A Mom's Perspective

The Joys of Parenting & Everything in Between

Children’s Books I Think Every Child Needs

Children’s Books

One of the first things I bought my first son (other than the necessary essentials) after he was born were books, and I still have some of them almost 23 years later. Books are an important part of my life, and I have tried to instill that love in all of my boys (to varying degrees of success). Children’s books are a door to learning, imagination, and fantasy. Although there are many children’s books I love and enjoy, I have my favourites that I consider “must-haves”, books that I can’t live without, that are timeless, and that I believe inspire young readers.

children's books

Children’s Books I Think Every Child Needs

children's books

  • The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore
    This is my favourite Children’s book of all time. This was the first book I purchased for Travis after he was born, and it is important enough that we have two copies. My favourite will always be the one illustrated by Kathy Wilburn (which is the copy I purchased back in 1994).

    The Night Before Christmas

    The Night Before Christmas Illustrated by Kathy Wilburn

    The Night Before Christmas

    The Night Before Christmas Illustrated by Tasha Tudor

  • The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
    This was the second book I purchased for Travis (the same day I bought The Night Before Christmas). This was one of my favourite books as a child and one that I had to “replace” for my own children.
    When the sequel was published in 1996, I immediately purchased that as well, and at some point in the last decade I managed to find a board book as well.

    the Monster at the end of this book

    The Monster at the end of this Book

    Another Monster at the end of this book

    Another Monster at the end of this Book

  • Moo Baa La La La by Sandra Boynton (and every other book by Sandra Boynton)
    Moo Baa La La La was Travis very first favourite book when he was a toddler. By the time he was 2 he could recite the words himself by memory. I’ve kept the same copy I bought for him back in 1996, and over the years I have added to our collection. Sandra Boynton books were favourites of my youngest three and she’s become one of my favourite Children’s authors of all time.

    sandra boynton

    Sandra Boynton Books

  • Dr. Seuss (pretty much anything and everything written by Dr Seuss) 
    Anything by Dr. Seuss is a MUST HAVE. Not only do these books inspire a child’s (and adult’s) imagination, they provide a great platform for learning to read and show excellent examples of creative thinking.

    dr seuss

    Dr Seuss Books

    dr seuss

    Dr Seuss Board Books

  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff (and the rest of the books in the series)
    I LOVE this book. LOVE LOVE LOVE. I bought it for my second son and we read it often. I had to replace it after one of my cat’s ATE it when he was a kitten, and over the years we have collected most of the books in the series as they have been released.

    if you give a mouse a cookie

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie

    Laura Numeroff

    Laura Numeroff Books

    if you give a mouse a cookie

    Laura Numeroff Books

  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault
    This was my second son’s favourite childhood book. I think we read this every night for almost 3 years! Somehow we have acquired more copies over the years (and I know I’m missing one).

    chicka chicka boom boom

    Chicka Chicka Boom Boom

  • Franklin in the Dark by Paulette Bourgeois (and other Franklin books)
    I’ve always loved Franklin, and I think the books are timeless, and relatable with characters we can connect with. Best of all, Paulette Bourgeois is a Canadian author.



    Franklin Books

    Franklin Books

  • Guess How Much I love You by Sam McBratney
    Pretty much self-explanatory. This has quickly become a classic story, and deserves a spot in every home. It is also the same age as my oldest son!

    guess how much i love you

    Guess How Much I Love You

  • Good Night Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
    I don’t think there is another book out there that epitomizes the bedtime story the way Good Night Moon does.
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
    Classic story telling at its finest, with beautiful come to life illustrations, Where the Wild Things Are has been a staple bedtime story in my home for the last two decades. My kids especially like when the wild rumpus starts!

  • The Poky Little Puppy
    I loved this book growing up, and my 9 year old STILL loves it. Every time he sees it he gets excited (which is the exact reaction I want my kids to have when they are around books).

    poky little puppy

    The Poky Little Puppy

    poky little puppy

    The Poky Little Puppy comes to Sesame Street

  • And last, but not least,  one of my all time favourites: A Charlie Brown Christmas by Charles M Schultz
    A Charlie Brown Christmas

    A Charlie Brown Christmas

    A Charlie Brown Christmas

    A Charlie Brown Christmas


Notable Mentions:

Although not well-known, or “classics” I have a handful of books that I bought for Travis that I have read to all my kids, and that I absolutely love. They are perfect bed-time stories, with vivid descriptions and beautiful illustrations.

