These ten classic children’s books teach kids how to navigate the world around them, make friends, and trust in themselves and their loved ones. If you don’t have them on your bookshelf already, pick them up or borrow them from your local library!
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Illustrated by Clement Hurd
Goodnight Moon is a classic bedtime story about saying goodnight to many items, both in the great green room and the world beyond. The simplicity and repetitive structure of the book can help kids wind down before bed.
Oh, the Places You’ll Go by Dr. Seuss
Oh, the Places You’ll Go encourages young readers and parents alike to use their imaginations together. This story talks about the many paths your child will travel throughout their life, good and bad, and how perseverance and a sense of adventure will lead them where they need to be.
The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
The Snowy Day is about a boy named Peter who explores his city after a big snowfall. It was one of the first major children’s books to feature a main character who was a person of color. It was adapted into a lovely Netflix movie in 2016.
Corduroy by Don Freeman
Corduroy is a very sweet story of a teddy bear who leaves his section of the department store in search of both a button and someone to care for him. He has some adventures and meets some new friends before finding his forever home.
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, Illustrated by Ray Cruz
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day is a relatable story about a kid who just can’t catch a break at home, school, the dentist, the shoe store and more. At each turn, he threatens to escape it all by moving to Australia, but in the end, he learns that “some days are just like that, even in Australia.”
Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad are Friends is a slightly longer book about the power of friendship. Frog and Toad are best friends who just want to enjoy each other’s company. As the story unfolds, each friend illustrates kindness and thoughtfulness while they do good deeds for one another.
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Where the Wild Things Are tells the tale of Max, a boy who dresses up as a wolf, messes up his house, and is sent to bed without dinner. His room is transformed into a magical land where beasts crown him King of the Wild Things. After a while, he feels lonely and returns home to find dinner and his family waiting for him.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
The Very Hungry Caterpillar is about a caterpillar who eats his way through a variety of food before going into a cocoon and emerging a butterfly. It is a colorful short story that teaches a bit about the lifecycle of a butterfly.
The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
The Giving Tree is a short story of a boy and the tree that would give anything for him. The boy grows up, and wants more from life than a place to play, eat apples, and fall asleep. The tree offers all it can to please the boy, who becomes an adult and eventually, an old man. In the end, the old man simply wants a place to sit and rest, which the tree is happy to provide.
Scuffy the Tugboat and His Adventures down the River by Gertrude Crampton, Illustrated by Tibor Gergely
Scuffy the Tugboat is about a small tugboat who spends his days in the bathtub of a little boy, but longs for bigger things. One day, the boy takes him to a small brook, where he wanders off to a small river, and then a big river which leads to the open ocean. He enjoys the adventure then becomes scared and is happy when the boy and his father show up to bring him home.
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