List of children's classic books

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This is a list of children's classic books published at least 20 years ago and still available in the English language.[1][2][3]

Books specifically for children existed by the 17th century. Before that, books were written mainly for adults – although some later became popular with children. Most printed works were hard to come by due to their cost and were mostly available for purchase only by upper class society. Scholarship on children's literature includes professional organizations, dedicated publications, and university courses.

Before 18th century[edit]

Title Author Year published References and Brief Introduction
Panchatantra Vishnu Sharma c. 800 BC Ancient Indian inter-related collection of animal fables in verse and prose, in a frame story format. Similar stories are found in later works including Aesop's Fables and the Sindbad tales in Arabian Nights.[4]
Aesop's Fables Aesop c. 600 BC [5][6]
Kathasaritsagara Somadeva 11th Century AD Collection of Indian legends, fairy tales and folk tales as retold by a Saivite Brahmin named Somadeva. Generally believed to derive from Gunadhya's Brhat-katha, written in Paisachi dialect from the south of India.[citation needed]
Arabian Nights unknown before 8th century AD [7][8]
Orbis Pictus John Amos Comenius 1658 Earliest picture book specifically for children.[9][10]
A Token for Children. Being An Exact Account of the Conversion, Holy and Exemplary Lives, and Joyful Deaths of several Young Children James Janeway 1672 One of the first books specifically written for children which shaped much eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century writing for children.[citation needed][11]

18th century[edit]

Title Author Year published References
Robinson Crusoe Daniel Defoe 1719 [1][3][12]
Gulliver's Travels Jonathan Swift 1726 [1][13]
Tales of Mother Goose Charles Perrault 1729 (English) [3][2][14]
Little Pretty Pocket-book John Newbery 1744 [15]
Little Goody Two Shoes Oliver Goldsmith 1765 [16]
Lessons for Children Anna Laetitia Barbauld 1778-9 The first series of age-adapted reading primers for children printed with large text and wide margins; in print for over a century.[17]
The History of Sandford and Merton Thomas Day 1783-9 A bestseller for over a century, it embodied Rousseau's educational ideals.[18]

19th century[edit]

Title Author Year published References
The Swiss Family Robinson Johann Rudolf Wyss 1812-3 [1]
The Nutcracker and the Mouse King E. T. A. Hoffman 1816 [19]
Ivanhoe Walter Scott 1819 [20]
The Legend of Sleepy Hollow Washington Irving 1819 [1][21]
Rip Van Winkle Washington Irving 1820 [1][22]
Grimm's Fairy Tales Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm 1823 (English) [3][23]
A Visit From St. Nicholas Clement Clarke Moore 1823 [3]
Tales of Peter Parley About America Peter Parley (pseudonym) 1827 [3]
Oliver Twist Charles Dickens 1838 [1]
Nicholas Nickelby Charles Dickens 1839
A Christmas Carol Charles Dickens 1843 [1][2]
The Three Musketeers Alexandre Dumas, père 1844
The Count of Monte Cristo Alexandre Dumas, père 1845
Fairy Tales Hans Christian Andersen 1846 (English) [3]
The Children of the New Forest Frederick Marryat 1847
Slovenly Peter Heinrich Hoffmann 1848 (English)
David Copperfield Charles Dickens 1850 [1]
The Wide, Wide World Elizabeth Wetherell (pseudonym) 1850 [3]
The King of the Golden River John Ruskin 1851 [3]
Little Eva: The Flower of the South Philip J. Cozans 1853 First known children's novel to feature racial (i.e. pro-slavery) bias.[citation needed]
A Tale of Two Cities Charles Dickens 1853 [1]
The Coral Island R. M. Ballantyne 1857
Tom Brown's Schooldays Thomas Hughes 1857 [3]
Great Expectations Charles Dickens 1861 [1][24]
The Water Babies Charles Kingsley 1863 [3]
A Journey to the Center of the Earth Jules Verne 1864 [1]
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland Lewis Carroll 1865 [1][2]
Max and Moritz Wilhelm Busch 1865
Hans Brinker or the Silver Skates Mary Mapes Dodge 1865 [1]
Little Women Louisa May Alcott 1868 [1][3][2]
Ragged Dick Horatio Alger, Jr. 1868 [3]
Lorna Doone R. D. Blackmore 1869
Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea Jules Verne 1870 [1]
At the Back of the North Wind George MacDonald 1871 [1]
The Princess and the Goblin George MacDonald 1871 [3]
Through the Looking-Glass Lewis Carroll 1871 [1][3]
A Dog of Flanders Ouida 1872
What Katy Did Susan Coolidge 1873 [3]
The Adventures of Tom Sawyer Mark Twain 1876 [1][3][2][25]
Black Beauty Anna Sewell 1877 [1][3]
The Adventures of Pinocchio Carlo Collodi 1883 [1][3][2][25]
The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood Howard Pyle 1883 [2][25]
Nights with Uncle Remus Joel Chandler Harris 1883
Treasure Island Robert Louis Stevenson 1883 [1][3][2][25]
Adventures of Huckleberry Finn Mark Twain 1884 [1][25]
Heidi Johanna Spyri 1884 (English) [3]
King Solomon's Mines H. Rider Haggard 1885
Kidnapped Robert Louis Stevenson 1886 [1][2]
Little Lord Fauntleroy Frances Hodgson Burnett 1886 [1][3]
The Happy Prince and Other Tales Oscar Wilde 1888
The Blue Fairy Book Andrew Lang 1889
The Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling 1894 [1][3][2][25]
Seven Little Australians Ethel Turner 1894 [3]
The Second Jungle Book Rudyard Kipling 1895 [1]
Moonfleet J. Meade Falkner 1898
The Story of the Treasure Seekers E. Nesbit 1899

