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Children's Books You Didn't Realize Kids Are Still Reading

Updated September 23, 2021 1.1k votes 198 voters 4.8k views16 items

List RulesVote up the books you're most pleasantly surprised to discover kids still enjoy.

Publishers are coming out with amazing new books for kids on a daily basis, but some of the great children's books that kids are reading today were actually published decades ago. Stories like The Velveteen Rabbit and Where The Wild Things Are might be considered enduring classic children's books, but there are plenty of lesser-known classics of children's literature as well. Even with so many great new children's books, kids continue to curl up with Beatrix Potter's The Tale Of Peter Rabbit, and Millions Of Cats has delighted generations since it was first published in 1928.

Enduring children's classics teach today's readers about the era they hail from, nod to important issues that still impact the world today, and enchant readers with colorful characters. These old books you didn't realize kids still love are some of the best children's books of all time.

  • Photo: Nippon

    Little House on the Prairie is the first in nine-book series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. First published in 1932, the books are a fictionalized version of Wilder's experiences growing up in midwestern America in the late 19th century.

    Perhaps because of the way they detail American history in a personal, relatable way, the books have remained classics that are still frequently picked up by elementary school students. In 2012, the School Library Journal ranked the first book in the series on its list of the Top 100 Children's Novels.


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  • Photo: Metaweb (FB) / Fair use

    Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? was written Bill Martin, Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle in 1967. The book's purpose is to help toddlers associate colors and meanings to objects.

    According to the publisher, "7 million copies in print in various formats and languages" are available as of 2013. 

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  • Photo: Penguin Books

    Published in 1982, The BFG focuses on the relationship between the Big Friendly Giant and a young orphan named Sophie. Although the BFG is a gentle soul who loves humans, the same cannot be said about his fellow giants. They have names like Fleshlumpeater and Bloodbottler, and they're more interested in gobbling up human flesh than being kind. Together, Sophie and the BFG hatch a plan to defeat the other giants.

    Roald Dahl's books have always had staying power, but with the release of Steven Spielberg's 2016 movie adaptation, The BFG has surged in popularity. After the release of the movie, and the re-release of the book, over 40,000 copies have been sold.

    #139 of 331 The Top Must-Read Books of All Time#115 of 300 The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies#194 of 1,236 The Best Novels Ever Written

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  • Photo: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

    1993 might not seem like that long ago, but the kids who were growing up when Janell Cannon's Stellaluna first came out are now old enough to be having children themselves. This heartwarming story focuses on a baby bat named Stellaluna who is separated from her bat family and raised by birds. Being a bat, she doesn't fit in with her adopted family, and she feels isolated until she's reunited with her mother. She brings what she learned back to her family, and they realize that while they might be different, they can all appreciate each other.

    In 2012, the School Library Journal rated Stellaluna one of the Top 100 Books for Children.

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