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

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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. 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.


  • The Tale Of Peter Rabbit
    Photo: Frederick Warne & Co

    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.

  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
    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. 

  • The Velveteen Rabbit
    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.

  • Arnold Lobel wrote and illustrated the first book in the Frog and Toad series in 1970, and the books are still going strong today. The first book is ranked on Goodread's 100 Best Children's Books list. The books depict the loving and supportive friendship between the main characters, Frog and Toad.

    In a 2016 interview with The New Yorker, Lobel's daughter Adrianne claimed that, although it was never explicitly stated in the books themselves, Frog and Toad were likely meant to be in a same-sex relationship, due to her late father's identity as a gay man.

  • Where The Wild Things Are
    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.

  • Little House On The Prairie
    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.