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15 Kid’s Books You Need To Read

grubthrower . . . Comments

With this list I’m counting only works I read before I, personally, hit puberty, which means that anything published after 1975 is automatically excluded! By “classic,” I mean for us old farts. This list also includes Young Readers, which I chose to interpret as having no true lower age limit, except that, obviously, very young Literature isn’t part of it — no Dr. Seuss. And no young-adult drama (Judy Bloom shall not appear).

Next, you will note that many of the entries are for series (or at least books with sequels), to which I state only that even more than other genres, here we see that success breeds success. The entries, except for entries 1, 2 and 3, are in alphabetical order. Item 1 is elevated because of its impact on so many generations of young people, item 2 is elevated because no other book had such an impact on me, at an age when the world was still full of wonder, and item 3 is elevated because of its impact on Listverse founder, Jamie Frater.


Adventures of Tom Sawyer
Mark Twain

24581Huckleberry Finn is too advanced in actual reading level to include here, but Tom Sawyer has entertained young readers for way more than a century. A decent case could be made for the argument that Twain penned the epitome of American children’s literature, in this rousing tale of pre-pubescent life along the river in the antebellum South. It would be an insult to summarize the plot. [Amazon]


Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

Asterix In Corsica Cover

If you’ve never read an Asterix adventure, PLEASE buy one which has both Goscinny and Uderzo credited (generally speaking, the lower the number, the more likely it’s gonna be great, but there are exceptions). Anyway, these were graphic novels long before the term was invented. Full of puns (especially regarding Roman names), these books are lavishly illustrated in fantastic color. They are set near the end of the Roman Conquest. Only one small village in Gaul (France) is holding out, because they have a druid-brewed magic potion that makes them nigh-invincible. The books are astoundingly popular all over Europe, and the translations into English are normally superb (meaning the puns come through). It is almost pathetic how much money I have spent seeking these out as an adult… of all entries in the list, Asterix definitely takes the prize as being the most readable by old farts. [Amazon]


Charlotte’s Web
E.B. White

Charlottes Web

Who doesn’t know this one? With literally millions of copies sold, Charlotte’s Web is as iconic as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny. Wilbur is a pig, the runt of the litter, and therefore destined to be killed. But eight-year old Fern intercedes on his behalf. That’s not good enough, however, as he next becomes slated for Christmas dinner. Enter Charlotte, a wise and intelligent spider, with a plan to forestall the inevitable. All of the barnyard critters are portrayed with excellent characterization skills… a genuine classic if anything is. [Amazon]


Childhood of Famous Americans
Various Authors

Franklin Delano Roosevelt Champion Of Freedom

Still going strong, with subjects as recent as Mr. Rogers, this series dates back to at least as early as 1942 (George Washington). Revisionist history at its finest. What we have here is novelization-biography, but with it all being about childhood and the “experiences” that shaped a person into the greatness that they became. The final chapter typically takes place in adulthood, where the lessons learned early on are applied as it becomes apparent that boy-or-girl-made-good. [Amazon]


Encyclopedia Brown
Donald J. Sobol


It always pissed me off when I didn’t see the clue and thus had to read on to find out how Encyclopedia Brown solved the case. It was always so obvious, in hindsight. You get to where you can spot the page on which the clue must occur, and sometimes still can’t solve the mystery ahead of time. At least in the earlier works. World famous boy-detective how-did-he-know series. [Amazon]


The Hardy Boys
Franklin W. Dixon


Perhaps the most popular childhood series of all time. But if the list were not alphabetical, it would rank pretty low. Boy detectives who frequently get bailed out in Scooby-Doo fashion by their father. The brothers often start out doing something adventurous, like ice sailing on a frozen lake, or surf casting. The series has been around since 1927. A staple of American boyhood. [Amazon]


Heinlein Juveniles
Robert A. Heinlein


Probably responsible for getting more people hooked on reading science fiction than any other body of work. From 1947 to 1958, Robert A. Heinlein published one novel a year for Scribner’s, aimed at a young male audience. All were written with a breezy style that made them agreeable, yet not condescending. Legions of Heinlein fans re-read their juveniles constantly in adulthood. The only question is, which Heinlein juvenile do you give a child FIRST? [Amazon]


Homer Price
Robert McCloskey


Really old-school here. Homer is that quintessential young reader hero — the kid who is smart enough to see what the bumbling adults miss. There are only a couple of books, but they contain several adventures each. Of particular note is the story “Ever So Much More So,” which is a quaint retelling of The Emperor’s New Clothes, only centering around a supposedly magical spice that affects everything. [Amazon]


The Mad Scientists’ Club
Bertrand R. Brinley


Absolutely first-rate stuff. Told in the second person, what we have here is a bunch of boys using radio and ingenuity to get the best of both the town and a rival gang of misfits. And sometimes the Air Force. Reads pretty well as an adult. Each chapter of the first two books is its own adventure; one of the latter books is a novel-length “origins” story. Four in all. [Amazon]


Mrs. Coverlet Novels
Mary Nash


There’s a lot going on in While Mrs. Coverlet Was Away and its two sequels. Even young readers will have no problem suspending their disbelief (we all know Toad couldn’t really hex Miss Eva, don’t we?). Regardless, the characterizations are amazingly rich for books in which the author has to write to an age 9-12 reading level. Among fans, there is a debate as to whether WMCWA is better than the second book, Mrs. Coverlet’s Magicians, but there is general agreement that the third installment is the weakest. This would easily be in the top five if we weren’t going in alphabetical order. The theme is classic: resourceful kids persevere without adult supervision (their family name is Perserver!), but that theme has never been handled in quite this manner. Original and highly recommended. [Amazon]


The Spaceship Under the Apple Tree
Louis Slobodkin

Slobodkin The Space Ship Under The Apple Tree

If you don’t know it, get a boxed set of three books. 20 out of 20 five-star Amazon reviews. It should be as well known as Alice in Wonderland, but alas, too many people have experienced sheltered childhoods. This is science fiction… but in a deceptively adult manner, it’s first and foremost a story about the meaning of friendship. It just makes young hearts sing. First published way back in 1952, it taught celebration of differences long before society even grasped the concept of diversity. [Amazon]


Tom Swift, Jr.
Victor Appleton, Jr


Way back in the day, Tom Swift books were published. These featured such derring-do activities as piloting an “aero-plane.” But then came Tom Swift, Jr., just in time for the space age. It must be said that the science in this science fiction series was whatever the author wanted — some of the stuff in the 33 books was admirably worked out, but more often, the author took the low road. No matter. Here we have several cherish able (albeit one-dimensional) characters who could always be counted upon to use a fantastic new invention to frustrate the bad guys. And governments — Swift Enterprises seems to have an inexhaustible supply of private research dollars. As usual, the earlier books are generally superior. [Amazon]


The Three Investigators
Robert Arthur


Earlier books in this 43-book series are generally superior, mainly because Robert Arthur is a better writer than those who came later. And because Alfred Hitchcock wrote the introductions, and appears as himself as a character. Kudos must also be given to excellent illustrations by Harry Kane in the early works. But to speak of the books themselves, there is perhaps no better example of the “kid detective” genre. Jupiter Jones is rotund but the brains of the outfit. Pete Crenshaw is athletic but prone to overexcitement. Bob Andrews is studious and level-headed. Between the three, no mystery can go unsolved. Especially in the Robert Arthur installments, the mysteries are remarkably well-plotted. In fact, the second book, The Mystery of the Stuttering Parrot, holds up to even adult readers… you probably won’t be able to solve it ahead of time, and “that’s a lead-pipe cinch.” The various secret entrances into Headquarters alone are worth the read. Truly, a “thinking kid’s” series and the all time favorite childhood books of Listverse’s founder, Jamie Frater, who openly admits that he loved the books so much he set his bedroom up to look like the Three Investigator’s secret office! [Amazon]