20th century[edit]

Title Author Year published References
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz L. Frank Baum 1900 [1][3][2][25]
Five Children and It E. Nesbit 1902 [3]
Just So Stories Rudyard Kipling 1902 [1][3][2]
The Tale of Peter Rabbit Beatrix Potter 1902 [3][2]
King Arthur and His Knights Howard Pyle 1902-3
The Call of the Wild Jack London 1903 [1]
Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm Kate Douglas Wiggin 1903 [1]
A Little Princess Frances Hodgson Burnett 1905 [1][3]
The Railway Children E. Nesbit 1906
White Fang Jack London 1906
Anne of Green Gables Lucy Maud Montgomery 1908 [1][3]
The Wind in the Willows Kenneth Grahame 1908 [1][3][25]
The Secret Garden Frances Hodgson Burnett 1909/1911 [1][3][2]
Peter and Wendy J. M. Barrie 1911 [2] Based on the author's play Peter Pan (1904)
The Lost World Sir Arthur Conan Doyle 1912
Pollyanna Eleanor H. Porter 1913 [3]
The Magic Pudding Norman Lindsay 1918 [26]
The Story of Doctor Dolittle Hugh Lofting 1920 [1][3][2]
The Heart of a Dog Albert Payson Terhune 1921 [1]
Juan Bobo Puerto Rican school children 1921 [27]
Velveteen Rabbit Margery Bianco 1922 [1]
The Voyages of Doctor Dolittle Hugh Lofting 1922 [1]
The Dark Frigate Charles Boardman Hawes 1923 [1]
Smoky the Cowhorse Will James 1926 [1]
Winnie-the-Pooh A. A. Milne 1926 [1][3][2]
The House at Pooh Corner A. A. Milne 1927 [1][3]
Bambi Felix Salten 1928 [1]
The Trumpeter of Krakow Eric P. Kelly 1928 [1]
Emil and the Detectives Erich Kästner 1929 [28]
Swallows and Amazons Arthur Ransome 1930–1931 [3]
Little House in the Big Woods Laura Ingalls Wilder 1932 [1]
The Hobbit J. R. R. Tolkien 1937 [1][3][2][25]
The Reluctant Dragon Kenneth Grahame 1938 [2]
Curious George H. A. Rey 1941
Five on a Treasure Island Enid Blyton 1942
Johnny Tremain Esther Forbes 1943 [1][2]
The Little Prince Antoine de Saint-Exupéry 1943 [1][29]
Pippi Longstocking Astrid Lindgren 1945 [1][30]
The Little White Horse Elizabeth Goudge 1946
Goodnight Moon Margaret Wise Brown 1947 [2][31]
Finn Family Moomintroll Tove Jansson 1949 [32]
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe C.S. Lewis 1950 [1][3][2][25]
Charlotte's Web E. B. White 1952 [1][33][34]
The Cat in the Hat Dr. Seuss 1957 First high quality limited-vocabulary book, written for early readers[citation needed]
Tom's Midnight Garden Philippa Pearce 1958
James and the Giant Peach Roald Dahl 1961 [1]
The Phantom Tollbooth Norton Juster 1961 [1]
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee 1962 Widely read work on race.[35][36]
Where the Wild Things Are Maurice Sendak 1963
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory Roald Dahl 1964 [1]
A Wizard of Earthsea Ursula K. Le Guin 1968 With its sequels, it broke ground for epic fantasy in several ways: the first book had a non-white hero, the later books explored the role of gender in fantasy and power, and the quest structure is not good vs. evil but balance.[citation needed]
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret Judy Blume 1970 approached puberty more openly than children's books had in the past.[citation needed]
