What Are Your Most Beloved Children’s Books?

10 Amazing Children's Books

Even though we have a bookcase full of children’s books, we end up reading the same rotation over and over. (Does that happen with you, too?) “I like to read before bed,” Toby told me this morning. “About three stories is a good amount so you don’t fall asleep. I also like to read when I’m mad and got in a fight with Anton because it calms me down. It feels good, it’s like ahhhhh.” So, this morning, I thought I’d round up our 12 current favorites…

The Z Was Zapped. “There’s no such thing as a T that was tied or V that was vanishing! That’s so funny. The Z gets zapped, but that would never happen.” — Anton

Jabari Jumps. “So, Jabari is scared to jump at first and then he does it. I like his goggles.” — Toby

Animals Should Definitely Not Wear Clothing. “This book is funny because the animals have to wear clothes and it doesn’t work.” — Toby

Spoon. “Spoon is sad because he thinks his friends are spectacular but he’s not really spectacular. His mom says, ‘But you can dive into a bowl of ice cream!'” — Anton

Alexander and Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. “Alexander gets gum in his hair, and that’s funny. It’s also frustrating. You could read this if you have a bad day and it will make you feel better.” — Toby

New Red Bike. “Tom gets a new red bike but Sam steals a ride. Tom gets mad, and Sam says, ‘Sorry, Tom.’ Then they take turns.” — Toby

The Wolf, The Duck & The Mouse. “The duck and the mouse live inside the wolf’s belly. They eat cheese and light candles. That is so silly.” — Anton

The Water Hole. “There’s no water and all the animals go away. And then the rain goes drip drip drip drip drip drip and there’s more water. And then animals come back. I’ve read this book since I was a baby.” — Anton

Along a Long Road. “My uncle gave me this when I was maybe two.” — Toby

Waiting. “I like this story because these characters are doing all what I want to do, like looking at the moon or flying a kite or waiting for someone special to come.” — Toby

Thank You, Octopus. “The octopus is always like, oops, sorry!” — Toby

Madeline. “We read this so much that now Mommy can say the whole thing without even looking at the words.” — Anton

We also mentioned a few other favorites here, but since they are still going strong, I thought I’d mention them again…

Tía Isa Wants a Car. “We read this one at the library so much that I got a copy for my birthday. Tía Isa saves up for a car. She gets either a Dodge Dart from the 1970s or a Ford Mustang Convertible from the 1960s, I’m not really sure.” — Toby

The Baby Tree. “The grandpa makes a funny mistake: He thinks babies come from storks. But you find out in the book where babies really come from.” — Toby

Harold’s Hungry Eyes. “Harold the dog is always hungry. The whole city looks like food. The bus is cheese, and the water tower looks like a mini muffin. The trash is a cookie!” — Anton

Thoughts? What children’s stories are you loving these days? There are so many beautiful ones!

P.S. Great children’s books with female characters and characters of color.

(Photo by Stella Blackmon for Cup of Jo.)

  1. Donna Bouma says...

    “Hit the Ball, Joe” is a book about little league baseball, with illustrations by myself. It was written by my grandson Tanner Hoops, when he was 11, for other 11 year olds! Tanner grew up to be an ESPN sportscaster.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      That’s so cool!

  2. Rashae Taylor says...

    I love “Everybody Poops.” Such a great book to start before potty training. For sure “The Napping House.”
    Love some of your favorites too!

  3. Melissa says...

    Does anyone read Judith Kerr in the US? My kids loved The Tiger Who Came to Tea. They also enjoyed Shirley Hughes-( Alfie, Dogger); anything by Jan Brett; Peter Horacik (A New House for Mouse, Puffin); Maurice Sendak, and Also, Frog and Toad: so simple but my 6-year old son still wants it read to him.
    I adore Walter Steig: Amos & Boris is such a sweet story my kids loved. I like his books because they are simply not painfully boring to read for an adult. They use excellent vocabulary and stories have a meaning.
    I think it’s important to not dumb down children’s fiction. Not that it has to always be serious, but I think there is a lot of smart fiction 40+ years back for kids that they still love today!

    • Lesley says...

      Yes! I loved Judith Kerr’s Mog the Forgetful Cat when I was a kid and read it over and over.

  4. No doubt it’s already mentioned, but Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is our current family favourite. We love the one page story format & the beautiful illustrations (along with the inspirational stories). It’s become a nightly tradition for our whole family to settle down & read 3 or 4 pages before the girls go to bed.

  5. Jessika says...

    I really appreciate posts like this with children’s books recommendations… I am always looking for good books for my 5 year old daughter! We love going to the library together, but sometimes it’s a task trying to weed through the giant selection! Thank you and I hope you keep these posts coming :)

  6. “After the Fall” is an amazing new book for kids of all ages. Great lesson, lots of inferencing going on, and engaging pictures/dialogue. Highly recommend!