My Side Of The Mountain
Jean George


Pretty much the ultimate in opening the eyes of a young boy. Unfortunately, the film version drastically deviated from the book. Even though the acting is fine, the screenwriters simply did not capture the thrust of what is arguably one of the best young reader novels ever written. This is one of the few books that is capable of instilling a genuine sense of awe. Speaking of the book (not the movie), a young boy abandons his beloved family and sets off to live alone in the Catskills Mountains. Lots of “survival tech” here, including sketched illustrations of animal snares and fire-building. But that is not what elevates this novel. What really makes this one rock is the poignant juxtaposition of a successful boy, alone on the mountain with his undeniable basic need for simple human contact. Superb in all aspects. [Amazon]


Chronicles of Narnia

11383678 Gal

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children, and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, and profoundly allegorical, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope. [Amazon]

Notable Omissions: The Famous Five, The Secret Seven

  • LBA


  • Eric

    What a way to ruin your position….. anyway second.

    This is a great list!

    • Eric

      sonofa…. doesnt anyone sleep around here? lol

      • ianz09

        Says the man still awake lol

        • Planet Earth

          # 14 Asterix & Obelix is the best i used to read them as a kid and now my nephew reads them .

        • Slappy

          OR spoken like a man who thinks you’re supposed to READ the list before you post. Hehehe.

        • Rorschachinstein

          Go to sleep friend.

      • fendabenda

        Well, considering that Listverse has readers all over the world… ever heard of time zones? :)

  • ianz09

    I was hoping beyond hope this would make the list

    • Le Tel

      To new, everything on the list predates 1975, as stated in the intro, but good inclusion, have it, read it, love it. also Night monkey, Day monkey

    • fendabenda

      Here it is, read by Samuel L. Jackson:

  • lou

    what about A Wrinkle in Time?

    • greench

      My thoughts exactly. That book got me hooked on Fantasy/Science Fiction. I still reread it occasionally.

      • circlefan

        yea!!! same thoughts here

    • Ki-Tae

      That’s another good one.

  • Le tel

    Good List, was really pleased to see Asterix up there (have read them all) and not god*dam Tintin who I always hated…even as a kid. Will have to check out a couple of these books and as my son is approaching the right age for them perfect excuse :)

    • Matt C

      I’m in total agreement with you there.

      Asterix was sly, irreverant, had genuinely funny joke names, classical latin quotations (alea jacta est, Et tu, brute), had running gags, violence, cleavage…
      It also taught me the basic principles of supply and demand (Mansions of the Gods) and had some fairly high level jokes: an Englishman preventing Romans from trampling his flowers threatens “My garden may be smaller than your Rome, but my pilum is harder than your sternum”

      You could easily fill half a dozen lists with classic Asteric moments.

      Tintin… just bored the **** out of me.

      • fendabenda

        I agree! As a kid, a friend of mine used to love the Tintin books and I just didn’t get it… like you said, they were boring as hell. On the other hand, Asterix, Lucky Luke, Iznogoud and the like with verbal as well as visual puns were funny as hell to me. Still are. :)

        • fendabenda

          Oh, btw, the friend who loved Tintin… he’s a lawyer now. Nuff said.

          • EachToHisOwn

            Nothing wrong with TinTin… Just because you don’t enjoy it that doesn’t mean other people can’t lol. And you think that because your friend is a lawyer, that proves that he is an idiot and is the reason why he read TinTin? Flawed thinking right there…

          • Matt C

            I’M a lawyer !

          • fendabenda

            I didn’t say he was an idiot, far from it, he’s very intelligent! Lawyer just seems like a boring profession (to me, personally). Nothing else wrong with it. I’m sure lawyers disagree with me and think it’s a very exciting job. :)

  • formerly known as Dangsthurt

    What about Playboy?

    I read that as a child. It was most good.

    • formerly known as formerly known as Dangsthurt

      I too “read” Playboy voraciously as a child, but it left me with terrible RSI, mostly in my right hand. I also went through a lot of pyjama bottoms. My mother was most unimpressed!!

  • xdarkhorsex

    Have to agree with the hardy boys. I still have my hardcover set. Growing up i also read “the value books”. Basically they were written about a famous person and what value their life work consisted of. Louis pasteur, Helen Keller, Alexander Graham Bell were notables.
    For adventure I read all of the Tarzan novels. Growing up in cold northern Alberta it let me spend a lot of time in warm Africa.

    I think the way of the story book is disappearing. Too many kids now days spend their time in front of a screen now. Man I must be getting old.

  • kozmoz4

    Little Nicholas series should be mentioned as well. There are no kid detectives or anythings magical. It’s just stories of boys being boys, an innocent and curious childhood. The narrative is amazing. The stories, hilarious.

  • xdarkhorsex

    Should also include Nancy drew, my sister read those all the time.

    • selunesmom

      Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Tom Swift, Bobbsey Twins – they and a bunch of other stuff stuff were all written by the same writers’ workshop.

      Other additions (not by the Stratemeyer Syndicate):

      Happy Hollisters series (out of print, hard to find)

      Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh

      Cherry Ames series (roughly late 40’s early 50’s nure adventures)

  • MIck

    Are you American? Never heard of 80% of what’s listed.

    Only Charlottes Web would make my UK based list.

    • flgh

      Hardy Boys & 3 Investigators are popular outside America too. And why wouldn’t ASTERIX & NARNIA make your list?

      • Armin Tamzarian

        I’m from Europe and I’ve never heard of “3 Investigators”, neither in English nor in translation. Also, the only reason I know “Hardy Boys” is through that South Park episode.

        • fendabenda

          I’m from Europe, too, and I’ve definitely heard of the Three Investigators. My favourite books as a kid, besides Tarzan, Asterix and Iznogoud. :)

        • HVC

          I am also from the U.K. and have heard of , but not read, Tom Sawyer, Hardy Boy’s and Charlotte’s Web. I have read Asterix, Chronicles of Narnia and 1 Three Investigators book, don’t remember how I got a hold of it though so maybe it isn’t a common series over here.

          Personally I would have put Tintin on the list, much as I like Asterix and the wordplay, I love that adventurous little Belgian.

      • Leslie MacFarlane

        Exactly. Hardy Boys was created by a Canadian and based on his hometown of Haileybury, Ontario.

  • What about Curious George :(

    good list otherwise

    • philme

      i’m american (in my 30s) and i hadnt heard of most of these either. i think most are skewed towards boys so i never picked one up. i am going to look for these now though. except for the hardy boys, never cared for that series.


    I thought i would see the “The Little Prince” here.

    • warrdogg


      A great book for all ages. I might have to dig my copy out and read it again. Thanks for the reminder.

      • NBer

        Huge 1!!
        Fantastic book!

    • Mooncroww

      When I was in high school we had to read The Little Prince in French. It was beautiful. Though it sounds foolish, when I was pregnant with my son, I would read it to him. I guess I hoped the beauty of it would reach him even in the womb.

