After making a list of my favorite books of all time, I felt a little bad about leaving out my favorite children's books because these titles are near and dear to my heart as well. (And I apparently have too many beloved books to make lists like these!) Fortunately, these are still in print and I have been able to share these with nieces, nephews and students along the years.
1. Angelina Ballerina by Katharine Holabird and Helen Craig. What better book than a sweet little mouse dreaming of being a ballerina? I love those books with little details in the illustrations where you find something new every time you open the book and this is definitely one.
2. The Ordinary Princess by M.M. Kaye. It's probably no surprise that I loved princesses as a girl. (And I don't mind them now, I just don't want to actually be one anymore) This is very much among the fairy tale variety with a nice little underlying value of self-acceptance. Highly recommended to share with daughters and nieces who love to read.
3. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans. "The smallest one was Madeline." Plucky Madeline always appealed to me (probably because I wasn't so plucky) as did the great illustrations. All my nieces have received copies of Madeline as I felt it was an important part of their education. My own copy is still tucked away on a bookshelf although it is looking a little tattered.
4. The Clown of God by Tomie dePaola. All of Tomie dePaola's books are fabulous (I also love Strega Nona) but if I had to choose one, this would be my favorite. Is it because I'm Italian? Maybe. The tale captured here is just beautiful (and a tear-jerker!), though, as are the vibrant illustrations of dePaola's which are works of art on their own.
5. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst and Ray Cruz. We've all had one of these and I love how Alexander's bad day is mostly a matter of perception and a really good reminder for kids and adults alike. My favorite line from the book is "I think I'll move to Australia." (Because everything's better in Australia, obviously!)
6. A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond. What's more charming than an adorably civilized bear with a suitcase? After a recent re-read I also realized that it is an excellent book for building vocabulary in addition to being one of those fun stories that makes you giggle.
7. Ballet Shoes by Noel Streatfeild. This book is a really cute story about three orphans adopted into an eccentric household. I also love the emphasis on hard work and how the girls learn that being "divas" does not help you get ahead.
8. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones. I read this one often even as an adult. This quirky little story is really enjoyable and quite engrossing. If you have wanted to delve into the unusual worlds of Jones' writing, this a great start into her unique brand of storytelling.
9. Frederick by Leo Lionni. As a child Leo Lionni's illustration technique was intriguing because of the textures and types of paper he used. Now I consider Frederick, a must-have for any children's library. Who doesn't love a story about a nice little mouse?
10. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis. A secret entrance to another land through the back of a wardrobe? Definitely right up my alley! C.S. Lewis has been on my bookshelf for as long as I can remember and I used to read this one on the floor of my closet (I didn't have a wardrobe). The writing is superb and the book really transports you to Narnia no matter what age you may have reached.
Honorable mention also goes to Little Women, the A Series of Unfortunate Events series, The Boxcar Children Series and Beauty which are most-beloved books as well!
What are your favorite children's books? You can find the comment section at the bottom of this page.