Do we ever forget the magic of reading our first favorite books? We loved climbing through the wardrobe with Lucy into the wintry forest of Narnia. Traveling the yellow brick road in search of the wizard with Dorothy, and parading around an island of monsters called the Wild Things with Max. We all wanted, and still do, to cast spells with our wands and to be best friends at Hogwarts with Harry, Ron, and Hermione from the Harry Potter series.
I can still recite from memory the rhythmic words of Bill Martin’s Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? and Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. When I watch children making snow angels, I get nostalgic for Ezra Jack Keats’ The Snowy Day. Saying goodnight was never the same after reading Goodnight Moon. The Madeline books inspired me to visit Paris and Eloise At the Plaza Hotel to venture over to the Plaza on Central Park and Fifth Avenue in my hometown of New York City.
The authors and illustrators of the books we read created characters who became our heroes and companions. They inspired us to challenge ourselves. They taught us how to share, make friends, and how to handle loss.
We are sharing our favorite children’s books. Maybe you will find one to add to your collection. They are also great gifts for your child or friends who have children.
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes
Chrysanthemum by Kevin Henkes was my favorite book when I was little. The illustrations are absolutely beautiful. I also loved the story of how Chrysanthemum found beauty in her differences. After being made fun of for her name, Chrysanthemum finds support and encouragement from her favorite teacher. She learns to be unique is what makes us special.
This book was a pillar of me embracing what made me special as a child, and I still carry that lesson with me today!
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web is a story about a pig named Wilbur who is befriended by Charlotte, a spider. Through their love, friendship, and talents, Wilbur’s life is saved.
I loved this book when I was younger because of the fantastical insight into the animal’s perspective of life on a farm. I also identified with the messages of true friendship, sharing your talents with others, and good overcoming bad.
Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
In The Lightening Thief, the first of a five book series, Percy Jackson discovers that he’s a demigod (half human, half Greek god) and goes off to live and train at Camp Half-Blood. After being accused of having stolen Zeus’s lightning bolt, he has to go on a quest to prove his innocence to the rest of the gods to prevent a war between them all.
Greek Mythology interested me as a kid and this was the perfect book (and series) for mythology and fantasy. I even went to a book signing after finding out the book was being made into a movie.
Go, Dog.Go! by Dr. Seuss
The quirky book, Go, Dog. Go!, takes you through all the adventures of these dog characters that prefer to have fun!
My father read this book to my brother and I as kids and he knows every word by heart. I love holding onto memories of when times were simpler.
The Wizard of Oz by Frank L. Baum
When a tornado whips through Kansas, a young girl named Dorothy and her dog Toto are transported to the magical land of Oz. To return home they must follow the Yellow Brick Road to the Emerald City to get help from the wizard. Enroute, she befriends a scarecrow seeking a brain, a tin man who is missing a heart, and a cowardly lion lacking courage. The wizard will help each of them get what they need, but only if they bring him the broom of the Wicked Witch of the West.
Oz is a place where anything happens. I read it so many times as a child, my elementary school library gifted it to me when I left. I love the story because a girl my age helps her friends discover the strengths they failed to recognize. She was brave, caring, and smart. The Wizard of Oz is an exciting adventure for children, with memorable characters and a strong female lead.
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, a young boy, finds out he’s a demigod with his father being Poseidon. He sets out on a quest to enter the underworld and stop a war amongst the gods. I like it because it uses realistic emotions and stories within a fun and exciting setting in the world of Greek mythology.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney
In The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a young boy must survive middle school while dealing with his annoying brothers. At least he has his best friend, Rowley and trusted journal to help him navigate the school bullies and his crazy schemes.
I really loved the Diary of a Wimpy Kid book series by Jeff Kinney. I liked the humor and easy-to-read style.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
A Wrinkle in Time is about an adventure that a young Meg and Charles Wallace must go on to find their father. Their dad was able to travel through space and time in a higher dimension (above the 3rd dimension). With the help of Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which, Meg and Charles Wallace travel across the universe to find him.
As a child, I loved it. The first time I read it was in the fifth grade. Since then I have reread it many times. I loved the adventure of it. I loved the enthralling nature that kept me in my seat. At this point, I have read all of L'Engles works. As an adult, it is still a great read. I can’t wait to share the book with my nieces!
I hope our favorites inspire you to reread one book you loved as a child. If your beloved childhood story isn’t listed, let us know what it is. We are always looking for recommendations.
What’s your favorite children’s book? Please share it in the comments below.