  • happyfeet

    I personally feel that the narnia books are overrated. Maybe because I’m from a younger generation, but I just find no appeal in them to be honest. This will probably be the only time that I will say that the movies( or movie I should say since I have only seen the first one)were better than the book. Or maybe its because I read it when I was much younger. Nonetheless,a very nice list! I might pick up some of these just to see what the folk were into back in the day! ;P

    • Trinity enigma

      Films better than the books? Pack your things up and go.

    • kaye

      Try reading it again. :) I felt the same way about A Wrinkle in Time. First time I tried reading it, I gave up cause I thought it was boring. A couple of years later, I tried reading it again and it remains to be one of my favorite books. :)

    • Woyzeck

      Narnia is garbage as literature and as a film.

      • guest

        Pow! Zing! Thwack!

  • Read 2, know some of the others from movies and cartoons

  • Plod

    I dont really like Narnia either or the list in general really sorry grubthrower.

  • strhs

    Where are the books of Roald Dahl?

    • oh, that brings on a nostalgia trip . Charlie and the chocolate factory , Matilda , Fantastic My Fox. Never read James and the Giant peach but i watched the movie, It was a Roald Dahl book . Awesome mention

      • Angelica

        I 100% agree. EVERY child needs to experience the magic of at least one Roald Dahl book. My personal favourites were James And The Giant Peach, Charlie And The Chocolate Factory and Danny Champion Of The World.

        • le tel

          Absolutely, Can’t believe i didn’t think of it first . Personal fav’s The BFG, Danny the champion of the world and georges MArvellous medecine and any of the poetry books…brilliant

    • Armin Tamzarian

      True dat. Roald Dahl is probably the most popular writer of children’s books in the west.

    • Nic S

      Charlie and the Glass Elevator terrified me for life….

      • circlefan

        hahaha… i was in grade school when i read those…dahl is awesome

        • mmm

          +1 Love Dahl’s works

    • Woyzeck

      Hells yes. Roald Dahl is brilliant. I would suggest to anyone here with fond memories of his children’s books that they read his short stories too – he was a man of varied talents and an imagination that was as devious as it was colourful.

  • Will Trame

    Tom Sawyer and Charlotte’s Web definitely.

  • Rob

    Grew up in Ireland so like many, I havent heard of a lot of these. But off the top of my head, books that should be here;

    Famous Five / Secret Seven
    The Hobbit (yes, its a childrens book)
    Roald Dahl (any, or rather ALL of them)

  • I had to read #2 as a kid. Absolutely hated it.

  • Baldguy

    I got my daughter to read Heinlein’s “The Door into Summer.” She thought it was creepy. Oh well….

    • badjokebob

      Door into summer isn’t one of his juveniles. It’s a great book (as is 95% of what he wrote) but not one of the Scribner juveniles.

  • Sistarose

    I want to give a shout out to the Phantom Toll Booth, best kids book I read as an adult. Also Dahl could be so magic, BFG, Danny Champion of the World, Charlie and the Choclate Factory, all those are good enough to make the list, and it was a good list.

  • ChuChu

    Take off The Hardy Boys and substitute Nancy Drew. Nobody bailed her out of anything!

  • Jackie

    Judy Blume wrote more children’s books than young adult. She really should have been included. C’mon, didn’t everyone read Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing? Also what about From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler?

    • Monica

      I agree…her books were must reads for any pre teen girl.

  • danny beene

    where the redfern grows?

    • Nic S

      I still have my copy of that book, and it truly is an awesome read.

    • Tracypants

      That book still makes me cry super hard

  • omg lemonade

    Asterix all the way, rofl number 10 (the hardy boys) southpark styles lmao

    • flgh

      Asterix should be #1 with Narnia at 2nd.

  • HJRO

    I am really glad harry potter was not on this list

    • Valecynos

      Naturally it wouldn’t be, as it was written and published quite some time after 1975. ;)

  • Trinity enigma

    I was getting very worried about Narnia so I was very pleased to see it at number 1. I absolutely love those books. I read them for the first tine when I was 11 and I’ve read them pretty much every year since. I remember realising I’d grown up when I knew who Aslan actually was…

  • Clocktower

    I really feel that at least one of Roald Dahl’s books should have been included on the list, but I’m happy to at least see Asterix got a mention.

  • Yay for The Three Investigators! I just loved them.

    I also agree, some Roald Dahl book had to be here.

  • kaye


    I was born after 1975 but I got to read these two series cause my brother had a collection. I would sneak up to his room, climb his bookshelf to borrow these. :P As a kid I was in love with Encyclopedia Brown!

    Most of these are for guys though? I’d personally include Madeleine. Beautiful artworks, and awesome rhymes. Oh, and the Adventures of Tin Tin.

  • alan

    Huck Finn is too advanced? It was a much better book than Tom Sawyer and not at all inaccessible for a pre-teen.

    And the Hardy books were ghost written by a staggering number of authors paid by a syndicate to churn them out. Basically if you were an author than needed some cash, you could crank one out.

  • Angelica

    The Sweet Valley High series got me through puberty. Not my proudest moments.

    • oouchan

      My sister read those….I had The Babysitters Club.

    • I read those, well , some of them

  • pperrin

    Thank you for including Asterix on this list. I was raised in America, but my father is French, and grew up with these stories. They read even better in French, although the English translations are generally decent. Just finished reading all 7 Chronicles of Narnia with my kids and it is amazing the different insights that you glean from them from reading them as an adult (I had read them several times in my youth).

  • kate

    Where is Beverly Cleary?

  • Greg

    I remember reading the Danny Dunn series when I was a kid.

    Another great book was called The Bears Of Blue River

  • BFXer

    Have read My Side of the Mountain about 20 times. Great, great book. Read most recently as an adult when I found it while moving cross country. Read it that afternoon, still great!!!

    • Oregonmade

      It is one of my favorites!

  • Ruthless tooth

    I don’t like the Narnia Chronicles too much. But the Mysterious Benedict’s Society should’ve been included here.

  • Emma

    No Enid Blyton? :( Maybe she’s just a British thing? Every kid here must read the Famous Five at one point.

    • Siany

      I was shocked that no one mentioned Enid Blyton! I was born in ’87 and I still loved all things Enid Blyton!

  • Pat

    Abarat. Everybody should read that. Go Candy!

  • Jobrag

    What no Biggles?

  • varma

    why we indians should read about the childhood of americans

    • Slappy

      That reminds me. Rudyard Kipling’s “Kim” should be on the list.

    • Yeah, I don’t see why anybody outside the US ‘needs’ to read about famous Americans. It’s typical of the ignorance and arrogance you see on many lists here on this site though – many people living in the US don’t seem to realise or care that other nationalities and cultures exist outside their own.

      • Gu kha

        I guess it’s due to its popularity and easy availability of these books in bookstores and school libraries. I have heard of most of the books in the list and read a few. Loved asterix & tin tin too. But what really got me into books were Enid Blyton , Hardy boys & Three investigators.
        Enjoyed the list.

  • oouchan

    Nancy Drew? Most of these are aggressive type and suited for young boys. I would say Tom Sawyer is a must, Charlotte’s Web and Narnia are good, too. The There are way better ones out there that would inspire kids to read. However, most of the older books just don’t have that same appeal that more modern books like Harry Potter and (shudder) Twilight have.
    Of course I could be jaded a bit…..I grew up on Stephen King.

