1 Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree teaches a valuable lesson about giving and taking through the endearing story of a tree and boy’s relationship throughout the years. Is endless giving a virtue or will it lead to one’s downfall? This story has multiple interpretations of this question, and what it entails, which makes the story even more worthy of the top spot.
2 Don Freeman’s Corduroy is invaluable in teaching children that one with flaws is worth friendship and love anyways. Corduroy’s missing button is symbolic of the ways in which humans and all creatures fall short of perfection, yet a young girl finds the teddy bear worthy of her friendship and purchases him. Lisa’s eventual sewing of a new button onto Corduroy also presents the theme that friends can fill the missing pieces of each other’s character. Such powerful themes land Corduroy at number two.
3 Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are represents a balance of childhood anger and imagination with parental love. Max’s tantrums around the house represent a young child’s frustrations, but his imagination of the Wild Things represents a barrier most children won’t cross. Max’s return to his bedroom after visiting the Wild Things to a hot meal from his parents represents just how crucial love is for young children to thrive and develop into adults. This story takes the third spot for such powerful themes around the importance of parental love to a child.
4 Dr. Seuss’ Green Eggs and Ham is a wonderful story on how one won’t learn what they enjoy without going outside their comfort zone. Seuss’ story gets additional props for trying to get young children to understand that attempting to eat new foods or try new activities can lead to positive changes. Dr. Seuss could have many of his books make this list, but the sheer recognition and wordplay of this book deserves the fourth spot.
5 Laura Numeroff’s If You Give a Mouse a Cookie rounds out the list as a perfect book for children to learn that actions have consequences. The cause and effect narrative of the story is perfect for young children, as they understand through Numeroff’s writing that one should be considerate of their actions. Numeroff deserves bonus points for the creative storyline with a mouse, and her book fits very well into the number five spot.
Zach Zahrt’s Top 5 Children Books:
5.) Boxcar Children
A classic coming of age story, The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner. This story follows the Alden family, characters who have stayed in the hearts of young readers for years: Henry, Jessie, Violet, Benny, and of course Watch. Following the death of their parents these children are constantly on the run until they discover a new home (spoiler: it’s a boxcar). The novel is a combination of genres, part family story part adventure/survival. The recommended reading age for these books, 8-10.
4.)Magic Tree House
Similar to Bill Nye the Science Guy, the Magic Tree House series (written by Mary Pope Osborne) taught kids to love history and science without even knowing it. These novels follow siblings, Jack and Annie, through different periods in time. Educational topics depicted through the series include: art, paleontology, mythology, zoology, astronomy, and much more. In this time traveling tree house, Jack and Annie hurl through time and science in order to carry out tasks for the famous wizard Merlin. As well as entertaining children, the book also entices them to pursue a childhood dream into a career. This book is meant for children ages (6-9).
3.)Where the Sidewalk Ends
In almost every elementary level library you will find this white covered book and for good reason. This collection of poems is often the first exposure to poetry for an American child. Most famous of the large collection are memorable pieces such as: “Sick”, “Needles and Pins”, and of course “Where the Sidewalk Ends”. This collection is suitable for children ages (4-10)
Yes folks, you knew Doctor Seuss’ work had to make an appearance some time or another. In this children’s book, a small orange creature acts as the protector of the trees, attempting to hinder the deforestation occuring in the industrial manufacturing of clothing. The Lorax is not only an entertaining read, it also has a sound moral that instills knowledge relating to the consequences of deforestation, pollution, and industrialization. Recommended reading level for this “Seussian”™ classic includes ages four to ten.
1.)Harry Potter Series
The first experience with literature in general I (and probably many other 2000s babies) ever had was my parents and siblings reading aloud this J.K. Rowling book series to me. The Harry Potter series transports children to an alternative world where being a Wizard is normal and being normal is considered strange. Composed of seven books this series progresses from a fairly easy/short book (Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone) to an extremely thick novel in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Suggested reading ages for this series are anywhere from 10 up.