  7. Jessie says...

    My daughters use to love The Day the Crayons Quit, Frog and Todd, and Amelia Bedelia. They also Love Penguin and Pinecone. My oldest now loves The Warrior Cat books and The Neverland Girls. While my middle loves ready the Candy Fairy’s. They did both like Bunnicula and The Witches. Both I loved as a kid.

  8. Alex says...

    Du Iz Tak is on constant repeat at our house right now, written in imagined bug language. And the Fitzgerald Trout books are wonderful read-aloud chapter books. I think your boys would love them!

  9. kiree says...

    When God Made You is easily our favorite. My husband read it and with tears in his eyes said “I think *I* need to read that to myself every morning!”

  10. Caitlin says...

    Mr. Plumbean and the Big Orange Splotch, Blueberries for Sal, Crictor the Boa Constictor

  11. A Long Piece of String by William Wondriska is hands-down my favourite and most beautiful of beloved children’s books.

  12. Cora says...

    Harry the Dirty Dog was a big one in our house. We also loved The Day Louis got Eaten (or anything by John Fardell) and Violet the Pilot by Steve Breen. My girls are older now (6 and 9) so we read chapter books at bedtime. I thought my 9 year old would want to read independently but she said likes reading together, which is good because I do too. We have read all of the Ramona series and I cried when it ended. We are now on the last book of the Penderwick series, but thankfully there’s a new one coming out in May!

    • Cora says...

      I forgot to add, the book Like a Hundred Drums made my kids love rainstorms. It’s a beautifully lyrical book.

  13. Sonia says...

    The Day the Crayons Quit is a funny and creatively written story! My girls absolutely love it. We take turns reading each color’s letter in different accents and we end up laughing hysterically. I think this is one your little guys would really enjoy :)

  14. Jen Brummitt says...

    I LOVE kids books, I think for me it is the best part of being a parent (other than the kids themselves!). My son is 4 1/2 and my daughter is almost 2 so pretty different reading stages for the most part. Like others my son is really into Julia Donaldson these days, the rhyming is so fun, but my favourite book of hers is The Paper Dolls (which doesn’t rhyme at all). It’s a beautiful story about loss (though just of paper dolls) and how you can carry your love forward.

    Along a similar line, I love a book called Sonya’s chickens which deals with death through the loss of a chicken. Also good in the sense that it features a mixed race family but that has nothing to do with the story.

    Cynthia Rylant is another favourite around here. She has a few series but our favourite is the Henry and Mudge series, about a boy, his big drooly dog, and his mom and dad. I fell in love with the first one I read, Sparkle Days, when the whole family was wishing on a shooting star and his dad wished for world peace and his mom wished for her favourite basketball team to win. When do you ever hear about a woman being a sports fan?! Subversive in the best way. Mostly just stories about a beautiful everyday family.

    I’ve also been reading my son the Little House series and we have read 4 of the 8 books now. It’s not that much fun now as the family has fallen on hard times but the first book, Little House in the Big Woods was so good, and the last chapter so beautiful I cried. Good for parent and child!

    I am writing from Vancouver so I also have to say anything illustrated by our local Julie Morstad is incredibly beautiful, and many of the stories she has illustrated are fantastic as well (This is Sadie, When You Were Small series).

    Obviously I could go on but will stop myself! Thanks so much to everyone for all the wonderful new suggestions. There are so many amazing books out there! Lucky kids!

  15. Amy says...

    Old favorite: King Bidgood’s in the Bathtub, new favorite: The Lion and the Bird. Maria Popova over at Brainpickings does a fabulous “best of” annual list for new children’s books each year!

  16. Katherine says...

    The Big Orange Splot by Daniel Pinkwater. It was a favorite of mine growing up and I also used it many, many times in my classroom. It’s about a man named Mr. Plumbean who lives in a house on a “neat street” and everyone’s house is the same, but then one night a seagull drops a can of orange paint on his roof and it makes a big orange splot. The neighbors want him to fix the spot immediately but instead Mr. Plumbean keeps the spot and it turns into creative inspiration for redecorating the rest of his house. At first this upsets the neighbors but eventually they all come to see that they are unique individuals and their homes begin to reflect that.

  17. Erika says...

    We recently read Jumbari Jumps for the first time and I still feel a twinkle in my eye on the part when his dad equates facing fear to a surprise. So beautiful! Love this book!

    p.s. Toby, my son loves his googles too. And I love hearing his commentary anew each time we read it.

