Kid-Friendly Classic Books

If you want your child to enjoy reading, it helps if you give him or her a great book. After all, the better the book, the more positive associations kids will have with reading. For a list of fun, reader-friendly classics for kids of all ages, we turned to the National Education Association’s list of Kids’ Top 100 Books – the best picks for children and young people.

Parents and teachers alike can sift through to discover reader-friendly classics that foster positive attitudes in kids towards reading. Here are a few of choices that are truly great reads for kids of all ages.

Babies and preschoolers

The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Take a bite out of the book that’s considered one of the best for teaching children how to read. It contains colorful illustrations that help wee ones learn how to count to five, master the days of the week and explore different types of food. The tale follows a hungry caterpillar as he chows down on food and finally turns into a beautiful butterfly.

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

Getting your young ones to bed can be a daunting task – but a bedtime story can be just the solution. This classic focuses on a young bunny in his room saying goodnight to everything. Written like a poem, the book is a flowing read showcasing wonderful detail of a single setting. "Goodnight room. Goodnight moon. Goodnight cow jumping over the moon." Children will love finding everything the bunny says goodnight to, as the light grows dimmer with each page.

Children ages 4-8

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst

It happens to everyone – a bad day, that is – and children are no exception. When poor Alex woke up with gum in his hair, tripped on his skateboard and then dropped his sweater in the sink, he could tell just what sort of day it was shaping up to be. The book’s be sure to turn a frown upside-down as readers follow this young boy through his awful day – and realize that things could be worse.

Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish

Meet the most eccentric housekeeper ever put on paper. Amelia Bedelia has a wacky collection of hats and follows orders to a "T" – just not the way anyone else would do them. Bedelia is asked to dress the chicken, put the lights out and bake a sponge cake. And that’s exactly what she does: Puts a dress on a chicken, hangs the lights outside and uses a sponge to make the cake. The result is a comical book sure to get a laugh out of any child.

Tweens ages 9-12

The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Warner

Follow the lives of four siblings who run away and take residence in an abandoned boxcar in the forest. Tweens will be awe of how these kids survive all on their own. The book offers excellent lessons for readers – all while teaching them to read at a more advanced level. Check out the entire The Boxcar Children series and follow the siblings through numerous mysteries and adventures.

Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

Each chapter is a different story of the wacky happenings at Wayside. The notorious school was supposed be one level with 30 classrooms but instead was built 30 stories high – possibly explaining why nothing is normal there. Tweens may appreciate knowing that their school and teachers don’t compare to the bizarre and strange ones in this book. One teacher even turns students into apples if they misbehave – and weird things happen on the 13th floor.


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