10 Kids' Books So Amazing They Made Me Want Kids

I grew up in a reading family. My parents and I would spend all of Saturday at our local, independent bookstore, buy dozens of books, and then spend every Sunday reading them on the couch. I loved books, devoured them in fact. And my tastes ran from the respectable (Roald Dahl) to the highly embarrassing (Fear Street and Baby-sitters Club). One of the main reasons I wanted children was to share all the books I saved for them.

My family's house had a library where there were wall-to-wall books. Most of them were my dad's, but I had a few shelves of my own. Books were our life. I remember my mom reading Frances Hodgson Burnett's two books to me, The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, as two of my favorite childhood memories. Reading was joy.

There are so many books I can't wait to share with my kids, but here are 10 books I am most excited about reading to my kids:

  1. Outside, Over There: This one is already a favorite with my kids who are 3 and 4 years old. Maurice Sendak's classic is dark and sort of scary, but it speaks to the ambivalence children feel about their siblings. I still love it even now and I am in my early 30s. It's a pretty fantastic read and I am so glad my kids love it like I do.
  2. A Little Princess: This is a classic for a reason. The message is that love and beauty are qualities that exist outside of money and that true friendship can't be bought (in a nutshell), but Burnett's classic also just speaks to little girls everywhere. I can't wait to read this to my own little girl.
  3. A Wrinkle in Time: This was another one my mother read to me. Madeleine L'Engle wrote this creepy classic a long time ago, but it still stands the test of time. The book begins on a dark and stormy night. Meg Murry, her brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when a bizarre stranger comes by. "Wild nights are my glory," she says. Creepy, odd, and so fantastic, I can't wait to share this with my babes.
  4. The Westing Game: This book by Ellen Raskin is a classic for a reason. I read this one to myself when I was 8 or so, and I still remember it as one of the books that really made me love reading. 
  5. Betsy-Tacy books: These books are old, written by Maud Hart Lovelace in the 1940s and '50s. My mom loved them and read them to me, and I will now read them to my kids. The issues still resonate and following the girls all the way through their childhoods is just cool.
  6. All of a Kind Family series: This was one of my favorites growing up. It's about a Jewish immigrant family around the turn of the century. So sweet and riveting and oddly appropriate even for an 8-year-old living in the mid-late 1980s.
  7. The Witches (& Roald Dahl in general): This book scared, thrilled, and riveted me. And even though Dahl's politics are annoying, the books are too good to be left off the list.
  8. Phantom Tollbooth: This is another fantastic, imaginative, and creative story. I loved every second of this book.
  9. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler: This one is about kids who run away to the museum. It's the fantasy all 11-year-olds secretly have and it plays it out. Plus there is a mystery. My 11-year-old mind was blown by this one.
  10. The Indian in the Cupboard: In the fifth grade, my teacher read this book to our class and I will never forget how completely riveted I was each day as she read the sections aloud.

I could go on and on (and on). These are just a short few of the books I can't wait to share with my kids.

What are some books you will share?


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