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Timeless Classic Books Every Kid Should Read

classic books for kids

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Kids Classics are stories that have been told for generations. They are the perfect way to introduce your child to a love of reading and literature. 

For years, these stories have been passed down from parent to child and are still as popular today as they were when they were first written. 

For many parents, these classic children’s books were their first introduction to the world of reading, and they hold a special place in their hearts. 

There are many types of classics, but some stand out above the rest. Many of these stories have been made into movies, so your child may be familiar with them already. 

If not, they will surely fall in love with these timeless tales. Here are timeless kids classics vvery kid should read:

Timeless Kids Classics You’ve Forgotten About

1: Black Beauty


Black Beauty is a fantastic book that will keep you engaged from start to finish. It’s the perfect read for kids, as it has an exciting plot and provides valuable life lessons. 

Black Beauty is a horse who was born in England during the 1800s. He narrates his own story, recounting how he was passed from person to person as an unwanted pet. 

Despite his challenges, Black Beauty always tried to live life to the fullest. He taught readers about work ethic, manners, responsibility, and the power of kindness. 

This story is one of hope and will leave you feeling inspired.

2: A Bear Called Paddington


A Bear Called Paddington is one of the most beloved children’s books. Initially published in 1958, the book tells the story of a young bear from Peru found by an English family on Christmas Eve. 

The bear, later named Paddington, becomes a part of the family and goes on many adventures with them. 

Paddington is a lovable character to who children worldwide can relate. He is always polite and kind to others, even when they don’t deserve it. 

He also takes responsibility for his actions, no matter how naughty they may be. These essential lessons make A Bear Called Paddington a timeless classic that parents will want their children to experience.

3: Little Women


Introduce your kids to the world of literature with the classic book Little Women. 

This book follows the story of four sisters – Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy – growing up during the American Civil War. 

The sisters must deal with real-life problems while trying to find their own identities outside of what society expects from women. 

With strong female characters, this book is perfect for kids looking for role models to look up to. Help your kids understand sisterhood and resilience with Little Women.

4: Stuart Little


Stuart is a young mouse born into a human family, and his delightful escapades will captivate you from beginning to end. 

In Stuart’s debut adventure, he must move away from his home to attend school in the city. 

There, he learns about being kind to others and making good decisions while having a ton of fun with his new friends. 

As Stuart Little grew up, he continued to explore his world and have new experiences, always staying true to himself.

Your kids will love reading about Stuart’s mischievous antics, and you’ll appreciate the lessons.

5: Harry Potter & The Sorcerer’s Stone


J.K. Rowling’s first novel in the Harry Potter series, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, is an excellent read for kids of all ages. 

The book tells the story of young wizard Harry Potter, who discovers he is famous in the wizarding world and is off to attend Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. 

Along the way, he makes great friends with Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger, and together they face many challenges, including overcoming personal obstacles and facing the unknown.

Harry Potter is a timeless story that every kid can relate to in some way or another.

6: The Secret Garden


If you’re looking for a classic novel that will touch your kid’s heart and soul, look no further than The Secret Garden by Frances Burnett.

This timeless story follows the journey of young Mary Lennox, who must start fresh after losing her parents and home in a devastating cholera epidemic. 

Orphaned and alone, Mary is sent to live with her uncle in England, where she discovers a hidden garden that has been locked away for years. 

As she begins to tend to the garden, she also starts to heal the wounds of her past. 

With its message of hope and healing, The Secret Garden is a book that will stay with you long after you turn the last page.

7: Brown Girl Dreaming


Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson is a masterpiece in verse. The author shares her experience growing up as a black girl in the 1960s and 1970s, amid lingering Jim Crow laws and an emerging Civil Rights movement. 

Each poem depicts a child searching for her identity and place in the world. 

The poems are vibrant and alive, moving from the description of every day to meditations on history and family. 

The reader is transported to a time and place where segregation was still the norm, but the change was in the air. 

Woodson’s writing is powerful, giving voice to those who have often been unheard.

8: James & The Giant Peach


Welcome to James & The Giant Peach, the wondrous tale of an orphan boy and his unlikely insect friends. James lived a lonely existence with his evil aunts until he met the Old Green Grasshopper and other lovable insects who live inside a giant peach. 

These new friends take James on a series of surreal adventures that are sometimes frightening but always full of excitement. 

Join James and his gang as they travel from the dreary English coastline to the bustling streets of New York City. 

Along the way, you’ll meet an unforgettable cast of characters, including the benevolent Centipede and the lovable Miss Spider.

9: The Wind in the Willows


Join Mole, Rat, Badger, and the rich and generous Toad on their adventures in The Wind in the Willows! 