  18. Leah says...

    The book with no pictures by B.J Novak.
    My daughter found it at a bookstore, started reading, and the whole store heard her laughing till she was done. We’ve been reading it over and over again, 3 years later.
    And it really has no pictures!

  19. Whitney says...

    We just got the book Escargot by Dashka Slater and it’s our family’s favorite already! It’s about a sweet, self confident French snail and his quest to be your (the reader’s) favorite animal.

  20. jen says...

    The Great Quillow. All time fave about a shoemaker and a giant.

  21. Amanda says...

    For the past year, my almost 2 year old and I have loved “All the World” by Liz Garton Scanlon and Marla Frazee. This is one of the few books I do not get tired of reading and my son now asks for it by name. The words have a lovely rhythm which makes it pleasant to read and also nice for bedtime. The story is very sweet — the last two pages end with “hope and peace and love and trust, all the world is all of us.” And, the pictures are beautiful. Last night, I didn’t even read the words we just talked about everything happening in all of the pictures and my son loved it. The pictures are very detailed and I think he likes that he sees something new in them every time we look at the book.

    Thanks to everyone for all of your suggestions!

  22. Jackie says...

    I”ll always have a special place in my heart for The Giving Tree. Simply written but with such a strong, important message between the lines. I’m already looking for translated versions to give to my friends’ children when they’re old enough.

  23. Wow! I’m so happy to see that Toby is still loving Thank You, Octopus! You just put a great big smile on my face. I’ve got a newbie coming out this summer. It’s one spoonful of Where’s Waldo and a half-cup of Busy Town and a pinch of Alphabet. It’s called Letter Town. Sneaky peek here:

    Heart, dF

  24. Leah says...

    I love how Toby sounds 51% kid and 49% old wizened soul. *heart swells*

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      awww, that is so sweet, leah :)

  25. Charity says...

    Popular with my 2 year old right now: The Wonderful Things You Will Be and Red is Best.
    She also loves looking at the photos of the author and illustrator for Red Is Best, and insists we read their bios to her, which I find so weird and hilarious.
    Also, she loves the Eric Carle Brown Bear, Brown Bear books, but changes the animals to be different family members, so Brown Bear is actually Daddy Bear, who sees a Mommy Bird, who sees a Grandma Duck, etc.

  26. MillieSue says...

    Each Peach, Pear Plum by Allan Ahlberg is such a clever book and the rhyme and surprise on each page makes this such a fun book.
    Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathman is perfect in that it can be read to kids who speak all different languages, and they can all follow along and match the key to each animals cage.
    Finally, The Going To Bed Book by Sandra Boynton was the classic in our house. The rhyme, the animals, and the silliness of it all, charmed both is as parents, and also our son when he was around a year old.

    • Cora says...

      These were all favorites in our house two when my girls were little.

  27. Kayla says...

    My almost 3 year old is super into Julia Donaldson right now. We started with room on the broom and then read the gruffalo (and the gruffalo’s child). The way she writes and rhymes is so fun to read!

    Also, he is pretty in to creepy carrots and creepy pair of underwear (by Aaron Reynolds). He is often easily scared but these don’t bother him and he thinks they are just hilarious.

    And then we all love mo willems — the pigeon finds a hot dog and should i share my ice cream? are probably his two favorites at the moment. I’m also a teacher and his books entertain everyone – my kindergarteners love them and sometimes the 4th/5th graders will still request to hear one read aloud.

  28. Keri says...

    No One Likes a Fart – Zoe Foster Blake – hilarious

  29. Thank you for your article, it’s extremely useful, I’m French and I raise my children (20 months and 4 months old) in the US. It’s important for me to read to them in both languages. We have lots of French books but not enough English ones.
    In France, sound books are really popular. They are very helpful to engage babies at the earliest age. Interaction and music maintained my daughter’s attention from cover to cover since she’s only few months old (ok, there are only 6 pages :)). In US I recommend

  30. Erin says...

    In addition to books already mentioned, these have been a favorite of all my kids:

    Not your typical dragon
    Castle full of cats
    Chica chica boom boom
    Raindrop plop
    If it’s snowy and you know it, clap your paws
    Color Kittens
    I Just Forgot, and Just Go To Bed
    Hi, Koo
    Little Blue Truck
    The girl who loved wild horses, and The great race
    Superhero ABC, by bob mcleod
    I lost my tooth in Africa
    Apple to Oregon
    Wide Mouth Frog

    • Erin says...

      Green eggs and ham, Are you my mother
      Jan Brett’s Beauty and the Beast, Fritz and the Beautiful Horses

  31. Alice says...

    Adore these posts, love the perspectives of your boys! I have a 2 year old and a 4 year old and I write kids books and plays for a living, so have a fairly hefty collection, and they always go back to the same ones too!