A Taste of Blackberries Doris Buchanan Smith 1973 Taboo breaking children's book (Grades 4-6) concerning a child's first grief experience. HarperCollins. 19th edition published 2005.[37][38]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc Nesbit, Eva Marie. "Classic novels". Cullinan & Person 2003. pp. 171–175. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w Silvey 1995, pp. xi–xvi
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am Hunt 2001, p. xvi–xxii
  4. ^ Vijay Bedekar (27 December 2008). "Seminar on 'Suhbashita, Panchatantra & Gnomic Literature in Ancient & Medieval India'". Institute for Oriental Study, Thane. Retrieved 24 July 2012. 
  5. ^ Silvey 1995, p. 3
  6. ^ Temple, Olivia; Temple, Robert K. G. (translators) (1998). Aesop, The Complete Fables. New York: Penguin Classics. ISBN 0-14-044649-4. 
  7. ^ Silvey 1995, p. 25,86
  8. ^ Lyons (2008). Three tales from the Arabian nights. translated by Malcolm C. Lyons, Robert Irwin, and Ursula Lyons ; with an introduction by Robert Irwin. London: Penguin. ISBN 978-1-84614-158-4. 
  9. ^ Epstein, Connie C. (1991). The Art of Writing for Children. Archon Books. p. 2. ISBN 0-208-02297-X. 
  10. ^ Comenius, John Amos (1999). Orbis Pictus : [Orbis Sensualium Pictus. A world of things obvious to the scenes drawn in pictures] ([Faks.Repr.] ed.). Kessinger. ISBN 978-0-7661-0825-7. 
  11. ^ Janeway, James (1994). A token for children : being an exact account of the conversion, holy and exemplary lives and joyful deaths of several young children in two parts. To which is added, A token for the children of New England / by Cotton Mather. Pittsburgh, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications. ISBN 978-1-877611-76-6. 
  12. ^ Defoe, Daniel (2001). Robinson Crusoe (Modern Library paperback ed.). New York: The Modern Library. ISBN 978-0-375-75732-7. 
  13. ^ Swift, Jonathan (2002). Rivero, Albert J., ed. Gulliver's travels. Based on the 1726 text : contexts, criticism (1st ed.). New York: Norton. ISBN 978-0-393-95724-2. 
  14. ^ Perrault, Charles (1963). The complete fairy tales of Charles Perrault. Illustrated by Sally Holmes ; newly translated by Neil Philip and Nicoletta Simborowski ; with an introduction and notes on the story by Neil Philip. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN 978-0-395-57002-9. 
  15. ^ Newbery, John, ed. (2009). A Little pretty pocket-book. Dodo Press. ISBN 978-1-4099-4974-9. 
  16. ^ Welsh, Charles (2010). Goody Two Shoes (reprint ed.). Kessinger Publishing. ISBN 978-1-162-75622-6. 
  17. ^ Pickering, Samuel F., Jr. John Locke and Children's Books in Eighteenth-Century England. Knoxville: The University of Tennessee Press, 1981. ISBN 0-87049-290-X.
  18. ^ Darton, F. J. Harvey. Children's Books in England: Five Centuries of Social Life. 3rd ed. Rev. Brian Alderson. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (1982), 146.
  19. ^ Hoffman, E.T.A. (2003). The Nutcracker : the heirloom edition. Illustrated by Don Daily. Philadelphia: Running Press. ISBN 978-0-7624-1668-4. 
  20. ^ Scott, Sir Walter (2000). Ivanhoe (1st Tor ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates. ISBN 978-0-8125-6565-2. 
  21. ^ Irving, Washington (1990). The legend of Sleepy Hollow. Introduction, afterword by Charles L. Grant] (1st Tor ed.). New York: Tom Doherty Associates. ISBN 978-0-8125-0475-0. 
