Children’s Book Recommendations from Readers

Neil StraussBooks

I read a lot when I was young. And now that I’m a father, I make it a priority to read with my three-year-old son Tenn every chance I get.

Since my book collection doesn’t exactly pique my son’s interest (yet), I asked you readers what books your children enjoy the most.

…and your response was overwhelming!

It’s inspiring to see that so many of you have fond memories of being read to as a kid, learning to read and enjoy books yourselves, and eventually reading to your own children.

So instead of letting your recommendation responses get buried in a sea of Insta-comments, I decided to post some of the highlights here on the blog.

(And let it be known that if I ask you for your recommendations for something, tell me WHY….and you might get featured on the blog too.)

But First…Try This:

1)   Take your children to the book store or the library.

2)   Get your children the books that you read and enjoyed when you were young.

3)   Tell them why you loved the books you picked out.

4)   Seriously, do this.  It’s a great way to connect with your kids.

Even if you don’t have children, perhaps the list of books below will help you connect with the kid you used to be.

Please bear in mind that the listed books below are not organized by recommended age, and I have yet to read all of them myself—so make sure to do your own vetting for what’s most appropriate for your children.

Passionate Reviews from Readers

The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr. Seuss:  Neil, the single most important book that I’ve ever read to my daughters is The Sneetches. It applies to absolutely everything we see in the media today. And life. Round and round the Sneetches go. Recommended by reader choktaw

Matilda by Roald Dahl. Instilled a healthy suspicion of authority. Recommended by reader Matt Tuckey.

The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:  A book on reminding you to never forget your inner child while you grow up. A book for kids and adults alike. Recommended by reader Hille Stellingwerf.

What Is A Thought? by Jack Pransky:  This book is perfect to explain to a young person the way we work as human beings and the role that thinking plays in our lives. Recommended by reader trillyzane.

Key to the Treasure by Peggy Parish:  I had it read to me when I was little and it was the first “big kid” book with chapters I read myself. I still have my cherished hardback copy. It’s the reason I love a good mystery. Recommended by reader primalmunki.

Andrew Henry’s Meadow by Doris Burn:  Bunch of kids run away from home and each builds themselves a ‘home’ in the woods. Recommended by reader cigarettesandgasoline 

The Twelve Dancing Princesses by The Brothers Grimm. When I was growing up, I read The Twelve Dancing Princesses over and over and over. It’s a story by The Brothers Grimm, so something horrible probably happens that I don’t recall.  Although, that probably would have been why I enjoyed it so much.  Recommended by reader ami.hendrix

Books by Astrid Lindgrin:  One of my favorite children’s book authors is Astrid Lindgren. She was Swedish, but most of her works are translated into English. All of her main characters are strong-willed and out of the ordinary. Recommended by reader jeanette75_hans.

Sam’s Sandwich by David Pelham: The book is shaped like a sandwich and Sam has put surprises in each layer for his sister. Also, The Sign Of The Seahorse by Graeme Base. Beautifully illustrated, rhythmic prose. Set in an underwater town where everyone lives in harmony until a gangster fish takes over. Deals with pollution and the little guy taking on the big guy and winning, in a fun way. Recommended by reader kazcubbins.

Finding Winnie: The True Story of the World’s Most Famous Bear by Lindsay Mattick: The true story of Winnie the Pooh. Heartwarming and true! Recommended by reader sgl608.

King Matt The First by Janusz Korczak:  Maybe when Tenn is older, King Matt the First.  A sad story. I read it when I was in 4th grade, cried and felt like it moved me. Since then I’ve begun reading deliberately. Great material for empathy. Recommended by reader Ruth Pelet.

Books with Great Lessons and Take Aways for Children—A list shared by a reader who is a kindergarten and first grade teacher:

Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall

Swimmy by Leo Lionni

Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Have You Filled a Bucket Today? by Carol McCloud

Enemy Pie by Derek Munson

City Dog Country Frog by Mo Willems

Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade by Justin Roberts

Zero by Kathryn Otoshi

Voices in the Park by Anthony Browne

The OK Book by Amy Krouse Rosenthal

My Many Colored Days by Dr. Seuss

If Everyone Did by Jo Ann Stover

Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett

Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry

Did I Ever Tell You How Lucky You Are? by Dr. Seuss

Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester

Most People by Michael Leannah

The Book of Mistakes by Corinna Luyken

Rulers of the Playground by Joseph Kuefler

Hello my Name is Octicorn by Kevin Diller and Justin Lowe

A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon

Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae

Children’s Short Picture-Book Recommendations from Readers

Life Doesn’t Frighten Me by Maya Angelou

Put Me In The Zoo by Robert Lopshire

Love You Forever by Robert Munsch

Knuffle Bunny by Mo Willems

Don’t Let The Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems

The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

The Stinky Cheeseman and Other Fairly Stupid Fairy Tales by Jon Sciezka

In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper

Hop on Pop by Dr. Seuss

Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister

Are You My Mother? by P.D Eastman

The Trumpet of the Swan by EB White

I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen

The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt

The Day the Crayons Came Home by Drew Daywalt

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

Frog & Toad Series by Arnold Lobel

The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig

Danny, Champion of the World by Roald Dahl

Real Cowboys by Kate Hoefler

Alligator Pie by Dennis Lee

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Harold and His Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson

Yertle the Turtle by Dr. Seuss

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff

The Tickle Monster by Josie Bisset

Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney

Something Good by Robert Munsch

Blueberry Girl by Neil Gaiman

Min-Yo and the Moon Dragon by Elizabeth Hillman

Children’s Chapter Book Recommendations from Readers

Charlotte’s Web by EB White

The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain

Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling

Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Jonathan Livingston Seagull by Richard Bach

Aesop’s Fables by Aesop

20,000 Leagues Under The Sea by Jules Verne