Published: 2013
Theme: Baseball
Best for: 5 to 8

“Marty got her love of baseball from her Great Grandma Martha (Gigi), who loved baseball more than anything. Gigi followed the game faithfully and even kept her own scorebook. She taught Marty everything she knew.” This children’s book is all heart, even as it goes about its mission of explaining the rules of baseball to young boys and girls…

Published: 1992
Theme: Folk Tale
Best for: 5 to 8

“Rich you will surely be,” answered the fortune-teller, staring into the crystal ball on the table. “On one condition: that you earn large sums of money.” In this beautifully illustrated children’s book, we laugh aloud as a naive man becomes a fortune teller. The illustrations of Africa are superb.

Published: 1942
Theme: Imagination
Best for: 5 to 8

“Why not use what you already have: your own i-ma-gi-na-tion? It can do any kind of magic – anywhere-at any time. All you have to do is use it.” From the very opening, where the author kindly addresses the reader, I knew I was in the hands of a master writer…

Published: 1997
Theme: Imagination
Best for: 5 to 8

“Wolfgang Amadeus Mouse was the youngest of thirteen children. He was also the smallest. His mother had given the other twelve mouse pups quite ordinary names, like Bill or Jane.” A talented singing mouse is the hero of this small children’s book, written by the author of Babe. It’s a nice read-aloud book for young children..

Published: 2014
Theme: Bravery
Best for: 6 to 10

“Before they took off, Emma quickly wrote a note to her parents: “Don’t worry. I’m off with a pretty big genie to find his nose ring. And I have Tristan with me…” The “pretty big” was of course an exaggeration…” In this small children’s book, Emma helps a genie regain his power. Great for young readers who are ready for easy chapter books, or as a read-aloud.

Published: 1959
Theme: Magic of Goodness
Best for: ages 9 and up

“Just ’cause magic never happened to you, it doesn’t meant it isn’t lurking around still, waiting to turn up when you least expect it!” With an unusual turn from Eager’s other magic books, like Half Magic, this children’s book puts magic squarely in the realm of human activity…

Published: 2004
Theme: Fantasy
Best for: 8 and up

“The Rim of Heaven.” Slatebeard closed his eyelids. “Its mountains are so tall that they touch the sky. Moonstone caves lie hidden among its slopes, and the floor of the valley is covered with blue flowers.” Imagine in one children’s book: brownies, dwarfs, dragons, sea serpents, a giant Roc, and even a homunculi. Add the magic of the Himalayas and a Tibetan monastery, and adventure soars to another level.

Published: 1999
Theme: Inner Worth
Best for: girls 8 and up

“Once upon a time, in the village of Snettering-on-Snoakes in the Kingdom of Biddle, a blacksmith’s wife named Gussie gave birth to a baby girl. Gussie and her husband, Sam, named the baby Lorelei, and they loved her dearly.” If your young (girl) reader is a fan of ‘fractured fairy tales,’ this children’s book offers a wonderful comical version of the classic Princess and the Pea.

Published: 2011
Theme: Value Yourself
Best for: 5 and up

“The horse already had a question prepared. He shuffled his feet on the ground and said, ‘What is the reason I was made a horse and not some other animal?” The light said, ‘Because we needed another horse.” In this exquisitely painted and carefully crafted children’s book, the essential question of life is asked and answered.

Published: 1948, republished 1998
Theme: Imagination, Kindness
Best for: 5 to 8

“He’s got a long tail and yellow and blue stripes. His horn and eyes and the bottoms of his feet are bright red, and he has gold-colored wings.” This children’s book is all about imagination, with a capital I. Just trying to picture the vividly-colored dragon takes all of my imaginative skills! There’s nothing scary about this book…

Published: 1958
Theme: Early Reader
Best for: 5 to 8

“If you can count,” said the big, hungry alligator, “maybe you will count my teeth. I have always wanted someone to count my teeth. I will open my mouth wide. Then you two can get in and count all my teeth. All the way to the back of my mouth.” In this easy reader, a young girl has the ideal way to deal with her two young cousins who are pinching, and fighting, and biting. Tell a tale about crocodiles…

Published: 1961
Theme: Early Reader Book
Best for: 5 to 8

“One spring day, when Mother Bear was little, she found a baby robin in the garden. A baby robin, too little to fly. “Oh how sweet you are,” she said, “Where did you come from?” “From my nest,” said the robin…” When a child can pick up a children’s book and read it on their own, it’s as big as learning to ride a bike. The “I Can Read” series is perfect for new readers…

Published: 1911
Theme: Animal Myths
Best for: 3 to 5

“Danny Meadow Mouse sat in his doorway and looked down the Lone Little Path across the Green Meadows. Way, way over near the Smiling Pool he could see Old Mother West Wind’s Children, the Merry Little Breezes, at play.” Here’s a must-have children’s book for Waldorf parents of young children (3 to 5). Perfect short bed-time stories, this classic collection unfolds little stories about why the mouse has a short tale, or why the chipmunk has pockets in his cheeks…

Published: 1996
Theme: Express Yourself
Best for: 8 and up

“But who says that d-o-g means the thing that goes ‘woof’ and wags its tail? Who says so?” And Mrs. Granger took the bait. “Who says dog means dog? You do, Nicholas. You and I and everyone in this class and this school and this town and this state and this country. We all agree.” Thumbs up to this fast-moving, easy reading children’s book that is sure to delight parents, teachers, and hopefully kids, about language, education, and self-confidence.

