripes, Socks, Freckles and Funcky Pigtails. It can only be Pippi!

With her wonky pigtails and colorful striped socks, Pippi Longstocking is one of the most iconic, lovable and beloved characters in children's literature. Follow her marvelous adventures, which are infused with a lively childish vigor. Girls will love this book, and boys will love Pippi! Once I started reading these, I couldn't stop. There are plenty of books starring Pippi Longstocking, but be sure to start with the eponymous edition!

These books were created to entertain the author's own daughter. It doesn't get sweeter than that!

Here are a few of my favorite Pippi books:

"Pippi Longstocking"

"The Adventures of Pippi Longstocking"

"Pippi in the South Seas"

"Pippi Goes On Board"

Mrs. Piggle -Wiggle

I was in 5th grade when one of the beloved teachers who was semi-retired introduced the class to this wildly funny lady and her numerous calamities involding energetic children. It was right at the same time that we were reading Pippi.

You simply must start with "Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" (1947). I also recommend "Mrs. Piggle Wiggle's Farm" although there are five other books in this series about the funny lady who lives in an upside-down house.

Paper or Digital? - You Decide!

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Swallows and Amazons

This series penned by Arthur Ransome had me addicted! I remember going to the library when computerized card catalogs first came out. I searched his name so many times as a read my way through this Swallows and Amazons series. Ransome is an acclaimed children's book writer whose included on many lists of the greatest writers and many analyses the cover way these writers were so special.

Anyway, the Swallow and Amazons series is ideal for the early teen and pre-teen age group. It follows two groups of kids of sail boats on a lake that's presumably near their summer homes. It's also about the kids and their crazy piratical adventures. Kanchenjunga and their fairly ordinary surroundings become exotic ports like Horseshoe Cove.

The stories are imaginative and endearing. For awhile, I would zigzag across my grandparent's driveway on my bike pretending that I was tacking a sailboat across the lake. I also had a crush on John, the eldest of the Swallows. There are 12 books to enamor you and your children, but you must start with the first "Swallows and Amazons" (1930). It's hard to imagine that these books were written so long ago, because they aren't dated or stodgy at all.


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