10 Outstanding Classics You Should Read Your Kids

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There’s a good chance you read a lot of these classic stories when you were a kid. Some books just never go out of style. I still read them to kids today, and they still really enjoy them.  

Here is a list of my favourite books that I loved as a child, and plan on reading to my own children years down the road.  

The Beatrix Potter Collection 

Beatrix Potter has a special place in my heart because my entire room as a child was themed after her books.  

What makes them great:  

Loveable animals – The pages come alive as all the distinct personalities form a little community. 

Exceptional vocabulary – Expand your child’s vocabulary with more grown up sounding dialogue than many other children’s stories, while still capturing your child’s attention with fun stories and beautiful pictures.  

Charming settings – I love seeing the British countryside come alive with little creatures sharing their stories 

Collectibles – Because Beatrix Potter has been around so long and has unique charm, there are many beautiful collectibles out there to enhance your child’s love of the stories.  

The Dr. Seuss Collection 

I am continually finding new Dr. Seuss books that I hadn’t even read as a child (and I had quite the collection). There are so many, and they’re all so good! I have yet to find a child who doesn’t enjoy being read Dr. Seuss’ books.  

What makes them great: 

Fun to read – Theodor Geisel’s many fun sounds and unique rhymes make each book a delightful reading adventure for both readers and listeners alike.  

Teach kids rhythm and rhyming – Give kids a sense of rhythm and rhyme with silly poetry and hilarious images featured in the Dr. Seuss books. 

Lessons about caring for and respecting others – Despite their silliness, most of Dr. Seuss’ books actually have a strong undercurrent promoting kindness and thoughtfulness towards others and towards the environment.  

Fairy Tales  

We certainly can’t let this list go without including some REALLY classic stories! There’s a reason fairy tales are still popular today. They have a timeless sort of quality which allows them to be enjoyed from generation to generation. 

What makes them great: 

Beautiful stories – Let’s face it, we all love dreaming of castles and dragons and beautiful princesses. I’ll be the first to admit I do. 🙂  

Adventures – Kids love adventures! Some adults love adventures. When we can’t go on a real adventure, it’s nice to imagine one by reading a book about grand adventures and far away places.  

Bravery – What a wonderful quality to strive for – especially in today’s safety-conscious world. Bravery is a re-occuring theme in many fairy tales.  

Noble deeds – What good is it to be brave if you won’t use it for the good of others? Fortunately, many fairy tales feature brave people doing noble deeds.  

The Pokey Little Puppy  

Who doesn’t love a story about a handful of cute puppies out frolicking together?  

What makes it great: 

Sweet story – The Pokey Little Puppy is a simple little story about a puppy who needs to learn how to mind his mother. Any child can relate to the message, while enjoying the story in itself.  

Cute puppy – Though admittedly the Pokey Little Puppy is the naughty character in the story, he still manages to capture the heart of dog lovers everywhere.  

Vintage charm – The phrasing of the book echoes times gone past, while still being relateable to children today. The pictures are charmingly vintage as well.  

The Little Engine That Could 

Not gonna lie, whenever I’m attempting a difficult task, I still sometimes mutter to myself under my breath: “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” 

What makes it great: 

Perseverance – This book is all about having an “I can” attitude, even when the going gets tough. Teach children the value of perseverance and getting the task done. 

Transportation lovers – Do I have any readers with kids who love wheels? For some kids it’s trucks, for others it’s race cars. For me, it was trains. Satisfy the transportation lover in your family with a story featuring trains.  

Caring for others – Has anybody noticed that this story alludes to the Good Samaritan parable of the Bible? Let the storybook trains model how to care for others – even when nobody else is willing to help.  

Are You My Mother? 

I have to read this book on repeat because once I start, the children always want to hear it again and again.  

What makes it great: 

Interesting sounds – Baby bird goes through a variety of creatures before he find his mother. A good dramatic reading should highlight the differences between the creatures he meets, and the different sounds they make.  

Repetitive question – If there is one thing children love, it’s predictability. Let them join in the story with you and repeat the question asked by baby bird: Are you my mother?  

Board book and full version available – Little ones can have trouble sitting still through longer books. Fortunately, both this book and the next one on the list have easy-to-find shortened versions with board pages so young toddlers can enjoy them too!  

Mr Brown Can Moo, Can You?  

This has to be one of the most fun books in the world to read. Mr. Brown has a huge repertoire of sounds he likes to make – are you brave enough to make them all for your kids?  

What makes it great: 

Children will love imitating the sounds – So many unusual sounds in one book! You children will love repeating them all after you.  

Rhyming makes fun to read – This book flows beautifully and draws the reader along.  

The Eric Carle Collection 

These books come in all kinds of fun designs, from The Very Hungry Caterpillar’s stacking pages, to The Very Busy Spider’s touch-and-feel web. 

What makes them great:

Counting, animal sounds, science – No need to be overtly educational! Just whip out one of Eric Carle’s great books for a quick and enjoyable lesson on a variety of simple subjects.  

Bright graphics – Carle’s pictures are uniquely made with layers of coloured tissue paper! They are bright and beautiful for kids and parents alike.  

Nursery Rhymes 

These are the absolute best weapon against random meltdowns in public places. With enough nursery rhymes in your repertoire, you can keep kids entertained while out and about for more than 20 minutes!  

What makes them great: 

Familiar tunes/rhymes – Many nursery rhymes are well known across countries and continents (though you also get different ones from place to place). Many of the same rhymes have been used for centuries! 

Rich history – Looking into the history of nursery rhymes opens up a whole world of culture and knowledge from eras long past. Many nursery rhymes talk about specific historic events. It’s like giving your kids a bite-sized history lesson!  

Fun to memorize – Unlike many stories that are too long for children to memorize by themselves, nursery rhymes are easy to memorize by nature (as they had an oral tradition), so young children can actually “read” their nursery rhyme books to themselves.  

The Winnie the Pooh Collection  

Of course this list of classic stories wouldn’t be complete without old Pooh Bear! This timeless character and his well-known friends have traversed the globe in the form of books, movies, and beloved stuffed animals.   

What makes them great:  

Loveable characters – Forgetful Pooh, timid Piglet, energetic Tigger, sad Eeyore, wise Owl (open for debate), obsessive-compulsive Rabbit… These memorable characters continue to charm and amuse children throughout the decades with their fun antics and tricky situations. 

Imagination – The stories of Winnie the Pooh are all about Christopher Robin’s excellent imagination, bringing to life his stuffed toys and creating an entire world in which he plays with them. Inspire your own children to use their imagination and create their own characters and stories.  

Friendship – At the heart of A.A. Milne’s books is the story of friendship, woven throughout the many characters in the Hundred Acre Woods. Let them model the meaning of friendship for your child as you read the stories out loud to them.  


There are so many more great classic stories out there, I might have to make a second list! Let me know in the comments what you would like to see on the next one.  

[read 7 Proven Methods to Master Reading Out Loud]

Ten classic stories that have stood the test of time and should still be read to kids today. | Mom but not a Mom

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