The List – Children’s Literature We Love!

booksLast month, I asked you – the Simple Kids community – to share some of your unsung favorites of children’s literature.  The overwhelming response resulted in a list of more than one hundred literature recommendations for children from birth through upper elementary.  What an amazing resource!  But not as useful – or simple – as it had the potential to be while still in the format of a comments section.

I asked for volunteers to help sort through and organize the book recommendations and several of you offered your help right away.  Life picked up its pace and before I knew it, weeks had gone by without me having time to organize the volunteers.  You can only imagine my utter shock and surprise when someone in our community emailed to let me know she had taken up the task of organizing that list all on her own!

Emily of The Pilot’s Wife is an absolutely wonderful, sweet, funny, and helpful woman I met at the Tulsa Mom’s Night Out for Oklahoma Women Bloggers.  As a former elementary school teacher, she is well-practiced in the work of organizing learning material – even when that material lives in a virtual context.  In just a matter of a few days, she had broken that massive list of recommendations into three age groups and then alphabetized within by author’s last name.  What follows is the result of her magnanimous gesture for this community.

After you review this outstanding resource, please take a moment to offer a word of gratitude to Emily for her hard work on this project!  (And if your recommendation inadvertently got left off of this list, please do let me know!)

Books for Babies & Toddlers

Aigner, Julie.  Mimi’s Toes
Barton, Byron.  My Car
Bauer, Marion Dane. Toes, Ears & Nose! A Lift the Flap Book
Benjamen, A.H.  Baa! Moo! What Will We Do?
Boynton, Sandra.  Belly Button Book
Boynton, Sandra.  Snuggle Puppy
Cyrus, Kurt.  Slow Train to Oxmox
Fox, Mem.  It’s Time for Bed
Freedman, Claire.  Snuggle Up, Sleepy Ones
Joel, Billy.  Goodnight My Angel
Katz, Karen.  Ten Tiny Tickles
Kent, Jack.  Socks for Supper
Lindgren, Barbro.  Sam’s Potty
Maccarone, Grace.  Bless Me: A Child’s Goodnight Prayer
Maccourt, Lisa.  I Love You Stinky Face
McCue, Dick.  Bunny’s Numbers
Perkins, Al. Hand, Hand, Fingers, Thumb
Rathmann, Peggy.  Goodnight Gorilla
Shustak, Bernadette Rossetti.  I Love You Through and Through
Tankard, Jeremy.  Grumpy Bird
Waddell, Martin.  Owl Babies
Whybrow, Ian.  Say Hello to the Animals

