My Favorite 100 Classic Children's Books (Download Now Available!) | Do Say Give

My Favorite 100 Classic Children’s Books (Download Now Available!)

Classic Children's Books
classic children's book list
Finally! A printable list of my 100 favorite classic children’s books! So many have asked for an easy-to-use list like this FOR YEARS! And today I’m excited to share it with y’all in hopes that it will bring more children to fall in love with reading these time-tested classic books – and reading in general. I’m also sharing why I think your child or grandchild can benefit from these books!

What Ages is This List For?

I’ve compiled 100 of my favorite books for children ages 0-10 and divided it into picture books, chapter books, readers, short stories, and poetry.

I chose 100 of my favorite books to give you a great foundation for finding classic books and good books in general, old or new. Most of the authors have other wonderful books so this list is just a starting point!

And to make it easier for you to find age appropriate books for your child, the list is in order of level of difficulty. For example, the easier picture books (many of them also available in board books) are listed first and the longer picture books (that are more like early chapter books) are at the end. This is helpful as you are trying to find books for your children to read (although I would recommend reading all of these with them if you can!). Get the list here!

Why classic books?

Many of these once beloved books have fallen off school reading lists and can’t be found at the big box book stores or (sadly) Scholastic book fairs. They are too good to be forgotten!
I am NOT an expert on classic children’s books by any means. But I do love them and have read a lot of them and have been writing about them for years (see the first post about why I mostly read classic books to my children). There are many sites who share great *new* books. But my niche is classic books.
classic children's book list

What are the benefits of reading these older, classic books?

Have you heard of the million word gap? A study recently showed that children whose parents read them 5 books a day had heard 1.4 million words than the children who were never read to. Think about the implications that has on overall development and school success!

The list we’ve put together will not only give you quality books to read to your children up to the age of 10 but they will offer your children exposure to:

  • A Richer Vocabulary. Reading introduces many more words into a child’s vocabulary that we use in spoken language so think how much these classic books – with not just more complex words but complex sentence structure – can do for their minds. It’s good for children to hear more complex words, even if they don’t always understand them. In other words, these book don’t dumb things down to grab the attention of a child. On the contrary, the raise the bar with beautiful language and syntax.
  • Beautiful Illustrations – Your children will hopefully develop an appreciation for good literature when they read good books. And they’ll develop a taste for beautiful art when we expose them to beautiful illustrations. There are some amazing illustrators in the picture book recommendations. Get to know them as you work through the list!
  • Depth of characters – In order to love reading we need to form a connection to the characters. These books will do just that. What qualities do you want in your child? Courage, kindness, faithfulness, honor. Read them books with characters who exhibit these things!


  • Historical Context – Does your child only read books with modern day plots? These books will give them a deeper historical perspective and maybe even make them more grateful for their 21st century blessings.


As said above, the books on this list will give you a foundation for selecting quality books for your children. You will start to recognize the qualities mentioned above which will help you sort through the masses of books at libraries and book stores.

My child only likes books about snot and wimpy kids. He’s not going to enjoy the “classics.”

There’s a philosophy that any book is good if a child reads. To that I say, yes. But if a book does not captivate, draw in, wrap your child’s brain in wonder, he or she may not develop a true love of reading. And learning in general for that matter. How can a teenager be expected to understand Hamlet in high school if he’s only ever read “filler” books?

And for that matter, how can a watered down book compete with the thrill of an action packed video game with Hollywood-level special effects? If you want the books that will draw them in, go for a really good book. (Classic or not!)

classic children's book list

Shouldn’t I let my child pick out books he wants to read?

Children are naturally going to gravitate to the character books they recognize or the flashy covers, but I believe it’s our job to steer them into a direction that we know as parents is best for them. My view is that I only have so much time to read to my children. If I am going to read to them, it’s going to be good books, not book that makes me want to bang my head against the wall. Tip: some of my friends will let their children read/flip through whichever books they want at the library or book store, but they decide which books will be checked out or brought home.


Classics have dated language and may not be sensitive to other cultures.

I would be cautious to ban books from your home that only present our current modern view of the world. To raise critical thinkers we can’t sanitize everything for our children. Yes, some of the language might be dated but we can use this as an opportunity to talk to our children about how our culture has evolved and why something that was once commonplace is now considered insensitive or offensive. I know not everyone takes this view, but I’ve found that some of these books provide a an excellent opportunity to discuss difficult topics with our children but topics we should discuss nonetheless. 


My Child Can Read. Why Should I Still Read to Him?

Yes, Yes. And a Thousand Yeses. I have read all of the chapter books on this list aloud to my children (minus the few we’ve listened to on audiobooks). This has not only been good for their comprehension and vocabulary but for overall family bonding. Our family has had so many wonderful, organic discussions over the topics brought forth in these books. On life, death, greed, service, giving, sacrifice, and hard work.

And a word on the picture books. So often we think once our child can read readers or chapter books we don’t need to read picture books anymore but there are so many wonderful picture books on this list that should be enjoyed throughout elementary school. Picture books are satisfying to parents and early readers alike because of their short nature and their illustrations, yet many of them still offer the same benefits of the rich language mentioned above.

classic children's book list

Why are you charging for this list?

Let me first say you can find PLENTY of classic book recommendations on DoSayGive. So you don’t have to purchase anything to get great book recommendations. Just hover under the Motherhood Tab at the top of this page.

The reason for the small fee on the download is the time my team put into creating the download and the convenience it offers you. How nice is it to have a printable book list divided into picture books, readers, and chapter books that you can take to the library or print off to keep on your bulletin board at home? And with check boxes so you can have the satisfaction of checking them off!

Ready to download? Click here!

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