Twaddle-Free Children’s Books

The following books are on this list either because of their rich vocabularies, the substance in their plots, or their beautiful artwork. I believe that a love for reading, a reverence for books, and an understanding of literary value begins at an early age. And I believe whatever children read when they are young influences the reading choices they make when they’re older. Therefore, I feel it is important to be picky when choosing children’s books.

I’ll be adding to this list as I come across more books.

Board Books

Time for Bed by Mem Fox
Whoever You Are by Mem Fox
You’re Here for a Reason by Nancy Tillman
Puff, the Magic Dragon by Peter Yarrow

Picture Books

A Farm by Carl Larsson, Lennoart Rudström, and Earnest Edwin Ryden
The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
A Chair for My Mother by Vera B. Williams
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carl
An Apple Pie for Dinner by Susan VanHecke
The Emperor’s Garden by Ferida Wolff
Linnea in Monet’s Garden by Christina Björk
Ellot’s Exraordinary Cookbook by Christina Björk
Linnea’s Almanac by Christina Björk
Linnea’s Windowsill Garden by Christina Björk
Mouse and Lion by Rand Burkert
Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
Old Turtle by Douglass Wood
The Selfish Giant by Oscar Wilde and Lisbeth Zwerger
The Turnip by Jan Brett
The Shape of the World: A Portrait of Frank Lloyd Wright by K.L. Going
The Eraserheads by Kate Banks
The Honeybee Man by Lela Nargi
A Voyage in the Clouds: The (Mostly) True Story of the First International Flight by Balloon in 1785 by Matthew Olshan
Big Words for Little Geniuses by Susan and James Patterson
In a Small Kingdom by Tomie dePaola

Chapter Books

Pollyanna by Eleanor H. Porter
Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne
The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner
The Trumpet of the Swan by E.B. White
Stuart Little by E.B. White
Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White
Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell
The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall
Master Cornhill by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
The Golden Goblet by Eloise Jarvis McGraw
The Trumpeter of Krakow by Eric P. Kelly
The Sherwood Ring Elizabeth Marie Pope
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
The Borrowers by Mary Norton
The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell


The Dragons are Singing Tonight by Jake Prelutsky
A Carnival of the Animals by Jack Prelutsky and Camille Saint-Saëns