    The Rain Train by Elena De Roo is an amazing journey of a night time read
    The Iggy Peck, Rosie Revere, and Ada Twist books
    Stick Man
    Kicking a Ball by Allan Ahlberg
    Beatrix Potter, we read the little ones I had when I was little
    Wolfie and the Bunny by Ame Dyckman (a bunny family adopt a wolf, so cute and very funny)
    Daddy Long Legs by Nadine Brun-Cosme
    All the World by Liz Garton Scanlon
    Captain Crankie and Seadog Steve by Vivian French
    Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox
    And the Shirley Hughes Alfie books, dearly loved ones from when I was little.

    I’ve just bought The Faraway Tree to read with my 4 year old, and both my boys loved Helen Oxenbury’s wordless board books when they were babies. I’m off to order a bazillion new children’s books based on my trawl through the comments now!

  32. michele messer says...

    Children’s books are my favorite.
    The Three Questions

  33. Kate says...

    When I was little my parents read me “Chrysanthemum” all the time and I still practically have it memorized.

  34. Sarah says...

    I love books and love hearing about new books, especially for my kids. We are so lucky to live in a time when all this extraordinary literature is available. But isn’t it funny the pressure that being a parent brings? When I read a post like this I immediately feel guilty that I haven’t been reading my daughter who loves Legos books about women in STEM or I read my 18 mos old the same three Sandra Boynton books every night. But then I remember that reading anything is wonderful. Spending time with my children and any book is great and teaching them the joy of reading is more important that making sure that I have the best books.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      oh of course!!! whatever books your child responds to and you enjoy reading together are just perfect. :)

  35. varina says...

    Love You Forever (Robert Munsch) is the only book my 20 month old will pick off the shelf and actually listen to from cover to cover. Well, besides “Wheels on the Bus” (Paul Zelinsky, the pop-up version)…but I just. can’t. do. it. anymore.

  36. Meghan says...

    The boys’ comments were so amazing! I find it fascinating to peek into their decision-making process. Maybe it’s because it’s in print, but everything seems so matter of fact. I envy their conviction!

    This reminded me of something my Writing teacher in Grade 12 did. When his sons were young, he recorded (on audiotape – it was a loooong time ago) himself reading a Curious George book to them. The cool thing about the tape was that it captured all the little guys’ comments as dad was reading (“Oh no George! Don’t go in there! You’re not supposed to!” “Dada, George isn’t listening to the rules!” “George be careful!”). It was possibly the single cutest thing ever.

  37. Joey says...

    Ada Twist, Scientist; Rosie Revere Engineer; Iggy Peck, Architect all by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts are amazing and inspiring – great stories about STEM and failure and trying your best.

    • Alice says...

      I wholeheartedly recommend these books as well. Great stories, well written, beautifully illustrated, with interesting and modern characters.

    • Agreed. They share wonderful messages and they’re beautifully illustrated and written. And my 2 and 4 year olds love them!!

    • Kristen says...

      I love these books too! And I find that they’re easier to read out loud than a lot of the other rhyming books we have. The words really flow…similar to The Cat and Hat or Little Blue Truck, I can repeat huge chunks from memory.

    • Jenny says...

      Agree!! They are so fun. And you can point out Ada in Iggy’s second grade class with your kid too :) I love how the parents in these books are painted in a positive light too.

  38. Lindsay says...

    Santa brought my 5 yo daughter two books for Christmas: Malala’s Magic Pencil, and Of Thee I Sing. We have been reading them nightly (I simply cannot say no to a request for “the Barack Obama book”). The first night I read Malala’s book, I cried through most of it. Now, every night when I am able to read it and keep my composure, my daughter says “great job mommmy, you didn’t cry!”. Both are wonderful reads for children who are developing their awareness of social issues.

  39. Martha says...

    We are loving anything illustrated by Chris Riddell, his style is magical! I’m reading the Ottoline chapter books to my daughter, who is only 5, but they are short chapters with lots of beautiful illustrations and she loves them. We also love his children’s book, Emperor of Absurdia, which is an absurd dream sequence. He illustrated a beautiful version of Gulliver’s Travels that my husband read to our 8 year old and 5 year old over many nights.

  40. Erin says...

    Dragons Love Tacos is a good one.

    I have three boys, and I find it difficult to find books that interest them that aren’t science books, or super hero or star wars books, which are usually just awful. Too many children’s books are really written for adults…too message-y. I love them, and I got away with reading them when the boys were younger, but I can’t get away with it now. The boys need more action and excitement.

    • Sonia says...

      Maybe they would enjoy the Roal Dahl books? Danny, champion of the world has plenty of action and excitement!

    • Meg says...

