Favorite Classic Children’s Books

Regina asked: I was wondering if you ever considered compiling a children’s reading resource list, putting together all of the children’s books you have or would recommend? It could include holiday themed books, faith building, educational, etc. I know that I would find it very helpful.

I have often heard it said that you can never have too many books. Books are such treasures to enjoy. But recently, the thought struck me that you certainly can have too many books, especially if you don’t read them. If you’re shelves are cluttered with tons of titles that are simply collecting dust, then maybe it is time to re-evaluate which ones really do deserve a place on your shelves. We recently did a serious purge with our children’s books. We wanted to keep the treasures and pass on the ones that were falling apart or never really interested the kids. If my children hadn’t grabbed for a title in who knows how long, we decided to say farewell. We currently keep just a small collection of 10-15 books in our living room, toy room, and the kids bedroom. And with a small collection the kids don’t get overwhelmed, and they actually get read and re-read!

I am one that prefers investing in the true classics that had stood the test of time and leave the others to be borrowed from our local library. We also like to buy books in collections, as they save space and money by combining multiple titles under one cover. So here are some of our favorite collections that are worth investing in:

The 20th Century Children’s Book Treasury - this compilation has over 44 classic stories that you’re kids will love in a hardcover book that will last!
Harper Collins Treasury of Picture Book Classics  - a smaller collection of 12 titles including Harold and the Purple Crayon, If You Give A Mouse a Cookie, Caps for Sale, and other fun treasures to enjoy.
The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh - all these lovable humorous tales of Winnie the Pooh in one volume.
Beatrix Potter The Complete Tales
Eloise Wilkins Stories – I love these adorably illustrated stories of little ones helping mommy, enjoying God’s creation, and so much more!
Tony Mitton Amazing Machines Collection - this set includes 10 small books for that little boy that loves machines and anything that moves! I absolutely love this set of books that are written in rhyme with great information on how these vehicles work. We recently bought these for my 3 year old Titus and he is in love. I was struggling to find books that interested him until I stumbled on this great collection for such a great price!
Arnold Lobel’s books – My kids can’t get enough of Arnold Lobel’s fun books! We love the Frog & Toad Treasury, in addition to Mouse Soup, Mouse Tales, Owl at Home, and his Mother Goose collection.
Mike Mulligan and More: Four Stories by Virginia Lee Burton - the best of Mike Mulligan, The Little House, and more.
The Little Bear Treasury - Little Bear was one of my favorites as a child.
Dr Seuss Beginner Book Collection - the best lovable Dr. Seuss!
P D Eastman’s Big Blue Book of Beginner Books - a fun collection with Go, Dog, Go!, Put Me in the Zoo, and others.

I am sure there are many more that you could add to this list of the children’s classics, but these are the ones we have most greatly enjoyed and highly recommend!

Recommended Reading List:

Here are some of the recommended classic reading lists that we have found helpful when ordering books from the library. I usually choose 10 titles every 2-3 week period between library visits.

Early Years Read Alouds – this compilation of recommended reading by Charlotte Mason has been my source for finding books for my toddler this past year. Great titles!

1000 Good Book List – this list has been extremely helpful in finding the true classics, picture books and otherwise, to read with our children. We’ve read through nearly all the primary level reading list with my 4 year old this past year and found them very suitable and enjoyable for her level.

Sonlight Reading Lists - I also have found the recommended reading for the various curriculum cores from Sonlight to be a great source for ideas for good quality books. You don’t have to use their curriculum to enjoy the wealth of good books here! I use their lists for many of our educational pursuits.

Here are a few posts from the archives:

Favorite Christian Literature for Ages 0-8 - our favorite Christian titles for your little ones!
Recommended Children’s Books for Christmas - the favorites for the holidays!
Recommended Children’s Books for Easter  - at the bottom of this post you will find a list of book recommendations for Easter

Please note: There are affiliate links in this post which we only use to share products that we truly love and recommend for your family. We receive a small percentage of each sale made through our links which we use to help support an orphan home in India and other ministries. 

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of three, homemaker, and writer. She is the editor of Passionate Homemaking since its beginning five years ago. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

14 Responses to Favorite Classic Children’s Books

  1. Erika April 6, 2012 at 10:18 pm #

    Thanks for all of the suggestions!

  2. Amy April 5, 2012 at 4:33 am #

    Max Lucado has a series of children’s books as well that are wonderful!! They are fictional books that have a Biblical lesson woven into an engaging storyline. My children love them!

  3. Laura Byrd April 5, 2012 at 3:41 am #

    Do you know of any fantastic non-fiction for this age group?

  4. Regina Murphy April 3, 2012 at 5:21 pm #

    Thank you so much! I found this very helpful, and I so appreciate you doing it. I love your site! :)

  5. Autumn April 3, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    This is one of my favorite topics! Thanks for the list of recommended reading. Makes me want to go to the library really soon. :)

    One of my favorite books about reading is Jim Trelease’s “The Read-Aloud Handbook”. It has an extensive list of recommended books in last quarter of the book, categorized by age and genre. It’s really an awesome book:
    http://www.amazon.com/The-Read-Aloud-Handbook-Sixth-Edition/dp/0143037390

    • Lindsay April 3, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

      Yes! Great book! I’ll add it to my list.

      • Melissa April 4, 2012 at 5:33 am #

        What a great list – thank you! I know everyone has their favorites… tales they grew up reading with their own parents. I know I enjoyed the Tasha Tudor books when I was young and have gotten them for my own daughter. Another absolute MUST is James Herriot’s Treasury for Children. A wonderful collection of stories told by a veterinarian living in England. The stories are artfully told and the illustrations are just wonderful!

  6. Kelly W April 3, 2012 at 8:31 am #

    I would also recommend “Honey for a Child’s Heart” by Gladys Hunt. It includes some great books for birth to age 14. Disclaimer: For whatever reason, this author chooses to include the Harry Potter series, which I would NOT recommend in any way shape or form, but most all of the other choices are superb. We all have to be discerning, don’t we :)

    We enjoy taking this book with us to the library to make good choices in the picture book section for my littles.

  7. Jessica April 3, 2012 at 7:11 am #

    Garth Williams Treasury of Best Loved Golden Books is wonderful too. Well loved at our house for sure.

    • Lindsay April 3, 2012 at 12:19 pm #

      I’ve been on the look out for a good Golden book treasury…thanks for the recommendation!

  8. Dana Powell April 3, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    Don’t forget the Mike McCloskey treasury- it’s great, too!

    • Dana Powell April 3, 2012 at 2:43 am #

      Oops- make that Robert McCloskey. I have a friend named Mike McCloskey!

      • Rebekah April 3, 2012 at 2:49 am #

        YES! Robert McCloskey was a favorite with my siblings and me!

        For slightly older children, I love the Eloise books by Kay Thompson. Okay, she’s a pretty mischievous little girl, and you might not want all her attitudes imitated… but we laughed our heads off at her antics as kids. And we still do now that we’re older :)

  9. Heather April 3, 2012 at 1:25 am #

    I will second Sonlight’s reading lists. We have gotten the first two cores that they offer for pre-school and both of my babes love to read the stories over and over again. We are planning on getting the kindergarten core for my daughter this week, and are very excited to keep going with these wonderful books. You can read about our choices here http://bit.ly/HaYHHJ

    I have a huge love affair with books, and have quite a collection. I do try to go through it periodically, and then I end up seeing books I haven’t read in a while and take them off the shelf to read. The kids books, well, they like to stack them up as a tower and try to stand on them…maybe we should get rid of a few of them :-)