    Neat idea for a list.

    • Valecynos

      Yeah, I moved from children’s books to Stephen King at 12 years old, so I probably grew up on him too. ;) Still, I was actually 21 before I’d ever read the Narnia series, and I loved it. Charlotte’s Web is a favorite of mine to this day, as well.

      One book that I would have included (had the years been just a tad later as the book was published in 1979) is The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. If you’ve never read it, you should. It is still quite entertaining to me, and I often recommend it to my young customers. (I work in a bookstore.)

  • James___UK

    Ah yes! I knew The Chronicles of Narnia would be on here, and at number 1 no less! I honestly haven’t read the other books on this list, so I have those to check out. But I have read all of the Narnia books and they are nothing short of fantastic, I’d recommend them to anyone

  • pat rice

    encyclopedia brown was the shit. a beloved part of my childhood

  • Shaneq

    Animals of farthing wood was enchanting and was any thing from Dahl

  • R’memberWhen

    Okay..I qualify as an ‘Old Fart’ … I remember reading quite a few on this list, and especially Robert A Heinlein. Some that spring to mind as ‘missing’ from the list – One book I remember when I was about 10-12 was Enid Blighton’s book ‘The Faraway Tree’. It basically introduced children to the possibilities of other ‘worlds’. Authors who’s books piqued my interest in SciFi were John Wyndham’s ‘The Day of the Triffids’, ‘The Sleepers of Mars’ and ‘The Midwich Cuckoos’ which was later made into a film called ‘The Children of the Damned’. Also missing were the great adventure stories of the 1950’s, such as Edgar Rice Burrows’ John Carter of Mars series and, more on an Earthly plane, there was W.E. Johns and the ‘Biggles’ series. Mmmmm….so many memories.

    • fendabenda

      Oh yes, John Carter of Mars… loved it! After exhausting my local library’s Tarzan books, I got into John Carter, thinking “well, these are by the same author, so they must be half decent”. Well, they were more than that, they were brilliant! I don’t want to re-read them as an adult, though… I’m afraid they might seem silly now, and I want to keep up my childhood first impression that they were great.

  • Armin Tamzarian

    Decent list. I didn’t know that many of them, but then again, this subject isn’t really suited for a universal list. The market for children’s books is huge, and because most of them are moralizing, they aren’t suited for every population group.

    I want to add, if I may, “Kruistocht in Spijkerbroek” (Crusade in Jeans) by Thea Beckman. It’s one of the best children’s books I’ve ever read.

    For those interested in Asterix, there’s also “Suske and Wiske” (translated into English as “Spike and Suzy” and “Willy and Wanda”). These are comics too, but a bit more wholesome and educational than the Asterix comics. Especially the older ones, written and drawn by Willy Vandersteen himself.

  • teacherman

    Anyone remember the Johnny Dixon books by John Bellairs “The Mummy, the Will, and the Crypt”, “The House with the Clock in its Walls”, “The Letter, the Witch, and the Ring”, “The Face in the Frost”?

    They were great, I may re read them tonight!

  • Bullamakanka

    I read most of the Asterix books in Australia as a kid, funniest stuff ever. Here in the US they’re harder to find, which is a shame.

    I liked the Tintin books, particularly for the extraordinary detail. I’m an illustrator myself, but far too lazy to accomplish that level of work.

  • cassie

    I have read Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys-even as a kid I wasn’t impressed. I never really read childrens books, I prefered books with more substance. However, when my sister was growing up, I did read some of the newer ones that she was getting-Lemony Snicket and the Magic Treehouse series. I remember it would annoy her because she would get a new one and I would read it in an hour and finish before she had a chance to start.

  • Nic S

    Great list today! I personally would like to add a book about childhood, but is definitely an adult read:

    Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury

    Also, for all those saying Roald Dahl should be included, I wholeheartedly agree, however, I put Roald Dahl books down after reading Charlie and the Glass Elevator (the sequel to Charlie and the Chocolate Factory). In the book Charlie goes into space, they see a space cruiser, and then aliens attack it. The aliens also spell out messages with their bodies, it’s terrifying I tell ya.

  • morimyc

    I miss Roald Dahl and the great Swedish author Astrid Lindgren. Lindgren wrote “The Brothers Lionheart”, “Ronia the Robber’s Daughter” “Emil of Lönneberga” and of course “Pippi Longstocking”. I would also include “Anne of Green Gables” by L. M. Montgomery and “Alice in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.

    • fendabenda

      Oh, that’s a big omission, now that you mentioned it. Astrid Lindgren should have been on this list, definitely. Also Tove Jansson, the maker of the Moomins.

  • timmar68

    Ah-Tom Swift! Anybody familiar with the word game called Tom Swifties? It’s hard to describe so I will give examples and maybe that will give everyone the idea of how it goes.

    “I dropped my toothpaste!” Tom said, crestfallen.

    “Smoking is not permitted here!” Tom fumed.

    “Like my new refrigerator”? Tom asked, cooly.

    “I’m definately going camping again.” Tom said, with intent.

    “I haven’t caught a fish all day!” Tom said, without debate.

    “I wonder what it was like being one of Zeus’s daughters?” Tom mused

    Get the idea? I love that game!

    • Maggot

      “This game blows.” Tom bellowed…

  • There are a few that I can recommend based on my childhood, too:

    Winnie the Pooh (and The House at Pooh Corner)

    The Hobbit

    The Odyssey (pretty racy, actually)

    The Three Musketeers

    The Count of Monte Cristo

    From the Earth to the Moon (or any of Jules Verne)

    The War of the Worlds

    The Martian Chronicles (Bradbury)

    I will just leave the list alone at this point. However, I can say that if you are making a comprehensive list of books every kid should read, these should be somewhere in it.

    • fendabenda

      The Odyssey isn’t a children’s book really, even if you CAN read it as a child. I don’t think you can fully grasp it, though, as a kid. It’s too.. ehm.. metaphorical, mmkay? :) Of course, it’s also a great adventure story, and that part of it you can understand, even as a child.

  • Breaux

    Good list. When I was a kid (Centuries ago), I liked the boys series books such as Rick Brant, Ken Holt, Roger Baxter, etc. They seemed to be better written than the Hardy Boys and TS, Jr., although I read those, too. Personally, any book that a kid will read is a pretty good book these days.

    • Dave

      Yes! Rick Brant and Ken Holt were far superior to Tom Swift Jr. (Even though I still have all 33 of them…..and all of the ones set in the future written in the 80s(pretty crappy)) and The Hardy Boys. Unlike TS, Rick Brant’s science was possible, and Ken and Sandy were much badder ass than Frank and Joe.

  • My Side Of The Mountain! I loved that book! And I hate reading! Which means that book must be REALLY good.

  • Slappy

    You actually made a list of books you enjoyed as a kid? Hold on, I have my grocery shopping list here… Hehehe. If these are your pre-pubescent favorites I’m guessing you hit pubertyi at about nine. But thanks to all those who mad4e me feel a little more normal by mentioning some books they read in that period that weren’t quite so youth-targeted.

    I was really expecting to find some Jules Verne and H.G. Welles. While you were reading Lewis’ “Narnia,” I was reading “That Hideous Strength.” And while I’ll admit to the occasional Uncle Scrooge comic book (maybe even Hot Stuff), I also read Huckleberry Finn and “To Kill a Mockingbird.” And I devoured The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Amazing Stories and a lot of other stuff that other commentors have mentioned.

