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30 Classic Books That Every Child Needs On Their Bookshelf

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It seems like there is always some kind of occasion that requires a gift being given to a child. Whether it's Christmas, a birthday, or any of the other celebrations that happen throughout the year, it can be tricky to know what to get them.

Sure, you can try to follow the trends and see what everyone else is buying their kids and grandkids, but who has the time?

Instead, you know what you should do instead? Give them something that reminds you of your younger years.

Long before the days of video games and electronics, books and stories were how we entertained ourselves. There were countless iconic tales that kept us amused as kids, and honestly, kids today would love them just as much as we all did.

So who ever you're buying the gift for, we guarantee that these books are the best options for the kids in your life.

1. Dr. Seuss Beginner Book Collection

If there is one book set that every kid needs, it's Dr. Seuss. They are the first books that most of us learned to read, and because they are such fantastic and imaginative stories, they teach us all how to be a little bit more creative.

Get this set of five of the best Dr. Seuss books here.

2. The Giving Tree

A classic book that has been passed down for generations, written by one of the most iconic writers of children's fiction. The story manages to remain a powerful lesson for kids no matter when they are born.

Get a copy for the kids in your life here.

3. Love You Forever

The heartbreaking and beautiful story has a repetitive poem that gets repeated so much that you probably still remember it to this day. But I'm sure the book still makes your eyes well up with tears.

Pass on the love and get a copy here.

4. Where the Wild Things Are

Yes, there is a movie of this book now, but there's just something so much more special about the printed version. It's been around for over 50 years, and it's not going to ever stop being loved by kids.

Get your copy here.

5. Rainbow Fish

I feel like this was a book we've all read hundreds of times while sitting around the library, so make sure you pass it down to the next generation.

Get it here.

6. The Velveteen Rabbit

When it comes to classics, The Velveteen Rabbit falls into a category so few other books have made it to. This version has the original illustrations from 1922, and I promise kids will love them.

Get it here.

7. Curious George

Obviously every kid needs to meet George, he's been one of the most famous children's book characters for decades now!

Introduce the kids in your life to this little trouble maker with this convenient box set that you can get here.

8. The Poky Little Puppy

There are few books as completely adorable as this one. The puppies are just too cute, and it gives a good message to kids too.

Share the cute story by buying one here.

9. Harold and the Purple Crayon

There's something extra satisfying about getting to show off something you loved when you were growing up to the kids in your life. Because this book has been around for over half a century, I think we can all agree that it's one that everyone will love.

Get your copy here.

10. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

While we all know the original Gene Wilder movie is absolutely iconic, the book is remarkable in its own way. I highly recommend reading it with your kids, because it's the perfect story to read as a family.

Get one here.

11. The Phantom Tollbooth

Speaking as someone who just reread this book last year, I can confirm that it holds up. Even if you're an adult who just wants to revisit a classic, there's something completely magical about this book that makes it the perfect story for all ages.

Get a copy here.

12. Falling Up

This was probably my favorite book as a kid. The silly poems felt like something I could actually understand as a kid, and because  it was so simple and cute I thought that maybe one day I could even write something like it. It's inspiring for a kid to believe they can do something so creative!

Get a copy for the creative kids in your life here.

13. The Little Engine That Could

Everyone needs to learn about persistence, and this little train is one of the best teachers a kid could have.

Get a copy here.

14. Guess How Much I Love You

A story of love and affection is always appreciated by all, and this one jut happens to be one of the absolute best of the best.

Get a copy here.

15. The Little House Collection

A lot of people remember the title Little House on the Prairie, but that was actually the third book in the series. It starts with Little House in the Big Woods and it's a captivating read. I remember reading this series when I was young and it was my absolute favorite.

Get a set here.

16. Where's Spot?

Another one of the classic characters who tends to appear in a lot of our childhood memories, let's show the next generation the stories we all loved as kids.

Get one here.

17. Just Go To Bed

Little Critter books were some of the most popular of its time, and it's probably because he was actually showing us all that it was normal to get angry, jealous, or upset. He always learned how to deal with his emotions, but by showing them in the story we realized we weren't alone.

Get a copy of this book here.

18. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland

Alice's story is one that will never go out of style. It's imaginative and bizarre, and that's probably why every kid loves it.

Get a copy here.

19. The Three Billy Goats Gruff

The classic story we've all heard of the three goats just trying to cross a bridge when a troll tries to stop them. No childhood is complete without it.

Get it here.

20. Clifford the Big Red Dog

Did anyone else wish they could own a giant dog like Clifford? Because I always did. We'll just have to settle for reading his stories.

Get the book here.

21. The Very Hungry Caterpillar

This book is sold around the globe, spreading the story of this little caterpillar to every child possible. Bring the joy to the kids in your life.

Get a copy here.

22. Charlotte's Web

Yes, there are a bunch of sad moments in this book, but it's also very heartwarming and sweet. It's a book that is great to read with your kids, just in case they have any questions for you.

Get a copy here.

23. The Night Before Christmas

Anyone who celebrates Christmas knows this story, but there's something so delightful about having the book to read every year. Turn it into a tradition and read it as a family before going to sleep on Christmas Eve.

Get a copy here.

24. Winnie-the-Pooh

This beautiful edition of the iconic story brings back all the classic illustrations. Teach kids the origin of Winnie-the-Pooh, and show off this iconic story.

Get one here.

25. The Tale of Peter Rabbit

The beautiful illustrations and entrancing story of Peter Rabbit will make every child fall completely in love with him.

Get a copy here.

26. Amelia Bedelia

The book was first published all the way back in 1963, but it's still loved to this day. Pass it on to the next generation now.

Get it here.

27. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

Kids have bad days too, and it's nice for them to see how Alexander deals with it!

Get a copy here.

28. Stuart Little

There's something just so sweet about little Stuart, and while a lot of people may remember the movie, the book is way better.

Get a copy here.

29. The Berenstain Bears

The delightful little family whose name caused quite the confusion after people realized it was 'stain' and not 'stein' still holds up to this day.

Pick up this lovely set of five here.

30. The Baby-Sitters Club

As a kid starts to get old, they will likely appreciate reading all of the iconic stories of The Baby-Sitters Club. This gift set is extra special too because its all the retro covers!

Get it here.

What was your favorite book when you were a kid?

Just so you know, Shared may collect a share of sales or other compensation from some of the links on this page. However, we only choose products we would or have purchased ourselves.

Tanya has been writing for Shared for two years. She spends too much time thinking about dogs, Marvel movies, and ice cream. You can reach me at tanya@shared.com