Half Price Books presents the Half Price Blog featuring book reviews, music and movie reviews, trivia and randomness about things we love. That means a whole lot of fiction, nonfiction, music, movies, games, and collectibles… including rare and out-of-print literary treasures.
Meet all our Blog Authors & Contributors »

Potluck-genius, insomniac-procrastinator and crafting-whiz. Inventor of the “Hey that’s my Boots!” CEO Paper Doll, the HPB Snuggie, braille t-shirt and Tacky BW Holiday Sweater.
PR maven, news junkie, baseball fanatic, late-night talk show watcher, frequent restaurant diner and former VH-1 reality show addict.
Film buff and wanna-be chef. Who's up for dinner and a movie?! Crouching Tiger stir-fry or Godfather spaghetti and a bottle of vino. Please, no talking or texting during the movie.
Donned in an apron, baking pies and other tempting treats – there's nothing desperate about this housewife. Loves travel, the great outdoors, classic films, indie music and non-fiction.
The Buy Guy is a quarter-century-plus employee expert on all things books & music; his favorite buy involved hundreds of old theology books from the Mount St. Michael Convent hilltop library in Spokane, Washington.
Search the Blog

Follow HPB

« Singin' in the Rain's 60th Anniversary | Main | I.T. guys talk Tolkien…or do they? »

40 Books Every Child Should Read

As the Half Pint Library book drive draws to a close, we are reminded once again of the importance reading plays in a child's development.  It is a fact that children who live in a print-rich environment are much more likely to learn how to read on schedule and have a bigger and better vocabulary.

Did you know that children's books actually contain 50% more rare words than primetime television (or even college students' conversations)? As essential as early literacy is, the wealth of children's literature that we have available to choose from can be overwhelming. So we consulted with our HPB Bibliomaniacs and asked: What do you consider to be some of the best children's books ever written? And without further ado, here are 40 Books Every Child Should Read:


Does anyone else have the unquenchable desire to raid the children's section of your local Half Price
for The Poky Little Puppy, Where the Sidewalk Ends and There's a Monster at the End of
this Book
?! I sure do.

Remember, the 2012 Half Pint Library book drive ends on Saturday, March 31. Please donate a new or
gently used kids book, and help share the love of reading with children in need.

How many of these books do you remember reading? What's your childhood favorite? 

-- Julie

Reader Comments (69)

Can you by any chance know the name of a book I loved as a child? It was about a man who wore a stack of hats all of the time, that's all I can remember; oh, and the fact that there was this monkey in one of the books that scattered them all in a tree.


March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAsilee

I'm not sure what age range you are looking for, but Charlotte's Web is a classic not to be missed book as far as I am concerned!!!

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered Commenterd garber

I would say to add the books "Misty of Chincoteague" by Marguerite Henry, "Freckles", by Gene Stratton Porter, "My Side of the Mountain" by Jean Craighead George, and "The Melendy Quartet" by Elizabeth Enright.

March 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterWriter200

So many of these were my favorites! I loved everything that Beatrix Potter, E.B. White, Eric Carle, and Shel Silverstein wrote. The Giver, The Secret Garden, and Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day were three of my childhood favorites. I could go on and on about the books in this list, but then I'd be here all day. Thanks so much for sharing these. It took me back!

March 27, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElizabeth Barone

Asilee -- I believe you're describing a children's book called "Caps for Sale" by Esphyr Slobodkina.

March 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterHPB

Asilee: Are you thinking of THE THREE HAT DAY? About a man who wears multiple hats and how he falls in love with a woman who runs a hat store?

March 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterCharlotte

Where the Red Fern Grows by Rawlings should also be on this list!

March 30, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterLe Ann

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slodbodkina

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBethany

@Asilee -- yes, you are definitely describing "Caps for Sale"! That is a wonderful book!

April 2, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterKathleen

I agree with most of your choices, but I would also add something by Beverly Cleary, who wrote many classics, including "Henry Huggins." Also, I'd add "Scuffy the Tugboat" of the Golden Books best books.

April 5, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterP. Mattoon

Any book by Arnold Lobel - Frog and Toad Together was a Newbery Honor book. His gentle humorous stories of friendship are timeless. My favorite book as a child was Little Women.

April 6, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

This brought me back to my childhood and how much I LOVED most of these books. My absolute favorite book when I was a kid was the BFG (the big friendly giant) by Roald Dahl. I must have read that book two dozen times. I want to go any buy all of these for my two year old twin nieces who LOVE books so when they are old enough to sit through or read the longer ones they will already have them. I will always be the aunt who gets them each a book for their birthday (an something else) no matter how old they get. I also get them each an ornament every year for Christmas, so when they are old enough to have their own Christmas tree, they will have ornaments for it (I have an aunt who did this for me and as an adult I really appreciate it).

April 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterEmily Fitch

Caps for Sale .... that's the book with man with hats on his head and monkeys! :)

April 9, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke

"Bartholemew Cubbins"

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJB

Definately "Caddie Woodlawn", "Nobody's Girl", Little Women", "Black Beauty", "Mischief in Fez", The Happy Hollisters and The Ice Carnival Mystery", "Maida's Little Shop", "Heidi", "Uncle Wiggley", "Little Britches", unabridged Hans Christian Anderson, ....yes, so many good stories! Never missed having TV.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNancy

The name of the book is Caps For Sale

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJClark

Seriously, ,"Thomas the Tank Engine" is on here, but not "The Little Engine That Could" by Watty Piper? Must have been a mistake.

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElaine

I really, really don't like Skippyjon Jones!

April 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGail Jackson

The Poky Little Puppy was my very favorite as a kid, and a friend JUST gave me a copy of it last week. I was so excited to get that book! She also gave us Make Way for Ducklings and Green Eggs and Ham.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterElli

The book with the man that wore the hats and the monkeys that scatter them is called, "Hats for Sale". :) Happy reading!

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterStacey

The name of the book is "Caps for Sale" authored by Esphyr Slobodkina.

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPat

I teach Kindergarten. If I could, all I would do all day is read to the kids. I LOVE childrens' books. For the older child, Anne of Green Gables is the BEST! BEST, BEST, BEST!

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterGail Jackson

"Runaway Bunny" is a must!

April 11, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterDarlene

I can't remember the name of the book but it is generational and and repeats the phrase "I'll love you forever , I'll love you for always ... I get emotional when I read it with my grand kids. but I can't remember the title.

April 18, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterD Connett

Mr. Popper's Penguins was always a favorite at our house. I was also extremely happy when my 22 year old son asked me to pick up a copy of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for his own 2 year old....the tradition continues!

April 19, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterSharon Rodriguez

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.

My response is on my own website »
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>