Books for Preschool thru Elementary-Aged Children

Adler, David A.  Cam Jansen series
Ahlberg, Allan and Janet.  Each Peach Pear Plum
Alborough, Jez.  Fix-it Duck
Allard, Harry.  Miss Nelson is Missing
Anderson, C.W. Billy and Blaze Series
Asch, Frank.  Happy Birthday Moon
Aylesworth, Jim.  The Full Belly Bowl
Barklem, Jill.  The Brambly Hedge books
Barrett, Judi and Ron.  Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
Bemelmans, Ludwig.  Madeline
Beskow, Elsa.  The Children of the Forest
Beskow, Elsa.  Aunt Green, Aunt Brown, and Aunt Lavender
Beskow, Elsa.  Woody, Hazel, and Little Pip
Bland, Nick.  The Very Cranky Bear
Bond, Michael.  Paddington
Bradfield, Jolly Roger.  Pickle-Chiffon Pie
Brett, Jan.  Annie and the Wild Animals
Brett, Jan.  The Mitten
Broach, Elise.  Wet Dog
Brown, Margaret Wise.  Big Red Barn
Bunting, Eve.  Riding the Tiger
Burton, Virginia Lee.  Katy and the Big Snow
Burton, Virginia Lee.  The Little House
Burton, Virginia Lee.  Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Cannon, Janell.  Stellaluna
Carle, Eric.  The Very Busy Spider
Cosgrove, Stephen.  Leo the Lop
Crews, Donald.  Freight Trane
Cronin, Doreen.  Click, Clack, Moo, Cows That Type
Curtis, Carolyn.  I Took the Moon for a Walk
Cusimano, Maryann. You Are My I Love You
Degen, Bruce.  Jamberry
Demi.  The Empty Pot
dePaola, Tomie.  Nana Upstairs & Nana Downstairs
deVarennes, Monique.  The Sugar Child
Devlin, Harry.  Cranberry Thanksgiving
Dewdney, Anna.  Llama llama Mad at Mama
Eastman, P.D. Are You My Mother?
Flack, Marjorie.  Angus and the Cat
Fox, Mem.  Harriet You’ll Drive Me Wild
Freedman, Clair.  Aliens Love Underpants
Gilman, Pheobe.  The Balloon Tree
Gilman, Pheobe.  Something From Nothing
Godden, Rumer.  The Story of Holly and Ivy
Gollub, Mathew.  The Jazz Fly
Guarino, Deborah.  Is Your Mama a Llama?
Gurney, Nancy.  The King, the Mice, and the Cheese
Hargreaves, Roger.  Little Miss Bossy
Hefter, Richard.  Sweet Pickle Series
Henkes, Kevin.  Sheila Rae, the Brave
Hennessy, B.G.  The Boy Who Cried Wolf
Hest, Amy.  Kiss Goodnight
Hoban, Rusell.  Bedtime for Frances
Hoberman, Mary Ann.  The Seven Silly Eaters
Hoberman, Mary Ann.  Mary Had a Little Lamb
Hobbie, Hollie.  Toot & Puddle
Hutchins, Pat.  Ten Red Apples
Isaacs, Anne.  Swamp Angel
Jeffers, Oliver.  The Incredible Book Eating Boy
Jeffers, Susan.  The Three Jovial Huntsmen
Johnson, Crockett.  Harold and the Purple Crayon
Johnson, Paul Brett.  On Top of Spaghetti
Kahl, Virginia.  The Duchess Bakes a Cake
Klein, Abby.  Ready, Freddy! Series
Kleven, Elisa.  The Paper Princess
Kuskin, Karla.  James and the Rain
Krause, Robert.  Leo the Late Bloomer
Lamarche, Jim.  The Raft
Lasky, Kathryn.  Humphrey, Albert, and the Flying Machine
Lawler, Janet.  If Kisses Were Colors
Lear, Edward.  The Owl and the Pussy Cat
Lester, Helen.  Tacky the Penguin
Lillegard, Dee.  The Big Bug Ball
Lindvall, Ella K.  Read Aloud Bible Stories
Lithgow, John.  The Remarkable Farkle McBride
Lobel, Arnold.  The Frog and Toad Collection
Long, Melinda and Shannon, David.  How I Became a Pirate
Loyd-Jones, Sally.  The Jesus Storybook Bible
Lucado, Max.  You Are Special
Lucado, Max.  You Are Mine
Marshall, James. George and Martha books
Martin, Bill Jr.  A Beasty Story
Martin, Bill Jr.  Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
Martin, Bill Jr. Chicka Chicka 1 2 3
McBratney, Sam. The Dark at the Top of the Stairs
McCloskey, Robert.  Blueberries for Sal
McMullan, Kate and Jim.  I’m Dirty
McMullan, Kate and Jim.  I Stink
Milne, A.A. Winnie the Pooh and the Pebble Hunt
Morgan, Stacy.  The Cuddlers
Munsch, Robert.  Andrew’s Loose Tooth
Munsch, Robert.  Mmmm… Cookies
Muth, Jon J.  Zen Shorts
Napoli, Donna Jo.  Albert
Numeroff, Laura.  If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Oakley, Graham.  The Church Mice Chronicles
Osborne, Mary Pope. The Magic Tree House Series
Palatini, Margie.  Stinky, Smelly Feet: A Love Story
Park, Barbara.  Junie B. Jones books
Pfister, Marcus.  The Rainbow Fish
Pfister, Marcus.  The Happy Hedgehog
Polacco, Patricia.  Thunder Cake
Portis, Antoinette. Not a Box
Portis, Antoinette.  Not a Stick
Potter, Beatrix.  The Tale of Samuel Whiskers
Relf, Adam.  Fox Makes Friends
Rey, H.A. Curious George
Reynolds, Peter.  Ish
Reynolds, Peter. The Dot
Risom, Ole.  I Am a Bunny
Rohmann, Eric.  My Friend Rabbit
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.  Cookies: Bite Sized Life Lessons
Rosenthal, Amy Krouse.  Little Pea
Rylant, Cynthia.  Tulip See America
Scarry, Richard.  A Day at the Airport
Schachner, Judy.  Skippyjon Jones
Seuss, Dr.  Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Schwartz, Amy.  A Teeny Tiny Baby
Sierra, Judy.  Wild About Books
Silverstein, Shel.  The Giving Tree
Smath, Jerry.  But No Elephants
Smith, Maggie.  Counting Our Way to Maine
Seuss, Dr.  Dr. Seuss’s ABC
Tudor, Tasha.  A Time to Keep: The Tasha Tudor Book of Holidays
Tunnell, Michael O.  Halloween Pie
Tunnell, Michael O.  Mailing May
Van Allsburg, Chris.  The Wretched Stone
Viorst, Judith.  Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
Von Olfers, Sibylle.  Mother Earth and Her Children
Weeks, Sarah.  If I Were a Lion
Wiesner, David.  Sector 7
Wiesner, David.  Tuesday
Willems, Mo.  Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Willems, Mo.  Naked Mole Rat Gets Dressed
Williams, Vera B.  A Chair for My Mother
Wood, Audrey.  The Napping House
Wood, Audrey.  Quick as a Cricket
Wood, Don.  The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear
Yashima, Taro.  Umbrella
Yolen, Jane.  The Flying Witch
Yolen, Jane.  Owl Moon
Zion, Gene.  Harry the Dirty Dog

