Top 20 Classic Books for Kids

Top 20 Classic Books for Kids #LoveThriftBooks

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For summer reading with your kids, why not stock up on Must Read classics especially when they are at bargain prices through Thrift Books? What’s the deal, you ask? Thank you for asking!

Any title marked with a DEAL tag on the detail page is priced:

  • 2 books for $7.00
  • 3 books for $10.00
  • 4 books for $12.00
  • each additional is $3.00

At these great prices, it’s easy to find fifteen twenty classic books for kids. These are the books I would buy even if it’s a few years before my kids can read them. Because at these prices, who can resist?! I can’t!!  Here are my picks!

Top 20 Classic Books for Kids

20. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (from $3.59)

If a child had only one picture book, I would choose this one. It has everything that a kid can relate to. Getting in trouble with your parents. A revenge adventure. Monsters that are scary but not terrifying. Missing your home. And it has my favorite ending in the whole world: “And it was still hot.” [1964 Caldecott winning picture book, ages 4 and up]

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

19. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (from $3.59)

If I was stuck in a Groundhog Day moment and could only read one book every single night at bedtime, this would be it. There’s actually so much more to the story in the illustrations. Find the mouse on every color spread. Check out the time on the clock as you turn the pages. How long did that little bunny stall? [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

18. Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney (from $3.69)

For every time your child wonders if you love him or her, read this classic story. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

Guess How Much I Love You? by Sam McBratney

17. Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman (from $3.59)

For a picture book to get you and your child rolling with laughter, try this picture book about a safety officer who takes his job very seriously and his new police dog partner who finds a way to lighten things up. You’ll get tips to stay safe too! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman

16. Your Favorite Seuss by Dr. Seuss (from $9.78)

So many of our favorite Dr. Seuss books in one book and at one low price! This is truly a bargain! [picture books, ages 4 and up]

Green Eggs and Ham, The Lorax, Horton Hears a Who!,How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, If I Ran the Zoo,The Cat in the Hat, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street,The Sneetches, Yertle the Turtle, McElligot’s Pool, Happy Birthday to You!, Dr. Seuss’s Sleep Book, and Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Dr. Seuss

15. Madeleine in London by Ludwig Bemelman (from $3.59 at Thrift Books)

The intrepid Madeleine is a must read for all little girls. This classic picture book series still endures. In this book, Madeleine and her friends journey to London to cheer up their old neighbor, Pepito. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Madeleine in London discounted pricing

14. The Ultimate Eloise by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hillary Knight (from $4.62)

The Eloise series is bound in this single volume making for a great bargain of the adventures of an indomitable little girl and her dear nanny while living in the fancy Plaza hotel.  [picture book, ages 4 and up]

The Ultimate Eloise by Kay Thompson

13. The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco (from $5.56)

A precious tea set journeys through generations of the Polacco family from fleeing Russia to America where a single cup makes it intact more than a century later. It’s enough though. This single cup is the blessing cup that brings good luck and lasting memories for her family. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

The Blessing Cup by Patricia Polacco

12. Why Mosquitos Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aardema, illustrated by  Leo and Diane Dillon

Add some multicultural diversity to your child’s bookshelf with this African folktale that quietly teaches kids about manners also wins the 1976 Caldecott! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

verna aardema

11. Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney (from $3.99)

Instagram @hrdreads‘ tagline is Miss Rumphius is my patronus. With those five words, I know I’m going to like her! Miss Rumphius is based on a real person; a little girl who dreamed of traveling the world and then went and did just that. She singlehandedly dotted the coast of Maine with lupine seeds, and the beautiful flowers  you see today are a testimony of dreaming big. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Miss Rumphius by Barbara Cooney

10. Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (from $3.59)

It’s not easy to find a timeless early chapter book and this wonderful series is bound in a single book for the price of a single volume. If I didn’t own the three books already, I wouldn’t be able to pass this up. Join Elmer on this gentle adventures with his dragon friend. This series also makes a great read aloud for first grade. [easy chapter book, ages 6 and up]

Includes My Father’s Dragon, Elmer and the Dragon and Dragons of Blueland.

