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The 20 Books Adults Most Love Reading to Children

By April 22, 2015November 12th, 2017Discussion and Recommendations, Guest Blogs

Reading aloud to your children has to be one of life’s great joys. I used to love reading to my daughters, putting on voices, playing roles, making them laugh or trying to scare them. Here’s my confession – both my girls are adults now, but last Christmas they still wanted me to read Clement Moore’s “The Night Before Christmas” in bed to them.

Of course, the books that our children enjoy hearing aren’t always the same as the ones that we enjoy reading to them – the story-teller often looks for something different to his or her little audience. With that in mind, we asked you what books YOU loved to read to your children. More than 1000 of you replied, naming more than 300 different books. You don’t make these polls easy for us here at RA do you? Here’s the top 20.

Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown

In the top spot with a quarter of the votes is Goodnight Moon. I missed this one with my children, more’s the pity, but it is obviously well loved by you.

Goodnight Moon (US)
Goodnight Moon (UK)

Love You Forever – Robert Munsch

This one is a favourite with pre-schoolers all over the world. it tells the story of a growing child and a parent who will love them forever.

Love You Forever (US)
Love You Forever (UK)

Are you my Mother? – P. D. Eastman

I’m not at all surprised this book took one of the top spots, it’s a wonderful, wonderful story that I loved to read with my own children. What is surprising is how many of you quoted Seuss as the author.

Are you my Mother (US)
Are you my Mother (UK)

Where the Wild Things are – Maurice Sendak

This has to be one of the most famous children’s books of all time. I can remember being read this as a child myself and I wrote a review for Kath. But did you know that Sendak also wrote “Chicken Soup With Rice”? That one got two of your votes.

Where the Wild Things are (US)
Where the Wild Things are (UK)

The Giving Tree – Sheil Silverstein

The Giving Tree is another one that I haven’t even heard of. Perhaps different books are popular around the world – you really loved this one and gave it 21 votes.

The Giving Tree (US)
The Giving Tree (UK)

Green Eggs and Ham – Dr Seuss

Do YOU like green eggs and ham? So many of Seuss’ books came up in this survey – two made the top twenty and a whopping eight got mentioned in all. This one is a beautifully crafted tale – simple, funny and with a mesmerising rhythm.

Green Eggs and Ham (US)
Green Eggs and Ham (UK)

Winnie the Pooh – A.A Milne

I heartily agree with so many of you who were at pains to point out that it was the original stories by A.A Milne, and NOT the later Disney reincarnation. But whether it’s traditional or Disney, who can deny that Pooh Bear has inspired and delighted so many of you through the ages.

Winnie the Pooh (US)
Winnie the Pooh (UK)

The Monster at the End of this book – Jon Stone

Not particularly well known here in the UK, by the time I’d read all your comments I desperately wanted to read this Sesame Street book. It sounds wonderful!

The Monster at the End of this Book (US)
The Monster at the End of this Book (UK)

The Harry Potter Series – J. K Rowling

I can’t imagine reading this massive series to a child but Kath’s eldest daughter learned to read on the series and both of mine read their copies to death.

The Harry Potter Series (US)
The Harry Potter Series (UK)

The Gruffalo – Julia Donaldson

Now WHY wasn’t this one higher on the list? I reckon that every child in the UK in the last generation must have been raised on this, a firm favourite of yours with with 16 votes.

The Gruffalo (US)
The Gruffalo (UK)

There’s the top ten books that adults love reading to their children and here’s the next ten.

The Chronicles of Narnia – C.S Lewis

The Very Hungry Caterpillar – Eric Carle

Guess How Much I Love You – Sam McBratney

Cat in the Hat – Dr Seuss

The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt – Michael Rosen

I Love You, Stinky Face – Lisa McCourt

Charlotte’s Web – E.H White

Peter Rabbit Stories – Beatrix Potter

Ferdinand the Bull – Munro Leaf

Hopefully that list brought back a few cherished memories or maybe even a few ideas for some books to help start your own children’s reading adventures.

However, I’m not letting this go without giving an honourable mention to one book that I can’t believe wasn’t on the list. The Book With No Pictures by B.J Novak only got three votes! This has to be the children’s book of the decade! Perhaps I’ll just let this video speak for itself.

The Book with no Pictures (US)
The Book with no Pictures (UK)

That’s all folks! Add your own suggestions in the comments.

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  • Kate says:

    For fans of Jo Jo Moyes, I recommend Joshilyn Jackson.

  • Pamela Gordon says:

    In addition:
    Go Dog, Go by P.D. Eastman
    The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder
    Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

  • Lisa McCourt says:

    I’m thrilled to be in such fine company! Thank you for compiling this lovely list!

  • Catherine Crichton says:

    The Tiger Who Came to Tea by Judith Kerr

  • chris says:

    Anything by Kevin Henkes.

  • Kathy Jo says:

    I now get to read to my grandchildren….and my new favorite book is Thank You and Good Night by Patrick McDonnell. “An homage to classic bedtime stories and their creators..captures the magic of a sleepover with friends and reminds us to cherish life’s simplest pleasures”. It is fun to discover exactly how McDonnell pays homage. You must try it!!!

  • Jill O'Carroll says:

    Obviously no New Zealanders were surveyed as “Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy”, would have been top of the list for favourite books read to kids, by Lynley Dodd.

  • Beth says:

    I worked in an elementary school library for many years – story time was the best time of day! Love so many of the books listed here. I retired almost two years ago now, but went to my grandson’s school as a guest reader and shared THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES. Not sure who had more fun – probably me. Made lots of new 2nd grade friends that day. ?

  • Tracy Meyer says:

    I read “The BFG” by Roald Dahl to my kids and they LOVED it. Am still wanting to read Pollyanna, Black Beauty and then Little Women to them.

  • Kathy says:

    Best read aloud for me is The BFG. Even my young adults will stop to listen to me read this.

  • Merry Carey says:

    The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
    The Color Kittens by Margaret Wise Brown
    One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr Seuss
    The Fox in Sox by Dr Seuss
    The Sneetches and Other Stories by Dr Seuss
    The Lorax by Dr Seu
    Hop on Pop by Dr Seuss

  • Cath says:

    I agree about The Book with No Pictures – a GREAT book to read aloud (in fact it has to be read aloud!)

  • Peter says:

    The ‘Little Critter’ stories.

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