Books for Upper Elementary Children and Beyond

Birney, Betty.  The Seven Wonders of Sassafras Springs
Blyton, Enid.  Adventure’s of the Wishing Chair
Blyton, Enid.  The Magic Faraway Tree
Brooks, Walter.  Freddy the Detective
Cleary, Beverly.  Ramona Quimby, Age 8
Dahl, Roald.  James and the Giant Peach
DiCamillo, Kate.  The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane
Edwards, Julie Andrews.  The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles
Gannett, Ruth Stiles.  My Father’s Dragon
Jansson, Tove.  Moomintrolls books
Lindgren, Astrid.  The Children of Noisy Village
Lindgren, Astrid.  Happy Times in Noisy Village
Peck, Richard.  A Long Way From Chicago
Wells, Rosemary.  A Voyage to Bunny Planet
White, E.B. Stuart Little

Is there another book you would like to see added to the list? Leave a comment and I will get it added!

photo by kennymatic

Online Knitting Class
Delightful kids' crafts delivered to your door!  See sample crates>>


  1. What a great list. We’ve read some of these. Can’t wait to look into some new stories.

    Rana’s last blog post..Update on the Moving Out.

  2. Dee Lillegard says:

    Please note an error in your pre-school-elementary list: My book is The Big Bug Ball – you left out the word Bug.

    Dee Lillegard

  3. What a wonderful list. And almost every title is brand new to me. Can’t wait to fill up Evie’s shelves. Thanks Megan and Emily!

  4. What great teamwork! I see a lot of our classic favorites and many new titles to explore… Thank you for putting this great resource together 🙂

  5. Wow! What an wonderful resource, and thank you so much for making it user friendly.

    I know it is late in the game but my 22 month old daughter LOVES these two new to us books so much that I want to share them with you all.

    The Very Cranky Bear – Nick Bland – wonderful flowing rhyme tells the story of 4 little jungle friends stuck in the rain who wake up a very cranky bear when they find his cave. My daughter loves any book that has a giant roar in it, and this one is great!

    If I were a Lion – Sarah Weeks – this is a little girl who is “Sitting in my time out chair because my mother put me there. She said “You try my patience child, I do not like it when your wild”. WILD? Who ME?…. ” The little girl proceeds to imagine wild animals running rampant in the house.

  6. We’re big readers here, so thanks for this list. I have some of my own to add, so I’ll shoot you an email when I get a chance.

    Aimee’s last blog post..WFD? Lemon & Oregano Roast Chicken with New Potatoes and Asparagus

  7. I’m BLUSHING Megan. I was glad to do it. Mostly it was a lot of copy and paste, copy and paste! 🙂

    Emily’s last blog post..10 on the 10th: Accidents

  8. Oh, also something to note. These books are in their categories based on average reading comprehension level, which can be quite different from listening comprehension level.

    Many of these books could easily be read aloud to older or younger children. Just to clarify my reasoning. 🙂

    • @Emily, great point. Little ones love being read to no matter the recommended age of the book – and as our little ones start reading on their own, it’s helpful to keep offering challenging books to sharpen their skills.

      And I know this was a LOT more than copy and paste, my friend. A LOT more.

      Megan’s last blog post..Discussing Nature Challenge #1: Naming Nature

  9. Dena Vieira says:

    Thank you so much, Emily. I hadn’t joined this site yet so it’s so nice to be able to have a list, now, of books to look for over the years. I’ve made a copy and put it in my documents on my computer for future reference. And thank you, everyone, for your suggestions. Other than Dr. Seuss I had no idea where to start looking for books.

  10. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you to both Emily and Megan. My husband thinks my son already has too many books but after seeing this list, I think he still has many, many more he needs 🙂

  11. Thank you so much for getting this list together! Can’t wait to start our summer reading with this handy dandy list in tow 🙂

    lisa’s last blog post..It Wasn’t Me

  12. What a wonderful list! Wow! 🙂 We are huge readers, and will definitely print out this list for our next trip to the library. Thanks so much!

    Ang @ The Creative Mama’s last blog post..What I found Wednesdays!

