Best Children’s Books for Curious Toddlers to Adventurous Tweens

The world belongs to those who read - Rick Holland | pic credit - Andrea Piacquadio/Pexel

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”

– Dr. Seuss, I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

Reading is one of the most important life skills. Benefits of reading are immense – from improving brain connectivity to reducing stress, and from improving vocabulary to building positive personality. It is also a wonderful way to connect with inspiring people who lived long ago.

The importance of reading is well known and so parents put great efforts in developing reading habit in their kids. And, the right way to build reading habits is through building curiosity.

100 classic Books for Children

7 tips for building healthy reading habit

It is much easier now to access books around the world thanks to e-commerce. But, choosing a right book is not an easy task. Teens and adults have a fair idea of genre and their own preferences. However, younger kids (upto 12 years of age) are mostly dependent on their parents for the selection of books. For them, you may start with

  • Classic books: When in doubt, choose classic. They are deep, impactful and loved across generations
  • Books by genre: If you know the interests of the kids, finding the right book is much easier.
  • Series books: These books creates a bond with readers, thus make them readers effortlessly.

100 Classic Books for Children

2 – 5 years old
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
  • The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  • Curious George by H. A. Rey
  • Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  • The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams Bianco
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears by James Marshall
  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
  • Go, Dog. Go! by P. D. Eastman
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • Eloise by Kay Thompson
  • Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Jerry Pinkney
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
  • Noddy by Enid Blyton
  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
  • Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
  • If You Give Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! by Mo Willems
  • The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr
  • The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson
  • A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
  • The Day the Crayons Quit by Drew Daywalt
  • Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
  • Stuart Little by E.B. White
  • We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
  • There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Pam Adams
6 – 8 Years Old
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume
  • Beezus and Ramona by Beverly Cleary
  • Greyfriars Bobby by Eleanor Atkinson
  • Tales from Moominvalley by Tove Jansson
  • The Worst Witch by Jill Murphy
  • Stig of the Dump by Clive King & Edward Ardizzone
  • Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White & Garth Williams
  • Kiki’s Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono & Joe Todd-Stanton
  • The Hodgeheg by Dick King-Smith
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe: The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis
  • Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Mine
  • The Magic Faraway Tree by Enid Blyton
  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  • Swamy and Friends by R.K. Narayan
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • Great Stories for Children by Ruskin Bond
  • How I Taught My Grandmother to Read by Sudha Murthy
  • Moin and the Monster by Anushka Ravishankar
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • The Complete Grimm’s Fairy Tales by Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm
  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo
  • What Do You Do with a Problem? by Kobi Yamada
9-12 years old
  • The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
  • The Railway Children by E. Nesbit
  • A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame
  • Goodnight Mister Tom by Michelle Magorian
  • King Arthur and His Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Green
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea by Jules Verne
  • Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Lost World by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  • Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild
  • Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
  • The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
  • Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Malgudi Days by R.K. Narayanan
  • Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewel
  • Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
  • The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • Mary Poppins by PL Travers
  • The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
  • What Katy Did by Sarah Chauncey Woolsey (Susan Coolidge)
  • Just William by Richmal Crompton
  • Blubber by Judy Blume
  • Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  • Mallory Towers by Enid Blyton
  • Blanding Castle series by P. G. Wodehouse
  • Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
  • Gangsta Granny by David Williams
  • All Creatures Great and Small by James Herriot
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio
  • Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate Dicamillo
  • Gulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
  • Nancy Drew – The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene
  • Hardy Boys – The Tower Treasure by Franklin W. Dixon

Eric Carle, Roald Dahl, Dr. Seuss, Julia Donaldson, Enid Blyton and all the authors in the list above are master storyteller and have written many amazing books. So, if kids like the style of storytelling of any author, let them explore more books by that author.

Also, book recommendation by age is not steadfast. you don’t expect toddlers to read a book. However, reading a book will enhance their understanding of content and vocabulary in context. Similarly, older kids may not be able to read all the books as recommended by their age here. It is perfectly OK if a kid chooses a book from different age groups as long he/she enjoys it.

Best books by age and genre

If your child doesn’t like to read books and you think that your kid is not a reader type, you are absolutely wrong. Because, it only means that the kid has not found a book of her/his interest. Give them the time and lots of books to discover the genre of their choice.

Interestingly, books can compliment any skill/interest. If you kid loves Football, get a book on Football, she will devour it. If your kid loves mathematics, he may like biographies of great mathematicians. It is also important that kids get exposure to various genre to broaden their imagination and thinking outside the box.

The genre can be broadly categorized as:

  • Biographies, Autobiographies, Memoir & Diaries: Based on memories of the people, they are engaging and inspiring. These are as short as memoir or as big as biography of Sir Winston Churchill, and thus you can find something for everyone. In fact, if you are looking for inspiration and motivation, then just pick up a biography/autobiography of your favorite personalities or any inspiring person to elevate your spirit.
  • Comics and Graphic Books: These books consist of comic strips put in a sequence. They engage the readers wonderfully and are very good alternative to TV cartoons. Because of their increasing popularity, many of classic books are being published as graphic novels. For not-so-eager readers, these may feel like Bingo.
  • Fiction Historical, Literary, Fantasy, Science, Mythological, Romance, Dystopian, Adventure (Action, Thriller, Horror, Crime, Mystery, Detective), Contemporary: Stories and fictions are synonymous. Hence, fiction books outnumber non-fiction books. Liked by kids of all ages, they are good for building imagination and thinking skills. And, there is no dearth of theme because there is no limit to imagination.
  • Guide books Food and Drink, Art & Photography, Travel, Environment, Nature, History, Motivational, How to.. books, Parenting, Health & Fitness, Crafts & Games etc.: In the era of google and internet, these books have managed to keep their charm. However, kids may not be very excited about them until they have deep interest in a particular field.
  • Poetry, Short stories, Essays & Letters – Generally shorter than story books, they lead to immersive experience if kids like them. In fact poetries are such a wonderful package of words, rhythm, emotion, imagination, & drama, that there is never a better time to read a poetry.

There are few good sites that recommends books by genre and age so that your voracious reader never have a dearth of books.

Series Books

Series books are the sequence of books, and have some common characters and set-up. Curiosity and suspense elements in these books engage kids very well. Thus, series books help in building reading speed and habit. Here is a list of popular series books.

“If you want to make your children brilliant, tell them fairy tales. If you want to make them more brilliant, tell them more fairy tales.” -Albert Einstein

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