    It’s not that I have anything agasinst the Hardy Boys or any of the others. I read some of that stuff, too. But these seem to be the works that shaped your life and led you to think in a certain way. I’m sure we are very different people…

  • Jesus

    What about “James an the Giant Peach”? and “Hatchet”?

    • Mooncroww

      I despise Hatchet. I read it at least three times in school, by force. It is strange because normally I love books about survival in the wild, but that book… I just can’t stand it.

      • Slappy

        Mooncroww, when you’re ASSIGNED a book, it becomes a chore. If you had run across the same book by accident and read it by choice rather than by force, you probably would have loved it.

  • BryanJ

    Nice list.
    The Call of the Wild is a great book.

  • No books from Enid Blyton?

    • Triptastic

      Oh my god!
      The magic faraway tree !!!!!!
      The best book ever, when I was a child!

  • Roxanne

    I had the Babysitters Little Sister series… It was like the Babysitters Club but for kids a little younger. Oh the shame.

    Then again, my favourite book series when I was 10-12 were Heartland and the Unicorns of Balinor.

    Of course, can’t forget Harry Potter. I grew up with those books <3

    • Mooncroww

      The interesting thing about this comment is that my cousin is named Roxanne and she and I loved Harry Potter. Still do actually. A lot. More than is probably normal. (Matthew Lewis and Emma Watson were invited to my wedding. No I’m not making it up.)

  • Mary

    What about the Laura Ingalls Wilder?

    • mom424

      An excellent series. Good call.

      • Valecynos

        Oh yes! That is a wonderful series of books!

  • Stu Miller’s Gust

    Thanks for the trip down memory lane. Funny, as I was passing by the children’s section in the local library, I thought about Encylopedia Brown, how much I looked forward to receiving them from this book-buying club at my elementary school. I’m about the same age as the author, here’s a few that didn’t make his list:
    The Marvelous Inventions of Alvin Fernald
    The Swamp Fox of the Revolution
    Banner in the Sky
    Call It Courage
    The Phantom Tollbooth (probably my all-time favorite, that and Tom Sawyer)
    21 Balloons
    Swiss family Robinson
    Harriet the Spy
    Charlie and the Chocolate factory

  • mom424

    Great premise, good inclusions. Many of these I read as a beginning reader; Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, Anne of Green Gables (a notable omission imo) etc. As a preteen though? The Diary of Anne Frank, Animal Farm, Flowers for Algernon, LOTR – seems I got over the cutesy stuff early. Don’t forget V.C. Andrews and her Toys in The Attic, Flowers in the Wind series – what’s could be more pre/early-teen than incest, child abuse and murder?

    • fendabenda

      Flowers for Algernon is good. I think that I went from the Three Investigators and Edgar rice Burroughs straight into Franz Kafka, Edgar Allan Poe and Nikolai Gogol as a kid. No cutesy stuff for me either. Apart from Astrid Lindgren, who I love still today. :)

  • John Doe

    Nice list. Read a few of these as kids. But have to say only read The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe as a child and not all of them.

  • Clarsax

    I’m surprised you listed Hardy Boys but not Nancy Drew. I haven’t heard of most of the books, but a lot of them seem aimed at boys.

    One of my favorites growing up was Paulus and the Acornmen, but maybe that one’s not well read enough.

  • Jon

    Hunger Games Trilogy?

    Maximum Ride Trilogy?

    Huck Finn???????

    Whadda eff people I’m a kid even

    • Name

      Read the intro again and you will know why those two series were not included, even though they are good.

    • Name

      Harry Potter was written after 1979, therefore it would not be included in this list, as the lister stated they were only books before that time.

  • Sirius

    Great list but I feel like it’s leaning a little in the boys’ direction.

    Also, where the heck is Harry Potter?

    • fendabenda

      Not on this list, luckily

  • Tristan Wilson

    Wheres the phantom toll booth?????

  • Aurora

    I would includ the Brian Jacques’ books, over 20 in the Redwall series alone. They are great to read aloud, have a refreshing straight forward message about coming together in community and fighting for the rights of the underdog and those threatened by Evil. Killing one’s enemy is neither glorified nor underplayed, just part of the warrior way. And there’s lots of good food!

  • Mooncroww

    I love The Three Investigators and The Mad Scientist Club. I always got the impression that I wasn’t supposed to enjoy them as I was a girl, but I did anyway. Narnia changed me. It is so beautiful. I agree with another poster that A Wrinkle in Time should have made the list. I read that one in grade school and it changed the way I looked at science. I also think Call it Courage should have made the list. My father made me read it when I was in fifth grade. I didn’t appreciate it then, but I do now. It one of those that stays with you even when you are an adult.

  • Mooncroww

    I just posted about Call It Courage! Awesome.

  • Claw

    Whaaaat??? No “Phantom Tollbooth?”” That’s horseshit.

  • jillian

    narnia for sure is good number 1

  • Charles

    I would add The Phantom Tollbooth to that list.

  • Marc

    Great list. I read and re-read the Homer Price and Mad Scientist books as a child. My wife actually bought them for me several years back. The Henry Reed books were also good ones.

  • just me

    OK, here goes:
    The Dark is Rising series, by Susan Cooper. One of my all-time favorites which I re-read frequently. Do not judge it by the movie. It brings a lot of Briton mythology into the present.
    The Ghost of Dibble Hollow by May Nickerson Wallace — I first read it in 3rd grade and it’s still a good re-read (and my daughter is older than I was when I first read it).
    The Forgotten Door, by Alexander Key- also from around age 9 and I still re-read it. — In retrospect, it is a story about tolerance and accepting those who are different.
    A Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith– the original novel, not the movie version.
    Rod Serling’s the Twilight Zone: The Ghost of Ticonderoga…, by Walter B. Gibson– I remember thinking how realistic these short stories seemed even though they were about the supernatural. Some would keep me awake at night, wondering…
    The Lincoln Hunters by Wilson Tucker
    The Little White Horse, and Linnets and Valerians by Elizabeth Goudge – more for girls– so sue me :-)
    Ivanhoe– I first read it in 9th grade, so does it count?
    Time and Again, by Jack Finney. Not sure if it’s a kid’s book, but in high school it was great. About a man in NYC who goes back in time by recreating details from the past.
    Guns in the Heather by Lockhart Amerman– mystery with humor; I re-read it still; from around 5th or 6th grade.
    Huckleberry Finn

    And as others have already said:
    A Wrinkle in Time
    The Hobbit
    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
    The Count of Monte Cristo and The Three Musketeers
    To Kill a Mockingbird
    Little House series– Laura Ingalls Wilder

    That’s all that come to mind off hand. I’m sure there are more…

  • Magnumto

    Wizard of Oz was one I enjoyed in my youth, plus many of the other books mentioned here. Asterix, though – sounds like I’ll have to check into that.

  • kittenkats

    The Neverending Story? Where? I second The Little Prince. Oh, and The Secret Garden needs to be on there.

  • Fernando Rodriguez


    • Kea718


  • Marianne

    The Faraway Tree!

  • patternt

    Hatchet? Dogsong? Where are Gary Paulsen’s books?