  13. Oh, Megan, did you have to post this list? Couldn’t you have put a warning on it or something? LOL! We have more books than we know what to do with and do not need more, but…but…how can I resist?!?!

  14. AWESOME! I’m diggin’ in tomorrow when I take the kiddos to the library. Hittin’ right now!

    Megan(FriedOkra)’s last blog post..‘Opeless.

  15. That was supposed to say “hittin’ ‘control/P’ right now.” Not “Hittin’ right now.” I guess it didn’t like my carats. I do not hit. Not even when there are really good books to be read.

    Megan(FriedOkra)’s last blog post..‘Opeless.

  16. Thank you! Thank you! I tried to sort through that list and had it on my to do list before I went to the library next time. This is perfect! Thanks again!

  17. What an amazing list!! Thank you. Now I know where to go before our next library trip!!

    Renee’s last blog post.."Right Here, Right Now"

  18. Yah! I’m always looking for good book recommendations. My kids go through books like crazy. I love that they love books.

  19. I’m so glad you all are finding this list to be helpful! I know it will be a great library guide as well as wish list generator for filling out your home libraries.

    Megan’s last blog post..Discussing Nature Challenge #1: Naming Nature

  20. What a terrific list! I am off to the library to check on a few that are new to me. I am honored to have THE BOY WHO CRIED WOLF included. I wish I had every book. Thanks! B. G. Hennessy

  21. Velveeta says:

    I’m so glad to see Freddy the Detective by Walter Brooks on your list. I LOVE that series and it is hilarious. Walter Brooks created the character of Mr. Ed!


    When Christmas shopping time draws nigh,
    And I am faced with gifts to buy,
    I think about one relative
    Who always had one gift to give,
    Year after year her present came.
    And every year it was the same.
    While other gifts were round and fat,
    (Their secrets hidden) hers was flat.
    Rectangular, the corners square.
    I knew exactly what was there.
    I’d pass it by without a look—
    My aunt had sent another book!
    I’d only open it to write
    A “thank-you’ that was too polite,
    But every year when Christmas went
    I’d read the book my aunt had sent.
    And looking back, I realize
    Each gift was treasure in disguise.
    So now it’s time to write her here
    A thank-you note that is sincere.

    So—thanks for Alice and Sara Crewe,
    For Christopher Robin and Piglet and Pooh,
    For Little Nell and William Tell
    And Peter and Wendy and Tinker Bell.

    Thanks for Tom and Jim and Huck,
    For Robinson Crusoe and Dab-Dab the duck.
    For Meg and Jo and Johnny Crow
    And Papa Geppetto’s Pinocchio.

    For Mary Poppins and Rat and Toad,
    King Arthur and Dorothy’s Yellow Brick Road,
    For Kiplings Kim and tales from Grimm,
    And Ferdinand, Babar and Tiny Tim.

    I loved them all, I’m glad I met them.
    They’re with me still, I won’t forget them.
    So I’ll give books on Christmas Day
    Though I know what all my nieces say-
    I know it from the way they write
    A “thank-you” that is too polite.

  23. Jessica Spracklen says:

    There were books that I LOVED as a child once I was able to read on my own that I am now reading to my son since he is too young to read. I hope that he comes to appreciate them as much as I do as he gets older. Perhaps you can add one book in particular which is a classic but rarely makes it onto book lists:

    “The Phantom Tollbooth” –Norton Juster

    Thanks for a comprehensive list of such great books for children! 🙂

  24. Thanks for sending me to this link – I didn’t think it was spammy at all, just incredibly helpful. And including Tasha Tudor’s A Time to Keep definitely legitimized your list. It’s one of my favorites. I’ll be linking to this to spread the word. Love me a good book list!

  25. What a great list! Here’s a post from my blog with good books for young children. I share my family’s favorite books and a list I gathered together from parent and teacher input. I’m currently working on collecting a list of Good Books for Teens. Anyone can add books or vote books up or down on this page.
    Michelle Breum´s latest post: Reading Horizons Review

  26. Wonderful collection of children books. There are so many on the list that are great to read aloud with your kids. Thanks for sharing!


  1. […] The List: Children’s Literature We Love :: Simple Kids […]

  2. […] List: Children’s Literature We Love; I love reading to my two boys. It’s an important part of their bedtime routine and something I […]

  3. […] particularly the quality stuff. I’ve mentioned some of my favorites before, and recently the readers of Simple Kids compiled a great list of their favorite […]

  4. […] The List: Children’s Literature We Love! […]

  5. […] Kids has compiled a list of favorite children’s literature from their readers. This would be a great resource when buying gifts or building up your home […]

  6. […] some have been loved treasures for decades, but many are from delightful and creative authors that have recently emerged. i find myself purchasing from the children’s section at least once for every five book selections i make. […]