I still love reading children’s books even today. In fact, a lot have had so much impact on me that they still remain some of my favorites. The following list is some of the major gems I’ve read in the world of children’s literature. In no particular order:
Charlotte’s Web by E.B White
Charlotte’s Web is a special book to many. But for me, it was the first longer book I read as a kid. It was a major stepping stone into me loving reading. It’s also important because of how I received the book. We had a little drawing in class – the students’ names were written on slips of paper and put into a hat. Who’s ever named was picked got to choose out a prize from a big box. Well, my name was picked and I was elated since I never really won anything. One of the prizes was a copy of Charlotte’s Web and that’s what I picked. I still have the copy and it remains a very special book to me.
Sounder by William H. Armstrong
I remember reading this for class and everyone in the class hated it. Everyone except me that is. But in some ways, I can see why many kids wouldn’t like it. You have to look under the surface to really understand and love this book. This is definitely something adults would appreciate more than children. Either way, Sounder is a beautifully written work. Children’s books with dogs are everywhere but this is one of the few that truly means something.
Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
Out of the Dust is a sad and tragic story of a 1930s family facing the dust bowl among other things. It’s brilliantly told in a series of poems. I was drawn in by this book’s beauty from the start. It was one of the first books to have a strong emotional impact on me.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The amount of time I have read this book is pretty much uncountable. The world of children’s literature needs more books like Coraline. It’s a book that builds a creepy atmosphere that’s better than some of the best adult horror novels.
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B White
If Charlotte’s Web didn’t have such an impact on my childhood. I would probably have trouble choosing between it and Trumpet of the Swan. And I mean, a swan playing a trumpet is just awesome and manages to provide a beautiful and inspirational story.
The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare
This tells the story of a young left to survive in the wilderness. During this time he gets help from a young native american around his age. It focuses mainly on the relationship between the two and their culturally differences. I say it’s a story that shows how people can learn to appreciate and understand other people’s cultures.
Lizzie Bright and the Buckminster Boy by Gary D. Schmidt
Plenty of children’s books deal with the subjects found in Lizzie Bright (discrimination, forbidden friendships, etc.) However, this is one of the best to do it. The writing and imagery of the book is brilliant and beautiful. I think adults would like this book as well. The book is based on a true story (although from what I understand the main characters themselves are fictional), making it even more of a sad read.
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
Adults and children should love this book. The story telling is simple but effective. In fact, near the end I was almost brought to tears. This is a book I would recommend to anyone.