  • Kal

    Cue For Treason, Harold and the Purple Crayon, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

  • Mae

    First-Judy Blume & Roald Dahl ABSOLUTELY should have been included for their inherent awesomeness. Second-Am I the only one who remembers the stories about Mrs. PiggleWiggle? I was so addicted to those books! I actually re-read one of them in my early twenties, and still absolutely adored it.

  • Ann Nony

    Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? Missing? Really? Other than that, I remember most of these books, even the Homer one. My Side of the Mountain was my favorite. OH could have lumped Hardy Boys/Nancy Drew and Bobbsey Twins together, similar vein, but much less “gender specific” for those of us old farts! Thanks for the list!

  • thorlite

    Did no one read the Nicholas series? think they were originally French? anyone know?

  • Katelyn F

    What no Nancy Drew? When I was young I loved those books and still do today. But great list otherwise.

  • M

    What happened to Nancy Drew

  • Johnny 5

    My personal favorite, I read when i was 10 or so, “THE ENORMOUS EGG” by Oliver Butterworth. I still, some 40 years later, dream of having a pet triceratops!

  • Rorschachinstein

    Really angry “of mice and men” isn’t on here.

  • Etor

    Ok. Here’s my two cents. What about the Velveteen Rabbit? It’s an oldy but a goody

  • billy_gunn23

    as a child, my favorites are the novels of sir arthur conan doyle

  • subhayan

    Hardy Boys in the main list and Enid Blytons in notable omissions?! And was I the only one who missed Tintin?

    Am sorry, but I do not quite agree.

    • subhayan

      on and forgot … not one Roald Dahl either?

  • Triptastic

    Did anyone read The enchanted wood, and the Magic faraway tree series by Enid Blyton??
    These stories have stayed with me all these years, they were truly magical , I would get lost in them as a child.

  • Ohtori

    Why has no mentioned the Oz Series?

  • Rick

    I remember as a little boy reading all the nancy drew books and wishing i could be just like her.

  • I really must insist that people read these, it’s pure genius!



    and Mothstorm (in this order)

  • Christine Vrey

    Personally I have only read no: 15, 14 and 13, but then again I was Born WAY after 1975… I also loved Tin Tin and I also agree that Roald Dahl should have been included, James and the Giant peach is always a winner.

    When I was in Primary we had to read a book called “I am David”. It was probably one of the best books I have ever read!! so if you get a chance, it is about a boy that escapes a concentration camp in Germany and his escape to his family… GREAT STORY

  • Spengler

    NARNIA? Are you joking? Narnia is the product of a mediocre Tolkien wannabe, filled with religious crap and boring as hell.

  • how about Carolyn Keene’s “Nancy Drew” it’s a classic book (actually novels) like Hardy Boys. These books are my fave! ^_^

  • peter2dc

    apart from numbers 15, 14, 13 and 1 probably a list of most unread books I have seen! ok, maybe its just me, but no Jungle book, Charlie and the choclate factory, James and the giant Peach, The Famous five…just to name but a few!

  • Elemarth

    I’m amazed how many I hadn’t read, considering how much I did read as a child. I chose not to read the Hardy Boys, though.
    My Side of the Mountain really affected me, too. It was one of the most major books for me before I was a pre-teen.

  • Doug

    Where the Red Fern Grows-

  • Craig in Portland

    Am I the only one who read the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series as a kid?

  • Kiroux

    Not sure why “Childhood of Famous Americans” is on this list? Very ethnocentric and Westernised of you! Instead I would’ve put in Winnie the Pooh (great life lessons for children) and all books by Roald Dahl! Plus as someone mentioned “The Hobbit” is an excellent book (plus it’s written by a South African … bit of variety), even though I don’t know if it qualifies as a children’s book.

  • khatzeye

    Great list. Just to add a few I enjoyed reading as a child:

    1. The hatchet by Gary Paulsen

    2. The Mysterious Island by Jules Verne

    3. To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee

    4. Forever by Judy Blume

    I was an advanced reader so I’m not sure if these are children’s books per-say but I enjoyed them all around the age of 10

  • Becca

    I’d like to see this same topic but covered by a woman. Some overlap, I’m sure, but many differences.

    • Valecynos

      I second that! Hey, Becca, maybe you and I should write one. ;) Seems like a whole lot of “boys” books on this list (although I several were childhood favorites of mine, as well.)

    • Kea718

      I agree. In fact I was kind of disappointed with this list because it was so masculine.

  • Edvado

    Thank you so much for including the Tom Swift Jr. books. I read every one I could put my hands on as a child, and loved them all. I’m curious though why your picture is from the earlier Tom Swift books.

  • Bob

    When I read the title of the list, I was hoping to see “My side of the Mountain”, and I got my wish. Simply an amazing book.

  • Amy

    A Wrinkle in Time and The Phantom Tollbooth are missing for sure, but all in all, good stuff.

  • pandorah_mc

    Winnie the Pooh, The Jungle Book, The Hobbit, The Secret Garden…lmao @ Encyclopedia Brown’s highwaters :)

  • T Osser

    What’s all this sh1t! Where the fook is The Hobbit????

  • JimboRimbo

    Nonsense! In no particular order here are the top:

    The Willard Price Adventure Series
    Roald Dahl (any and all)
    Tom Sawyer (I’ll give you that)

    Now f*ck off!

  • Suna

    I read my side of the mountain in 4th or 5th grade. I thought it was an amazing book. Even now I find it great.

  • Raz

    Forgot bout Hpme Price; the doughnut machine? 3 Investigators were pretty good. Gotta agree about Wrinkle and Tintin

  • rr

    Just want to plug a series that I LOVED as a kid — the Great Brain books (especially “Me and My Little Brain”), by John D. Fitzgerald.

  • rr

    Just want to plug a series I LOVED as a kid — the Great Brain books (especially “Me and My Little Brain”) by John D. Fitzgerald.

  • Damn no Choose You Own Adventure Books! I still love those at 26.

    • Valecynos

      Oh yeah! I LOVED those books. I just got one of my friend’s daughters to start reading one of them. Do you know they have them for even younger kids now? Very cool and lots of fun to read!

  • Kelly

    Anne of Green Gables???

  • MeDan

    I wasn’t gong to comment any more since my reading experience seemed so different than those of the other people here. But enough people have mentioned my own most fondly remembered books that I will mention one book. I read Charles Finney’s “The Circus of Dr. Lao” when I was about nine. It was truly amazing and opened my mind to all sorts of possibilities. I loved the Hound of the Hedges and I loved the sad Appollonius and I was fascinated by the conversation with the sea serpent. Some might find it a couple of parts a bit racy for today’s kids, but I would heartily recommend it to anyone of any age. It is truly a wonderful book.

    My favorite Swiftie:

    “Today I am a man!” Tom ejaculated.

  • blazerelf

    in my opinon either Adventures of Tom Sawyer, uncle tom’s cabin or jack in the bean stalk should have won, soo classic

  • gav

    Oh thank god!!
    A list that clicks with my age group!!!

    Disappointed that Danny Dunn didn’t make the cut, but Homer Price is a good substitute.

    And I’m glad I’m not the only one who would kick himself in the butt for not seeing the answers in “Encyclopedia Brown”, although there were times I nailed it but it seemed too easy to be “the” clue.

  • Kat

    Could you do a simple Google search before you put in an author’s name? It’s Judy Blume.

  • Yafeellucky?

    Tom swift!!! I used to love those books! Along with the hardy boys they were always a staple at our library. Good times, good list.

