The 50 best books for kids
We've put together a top 50 list of best books for kids including The Cat in the Hat, Harry Potter and more.
Thu Mar 1 2012
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
A wild mix of mystery and gothic underpinnings, this delightful story reads like a child-friendly version of Jane Eyre. It also happens to contain the most unlikable, spoiled protagonist you've ever met (at the beginning, anyway). HarperCollins. Ages 8 to 12.
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
Spouting the truths grown-ups don't want to hear, Harriet has no equal even today. Her notebook and spy missions around New York City have inspired whole legions of girls—and boys—to become writers as well. Random House. Ages 8 to 12.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Golden tickets, Oompa Loompas, bratty children and even poverty collide in Dahl's best-known tale. If you've only ever seen the film, take time out to see what all the fuss is really about. Penguin. Ages 8 to 12.
The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
The idea of leaving your cozy home for adventure and possible death is beautifully conveyed in Tolkien's English classic. More kid-friendly than the later Lord of the Rings sequence, this tale of trolls, orcs, a smooth-talking dragon, hungry spiders, giant eagles and more balances literary excellence with good old-fashioned action. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Ages 8 to 12.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Boredom leads to high adventure when lackluster Milo rides a tiny car through a tollbooth and finds himself in a magical land. It pulls off the unusual feat of intertwining clever wordplay and mathematics into a single cohesive story. Random House. Ages 8 to 12.
The Complete Adventures of Curious George by H.A. and Margret Rey
Curiosity may have killed the cat but for this simian it's only led to some pretty wacky adventures. George is the perfect stand-in for any antsy three-year-old, which may account for why his popularity only continues to rise. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Ages 3 to 6.
Holes by Louis Sachar
One of the rare books to win both a Newbery Medal and a National Book Award, the story follows Stanley Yelnats as he grapples with the curse that has followed his family for generations. The book with a mystery at its core is by turns funny, heartbreaking and deeply thoughtful. Macmillan. Ages 8 to 12.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Lois Ehlert
The catchy rhythmic alphabetics in Martin's uniquely bubbly concoction make even the most stodgy adult reader sound good. The story of 26 little letters that climb to the top of a palm tree is a modern-day classic that will have your tots tapping their tiny toes. Simon & Schuster. Ages 6 months to 3 years.