  • Dinner at the Panda Palace by Stephanie Calmenson

    children's books

    Dinner at the Panda Palace

  • There’s a Cow in the Road! by Reeve Lindbergh

    children's books

    There’s a Cow in the Road

  • I Know a Place by Karen Ackerman

    children's books

    I Know a Place

  • Am I Beautiful? by Else Holmeland Minarik
    children's books

    Am I Beautiful?


What children’s books are on YOUR must-have list? I’d love to know! Please leave me a comment (as I’m always looking for more books to add to our shelves)!

Andrea resides in Calgary, Alberta, and is the mom to five boys between the ages of 7-22. Running mainly on coffee and sarcasm, in her spare time she enjoys listening to Canadian Rock, watching Calgary Flames hockey, reading YA Dystopian novels, binge watching 90s television on Netflix, and entering contests.



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  1. caryn s

    I remember having a book subscription for my little one who was only a few months old! I agree that books are a necessity for kids as it helps them with their learning!

  2. Hailey

    Love reading!

  3. Alina

    Extremely helpful for parents with small children, thank you!

  4. Calvin F.

    I see many classics here that I read as a child, definitely great childrens books

  5. Annette C.

    Growing up, I read Aesop’s Fables & The Chronicles of Narnia.

  6. AD

    I love the list you have provided; I had hundreds of Little Golden Books as a child and they were all good, excellent products. Anything by Sandra Boynton is a MUST as is Dr. Seuss!

  7. s powell

    Love classic books like Night before Christmas

  8. Elizabeth Matthiesen

    The Night Before Christmas by Clement C Moore is a great book with marvellous illustrations. I believe that all children benefit from reading early and that reading to them encourages this. I’m an avid reader myself and love giving books as presents. 🙂

  9. Susan

    You have mentioned many of our favourites — I’m a big Sandra Boyton fan and follow her on Facebook for her daily pictures and silliness! The Velveteen Rabbit is another favourite as well as books by Cindy Szerekes.

  10. All these books sound lovely! Thanks for sharing.
    Edye recently posted…HomeFree Cookies Review + Giveaway!My Profile

  11. Cynthia R

    Those are all her favorites too. I really enjoy Sandra Boynton myself, I think she’s a amazing and fun.

  12. Oh my goodness. I remember so many of these from when I was little…including my favorites.
    Stephanie LaPlante recently posted…American Girl Doll ReviewMy Profile

  13. Aly P

    A great list! I’d add Harry Potter for older children, and adults 🙂

  14. Ashfa

    Ahhh!! Sesame Street and Franklin.. I loved these books as a kid!!! Great list!!

  15. My kids LOVED the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie series

  16. I love Dr Seuss’s books with my all time favourite The Cat in the Hat Comes Back because eating cake in the bath #bucketlist and pink snow!
    Sue @ Crushingcinders recently posted…June & July 2017 Books For Your TBRMy Profile

  17. Shirleyp

    Reading is a fun and enjoyable way to spend quality time with your child. There are so many benefits from reading with your child they learn listening, memory, and vocabulary skills. They also learn about the world around them.

  18. Uhunoma Aguebor

    These were some of my favorite books as a child too! Books that I would add to my list are the Berenstain Bears series, Arthur series, Amelia Bedelia, Rainbow Fish, and Polar Express! 🙂

  19. Karen E. Hill

    I have so many books I have saved from my childhood and my sons, so they are old, but in great shape. My favourite one of all time that I get a child is “The Velveteen Rabbit”

  20. I love the many books for children, past and present. I love to buy books for birthdays now. The most recent I bought for a 4 year old was The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch. Fun book with good message.
    Kathryn Trask recently posted…June Book of Choice Giveaway.My Profile

  21. John Smith

    I will have to look up “Dinner At the Panda Palace.” Thank you!

  22. H.Sandrine

    “What children’s books are on YOUR must-have list”. It’s difficult to answer this question since I’m French and I don’t think the title I’m going to give you would help you ^^’ But :
    “La grammaire est une chanson douce” by Erik Orsenna was my most significant read

  23. My great grandkids come to MawMaws because they love to be read all these books. I also love reading to them. They get so excited during me reading to them. Most of them love the animal books.

  24. Shannon Tusler

    If You Give a Mouse a Cookie! I completely agree this is a MUST have book for any child!! This was my son’s favorite!

  25. Cheryl Grandy

    There are a few on your list that I’m not familiar with, but we have most of them. I like that yours show that they’ve been loved and used.

  26. Jana Leah

    Guess How Much I Love You is one of my favorites.

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