Early Childhood Book List

*Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad DayJudith Viorst (*Audible)

~6, United States, 1972

“Alexander knew it was going to be a terrible day when he woke up with gum in this hair.
And it got worse… His best friend deserted him. There was no dessert in his lunch bag. And, on top of all that, there were lima beans for dinner and kissing on TV! This handsome new edition of Judith Viorst’s classic picture book is sure to charm readers of all ages.” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books, Reader’s Digest’s 25 Best Children’s Books Ever Written, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time, and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

*A Bear Called Paddington, Michael Bond (Audible)

~6, United Kingdom, 1958

“Paddington Bear had traveled all the way from Peru when the Browns first met him in Paddington Station. Since then, their lives have never been quite the same . . . for ordinary things become extraordinary when a bear called Paddington is involved.” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense Media

Appearing in Book Trust’s 100 Best Books for Children, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time, and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

Bread and Jam for FrancesRussell Hoban

~6, United States, 1964

“Can there be too much bread and jam?… Frances is a fussy eater. In fact, the only thing she likes is bread and jam. She won’t touch her squishy soft-boiled egg. She trades away her chicken-salad sandwich at lunch. She turns up her nose at boring veal cutlets. Unless Mother can come up with a plan, Frances just might go on eating bread and jam forever!” – Amazon
More information: WikipediaGoodReads

Appearing in New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time, and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

*The GruffaloJulia Donaldson  (**Audible)

~7, United Kingdom, 1999

“A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents… the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo…” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in Wikipedia’s Best-Selling Books, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time, and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

Little WomenLouisa May Alcott (Audible)

~7, United States, 1868

“Although Little Women was a novel for girls, it differed notably from the current writings for children, especially girls. The novel addressed three major themes: “domesticity, work, and true love, all of them interdependent and each necessary to the achievement of its heroine’s individual identity.”Little Women “has been read as a romance or as a quest, or both. It has been read as a family drama that validates virtue over wealth”, but also “as a means of escaping that life by women who knew its gender constraints only too well”. According to Sarah Elbert, Alcott created a new form of literature, one that took elements from Romantic children’s fiction and combined it with others from sentimental novels, resulting in a totally new format.” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in TJEd.org’s Classics and BBC’s 11 Greatest Children’s Books

*Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From ChinaEd Young (*Audible)

~4, China (Originally), 1989

“The story is set in China. Three sisters, Shang, Tao, and Paotze are left alone overnight while their mother goes to visit their grandmother, Po Po, for the grandmother’s birthday. She warns them as she leaves to “Be good” and “Remember to close the door tight at sunset and latch it well”. The wolf, who sees the mother leave, then decides to come over to harm the children. The wolf pretends to be their grandmother, Po Po, to try to gain entry. The children question the wolf through the door,” Why are you here so late?”, “Why is your voice so low?”, to which the wolf has clever answers. The two youngest children finally open the door and let the wolf in…” – Wikipedia

Appearing in New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books and Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time

The LoraxDr. Seuss (**Audible)

~5, United States, 1971

“Dr. Seuss’s beloved story teaches kids to speak up and stand up for those who can’t. With a recycling-friendly “Go Green” message, The Lorax allows young readers to experience the beauty of the Truffula Trees and the danger of taking our earth for granted, all in a story that is timely, playful, and hopeful. The book’s final pages teach us that just one small seed, or one small child, can make a difference. ” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

*Matilda, Roald Dahl (Audible)

~6, United Kingdom, 1988

“Matilda is a sweet, exceptional young girl, but her parents think she’s just a nuisance. She expects school to be different but there she has to face Miss Trunchbull, a kid-hating terror of a headmistress. When Matilda is attacked by the Trunchbull she suddenly discovers she has a remarkable power with which to fight back. It’ll take a superhuman genius to give Miss Trunchbull what she deserves and Matilda may be just the one to do it!” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense Media, Wikipedia

Appearing in Book Trust’s 100 Best Books for Children, New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books, and Reader’s Digest’s 25 Best Children’s Books Ever Written

*Mr. Popper’s Penguins, Richard and Florence Atwater (*Audible)

~6, United States, 1938

“The Poppers unexpectedly come into possession of a penguin, then get a penguin from the zoo who mates with the first penguin to have 10 baby penguins. Before long, something must be done before they eat the Poppers out of house and home!” – GoodReads
More information: Common Sense Media, Wikipedia

Appearing in New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time, and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

**My Father’s Dragon, Ruth Stiles Gannett (*Audible)

~5, United States, 1948

“My Father’s Dragon is a children’s novel by Ruth Stiles Gannett about a young boy, Elmer Elevator, who runs away to Wild Island to rescue a baby Dragon. The narrative mode is unusual, in that the narrator refers to the protagonist only as “my father”, giving the impression that this is a true story that happened long ago.” – Amazon
More information: Wikipedia, GoodReads