These tales take place in the English countryside and delight readers of all ages. 

Follow along as these four friends work together to save Toad Hall from weasels, encountering various obstacles and challenges.

With its lovable characters and simple yet engaging stories, The Wind in the Willows is a book you’ll surely treasure for years to come.

10: The Boxcar Children


This series tells the story of four orphaned siblings who have to make a home for themselves in an abandoned boxcar. 

But their lives take an exciting turn when they’re eventually taken in by their grandfather and begin living in his vast mansion. 

They still use the boxcar as their playhouse and go on adventures, encountering mysteries along the way. 

Your child will love following the mishaps and excitement of the Boxcar Children. And you’ll appreciate that this series is perfect for kids in 4th grade and up.

11: Charlotte’s Web


E.B. White’s Charlotte’s Web is an American classic, and for a good reason. It’s a beautifully written tale of friendship and life, with themes that are still relevant today. 

Fern is a curious little girl who lives on a farm with her family. She befriends Wilbur, the runt of the litter from one of the local pig farms nearby. 

When she realizes that he will soon be slaughtered if no one buys him, Fern embarks on a quest to save his life. 

With the help of Charlotte, a spider who lives in the farm’s barn, Fern might succeed. But even if she does, she’ll have to face the reality that all living things must someday die. 

12: The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales


Introduce your child to the magical world of Hans Christian Andersen with The Complete Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tales. 

This timeless collection features all of the Danish author’s best-loved stories, including “The Snow Queen,” “The Little Mermaid,” “Thumbelina,” and “The Ugly Duckling.” 

Beautiful illustrations bring each tale to life that will transport your child to a world of make-believe. As well as being entertaining, these stories also teach valuable life lessons such as dealing with bullying, what it means to have a good heart, and how to overcome obstacles. 

With over 150 fairy tales to enjoy, your child will be kept entertained for hours on end. So give them a gift that will last a lifetime.

13: Where The Wild Things Are


This story by Maurice Sendak is the perfect way to ignite your child’s imagination. Join Max as he travels to a make-believe land where he befriends some wonderfully Wild Things. 

This timeless tale is not only great fun but also teaches some essential life lessons. 

Through Max’s adventures, your child will learn about the power of friendship, the importance of staying creative, and how to overcome challenges. 

Many children can relate to Max’s feelings of anger and frustration, making this an ideal story for helping them to understand and control their emotions. 

14: Velveteen Rabbit


The Velveteen Rabbit is a story that will capture the hearts of children and adults alike. It is the tale of a toy rabbit loved so much by his owner that he becomes real. 

But when the boy decides to take him to the woods, where all old things go, it looks like this might be the end for our little velveteen bunny. 

This book is excellent for children because it teaches them how important love is and how even if they are loved their whole life, there will always be a point when they must let go.

The Velveteen Rabbit is a timeless story that generations will treasure.

15: Adventures of Tom Sawyer


Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain is genuinely one of the best books for kids. It’s a classic story of friendship, loyalty, and honesty set against the backdrop of the Mississippi River. 

Tom Sawyer and his friends have adventures, from playing pirates to hunting waterfowl and running off from school. 

There are plenty of laughs along the way and some touching moments that will make you cry. This is an excellent book for kids of all ages.

16: Magic Treehouse


Get whisked away on exciting adventures with Jack and Annie in The Magic Treehouse series! This classic book has been enchanting readers for over 25 years and is perfect for kids who love to explore and learn. 

With new editions illustrated by Caldecott Honor-winning artist Sal Murdocca, readers will be transported to different places and times as they follow along with Jack and Annie’s mesmerizing escapades.

Perfect for reluctant readers or those just learning to read, the simple sentences and captivating storylines in The Magic Treehouse books will keep kids engaged from beginning to end. 

With adventures ranging from deep-sea diving to exploring space, there’s something for everyone in this beloved series.

17: Charlie & The Chocolate Factory


This beloved novel tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a young boy who lives in poverty with his mother and four grandparents. 

When he finds a golden ticket inside a chocolate bar, he believes all his dreams are about to come true. 

Charlie tours Willy Wonka’s world-famous chocolate factory, where he meets some interesting characters and learns valuable lessons. 

Your kids will love following Charlie on his adventures, and they’ll be laughing the whole way through. This book is perfect for kids with a sweet tooth, as it will leave them longing for more chocolate! It’s also a great way to teach kids about Willpower and determination.

18: A Wrinkle in Time


A Wrinkle in Time is a timeless classic that has captivated readers for generations. 

