Not every child likes to curl up with a book and read. Some are more active or their interests simply lie elsewhere. Some have been recommended books that simply turned them away from all the potential that books can offer. However, I subscribe to the idea that all children would like to read, but they just haven’t found the right book yet.
Instead of simply throwing books at children, we should recommend things that we remember reading (late into the night with our blankets over our heads and a flashlight to illuminate the words.)
Here I have 8 books that I truly believe most children would enjoy and might even fall in love with.
(Legal Stuff: Hey guys, just want to mention that I’ve included affiliate links on this post and I will earn a commission if you choose to purchase anything from them.)
The Neverending Story by Michael Ende
“When Bastian happens upon an old book called the Neverending Story, he’s swept into the magical world of Fantastica—so much that he finds he has actually become a character in the story! And when he realizes that this mysteriously enchanted world is in great danger, he also discovers that he is the one chosen to save it. Can Bastian overcome the barrier between reality and his imagination in order to save Fantastica?”
Why I recommend: Chubby boy finds book and gets lost in a fantastical story that lets him forget all of his “shortcomings” that society has made him believe he possesses. As a chubby little girl, I connected with this story almost immediately. Any child who feels awkward or ostracized by their peers will surely find comfort and a sense of acceptance that this book offers. I know I did, and still do.
2. The BFGby Roald Dahl
“The BFG is no ordinary bone-crushing giant. He is far too nice and jumbly. It’s lucky for Sophie that he is. Had she been carried off in the middle of the night by the Bloodbottler, or any of the other giants—rather than the BFG—she would have soon become breakfast. When Sophie hears that the giants are flush-bunking off to England to swallomp a few nice chidllers, she decides she must stop them once and for all. And the BFG is going to help her!”
Why I recommend: Full of Roald Dahl’s classic charm and vivid imagination, the BFG is a story of friendship and how no matter how small you might feel, you should still believe that you can change the world. Because as Sophie shows us, changing the world can be done by anyone, no matter how little.
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
“It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.”
Why I recommend: This book is a classic. Not only is all the imagery penned vividly, this book enthralls young readers and opens their minds to possibilities they never dreamt of. Even with today’s technology, this book will grab it’s reader by the hand and open their eyes to a whole new universe of impossibilities.
4. The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
“Bod is an unusual boy who inhabits an unusual place—he’s the only living resident of a graveyard. Raised from infancy by the ghosts, werewolves, and other cemetery denizens, Bod has learned the antiquated customs of his guardians’ time as well as their ghostly teachings—such as the ability to Fade so mere mortals cannot see him.
Can a boy raised by ghosts face the wonders and terrors of the worlds of both the living and the dead?”
Why I recommend: This book is basically an alternate universe where Mowgli from the Jungle Book was raised in a graveyard instead of a jungle. The main character, Bod, is just as inquisitive as a boy raised by ghosts can be. As a reader, Gaiman makes you feel as if you were at Bod’s side for every discovery and achievement that takes place within the book.
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
“First published in 1908, ‘Anne of Green Gables’ is Lucy Maud Montgomery’s enduring classic which chronicles the coming of age of a young orphan girl, from the fictional community of Bolingbroke, Nova Scotia. The story begins with her arrival at the Prince Edward Island farm of Miss Marilla Cuthbert and Mr. Matthew Cuthbert, siblings in their fifties and sixties, who had decided to adopt a young boy to help out on the farm. However, through a misunderstanding, the orphanage sends Anne Shirley instead. While the Cuthberts are at first determined to return Anne to the orphanage, after a few days they decide to keep her…’Anne of Green Gables’ is at once both a comic and tragic tale. Read by millions, this novel begins a series of books that the author continued writing until the day she died…”
Why I recommend: Anne’s exuberance and optimism for life bounces off the page. This story is a must for young tomboys who simply wish they could to the same things as boys. Anne is a hero to every little girl who ever dared to wish for something more than “normal”.
6. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
“After James Henry Trotter’s parents are tragically eaten by a rhinoceros, he goes to live with his two horrible aunts, Spiker and Sponge. Life there is no run, until James accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree and strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it’s as big as a house. Inside, James meets a bunch of oversized friends—Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, and more. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the great adventure begins!”
Why I recommend: Yes I know, two Roald Dahl books in a list of eight? Trust me, Roald Dahl is (in my opinion) one of the best children authors to ever exist. His ideas for plots are so fantastical, opening up one of his books feels like stepping directly into a daydream. He did write “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, after all! Anyone who writes about a huge room consisting entirely of candy can have my book money any day!
7. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
“From dressing the chicken to drawing the drapes, Amelia Bedelia does exactly what Mr. and Mrs. Rogers tell her to do. If things get a bit mixed up, well, that’s okay. When Amelia Bedelia is involved, everything always turns out perfectly in the end.”
Why I recommend: This one is for the younger/struggling readers. Amelia Bedelia stumbles her way across the pages and into your heart. She also teaches children a very valuable lesson—as long as you try your hardest, everything will be okay in the end. (As a somewhat recent college graduate still looking for a stable job, I’m glad I learned this lesson as a kid. Otherwise, I’d be crying every night instead of only every other night.)
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieska
“You thought you knew the story of the ‘Three Little Pigs’…You thought wrong.
In this hysterical and clever fracture fairy tale picture book that twists point of view and perspective, young readers will finally hear the other side of the story of ‘The Three Little Pigs'”.
Why I recommend: Another one for the younger readers, this book is the child equivalent of “Wicked”. Not only do young readers hear the story from the Wolf, but they also learn a valuable lesson. There are always at least two sides to every story, and knowing which one to believe isn’t always easy.