  • Leslie McFarlane

    Hardy Boy – “A staple of American boyhood.” You do realize this series was created by a Canadian…………… eh?

  • I’m not trying to troll, but, in my honest opinion Mark Twain is a severely overrated author. I have read a few of his books and they are not the American classics they are made out to be. They often seem, to me, to be words on pages just for the sake of words. I feel that he often rambles past an apex, never captivates and never makes me want to keep reading.

  • Irene

    I started on Heinlein’s Red Planet, and it made a rabid fan of me.

    Great list!

  • Oregonmade

    I always enjoyed “The Happy Hollisters” and “The Bobbsey Twins”. Such nostalgia!

  • Cate

    ‘The Phantom Tollbooth’ is missing from this list. I STILL read that book as an adult. I was sure it would make the list!

    Also, Roald Dahl’s books, ‘The Hobbit’, and the books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

  • Eugene

    I think the Enchanted Wood was pretty excellent too.

    • Tock


      I can’t believe they haven’t made them into a trilogy of movies yet!

  • Nick

    I am ashamed to admit that MOST of this list is new to me, but what a great shopping list for my grandsons! Really happy to see Encyclopedia Brown mentioned, I always viewed his stories as “practice” for Sherlock Holmes!
    And, MSOTM was first shared with me by my fifth-grade teacher, who would read aloud to us from this amazing book; made me want to know who Thoreua actually WAS!

  • Stuart

    Magic Faraway Tree?

  • Jinggle

    Never mind I’ll never read.

  • freckledsmile99

    The Little Prince needs to be here and even better if you can read it in French. Also, Curious George, Nancy Drew and any book by Paul Zindel!

  • Cal

    Some of my favorite books as a kid were “The Moffats” by Eleanor Estes and illustrated by Louis Slobodkin. I remember my third grade classroom had them in our little “library corner”. I read them over and over.

  • Heydon

    Where’s Tintin!

  • lostsok

    While I LOVED The Three Investigators, I would put, at #1, Willard Price’s “Adventure” series featuring two brothers, Hal and Roger Hunt, and the adventures they have with their father (who collects rare creatues for zoos around the world). Exciting, informative, and wholesome in a way that never feels geeky. Amazing this series hasn’t been adapted for Disney.

  • OMG! Homer Price, such a De ja Vue! havent seen that in 35yrs! totally forgot I loved that book!

  • florin dia

    No Jules Verne?

  • Mabel

    I’ve read a bunch of these, but not all, so I bookmarked the page so I could look for the rest. I love hunting down books I want to read or read a long time ago. So far I’ve found three from my high school years, and one of them I couldn’t even recall the title or the author.

    I liked the Herbert Yadon books, and the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series.

  • kea718

    I was a bit disappointed with this list. Many of these books are aimed for boys (which I understand considering it was most likely written by a male), but I admit as a child I couldn’t relate to those books. Here’s a few books I would have on my list (I definitely agree with many of the suggestions posted in the comments):

    The Boxcar Children series (I’m actually surprised nobody mentioned this)
    Anne of Green Gables
    Wrinkle in Time
    Lord of the Flies (another surprising lack of acknowledgment)
    Any Roald Dahl book
    Black Beauty

    That’s all I can think of right now.

  • Erick

    I’m getting major clue around number 10

  • scha

    where is DIARY OF A WIMPY KID???

  • C Fold Paper Hand Towels
  • Darlene R. League

    Thank you for including the Three Investigator series of books. I loved them as a child and even have the retired copy of The Green Ghost from my elementary school. I worked part time for Books-A-Million for a couple of years and was amazed NO ONE had ever heard of them. Thanks for keeping one of my best memories alive.

  • Dynomed

    Follow My Leader (1957) by James B Garfield is the story of a child blinded by an accident. Although a very easy adult read, I still remember the book’s emotional impact when I first read this in the late 60s (I was 8, so that should qualify for fartness). The main character, Jimmy, must struggle not only with normal developmental issues, but also with the difficulties of being sightless. This story revealed to me a small part of the world of the handicapped. I was profoundly moved by this character, even as a child, and perhaps this story motivated me to my profession (I am a professor of nursing). Except for vernacular, I believe even today’s kids might relate to the characters.

    Good list!

    • John Lazarus

      God, I remember reading that book. I remember Jimmy at the school for the blind, and the teacher (or whatever he was) teling Jimmy, “Watch out for that sharp corner there.” Jimmy replies, “You could really hurt yourself on that!” Teacher: “That’s why I told you it was there.” J: “So why doesn’t someone put some padding on it?” T: “Son, the world ain’t gonna pad its corners for you just Because you’re blind.”
      I was so proud later when he grew up, got his sight back, and became President.

  • Jim

    Where’s The Hobbit? It deserves to be on here, surely
    Not read many of these as they seem to be mostly american but Asterix is awesome, needs to be higher up though

  • scott

    this has probably been mentioned before me, but what about The Hobbit?

  • “ive got a raging clue” lol

    • LOL WUT

      That’s what happens when you smell a red herring…

  • Thanks for producing this list and sparking some nostalgic debate!

    You can tell the list was written by a fella, I haven’t read most of the books (and have always been a fairly prolific reader) but maybe because my taste was always for something a little more escapist. I would’ve liked it to be a little more unisex so I have to go along with the other Roald Dahl fans. You could fill up most of the entries with just his books, and they appeal to boys & girls. Kudos also for the Wizard of Oz, easy to forget it was a fantastic book.

    Oh, I’m so glad someone mentioned I am David (Anne Holm), my favourite book ever as a child. I find it a bit odd generally when adults read kids books but I had to re-read that recently when I was digging out books for my daughter. The description of the orange in itself was genius. Far superior to The Boy in the Striped Pajamas.

    I would also recommend Oscar Wilde’s short stories, e.g. The Happy Prince, The Selfish Giant. Story telling at it’s finest.

    After seeing the Roosevelt book, hoping as a Brit they don’t make a series of books about Margaret Thatcher as daughter likes to sleep after reading.

  • dalia

    What about:
    Scott O’Dell’s Island of the Blue Dolphins?
    Harriet the Spy
    ANY Judy Blume book
    ANY Ramona and Beezus
    ANY Roald Dahl
    Enid Blyton


  • Jesika

    Can someone tell me why The Little Prince isn’t on here?

  • Vini

    phantom toll booth

  • Kirsten

    You really should change the title of this to 15 preteen books I loved to read; one, clearly this list is directed at the boy folk (no need to deny it…most girls were not reading these books as preteens and kudos to the ones who have) so it is a bit biased; two, the reason I say preteen and not kid is because when I hear kid, I think of Dr. Suess and Shel Silverstein and I could go into my daughters room and list off quite a number of books, but I digress; three, I feel no need that a child NEEDS to read more than half of these books, if he or she feels the urge to read them, wonderful! But reading isn’t about needing, it’s about wanting to. I feel as if you are told you NEED to do something, especially in this day and age with computers and video games and television, you are less likely to either enjoy yourself or even do it!

    In the end, tl;dr? – biased blogger is biased.

  • Jennifer

    No Phantom Tollbooth?

  • Tock

    No room for the works of Roald Dahl in there?

  • rachel723

    I’m assuming this is a list geared towards boys?

    There are so many classics with strong female heroines that are missing here – Little Women, Nancy Drew, the Secret Garden, etc!

