10 Books I Want My Kids to Read

10 Books I Want My Kids to Read

One of the things I’ve looked forward to most as a parent is sharing books with my kids. While we’ve enjoyed (and still enjoy) so many wonderful picture books, in my mind, this has always meant chapter books.

I was a pretty early reader, and I don’t have too many memories of picture books. My favorite childhood chapter books, however have stayed with me. We’re finally reaching this stage with my older daughter, as her own reading abilities are exploding and we have been reading Harry Potter together, which has been amazing.

I don’t know if my kids will love the same books I did as a kid, and it’s fine if they don’t. But at the very least, I do plan to introduce them to these books–they can decide from there.

I’m linking up with the Broke and the Bookish for Top Ten Tuesday.

  1. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
    This was a twist on my fascination with survival stories, plus it features a strong, smart, curious girl who is relentless in her pursuit of the answer to a fascinating mystery.
  2. The Secret Garden
    Kids love “forts,” and in my mind, the secret garden was the ultimate fantasy fort.
  3. Tuck Everlasting
    I have always loved this book as a first foray into philosophical questions on life and death.
  4. The Little House Books
    One of my most-loved childhood series; I hope to introduce these soon, and do some related reading of my own!
  5. Harry Potter
    My six-year-old and I are reading the third book now. The books are new to both of us, and I love them for the life lessons inside of a magical  world of compelling stories that have made so many children life-long readers.
  6. Little Women
    My girls are cultivating a deep sister bond that is amazing to watch, but they definitely have their conflicts and are very different from one another—just like the sisters in Little Women.
  7. The Judy Blume Oeuvre
    These books shaped my young reading life and taught me so much about families and places that were different from my own. Plus it always just felt like Judy got what it felt like to be a kid.
  8. Wolf Hollow
    I read and loved this middle-grade novel earlier this year and I’m keeping it around for my kids to read, probably when they’re a bit older.
  9. Wonder
    This is the one book on my list that I haven’t read yet, but I’ve seen so many raves about how wonderful it is that I’m adding it to our family’s must-read list.
  10. Whatever they want
    My parents gave me freedom to choose the books I wanted to read. They bought us kids books they thought we might like, but they also let me select the ones I wanted. Even fluff books like The Babysitters Club (love forever) were instructive, and they didn’t even limit my reading when I got my hands on books they maybe didn’t find quite so appropriate (VC Andrews, I’m looking at you). Unless my kids are picking up Nazi propaganda, I want them to experience the joy of discovering excellent books—and to let them define excellence for themselves.

This list is certainly not exhaustive, and really it only covers my own fond book memories, as well as a very few that I’ve read as an adult. In truth, while many of these are classics, my list and my knowledge of great children’s books feels a little outdated. I will love Judy Blume forever, and so many of her books include themes of diversity and empathy, but does she hold up for today’s kids? I like to think so, but I have more work to do in this arena.

In addition, most of the books that stand out from my own childhood are lacking in diversity, especially in the main characters. There are so many new, amazing children’s books that I’m not yet familiar with, and I intend to read and introduce books with more diversity in race, religion, ability, class, and experience, as well as books that teach empathy and kindness.


Do you have recommendations for great kids books featuring diversity, empathy, and kindness?


10 Books I Want My Kids to Read


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8 thoughts on “10 Books I Want My Kids to Read

  1. I loved A Little Princess growing up and read it several times, and I also loved all the Ramona books. For when my daughter’s a little older, I hope she’ll give Anne of Green Gables a try—such a wonderful series!

    • I was actually looking through some of our childhood books last night and we have a couple of Ramona books! I may have to pull those out soon to read with my daughter. I loved them as a kid. Anne is also great–I read it again earlier this year, and I actually really liked the Netflix series. I never read A Little Princess but I know a lot of people love it–we’ll have to check it out.

  2. I LOVED the Secret Garden as kid. So when I found a copy at a yard sale, I decided my-then 7-year-old and I should read it together. I forgot how depressing the beginning is! Mary’s parents die and she doesn’t even care because she’s such a brat (and they didn’t really pay her much attention)! I tried to explain to my daughter that it gets better and Mary ends up changing, but she couldn’t get past the first few chapters!

    • I actually had the SAME experience with my daughter! I have this beautiful illustrated version that I’ve always treasured, and I tried to read it with her last year. I was kind of horrified by the first few chapters in India. She was definitely too young. I still adore the book and know it gets better, but I must have first read it when I was quite a lot older–I’m thinking around 10 might be good.

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