Madeleine L’Engle’s novel explores the age-old battle between good and evil and the importance of trusting your intuition. 

The story follows three courageous children – Meg, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and friend Calvin – who embark on an epic journey through time and space to rescue Meg’s father from evil forces. 

Along the way, the children must use their intelligence and love to combat the darkness threatening to consume them. A Wrinkle in Time is a heart-warming tale of hope!

19: Winnie The Pooh


Every child needs a best friend, and there’s nobody better than Winnie the Pooh! This classic tale by A.A. Milne follows the adventures of Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Kanga, and Roo as they go about their everyday lives in the Hundred Acre Wood. 

But no matter what they’re up to, they always find time for a little bit of honey! Winnie the Pooh is a story that has been loved by children worldwide for generations. 

It’s a heart-warming tale of friendship, innocence, and unconditional love that will make you laugh and cry. 

This beautiful book belongs on every child’s shelf, so make sure you add it to your collection!

20: Phantom Tollbooth


If you’re looking for an educational and entertaining book, look no further than The Phantom Tollbooth! This classic children’s novel tells the story of Milo, a bored little boy who finds himself transported to a strange land called the Kingdom of Wisdom. 

He soon learns that words can be used as magic spells in this world and sets out on a quest to rescue the Princesses Rhyme and Reason from the evil ruler, King Azaz. 

Along the way, Milo makes new friends and learns important lessons about the power of words. 

With its clever rhymes and delightful illustrations, The Phantom Tollbooth is sure to engage and delight readers of all ages. So don’t wait any longer – add this timeless classic to your collection.

21: Tale of Peter Rabbit


Give your child a classic tale that will teach them valuable lessons about life with the Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. This book has been a favorite among children for over 100 years, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. 

Your child will enjoy following the mischievous antics of Peter Rabbit as he gets into all sorts of trouble with his family, friends, and neighbors. 

While the story is sure to entertain your child, it also carries some important lessons about dealing with authority figures, taking responsibility for one’s actions, telling the truth, and forgiving others. 

These lessons will stay with your child long after they finish the book and can apply in their own lives. So give your child a book that will both entertain and educate.

22: Little Prince


The Little Prince is a book that has been beloved by children and adults for over 70 years. It tells the story of a little prince who leaves his home to explore the world. 

He meets people from many different planets and learns about their lifestyles, but he never finds what he’s looking for: someone who understands him as much as he understands them. 

The book was initially published in 1943 but translated into over 180 languages. This makes it one of the best books for kids because it teaches children how to understand others. 

The story is heartwarming and timeless and will become a favorite in your family. 

23: The Giving Tree


The Giving Tree is a children’s book that readers have cherished for over 50 years. 

This tale follows a tree that loves and gives to a little boy throughout his life; even when the boy grows up and takes everything the tree has to offer, she still loves him unconditionally. 

The Giving Tree teaches valuable lessons about empathy, selflessness, and gratitude that will stay with readers long after they finish the book. 

With its timeless message and beautiful illustrations, The Giving Tree is a must-have for every child’s library.

24: Chronicles of Narnia


The Chronicles of Narnia is an epic fantasy series that has won children, adults, and scholars’ hearts and minds. 

The stories have been translated into over 30 languages and sold over 100 million copies worldwide since 1950, when it was first published in Great Britain. 

The whole series, published in six years, includes “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” “Prince Caspian,” “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” “The Silver Chair,” “The Horse and His Boy and The Last Battle.”  

All the stories follow the adventures and struggle four kids have in an enchanted world while they go on a quest.

25: Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing


This story follows fourth-grade boy Peter and his younger brother Fudge, who makes life difficult for him in every way possible. 

Set in New York City, the siblings have very different personalities but share a love for their family and each other that keeps them together even when things get rough. 

It’s an excellent read for children who are looking to be entertained. This book will keep kids engaged throughout the story with a humorous tone and some great lessons on growing up. 

So don’t wait any longer; pick up a copy of Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing today!


Now that you’ve seen our list of timeless kids’ classics, it’s time to get reading! 

These books are sure to provide your child with hours of enjoyment while teaching valuable life lessons. 

Many of these books have been loved by generations of readers, and we hope your family will enjoy them. 

So grab a few from the library or bookstore and settle for quality reading time with your kids. They’re sure to thank you for it! 

Agnes Hsu is a mom of three and has been inspiring parents and kids to get creative with easy activities and family friendly recipes for over 10 years. She shares her love for creative play and kids food to her 2MM+ followers online. Agnes' commitment to playful learning and kindness has not only raised funds for charity but also earned features in prestigious nationwide publications.