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

Anna Lindwasser
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List Rules Vote 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. 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.

Goodnight Moon is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Children's Books You Didn't Realize Kids Are Still Reading
Photo: Harper & Brothers
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Goodnight Moon


Goodnight Moon, written by Margaret Wise Brown and illustrated by Clement Hurd, first came out in 1947. The text is a rhyming poem that describes a bunny's bedtime ritual, making it highly relatable for children being read to sleep by their parents.

Since its publication, the picture book exploded in popularity, and sold more than 11 million copies in 2000 alone. It's also been repeatedly referenced on Sesame Street, adapted for stage performance, and frequently been parodied.

Also Ranked

#6 on The Greatest Books to Read to Kids

#3 on The Best Books for Toddlers

#7 on The Best Overall Books for Kids

#3 on The Best Board Books for Babies (0-15 Months)

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Where the Wild Things Are is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Children's Books You Didn't Realize Kids Are Still Reading
Photo: Harper & Row

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak was published in 1963. It focuses on a young boy named Max, who meets a group of monsters and becomes their king after disobeying his parents. When he returns home, he's met with love, acceptance, and a hot meal.

Where The Wild Things Are is just as popular now as it was when it first came out. In 1964, it won the Caldecott Medal. Since then, it's been adapted into an opera, a movie, and an animated short. In 2012, School Library Journal readers voted it the number-one picture book.

Also Ranked

#91 on The Best Novels Ever Written

#5 on The Greatest Books to Read to Kids

#34 on The Greatest Children's Books That Were Made Into Movies

#60 on Books That Changed My Life

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The Velveteen Rabbit is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Children's Books You Didn't Realize Kids Are Still Reading
Photo: George H. Doran Company

The Velveteen Rabbit was written by Margery Williams in 1922. It tells the story of a stuffed rabbit that feels inferior because it isn't a real rabbit or a modern, mechanical toy. But thanks to the love of its owner, the rabbit finally gets its chance to become "real."

The book has been wildly popular since its publication, and has been republished and adapted countless times.

Also Ranked

#42 on The Most Heartbreaking Novels Ever Written

#92 on The Best Overall Books for Kids

#13 on The Best Books for First Graders

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The Giving Tree is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Children's Books You Didn't Realize Kids Are Still Reading
Photo: Harper & Row

Shel Silverstein's The Giving Tree came out in 1964. It is considered one of Silverstein's most popular books, and it has been translated into multiple languages. It is still quite popular, ranking #3 on a 2013 Goodreads list of Best Children's Books.

The story focuses on a young boy who receives gifts from a loving tree throughout his life. As time passes and the boy grows, he is less appreciative of the gifts, but the tree continues to give everything it has until it is just a stump.

Also Ranked

#9 on The Greatest Books to Read to Kids

#27 on Novels with the Best Love Stories

#84 on Books That Changed My Life

#7 on The Best Books for Toddlers

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