There’s a very good reason children are still reading these books decades after they were published. They’re very good…
1. Charlotte’s Web (E.B. White)
More than 50 years on, this charming story of the resourceful spider who saves a small pig from certain death by cleverly spinning words in a web still feels fresh. And it has taught millions of young kids valuable lessons about friendship.
2. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)
The timeless tales of Winnie, a self-professed ‘bear of little brain’, have been winning hearts of all ages since 1926. Each story is funny. Every character is a winner. The simple line drawings are perfect. And anyone – child or adult – who doesn’t cry at the lovely, bittersweet ending must have a heart of stone.
3. The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle)
With more than 30 million copies sold, this book is irresistible to children. It’s the simple tale of a caterpillar who eats its way through all kinds of tasty tidbits before pupating and emerging as a butterfly. But the genius lies in the distinctive collage illustrations, ‘eaten’ holes in the pages and simple yet instructive text. (Trivia fact: It has been endorsed by the Royal Entomological Society.)
4. The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams)
Who could resist this 1922 story of a neglected toy who gradually becomes his owner’s favorite, only to then face the very real prospect of ending up in a fire? Filled with dramatic ups and downs, it’s a gripping read for kids – and the ending is lovely.
5. The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein)
‘Once there was a tree…and she loved a little boy.’ The tale of the tree who literally gives everything of herself has divided critics since it was published 50 years ago. Is it a tribute to loving generosity or does it merely celebrate selfishness? Easily the most controversial story on this list, it is nonetheless fascinating and beautifully illustrated.
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Find out Why Books Matter for Children.