Appearing in New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books and Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time

Oh, the Places You’ll Go!Dr. Seuss (**Audible)

~5, United States, 1990

“From soaring to high heights and seeing great sights to being left in a Lurch on a prickle-ly perch, Dr. Seuss addresses life’s ups and downs with his trademark humorous verse and illustrations, while encouraging readers to find the success that lies within.” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaGoodReads

Appearing in Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

*The Phantom TollboothNorton Juster (Audible)

~8, United States, 1961

“For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams…” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in TJEd.org’s Classics and New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books

*RumpelstiltskinBrothers Grimm (**Audible)

~5, Germany, 1812

“Richly hued oil paintings complement a story simply and gracefully told.”Children…love the story for its mystery, and its familiarity. Adults will find that, like most classic fairy tales, this one rewards periodic rethinking.” —New York Times Book Review
More information: WikipediaGoodReads

Appearing in TJEd.org’s Classics and New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid TalesJon Scieszka (*Audible)

~8, United States, 1992

“The entire book, with its unconventional page arrangement and eclectic, frenetic mix of text and pictures, is a spoof on the art of book design and the art of the fairy tale. The individual tales, such as The Really Ugly Duckling and Little Red Running Shorts, can be extracted for telling aloud, with great success. Another masterpiece from the team that created The True Story of the Three Little Pigs!” -Horn Book
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

*Stuart LittleE. B. White (Audible)

~6, United States, 1945

“Stuart Little is no ordinary mouse. Born to a family of humans, he lives in New York City with his parents, his older brother George, and Snowbell the cat. Though he’s shy and thoughtful, he’s also a true lover of adventure. Stuart’s greatest adventure comes when his best friend, a beautiful little bird named Margalo, disappears from her nest. Determined to track her down, Stuart ventures away from home for the very first time in his life. He finds adventure aplenty. But will he find his friend?” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in TJEd.org’s Classics, Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time, and Common Sense Media’s 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12

**The Tale of Peter RabbitBeatrix Potter (**Audible)

~6, United Kingdom, 1901

“[The Tale of Peter Rabbit] tells the story of a very mischievous rabbit and the trouble he encounters in Mr McGregor’s vegetable garden!” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense Media

Appearing in Wikipedia’s Best-Selling Books, TJEd.org’s Classics, Reader’s Digest’s 25 Best Children’s Books Ever Written, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time, Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time, and Common Sense Media’s 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12

*The True Story of the Three Little PigsJon Scieszka (**Audible)

~5, United States, 1989

“In this hysterical and clever fracture fairy tale picture book that twists point of view and perspective, young readers will finally hear the other side of the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs.’” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in Book Trust’s 100 Best Books for Children, New York Public Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books, and Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time

(Here are the *paperback and **audible versions of the original Three Little Pigs story in case your kids need to learn it first.)

*The Ugly DucklingHans Christian Andersen (**Audible)

~6, Denmark, 1843

“The story tells of a homely little bird born in a barnyard who suffers abuse from the others around him until, much to his delight (and to the surprise of others), he matures into a beautiful swan, the most beautiful bird of all. The story is beloved around the world as a tale about personal transformation for the better.” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in Bokklubben World Library’s 100 Best Books of All Time, TJEd.org’s Classics, and Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time

Where the Sidewalk EndsShel Silverstein

~6, United States, 1974

“You’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set, and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.” – Amazon
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in Reader’s Digest’s 25 Best Children’s Books Ever Written, Time Magazine’s 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time, Reedsy Discovery’s 120 Best Children’s Books of All Time, and Common Sense Media’s 50 Books All Kids Should Read Before They’re 12

*The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame (Audible)

~7, United Kingdom, 1908

“Meet little Mole, willful Ratty, Badger the perennial bachelor, and petulant Toad. Over one hundred years since their first appearance in 1908, they’ve become emblematic archetypes of eccentricity, folly, and friendship. And their misadventures-in gypsy caravans, stolen sports cars, and their Wild Wood-continue to capture readers’ imaginations and warm their hearts long after they grow up. Begun as a series of letters from Kenneth Grahame to his son, The Wind in the Willows is a timeless tale of animal cunning and human camaraderie.” – GoodReads
More information: Common Sense MediaWikipedia

Appearing in Wikipedia’s Best-Selling Books and TJEd.org’s Classics

Related Pages

  1. How to Raise a Reader
  2. How to Introduce a Book to a Learner
  3. The Most Noteworthy Books of All Time
  4. The Most Noteworthy Books of All Time (Chronologically)
  5. The Best Children’s Books
  6. Babies and Toddlers Book List
  7. Late Childhood Book List
  8. Teenagers Book List