      There’s a movement/book series spearheaded by author Jon Scieszka called Guys Read…currently under construction but it lists the anthologies in the series. I’ve tried some of these with the boys I know.

    • Jennifer says...

      My sons loved the timeless Boxcar Children series- adventure, mystery, and sibling love. They have very stereotypical gender roles, however, so occasionally I switched a few things around and had Henry do some cooking too. Poor Jessie! Always making some kind of stew!

  41. e says...

    Pug Meets Pig is one of our all time favorites!

  42. Sarah says...

    I love the boys’ reviews of these books, but which of them are favorites of yours, too? I would love for there to be more overlap in the Venn diagrams of respective favorites. Unfortunately the Thomas the Tank Engine It’s Great to Be an Engine Sing-a-long book is not at the top of my list, and neither is We Found a Hat at the top of his.

  43. The Big PickSure Book! It’s about a radical rodent named Bojo Bandango who discovers we’re all connected by what we choose to use.

  44. Sydney Ramirez says...

    I absolutely love the chapter book “Mandy” by Julie Edwards (yes, the actress from the Sound of Music).

    • Courtney says...

      YES! I never see this book recommended in lists like these, but I practically had this book permanently checked out at the library as a child!

  45. Sydney Ramirez says...

    Several years ago when my mom was still alive, she bought several copies of “Ferdinand” from old libraries and used bookstores for our children because she could not find any new copies. It is a wonderful classic about accepting personalities the way they are meant to be.

  46. Sammy says...

    I skimmed this list and didn’t see:
    Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel!
    I loved these books when I was a kid and there is a storybook collection with all of the stories. My son will listen to all the stories from cover to cover.

    • Rebecca says...

      My son has stomach flu and we just finished reading the whole collection. They are the best! I just feel so calm and happy reading those stories :)

    • Allison says...

      Have you tried the Mouse and Mole series? They are similar and just as lovely.

  47. These books sound amazing! I’ll save this post so that next time I’m gifting a little one, I can choose one of these books. Thanks for posting!

  48. Laura says...

    It is so sweet and interesting to read which bits Toby and Anton remembered and took away from the books ! Such earnest reviews.

    I love Tiny Tree Books, an independent UK publisher. Their books have gorgeous illustrations, and lovely stories with important themes about self-image and confidence (Portia the Pear), friendship (Binx the Jinx) and manners (Robots Don’t say Please).

    As someone said earlier, hooray for supporting publishers, authors and illustrators !

  49. Selina says...

    Also Enid Blyton even though she’s under some scrutiny for her outdated notions and speech

  50. Stephanie says...

    I love the boys’ commentary! At our house we love “Sky Color” and “The Dot” , both written by Peter Reynolds, and featuring a strong female main character.

  51. emma says...

    The paper bag princess was one of my childhood heroes.
    Otherwise, I really love Magic Beach by Alison Lester (and all her other books), and having reread Ferdinand since the movie came out – it’s so simple and beautiful.

  52. Marianne says...

    Anything by Astrid Lindgren for amazing strong portraits of children (Pippi Longstocking and The Brothers Lionheart are my favourites). And Mac Barnett for absurd and funny stories like Battle Bunny and Billy Twitters and his Blue Whale Problem.

  53. Mrs Pepperpot, Pippi Longstocking, Winnie the Witch, The Practical Princess and other liberating fairytales, the Moomins and authors such as Allison Uttley and Shirley Hughes. Too many to name really

  54. Stephanie McCleery says...

    My husband’s first book, Bob and Joss Get Lost! is really fun – two boys on an adventure. His new book Bob and Joss Take a Hike! comes out tomorrow. Both Harper Collins. I’d be happy to send a copies for Toby & Anton. (I’m a friend of Paul & Lucy’s.)

  55. Tanya P says...

    We love Jabari Jumps too!

    Here are our others:

    Charlotte’s Web
    Little House in the Big Woods
    To Market, To Market (by Nikki McClure)
    The Snowy Day
    Peace is an Offering
    Winter Candle

  56. vanessa says...

    We love books by Charlotte Zolotow, especially The Quarreling Book and Mr. Rabbit and the Lovely Present.

  57. Julia says...

    My 16-month old daughter loves Dogs by Emily Gravett. A must-have board book for all dog lovers! I also really love The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, though it’s a bit too wordy for my daughter still. It’s such a clever story and makes me laugh.

  58. Erin says...

    The one I know by heart is “Chicken Soup with Rice.” We’ve read it eighty bajillion times and I never get sick of it. My younger son makes us sing “Happy Birthday” to the snowman on the February page, sometimes more than once.

    My kids are beginning to be old enough to listen to chapter books being read aloud, and I’m enjoying reading to them so much. We just finished “Bed-knob and Broomstick” by Mary Norton, which was great.