Published: 1974
Theme: Imagination, Perserverance
Best for: 8 to 11

“Some people consider me an eccentric. I specialize in imagination. I imagine things most people wouldn’t even dream of.” “Like DNA and RNA,” said Ben.” “Precisely. And the Whangdoodle.” The mystical lands are always there; it’s up to us to believe in the yearning of our hearts to visit them. The heart of this book is believing in our dreams…

Published: 1964
Theme: Overcoming Bullies
Best for: 8 and up

The Pushcart War started on the afternoon of March 15, 1998, when a truck ran down a pushcart belonging to a flower peddler. Daffodils were scattered all over the street. The pushcart was flattened, and the owner of the pushcart was pitched headfirst into a pickle barrel. The theme of standing up to bullies comes in a NYC setting of pushcarts versus trucks, with humor all the way through.

Published: 2012
Theme: Death of a grandparent
Best for: 6 to 9

“I sleep with Lucy [the dog] in Billy’s bed because I promised. She sleeps next to me, sometimes lifting her head to peer at me as if to say ‘You’re not the one I love. You’re all right. But not the one I love.'” In Kindred Souls, once again MacLachlan addresses the journey of a young child dealing with the death of an elder, offering humor and compassion..

Published: 1963
Theme: Historical Fantasy
Best for: 8 and up

“The only thing a cat worries about is what’s happening right now. As we tell the kittens, you can only wash one paw at a time.” This time-travel, historical fantasy stands out through the heart-felt and accurate portrayal of cats and their behavior, sharing traits that are often missed by non-cat lovers.

Published: 2013
Theme: Power to Create
Best for: 8 and up

“[The Gods] did tell one another what they would make once they got back to work, if only they had the energy, and if only they had the time, but in truth their world was still unfinished, still had many gaps and spaces in it, and there was still much making to be done.” This book has a profound message for all ages – within each of us is the power of the Gods to create our world, and… we must be responsible…

Published: 2011
Theme: Friendship
Best for: 8 – 11

“Ipswitch, Pennsyvlania, is a small town. In July of 1955, the population was one hundred and sixty-two. People who visited Ipswitch commented on what a happy place it was.” At the heart of this book is friendship …between two young people, Alice and Charlie; between Alice and her aunt Polly; between Polly and her whole town…

Published: 2011
Theme: Growing up
Best for: 7 – 9

“After her very important call my mom sat on the couch with me and read five whole chapters of a book to me… And when we got to the happy ending, my mom’s eyes got red…My mom always cries at happy endings.” Here’s one of the absolute best early readers/ first chapter books I’ve come across. The writing is simple, laid out with only a few words on a line for ease of reading…

Published: 2014
Theme: First Chapter Book
Best for: 5 to 8

“Being an explorer’s assistant is hard work,” said Harold. “Being an explorer is even harder!” said Pigsticks. Harold wasn’t convinced. He hadn’t realized that The Ends of the Earth would be so far away.” Interspersed with delightful illustrations, filled with humor and jokes, this is a fabulous first chapter book…

Published: 2014
Theme: Standing up for others
Best for: 6 to 10

“Our Pentagon is a surprise my dad and I are building to celebrate the new baby coming. Our Pentagon is a table, one that will be just right for our new family because it has five sides, one for everybody.” There’s a nice mix of humor, emotions, and easy reading that makes this a very attractive book for young children.

Published: 2014
Theme: Friendship, First Chapter Book
Best for: 5 to 8

“Under the kitchen sink, where the beetles live, there is an art studio just for Marvin. James gives him paper and ink. He can draw and draw. Marvin loves making pictures. But today he just doesn’t feel like it.” This children’s book succeeds on several counts – imagination (the world as seen by beetles), clear simple writing, and a single message: friendship.

Published: 2011
Theme: Family
Best for: 8 and 9

“So four dogs and a cat named Lula replaced my father…My friend Max thought it was very exciting. Not that my father was gone, but that Mama had brought home four dogs and a cat.” The magic in this children’s book is the degree to which we can really relate to animals when our hearts are young and open, and they with us…

Published: 2006
Theme: Love and Loss of Grandparents
Best for: 6 to 9

“‘He can only speak French in my journal,’, I said. ‘I suppose that’s what writing is for,’ said Grandfather. ‘To change life and make it come out the way you want it to.'” This children’s book addresses something so precious – preparing a child for the death of the grandparent. I cry just writing those words. Yet there is nothing maudlin or sad about this children’s book. It is exquisite.