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50 Books Every Parent Should Read to Their Child

According to a new study, the hallowed practice of bedtime reading is falling by the wayside — and that some quarter of a million children in the UK do not own a single book. This is a terrible shame, as regular bedtime stories have been shown to increase children’s performance in school, and are also awesome and can help create strong lifetime bonds, both with literature and with parents. So, from the peanut gallery of those who loved being read to (and still wouldn’t say no to a bedtime story): 50 books that every parent should read to their child. For the purposes of this list, we’re only considering books aimed primarily at children under 10 (according to the School Library Journal), which means you won’t find outstanding children’s chapter books like The Hobbit, A Wrinkle in Time, Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, or C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia here, nor will you find mention of your favorite bespectacled wizard — the idea being that these are books kids are more likely to read for themselves, without your pesky interference. Of course, many parents will want to read these aloud as well, but with any luck, your kids will be sneaking the book open and reading ahead long after you’ve gone to bed. We’ve also limited ourselves, for sanity’s sake, to one book per author. And finally, though these are, in Flavorwire’s estimation, 50 books every parent should read to their child, they are not the only 50 — so add any personal favorites in the comments!

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Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

Where the Wild Things Are is Sendak’s most famous — and also was most recently read aloud to this writer by a college professor, who held it up as a classic example of a quest narrative — so it will stand for all of his wonderful works. Outside Over There and In the Night Kitchen are also not to be missed.

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4 comments
LynnStuhan
LynnStuhan

oh,amanda...Is there one book that has all of these stores in it?

CarrieCaldewey
CarrieCaldewey

Loathe this book. Demanding child. Only way to "buy" the love of the child is by giving EVERYTHING. 

oh_amanda
oh_amanda

Just made a list I could print out, thought I'd share: 


Winnie-the-Pooh, A.A. Milne

The Story of Babar, Jean De Brunhoff

The Big Orange Splot, Daniel Pinkwater

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire

The Paper Bag Princess, Robert N. Munsch

Corduroy, Don Freeman

Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, Verna Aardema

The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein

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

The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats

Caps for Sale, Esphyr Slobodkina

Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans

The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf

Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, John Steptoe

The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter

Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey

Stone Soup, Marcia Brown

The Rough-Face Girl, Rafe Martin

The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Jon Scieszka

Frog and Toad are Friends, Arnold Lobel

Clifford the Big Red Dog, Norman Bridwell

Lon Po Po, Ed Young

This Is Not My Hat, Jon Klassen

The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick

The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame

The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

The Hundred Dresses, Eleanor Estes

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Virginia Lee Burton

The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum

Little Bear, Else Holmelund Minarik

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, William Steig

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, Paul Goble

My Father’s Dragon, Ruth Stiles Gannett

The Sweetest Fig, Chris Van Allsburg

Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White

The BFG, Roald Dahl

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Judy Blume

The Happy Hocky Family, Lane Smith

The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams

Curious George, H.A. Rey

Tikki Tikki Tembo, Arlene Mosel

Amazing Grace, Mary Hoffman

Zen Shorts, Jon J. Muth

The Three Pigs, David Wiesner

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