  59. Reading to children is one of the greatest joys of this life. We are currently in love with:
    Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls…amazing!
    The Paperbag Princess by Robert Munsch
    Princess Smartypants by Babette Cole
    Strong, powerful stories that profile incredible women! Yes to that!

  60. Rachel says...

    My Mom used to read my siblings and I lots of books growing up but “Tell Me Something Happy Before I Go to Sleep” by Joyce Dunbar is the one I will never forget. She had the best voices for the characters and it make me feel safe and loved as I fell asleep. Happy thoughts before sleeping always helps calm down the worries even when we’re little I think!

  61. We love Jabari Jumps too, thanks for including a book featuring a black boy! Other good ones are Ron’s Big Mission and pretty much anything either written or illustrated by Kadir Nelson. My son’s favorite’s are here:

  62. There’s this old folktale from Japan that i read back when i was a kid, it’s called the Picture Wife. It imparted life lessons on simplicity, greed and owning people.

    I loved it so much that when I got older, i asked my Dad (a playwright) to adapt it as a children’s play and I directed it in our college theatre guild.

  63. Kelly says...

    Some newer favorites around here:
    Alfie (the turtle that disappeared) by Thyra Heder (this is my personal favorite to read)
    Soup Day by Melissa Iwai
    Stick and Stone by Beth Ferry
    Extra Yarn by Mac Barnett
    The Dot by Peter H. Reynolds

  64. Emily says...

    Please Bring Balloons and Ue Meets Egg, both by Lindsay Ward

    The Night Gardener by by Eric and Terry Fan

  65. Barbara Champ says...

    What a lovely group of books!

  66. Toby and Anton’s reviews are the sweetest things ever! I don’t have kids but remember loving Blueberries for Sal, Madeline, Corduroy, anything illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman, and an illustrated book about beavers building dams (?!).

  67. Aimee says...

    Omg- Toby and Anton’s summaries are super adorable! You can tell they love books and read a lot! Our current book with my 9 year old is the Madeline L’engle Wrinkle In Time series. We’re on the first one and that book made such an impression on me when I read it at her age. We’re reading it together and then we’re going to see the new movie! It’s so cool that she’s old enough that we’re enjoying the same books now!

  68. Hayley says...

    I love this post! I have so many favorites — I collect books, especially vintage ones! Here are a few though:

    -The Wonderful Things You Will Be and The Littlest Family’s Big Day, both by Emily Winfield Martin
    -Little You by Richard Van Camp
    -The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
    -The Horse That Liked Sandwiches by Vivian Laubach Thompson
    -Under and Over the Pond by Kate Messner
    -The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton
    -Socks for Supper by Jack Kent
    -How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green
    -Be Nice to Spiders by Margaret Bloy Graham

  69. Lorraine says...

    “Little Pampu Meets a Unicorn” and “Little Pampu Goes to Rome” are great books. She’s a Chocolate Bunnie that dreams of fabulous adventures. Her family of Chocolate Bunnies help them come true and she always has a protector with her to keep her safe. She teaches children to not be afraid to dream and that they can make their dreams come true with help. The Amazon link is below.

  70. Karen says...

    We love books illustrated by Christian Robinson – Gaston, The Smallest Girl in the Smallest Grade, Last Stop on Market Street. We love the stories and also the diversity represented in the pages.

    • Amy says...

      There’s a new one out with Christian Robinson illustrations called School’s First Day of School. We loved it!

  71. mindi says...

    This is my job (librarian!) so these are my “right now” favorites:

    Glow – WH Beck (nonfiction about bioluminescence; told in a storybook format but with actual pictures of animals making their own light and captions with more information for older kids)

    Ballet Cat and the Totally Secret Secret – Bob Shea

    The William Hoy Story: How a Deaf Baseball Player Changed the Game – Nancy Churnin

    Trombone Shorty – Troy Andrews

    Leave Me Alone! – Vera Brosgol

    Wolfie the Bunny – Ame Dykman

  72. Catherine says...

    ‘Millie’s Marvellous Hat’ (Satoshi Kitamura) and Frederick (Leo Leonni). Two very good stories about the imagination, very poetic and so well written.

    • we love those too!!! And all of Oliver Jeffers books :)

  73. Becky O. says...

    These are my kids’ favorites:

    1. Beautiful Oops by Barney Saltzberg
    2. The Secret Science Project That Almost Ate the School by Judy Sierra
    3. An Awesome Book! by Dallas Clayton

  74. My 2 year old daughter’s favorite book series is Hairy Maclary and Friends, written by New Zealand author Dame Lynley Dodd.

    The protagonist, Hairy Maclary, is a wonderfully scruffy, mischievous dog with a motley crew of colorful friends.

