The funny thing about children’s books is that sometimes we end up loving them even more as adults. We all have special memories about the stories that shaped our childhoods, whether they’re memories of laughter, learning, or just falling asleep to the sound of our parents’ voices.
Whatever our personal reasons may be, there are certain children’s books that hold a distinct place in our hearts. And when you have your own kids, it’s a great feeling to be able to share those same special memories with them. There are so many great children’s books out there, and we wanted to share with you a (very) short list of some of our all-time favorites.
Goodnight Moon, Margaret Wise Brown
The beautiful, meditative poetry of this beloved classic is known to entrance and soothe a sleepy baby or toddler like magic. But don’t think for a second that you’ll be immune to Goodnight Moon’s charms just because you’re grown-up. The vibrant, folksy illustrations and simplistic rhymes make this a warm and fuzzy read for any age.
The Little Engine that Could, Watty Piper
Even if you don’t remember the whole story, you certainly remember the Little Engine’s optimistic rhythmic refrain: I think I can! I think I can! I think I can! Not only does this classic teach children about the power of a positive attitude and the value of hard work, it’s a lot of fun to read aloud together.
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
“Once there was a tree . . . and she loved a little boy.” ‘Aaaaaand I’m already crying.’ This poignant parable teaches kids about friendship, sharing, and unconditional love—and reduces even the toughest of adults to a weeping mess. Beautifully written and illustrated by the brilliant Shel Silverstein, whose entire bibliography deserves a shelf in your little one’s library.
Where The Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
There’s a good reason Where The Wild Things Are has inspired a movie, an opera, and millions of amazing Halloween costumes since it was published in 1964. Imagination runs wild in this tall tale, and reminds us how important a good rumpus is for our mental health. We all had a favorite Wild Thing—which one is yours?
Corduroy, Don Freeman
This story really is a dream come true for kids. Combining stuffed animals who come to life with the idea of running amok in a department store alone at night? Instant children’s classic. But ultimately, it’s a touching story about family, friendship and home—and it all starts with just a missing button.
The Saggy Baggy Elephant, Kathryn and Byron Jackson
There’s no other book in the world that can make you want to punch a parrot in the face or hug a baby elephant quite like this one. But don’t worry: it does have a happy ending. Sooki the elephant’s story teaches kids valuable lessons about self-esteem, respect, and accepting themselves—and others—for who they are. And okay, we’ve calmed down now, and we realize that parrot is probably just insecure. So we forgive him.
The Polar Express, Chris Van Allsburg
Since we’re coming up on the holidays, it seems only right to include at least one seasonal favorite on our list. The Polar Express is a classic story that reminds us just how magical the season can be for kids—and frankly, it will probably make you feel a little like a kid again too.
Pretty much everything by Dr. Seuss.
You know why Dr. Seuss started writing children’s books? Because he thought children’s books were bad—and that kids deserved better. And not only did he give kids something better to read, his books have been instrumental in teaching millions of children how to read. What can we say that you don’t already know about Dr. Seuss? You really can’t go wrong with any of his classic works.
Sesame Street books
This is another whole group of books that are a good bet for any child’s library. Sesame Street has been an innovative force in entertainment as education for more than 50 years, and it’s just as relevant today as it was when it first aired in 1969. Kids love the show, and your little ones will be excited to see all their favorite characters and read along with them during story time.
So, that’s our list! We recommend picking them up at local booksellers like Church Street Coffee and Books, The Alabama Booksmith, Little Professor, and Jim Reed Books. Plus, check out story time at your local library for a great group reading experience. And last but not least, don’t forget to share with us some of your all-time favorite children’s books!