  22. ^ Irving, Washington (1993). Rip Van Winkle and other selected stories (1st Tor ed.). New York: TOR. ISBN 978-0-8125-2332-4. 
  23. ^ Grimm, Jacob; Grimm, Wilhelm (2006). Owens, Lily, ed. The complete Brothers Grimm fairy tales (Deluxe ed.). New York: Gramercy Books. ISBN 978-0-517-22925-5. 
  24. ^ Nesbit gave an incorrect date of 1863 for the publication. See, for example, Robert L. Patten (1978), Charles Dickens and His Publishers, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 288–293, ISBN 0198120761 
  25. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Baskin, Barbara H.; Harris, Karen. "Classics". Silvey 1995, pp. 140–142. 
  26. ^ Hunt 2001, p. 36
  27. ^ Journal of American Folklore, Vol.34, p. 143; by J. Alden Mason & Aurelio M. Espinosa, ed.; 1921 Retrieved 2013-05-31.
  28. ^ Hunt 2001, p. 361
  29. ^ Hunt 2001, pp. 569–570
  30. ^ Hunt 2001, pp. 406–407
  31. ^ Hunt 2001, p. 97
  32. ^ Silvey 1995, p. 350
  33. ^ Introducing Children's Literature: From Romanticism to Postmodernism by Deborah Cogan Thacker, Routledge, 2002, page 123
  34. ^ 100 Best Books for Children by Anita Silvey, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2004, page 131
  35. ^ Grieve, Quincey (Spring 2012). "A white woman addressing racial complexity in To Kill a Mockingbird". Independent Teacher (National Association of Independent Schools). Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  36. ^ Metcalf, Stephen (9 June 2006). "On first looking into To Kill a Mockingbird". Slate (The Slate Group). Retrieved 11 January 2014. 
  37. ^ "Doris Buchanan Smith". St. James Guide to Young Adult Writers. Gale Biography In Contex. Retrieved 29 April 2011. 
  38. ^ Trelease, Jim (2006). The Read-Aloud Handbook. New York: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated. p. 236. ISBN 978-0-14-303739-2. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Kay E. Vandergrift. "Traditional Classics in Children's Literature". Rutgers University. Retrieved 2011-12-02. 
  • Baker, Franklin Thomas; Abbot, Allan (2008) [1908]. A bibliography of children's reading (digitized ed.). Teachers College. 
  • Cullinan, Bernice E.; Person, Diane G., eds. (2003). The Continuum encyclopedia of children's literature (Reprinted ed.). New York, NY: Continuum. ISBN 978-0-8264-1516-5. 
  • Hunt, Peter (2001). Children's literature (1st ed.). Oxford: Blackwell. ISBN 978-0-631-21141-9. 
  • Lundin, Anne (2004). Constructing the canon of children's literature : beyond library walls and ivory towers. New York: Routledge. ISBN 0-8153-3841-4.  A scholarly examination of canons of children's literature.
  • Silvey, Anita, ed. (1995). Children's books and their creators. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-395-65380-7.  Includes a basic reading list on pp. xi–xvi.
  • Spitz, Ellen Handler (2000). Inside picture books. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300084764. 
  • Thwaite, Mary F. (1972). From primer to pleasure in reading : an introduction to the history of children's books in England from the invention of printing to 1914 with an outline of some developments in other countries (1st American ed.). Boston: The Horn book. ISBN 978-0-87675-275-3.