    Dodd doesn’t shy away from sophisticated language, and uses cumulative rhyme, rhythm and humor to build the pace throughout the story, all the way to a crescendo at the end.

    We’d highly recommend them!

    I written a little more about the stories here, if you’d to see:

    • Clara B says...

      Our 2 year old LOVES Hairy McLary too. And we love them because we lived in NZ for a little while before kids came along and the illustrations look so familiar (the houses, the plants, the landscape)!

    • Jenny says...

      Our 20-month old loves the ‘sister’ series by Lynley Dodd about cats – Slinky Malinky ! They’re super cute, with charming rhymes.

  75. Kile says...

    I also know Madeline by heart and it’s been wondefully convenient (and tender) to be able to tell a familiar story wherever, whenever. I’ve recited Madeline in dark hotel rooms trying to get everyone to sleep, on long car trips when everyone is past their patience, in waiting rooms, and doctors offices. I’ve even recited it to myself when I’m reeling with worry and can’t fall asleep. That book is the best kind of lullaby and I always feel safer and calmer at the end. “Good night, little girls. Thank the lord you are well. Now go to sleep said Miss Clavel.”

  76. Ann M Hanson says...

    I am a preschool teacher and I have a few golden oldies to recommend:
    Brave Irene
    Blueberries for Sal

  77. Owl Moon is a beautifully illustrated book. I still vividly remember reading it with my Mom and older brother, probably 25 years ago :)

  78. I love your posts on Children’s books (and the comments) – always so nice to get some new recommendations!

    I have just discovered the Ivy&Bean collection: my nearly-6 year old is really enjoying these as an early reader chapter book. Brilliantly written and a strong female lead – surprisingly hard to come by.

    I also wrote about some of our favourite lesser-known picture books here:

    And some first (and loved) chapter books here:

  79. melissa says...

    My daughter’s favorite book was Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. She had the book memorized and would catch us if we mixed up words.

    • Susie says...

      Me too! Such an amazing book. I still remember my dad reading it to me.
      ( I’ll be 50 in June)

  80. I’m a third grade teacher, not yet a parent, but these are crowd pleasers with my people: Mr. Putney’s Quacking Dog, Balloons Over Broadway, Martina the Beautiful Cockroach, and anything by Chris Van Allsburg — especially The Garden Of Abdul Gasazi, The Misadventures Of Sweetie Pie, The Wreck of the Zephyr, and The Sweetest Fig.

  81. Glenda says...

    Our 3.5 yo son got Jabari Jumps for Christmas and he loves it. He likes how excited dad and Jabari’s sister look when he is up there getting ready to jump. He seems to have gained some confidence in the pool from reading it, our pool mantra is “I like surprises.”
    Thanks again for the recommendation

  82. Scout says...

    My favorite books as a youngling were: Madeline, Caps for Sale, Roxaboxen and the Angelina Ballerina books. I just had my first baby and these books are pristine, on a shelf and ready to go for her when she gets a little older!

    • Jenny says...


  83. Claire S. says...

    I have two categories of kids books: ones that are better for the kiddo to look at, and ones that are more word-heavy and better for bedtime. Press Here & Mix it Up by Herve Tullet are GREAT when you’re not trying to get a child to sleep. Also, The Book With No Pictures makes my 4 year old crack UP so hard every time.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      “word-heavy and better for bedtime” = GENIUS, claire!

    • Reem says...

      I agree on the Herve Tullet books! I always get them for gifts, and they are a huge hit!

    • Jenna says...

      I got my nephew ‘The Book With No Pictures’ for his 7yo birthday because I knew it would make him laugh, and his laugh is one of my favorite sounds. I’ve been told repeatedly it’s a hit and 8 months later my brother posted a picture of him reading it together with his friend. His 2yo brother likes it, too.

    • Lisa says...

      My son is in 2nd grade and since they started kindergarten his class has asked every adult or high school student who comes in to read them a story to read The Book with No Pictures. It’s definitely a favorite. (We have it at home and he reads it to me now.) He also really likes The Day the Crayons Quit and The Day the Crayons Came Home.

  84. Dee says...

    The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
    Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson
    Slinki Malinki by Lynley Dodd
    The Aminal by Lorna Balian
    The Dragon and the Nibblesome Knight
    The Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
    Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty
    Mrs. Biddlebox by Linda Smith
    Birdie’s Big Girl Shoes by Sujean Rim
    Office Buckle and Gloria

    • Fiona says...

