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, 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.
Beatrix Potter first introduced The Tale Of Peter Rabbit to the world in 1902. This illustrated classic is a cautionary tale of what happens to children when they don't listen to their parents. It's an appealing message for parents, but the cute anthropomorphic bunnies, relatable characters, and lovely illustrations make it enjoyable for children too. The book continues to sell hundreds of millions of copies in multiple languages.
Ludwig Bemelmans wrote and illustrated the first Madeline book in 1939. The book describes the adventures of a spunky little girl named Madeline who attends a boarding school in Paris, France. The books are widely read to this day, perhaps because Madeline, the title character, is so independent and adventurous.
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.
#81 on The Best Novels Ever Written
#58 on Books That Changed Your Life