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33 Children's Books Literally Everyone Should Read

Other than Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, of course.

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1. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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"It's such a beautifully written little tome. It was one of the first things I ever discussed with my (now) husband, and he bought and read the book. We decided to have the chapter about the Little Prince and the Fox read at our wedding – it's such a simple but very poignant lesson on love." —Christeen Abee-Ryan, Facebook

3. Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr Seuss

"It isn’t just my favourite children’s book, it’s also my favourite book in general. It’s so inspiring and it’s a very short read, so it’s easy to take 10 minutes from your day to flip through if you need cheering up. My favourite line: 'You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go.' It’s just so beautiful." —Caitlin Jinks


4. The Tiffany Aching series by Terry Pratchett

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"Like Harry Potter, it’s not really a children's series but it's often marketed as such. The first book is called The Wee Free Men and I've read it once a year since I was 12. It's amazing." —Julies49f976df2

5. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones

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"The book differs greatly from the movie, but it's the type of book that no matter how many times you read it, you will always find a new little detail about a character or a clue that makes it very exciting. The coming-of-age story of Sophie is relatable to anyone in any stage of their lives. She's a young girl trapped in an old woman's body, yet she still needs to fend for herself and enjoy life to the fullest. We can all learn from Sophie and Howl." —Jose Daniel Alvarez, Facebook

6. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein

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"It’s such a great book. I remember being in awe after I finished it. To this day, every time I read the book, I am guaranteed to cry." —adrimannan

7. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

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"I firmly believe that everyone needs to read When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. I read it for the first time when I was quite young, and although I didn’t appreciate it fully, it was the first book to ever make me cry. It’s an amazing book that focuses on things that other authors may shy away from, like racism and time travel. The events in the book take place in 1978 and 1979 in the Upper West Side. When You Reach Me taught me so much, and really helped shape the outlook I have on the world. Please go read it. Even if you spend the entire night crying it’s worth it. It’ll change your life — I know that for a fact." —Punkfluffyunicorn


9. Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

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"A book that serves as a clear reminder that being unique is beautiful, and if you love yourself first, the right people will love you too." —Laura Abascal, Facebook

10. The His Dark Materials trilogy by Philip Pullman

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"I have read the series more times than I can count and get something new out of it every time, even as an adult. The books have brought me comfort, a sense of happiness and a sense of catharsis when I am not feeling well. I become a better person after reading them. I highly recommend the series for anyone, young or old, who has not read them yet, or a revisit for anyone who has." —Erin Pardee, Facebook

11. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

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"It’s the story of a sentient toy rabbit who is immobile but very aware of his surroundings. His journey out of a life of luxury and into the mundane and gritty helps him explore the concept of love. It’s a great story with a huge heart – and anything DiCamillo writes is amazing." —megang4296396c1


12. Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne

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"The original Winnie-the-Pooh books are surprisingly complex stories. They're about a group of friends overcoming challenges together. And no character is perfect: Pooh is naïve, Piglet has anxiety, Tigger is hyperactive, Eeyore has depression, Owl is a narcissist... I've never met anyone who read those books as an adult and didn't absolutely fall in love with 100 Acre Wood." —Eliza June, Facebook

13. Waiting Is Not Easy by Mo Willems

"Nobody likes to wait for the things that they want, but Mo Willems teaches us in this book that some of the greatest things can only come through waiting! A lesson that is just as relevant to me as an adult as the 4-year-old students that I read this book to." —Elisabethl41f29d4fd

14. Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

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"It’s so good. It really captures childhood in a timeless way and reminds you how resourceful kids can be when they’re not having 24/7 screen time." —ambergrahamg

15. Coraline by Neil Gaiman

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"Even as an adult, Coraline's message still rings true to me. It taught me how to face my fears, it showed me the importance of family, and it reminded me how blessed my life is – even if it isn't all that exciting." —Ann Catherine Hughes, Facebook


17. The Arrival by Shaun Tan

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"A haunting and poignant tale told through beautifully rendered pencil drawings. It's basically the story of a man who leaves his old home to make a new and better life for his family in an unfamiliar country – a world riddled with strange creatures and odd symbols. While he is lonely and struggles at first with the strangeness of the new land, he develops a bond with a friendly doglike creature, and makes new friends along the way with fellow arrivals who have also made the new world their home. It's a story about the migrant experience, and the gradual path towards belonging and acceptance. It's a story for our time and beyond." —Viema Murray, Facebook

18. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson

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"It has all the appeal of a child protagonist, who is full of wonder and heroism, and there is no flowery, obscure language to battle through. But the danger and the character's journeys throughout the story will keep even the most jaded adult on the edge of their seat." —Sarah Ochocki, Facebook

19. The Invisible Boy by Trudy Ludwig

"It's about a small boy named Brian who is invisible to everyone in his class, until one day a new student arrives and notices him. Slowly, Brian becomes less and less invisible (the illustrations actually mirror his decreasing invisibility – it’s really cool) and he's finally accepted by his other classmates, all because one boy decided to play with him. It’s a heartwarming story about acceptance, and a reminder that sometimes we all feel invisible and we need just one person to make us visible again." —kristyw3


20. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

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"It was recommended to me by a fellow teacher. The story is about losing a family member and how to deal with the sadness and sorrow. Eventually it teaches you how to let go. My father passed last year and there were moments in the book that brought me to tears. It was the kind of book I needed during that time in my life." —Eric Wayne, Facebook

21. The Charlie Bone series by Jenny Nimmo

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"The Charlie Bone series. Read those as a teen and I still love them. If someone is a fan of Harry Potter I am sure that they will love Charlie Bone. Much like Harry Potter, Charlie Bone starts out thinking he is a normal kid, but that all changes when he gets powers. It's amazing because each kid has a specific power. But even more it teaches us the importance of family and who your ancestors are. It also reminds us that there is always a reason for everything. It's a book series that got overlooked. Not one that I think anyone should miss." —Kaitlyn Foster, Facebook

22. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

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"My dad gave me this book for my ninth birthday. It's an amazing and heartbreaking story about Southern life in 1933 Mississippi, told from the perspective of a 9-year-old girl named Cassie. Like her, I was just discovering the world of racism and small-minded, prejudiced thinking. I’d been called names and told what I could and couldn’t do based on the colour of my skin... The story is not just for children of colour but ALL children." —lavenderg


24. The Mary Poppins series by P.L. Travers

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"You’ll totally understand why P.L. Travers was pissed about the Disney movie version. The books are ridiculously better! And this is coming from a person whose life goal is to emulate Dame Julie Andrews at all times." —olivialeetv

25. The Water and the Wild by E.E. Ormsbee

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"It came out pretty recently, but it's definitely written in a similar vein to classic/beloved children's lit. It's beautifully written, with elements that speak to grownup readers, and characters that resonate across ages. It's downright lyrical at points – just a fabulous read." —Elizabeth Mullins, Facebook

27. Tuesday by David Weisner

"Tuesday by David Weisner. Or any of his other wordless picture books. Adults sometimes forget what it’s like to really use their imagination and his books require just that. The story can be different every time you read it." —Melissas47e08a62a


28. The Time series by Madeleine L'Engle

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"The story follows a family through some crazy adventures. It's a science fantasy series. It was a great read as a kid, with moral lessons and empowering moments. As an adult those same lessons are there, but there is also so much more to find in the stories." —alexiap4dc89cdc6

30. The Very Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders

"It's a wonderful illustrated book with a great message about working together, which we need in our world today. Definitely recommend!" —Molly Behun, Facebook

31. So B. It by Sarah Weeks

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"My mother introduced this book to me when I was in elementary school, and it has stuck with me ever since. An absolutely fantastic novel about a young girl trying to find out more about her mother, who happens to only know 23 words and insists her name is 'So B. It'. A great way to introduce conversations about mental health, disability, and love to people of all ages. Plus, it will make you cry." —chased4b60a6873


32. Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpugo

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"It’s a heartfelt story with a surprising amount of depth. I think it's a perfect example of how simplicity can sometimes convey emotions most genuinely. The friendship at its core is touching and emotional. It’s well worth it for anyone who appreciates adventures with a bit of emotion and a happy ending." —genevieves4239f710c

33. A Series of Unfortunate Events series by Lemony Snicket

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"The witty humour is unlike anything else you’ll see in children’s lit. The books’ long and winding plot is actually quite intricate and I definitely understood more (if not all!) reading back as an adult." —lucyw4b181a1d2

And more!

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"All of them. As many as you can. Never underestimate the power of children's literature. It's a great work of art when you write to children, because most authors will have in mind that adults will read it as well... We underestimate children's books along with underestimating children themselves. Both can do so much more than we give them credit for." —Heidi Bork Bodin, Facebook

Submissions have been lightly edited for length/clarity.

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