Classic Children’s Books That Make Great Gifts

Holidays and birthdays are perfect opportunities to get kids classic books that they can keep on their bookshelves for years to come. Encouraging reading in kids is crucial for their academic success and introducing them to the classics can help with that. In fact, studies have shown that children who were read to three or four per week were better at recognizing letters of the alphabet, counting, and writing their own names than kids who were not read to as often. Also, research shows that children who are encouraged to read frequently become more skilled readers as adults.

So consider picking up a classic children’s book for your little reader. Here’s a list of some favorites by age group:

Ages 0-3 Years

The following books are excellent options for parents who want to read aloud to infants and toddlers and who want books that will visually captivate their kids who cannot read yet.

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?

This beautiful children’s book was written by Bill Martin Jr. and illustrated by Eric Carle. The book catalogs animals and is as visually engaging as it is entertaining.

Goodnight Moon

This sweet book chronicles the story of a little bunny saying goodnight to everything in his room. It is the perfect bedtime story and very popular with kids and parents.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar

The Very Caterpillar is another classic illustrated by Eric Carle. The book explores educational themes like the days of the week and the life cycles of a caterpillar. It is also visually unique since the pages are designed with holes to represent things being eaten by the book’s protagonist, the caterpillar.

Ages 3-6 Years

These books are more complex with longer stories and can engage both kids who can read to themselves and those who enjoy being read to by family members.


Madeline is the first book in a series created by Ludwig Bemelmans. It tells the story of a young, plucky girl in Paris who has to get her appendix out. This book features a great heroine who can serve as a role model to little girls (or boys) everywhere.

The Snowy Day

This beautifully illustrated book was created by Ezra Jack Keats. It explores the possibility of just what could happen during a snow day.

The Velveteen Rabbit

This sweet story is about growing up and having to let go of things that you love.

Ages 6-9 Years

Give more advanced readers these books, which are longer in length and more complex in narrative.

Charlotte’s Web

More advanced readers will love Charlotte’s Web, a chapter book that tells the story of a spider, a pig, and the young girl they both love.

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Shel Silverstein wrote this book of poetry, which is a good way to introduce kids to rhyming and poems, and to explore whimsical, philosophical themes.

Where the Wild Things Are

This is a picture book with a story that’s appropriate for older readers. Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak, it weaves a tale straight out of the imagination of Max, a young boy who can create his own worlds and friends.


When considering what books to buy as gifts for the little ones, the above are a good selection of classics proven to delight. However, the list is by no means exhaustive. If you had to create a list of timeless classic children’s books, what would you include on it?

Related Articles

Join our community

Sign up to participate in America’s premier community focused on helping students
reach their full potential.