  • JennP

    I was born in the early 80’s, so most of the series you mentioned I am unfamiliar with. I shall be sure to look them up the next time I visit the library.

    I suggest a renaming of this list to reflect the fact that–for the most part–only boys would have been given/encouraged to read the titles on the list.

    I realize you stated up front that only books that you had read would appear on this list, but I was disappointed to see not one book aimed towards young girls of the age. I think the differences in tones would have been fascinating to discuss.

  • Jay Rookwood

    A few of my favourites when I was growing up:

    Roald Dahl’s books, especially “Witches”, “George’s Marvellous Medicine” and “Danny, Champion of the World”.

    Monica Edwards’ “The White Riders”.

    Colin Dann’s “The Beach Dogs” and “Farthing Wood” books.

    Beatrix Potter’s “Peter Rabbit” books.

    Alison Utley’s “Little Grey Rabbit” books.

    Herge’s “Tintin” series.

    Paul Gallico’s “Manxmouse”.

  • The Little Prince is not on here. this list is invalid.

  • Ki-Tae

    I was hoping to see some Roald Dahl in this list…

  • gaga85

    Where’s Roald Dahl in this list? His work is epic!

  • Neezi

    Comments are a funny thing.. Before I read all the ones posted I have my opinion, by the 12th comment Im not sure cos I see arguements from both sides. Then there are the comments where people are gettin so emotional! makes me all :) :( :O Then there are those comments from people who have read all the books mentioned and all I have read is Asterix (btw, Vitalstatistix… in a word.. genius). I start off all “I have so much to say”, by the end “not so pushed”. So much goes on (well for me) with regards to the “mental process associated with commenting”… Im jus saying, its a complicated, emotional matter! The above isn’t even the half!!

  • cassie

    How is The Hobbit not on here? That was the only book I was definently expecting to find on here.

  • Carmen

    Nancy Drew should have been on this list.

  • Maggie

    Bridge to Terabithia!

  • TheRamenBoi

    ANNE OF GREEN GABLES – too bad this book didn’t make the list – c”,) –

  • monchy

    no Roal Dahl? At all? Or Alice in Wonderland?

  • oh the HARDLY boys are making me have a raging clue.

  • dripable service

    Extremely well written read!!

  • Lyndsey

    W-What about Harry Potter? D:

  • Mike

    what, no Choose Your Own Adventure?

  • Nulled Scripts

    This definitely makes great sense to anyone!!!

  • what about sideways stories from wayside school? that book was a lot of fun to read.

  • eternallordzer0

    What about Eoin Colfer’s “Artemis Fowl” series?

  • You are a terrible person, and everything that happens to you is your fault.

  • Anupam

    If you have added Asterix, you surely should have also added The Adventures of Tintin too!!! Come ON!!!!

    As a huge Tintin fan I m truly appalled!!!! How could your list be complete with mentioning Tintin!!

  • Lee451

    I have read #s: 15, 13,11, 8, 5, 2. The list left out: Beverly Cleary’s books (Henry Huggins, where art thou?), A Wrinkle in Time, and many others. These books and other gave me my love of reading, and I still read them now at age 51. I bought these through the Scholastic Book Club, which I fear has been infected by Liberals. They demanded Beverly Cleary be pulled because “there are no minorities in her books”. I never saw her characters as white, I saw them as kids growing up in the 1940’s or so. I fear the rest of these books would not pass muster in today’s public schools as they all revolve around white kids. Children don’t see the race in children’s books, only guilty white liberals and separatist black scholars do. And the poor kids are the ones who liss out.

  • Lee451

    I have read #s: 15, 13,11, 8, 5, 2. The list left out: Beverly Cleary’s books (Henry Huggins, where art thou?), A Wrinkle in Time, and many others. These books and other gave me my love of reading, and I still read them now at age 51. I bought these through the Scholastic Book Club, which I fear has been infected by Liberals. They demanded Beverly Cleary be pulled because “there are no minorities in her books”. I never saw her characters as white, I saw them as kids growing up in the 1940’s or so. I fear the rest of these books would not pass muster in today’s public schools as they all revolve around white kids. Children don’t see the race in children’s books, only guilty white liberals and separatist black scholars do. And the poor kids are the ones who miss out.

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  • backlinks

    That is very educative article…

  • Meezo

    Wait, where’s Alice In Wonderland. I feel that it should be here too!

  • Meezo, I think that Alice In Wonderland might prove a little too challenging for kids. It’s a difficult text and probably wouldn’t make a whole lot of sense to children.

  • Bookwormgirl

    Hmm.. The outsiders should be added here

  • Feamelwen

    Where are books by A. Lindgren?.. !!

  • Suze

    Danny the Champion of the World-Roald Dahl
    The Fantastic Mr Fox-Roald Dahl
    The Places You’ll go-Dr Suess
    The Faraway Tree-Enid Blighton

  • suze

    The Outsiders by SE Hinton also, “nothing gold can stay ponyboy”:)

  • John Lazarus

    “Tom Sawyer, Abroad”. Tom, Huck, & Jim go around the world in a balloon. One of the bits I remember is the three arguing about what state they were flying over by looking at a map of the USA they had…I think they figured they were still in Mississippi and not the next state because the terrain below was still green and not yet pink.

    “Never Cry Wolf ” by Farley Mowat

    “Shane” by Jack Schaefer

    “The Swiss Family Robinson” by Johann Eyes

    “The Call of the Wild” by Jack London

    “Dangerous Journey” by Laszlo Hamori. Two boys flee Communist Hungary trying desperately to reach the Swedish Legation in Austria.

    “The Little Ark” by Jan de Hartog. Two kids in Holland survive a storm that breaks open the dikes, aboard a little houseboat with a menagerie of critters. But first they take refuge in the belfry of a church; I remember one scene where the boy is idly tearing pages out of a hymnbook while the girl is crying. He says, “Your nose is all snotty. Here, have a hymn.”

    • John Lazarus

      That should be “The Swiss Family Robinson” by Johann WYSS! Damn that autocorrect!

      I also liked the Hardys growing up…light reading. Really full of stereotypes, in retrospect.

      I also liked Alan Dean Foster’s “Star Trek Log” series. I never saw the animated series, though.

      And lest I forget, one of my faces that I still have tucked away…
      “Otis G. Firefly’s Phantasmagoric Almanac” by Tom Eaton.

  • John Lazarus

    “How To Eat Fried Worms” by Thomas Rockwell

  • Dan

    Where’s The Giver? I think it’s another book that needs to be read at different times in life

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  • Johnny

    how many are missed of this list?? The Famous Five series by Enid Blyton, Dany The Champion Of The World by Roald Dahl. The Shivers series (many authers)
    I think the list needs re-visiting!

  • Gene

    I don’t know if anyone mentioned this book yet (most likely has, but The Golden Compass series is probably my favorite “children’s” book! I quote children only because of its slightly mature content on philosophy and religion, but is still considered a children’s book for the most part (much like The Chronicles of Narnia, which I’ve also enjoyed as a child and even now.) Also, I’m really sad my American education has not required most of these readings, but useless ones like The Giant Peach! I’m partially kidding, but it’s my opinion and I’m entitled to it.

  • John son of John

    Yay I love books!!!

  • Phyna

    LOVE the Three Investigators!! my mother was an avid collector and found most
    of the earlier books at garage sales and I was always looking for them, you did leave off the “Lad” books by Albert Payson Terhune but I suppose they aren’t really kids books