Three Tales of My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

9. The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C. S. Lewis (from $3.59)

Every child should have access to this wondrous fantasy series that has become part of pop culture. This is the second book in C.S. Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia, but it’s a stand alone read and if you read just one book for the series, let it be this one. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia) by C. S. Lewis

8. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by Frank Baum (from $3.59)

This was one of my favorite series growing up and if you want to begin this fantasy journey, start at the yellow brick road … with The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The creatures grow more fanciful and you progress through the series and the adventures continue that careful edge of fantasy that does not induce nightmares. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

7. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lundgrin (from $3.59)

If you belive that the book is always better than the movie (it is!), then don’t miss Astrid Lindgren’s Pippi series. Her feats are so imaginative that the big screen is unable to convey their magnitude. The short chapters of short non-connecting stories also make for a great bedtime book! [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid

6. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (from $3.59)

My Multicultural Children’s Book Day partner, Valarie Budayr of Jump Into a Book, has a wonderful companion book to this classic that has activities throughout the four seasons to celebrate this book. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

The Secret Garden

5. Matilda by Roald Dahl (from $3.59)

When I asked a roomful of third graders what their favorite Roald Dahl book, Matilda and The B.F.G. were pretty close. I think that because Matilda has powers that she edges out The B.F. G., but only by a slim margin. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Matilda by Roald Dahl

4. Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White (from $3.59)

I think this might just be the perfect third grade read aloud. All three of my kids have started out their third grade year with this classic story of friendship and miracles. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Charlotte's Web by E. B. White


3. Half Magic by Edward Eager (from $3.59)

My son and I have been reading this series since he was in third grade. In Half Magic, four cousins find a magic coin that grants half a wish leading to many adventures as it’s hard to figure out exactly how a half wish will turn out. What we love about the other books in the series is how Edward Eager weaves a multi-book plot to include entirely new casts of characters but always manages to have these original cousins make cameo appearances. [chapter book, ages 8 and up]

Half Magic by Edward Eager

2. Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (from $3.59)

Kira-Kira won the 2005 Newbery award and my diversity chapter book pick.  It quietly depicts life for a Japanese American family living in the deep South while dealing with the illness of the oldest daughter. [young adult, ages 12 and up]

Kira-Kira by Cynthia Kadohata

1. The View from Saturday by E. L. Konisberg (from $3.59)

This 1997 Newbery winner is perfect for middle school kids and is probably my favorite book by E. L. Konisberg as I was also a nerd and can relate to the characters. This book is told from the perspectives of four sixth-grade children whose lives unexpectedly converge when they become teammates for an interscholastic academic competition. All four children are extremely intelligent, and they each have a unique way of seeing the world. [chapter book, ages 9 and up]

 The View from Saturday by E. L. Konisberg


If you need a resource to buy inexpensive used books at the lowest everyday price on the internet, consider Thrift Books. With more than  7 million books, you can also find out-of-print and second-hand treasures. Thrift Books offers FREE Shipping on US Orders of $10 or more and orders are shipped within 24 hours!

Thrift Books has a Reading Rewards program with no annual fee and gives you a $5 coupon for every $50 you spend on books.

  • Tell-a-Friend – referral program gives your friends & family a 15% OFF coupon, as a new customer. You also get one for referring them if they sign up within 14 days; unless you’re a Reading Rewards member. Then it’s 20%!
  • Wish List – Wish List will email you the instant an out-of-print book you want comes onto our shelves. We also show you how often we get copies of the title you want and how many other Thrift Books customers are interested in the same title.

Do you ever buy used books? What are your favorite classic books for kids? Thank you for sharing!

Top 20 Classic Books for Kids

I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.

By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. You have so many of my favourite books on here – Guess How Much I Love You, Pippi Longstocking, Matilda… So cool that Thrift Books ship worldwide too 🙂
    Catherine recently posted…Are you going on a farm holiday? Pack a story set on a farm!My Profile

  2. Jessica

    Thank you for sharing this! Kids can never have too many books!
    Jessica recently posted…Some Days, I Just Can’t…Life with Chronic IllnessMy Profile

  3. This is a wonderful list of books! I especially love that “Three Tales of My Father’s Dragon” is included, this is a much loved book in our house. It was actually written by a distant relative the my husbands family.
    Stacey Gannett recently posted…Thunder…#1WordMy Profile

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