      The Library Lion is one of my favourites, and my kids love me reading it, mostly because I CANNOT make it through without crying!
      Traction Man – Mini Grey
      Cars and Trucks and Things that Go – Richard Scarry
      The Lion in the Meadow – Margaret Mahy
      Hairy Mcleary – Lynley Dodd
      Those Darn Squirrels – Adam Rubin
      The Mitten – Jan Brett
      The day the Crayons quit – Drew Daywalt

    • Susie says...

      Thanks for mentioning Julia Donaldson! I also love her story, The Snail And The Whale.

    • Sarah says...

      Oh Library Lion is great! We haven’t pulled that out in awhile. We’ll read it tomorrow!

  85. Allie says...

    We have so many books, thanks to my mom, a former kindergarten teacher who held on to my beloved childhood books and gifts my kids with nearly a book each month!

    Here are our current faves:
    The Circus Ship (Animals! A community coming together! A happy ending!)
    Julia, Child (a recent purchase that encourages/fosters culinary adventures)
    The Book with No Pictures (hilarious!)
    In the Night Kitchen (again, can you tell I like to cook and bake?)
    Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls (Inspirational)

    And can this also be a chance to tell you which books I really try not to bring home from the library? EVERY. SINGLE. THIN. DISNEY. BOOK. I love me some Disney films but…these books, particularly the sequels (like Tinkerbell Pirate Fairy: Adventures at Skull Rock??)… I just have a hard time finding their redeeming qualities. I liken them to US Weekly for adults :)

    Thanks for all of your recs!

    • Deb says...

      Hi Allie. Children’s librarian here. While you might think those thin Disney books have no value, they are a springboard for reluctant readers. Once they find that they can finish a book like that, their confidence soars and they become more open to better literature. It’s really magical to see it unfold.
      Also, my In the Night Kitchen story. It is the most damaged and replaced book in our childrens section. Parents would use whiteout and stickers to cover the naked little boy. Repeatedly.

    • Meg says...

      Thank you for your librarian wisdom, Deb! <3 <3

  86. Kelly says...

    My (tween) daughter and I fell in love with Sharon Creech and her book ‘Granny Torrelli Makes Soup! Granny Torelli helps heal a rift between Rosie and her best friend Bailey by relating stories from her childhood. This book touches on young love, jealousy, disability and single parenting. So sweet and touching. I love Sharon Creech’s books and how they address difficult family issues with sensitivity.

  87. Lindsay says...

    Pat the bunny
    The adventures of jeanne-marie
    Flannel kisses
    This is San Francisco
    The alphabet room
    Peter rabbit
    Twelve dancing princess’s
    Goodnight moon
    And many more!! I collect them

  88. Lulu says...

    Harold and the Purple Crayon is one of the bests. The modern illustrations and the fact that a lonely little kid (because children can feel terribly lonely sometimes) not only imagines a world of adventures for himself, but creates it as well.

    • Rach says...

      We love Harold and the Purple Crayon! My boys almost know the book by heart

    • Sarah says...

      Another great one that we haven’t pulled off the shelf in awhile. We need to go through our bookcase!

  89. Rebecca says...

    These posts are the best! I love reading your suggestions, CupofJo, along with the slew of recommendations from readers. I always recommend the books written and illustrated by my childhood next door neighbor and dear friend, Claire Nivola. She is a bit of an undiscovered talent. Her artwork is stunning and the stories touch on a wide range of topics. Our favorites from her are:

    -Life in the Ocean: The Story of Oceanographer Sylvia Earle
    -Orani: My Father’s Village (about traveling to her father’s village in Sardinia as a young girl)
    -Elizabeth (the story of the author’s mother who flees Nazi Germany as a young girl)
    -Star Child
    -The Friday Nights of Nana (Not written but illustrated by Claire; This is one of my all-time favorite books, which recounts the special bond between grandmother and granddaughter as they prepare together for Friday night Sabbath)

  90. Milou says...

    I don’t have children, but bedtime with my Dad is a treasured memory. My Mom stayed home with us and my Dad worked long hours, so the time with him was something I always looked forward to. He read to me every night until I was like 12 and he had an eclectic system: whatever he picked up from the bookshelves was open season. This meant I had everything from Maurice Sendak to Herman Hesse to Tin Tin to an issue of Popular Mechanics. But it always ended up being hilarious!
    For those of you who are parents, never underestimate how important that time is.

  91. Rachel Fletcher says...

    Anything by Shirley Hughes. “Dogger” is a favorite. It has my most beloved sentence in all of children’s books… “Then Bella did something very kind.” It’s like this sweet and simple and totally necessary moment of kindness that shows that we can choose – at any age – to have a positive impact on those around us. Her illustrations are the best and she’s British, so if you can get the original versions, some of the vocab is spot on! Amazon link:

    • Fran says...

      Dogger!! One of my favorites as a child and I was so excited to read with my kids. Such a sweet story.