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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.

31
The Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

Historical fiction meets family silliness in Curtis's novel about a Michigan boy who journeys with his family to his grandmother's house for the summer. Kids will have so much fun reading the book they'll never even notice the civil rights history they're taking in at the same time. Random House. Ages 8 to 12.

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32
Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina

Hats plus monkeys equals hilarity. One of the all-time great read-alouds, the story of a man who loses his caps thanks to some light-fingered simians is sure to earn giggles from your listeners. HarperCollins. Ages 6 months to 3 years.

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33
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg

Let's be honest. What New York City kid wouldn't want to live in the Metropolitan Museum of Art if he had the chance? Two children not only live the dream but solve a mystery as well when they run away from home with a well thought-out plan. Simon & Schuster. Ages 8 to 12.

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34
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch

Stories where the insipid princess and her no-name prince ride off into the sunset can get old quickly. In this Munsch classic, a princess rescues the prince for a change and then with a sudden flourish of girl power, decides she has better things to do than marry an egotistic dweeb. Annick Press. Ages 3 to 6.

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35
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

There is no surefire method to teach kids about the Holocaust but Lowry's gentle story of bravery and heroism resonates with readers everywhere for its candor and sensitivity. Be sure to keep an eye out for the Little Red Riding Hood references throughout. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Ages 8 to 12.

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36
Olivia by Ian Falconer

Olivia by Ian Falconer

Bound to please the aesthetics of parents and the wild imaginings of their kids, Olivia is a one-of-a-kind piggy. No doubt the book's elegant palette of black, red and white will be a welcome relief to those seeking something that isn't sparkly, pink or dipped in glitter. Simon & Schuster. Ages 3 to 6.

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37
Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Coraline by Neil Gaiman

Kids demand scary stories from time to time. Next time they do, hand them this twisted trip through an unlocked door where family members have buttons for eyes and things are not what they seem. HarperCollins. Ages 8 to 12.

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38
Moonshot by Brian Floca

Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11 by Brian Floca

Nonfiction can be a refreshing change for young readers, particularly when it's as gorgeous as Floca's story of the first moon landing. Its jaw-dropping images and simple but not simplistic text manage to convey not only the awe of the moment but its fun, too. Simon & Schuster. Ages 6 to 9.

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39
Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe

Mufaro's Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe

A princess story with an African setting, this fabulous fairy tale about two beautiful sisters who vie for the hand of their ruler punishes the greedy and rewards the good. As an added bonus, the king is himself a delightful character. HarperCollins. Ages 3 to 6

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40
Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman

Talk about separation anxiety: This baby bird loses his mother from the moment he's hatched. Yet his search for his primary caregiver never feels scary. Often mistaken for a Dr. Seuss book, Eastman's classic taps into an emotion all kids can understand. Random House. Ages 3 to 6.

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