first published 1957

“When he was about two years old, and had been a Cat About Town for some time, glorious in conquests, but rather too thin for comfort, the Fur Person decided that it was time he settled down.”When a friend loaned me this book by May Sarton, my first reaction was “I didn’t know Sarton wrote children’s books.” After reading it, my first thought was, “Is this really just for children?” as I loved it as an adult, especially a cat-loving adult. However, there is no doubt that it does meet the needs of children…

by Arthur Ransome, first published 1931. No author of children’s books gives children’s imagination the place of honor in the same way that Arthur Ransome does. Throughout the entire book, we live within the imaginative world that the four children (and their two friends) have created for themselves…

Published: 1942
Theme: Country Life
Best for: 9 to 12

“Wasn’t it a miracle to live in the country in spring? And to have a wonderful family that she was crazy about, and a house with a secrect room and a cupola…?” The second of four books about the Melendys, these four very street-savvy children are now quite at home roaming the forest…

Published: 1957
Theme: Imagination
Best for: 8 to 10

“After a while, when he saw that nothing was going to pounce on him and that he probably wasn’t going to be struck by lightning, he allowed his sobs to die down and turn into hiccups.” The first of several books about three children and their summer adventures, is an unusual children’s book, delighting in flights of fancy…

by E. Nesbit, first published 1906. “Very wonderful and beautiful things do happen, don’t they? And we live most of our lives in the hope of them.” While the brilliant author Edith Nesbit may be best known for her liberal use of magic and fantasy, not all her books include magic. In this very likeable book, The Railway Children, we discover something even more important than magic…We discover that even in difficult situations, there is magic to be found right in daily life, if we only have eyes to see it…

Published: 1941
Theme: Growing Up in the City
Best for: 6 to 12

“The room in which they were sitting might have been called a playroom, schoolroom or nursery to most people. But to the Melendys, it was known as the Office.” In The Saturdays, the first children’s book in the series known as The Melendy Quartet, we are introduced to the four Melendy children, ranging in ages from six to thirteen…

Published: 1973
Theme: The Value of Time
Best for: ages 10 to adult

“There’s a place like the one you visited in every living soul, but only those who let me take them there can see it, nor can it be seen with ordinary eyes.” If there was only one children’s book I could put on the list of must-read, yet hardly known, children’s books, it would have to be Momo. I fell in love with the book, despite the fact that when I first went to read it…