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Great Classics for Kids

Smart boy in a suit sitting in the library by the bookshelves with many old books. Educational concept. Science.

Many parents fondly remember curling up to spend the day reading a classic novel as a kid. Now it’s time to share this experience with your children. Many novels, such as “Pippi Longstocking” and “Moby Dick,” have stood the test of time and are still enjoyable today. Below we discuss a few of the great classics for kids that will ignite your child’s imagination and have them asking for more.

Best for Horse Lovers

The Black Stallion (Paperback)

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Alec Ramsey is aboard a ship on his way home from India. When they pull into port, Alec sees a wild black stallion he had heard about when he was waiting to board. This is the first meeting between Alec and the wild stallion he will soon come to love. In the middle of a stormy sea, the ship sinks and strands both the stallion and Alec together on an island. What follows are many adventures together, until their eventual rescue. This classic was first published in 1941 and quickly became a book loved by children everywhere. “The Black Stallion” is a good choice for readers in fourth grade and above.

Best British Novel

The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Wolves Chronicles Series) (Paperback)

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A much-loved classic, “The Wolves of Willoughby Chase” features two girls, cousins Bonnie and Sylvia, who have their worlds upended when Bonnie’s parents leave them in the care of a horrible governess, Miss Slighcarp. The new governess has an evil plot to take everything: The servants are told to leave, and with all of the furniture gone, both girls are sent to an orphanage. Once they escape with the help of their friend Simon and his geese, the task ahead of them is dire. They have to take Willoughby Chase back from the evil governess — all with ravenous wolves roaming the countryside. This classic tale of losing everything features plenty of suspense and adventure that children from ages 8 to 12 will find enchanting and hard to put down.

Most Whimsical

The Phantom Tollbooth (Paperback)

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“The Phantom Tollbooth” was published over 50 years ago and remains one of the best classics of all time. The story follows young Milo, who is bored more often than not. When a mysterious tollbooth appears in his room, he jumps in without asking questions. What Milo finds on the other side isn’t boring at all. The tollbooth takes Milo on an adventure with new companions — watchdog Tock and the flattery-prone Humbug — to release the sisters Rhyme and Reason. With so many classic plays on words, this book fosters a love for the magic of reading, in children and adults of all ages.

Best for Animal Lovers

Redwall (Paperback)

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In this humorous classic book “Redwall,” the peaceful mice of Redwall Abbey are under attack by a villainous army of rats. Could the forgotten sword of Martin the Warrior save them? Accident-prone Matthias quickly becomes the hero no one was expecting in this enduring underdog tale. With lovable characters that won’t soon be forgotten, this book is a classic children ages 9 and up will instantly love.

Best Classic Book

Matilda (Paperback)

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Declared a nuisance by her parents, Matilda thinks that going to school will be different. Although she is sweet, exceptionally smart and lovely, she earns the anger of the headmistress, the terrifying Mrs. Trunchbull. But Matilda discovers she has a remarkable power she can use to fight back for herself and the other children. From the author of “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory” and “The BFG,” “Matilda” is a classic children in third through seventh grade will cherish for many years to come.

Expert Commentary 

“I will always remember my first classic, ‘The Black Stallion.’ I vividly recall this book serving as a gateway to more and more classics, and spending hours meeting Tom Sawyer, Anne Shirley, Huck Finn and my dear Alice. These are stories that create fond memories and help kids read more and more complex books. When choosing classics for your young readers, be sure to balance age-appropriate plot lines, but also push your young reader intellectually and emotionally.”

Our Expert Consultant

Emily Watts

Emily Watts is a mother of three (she has two adopted children and one foster child). She also is a licensed teacher with experience educating children in complex life situations. Emily has over seven years of experience in alternative education. She is passionate about children and specializes in helping those who may need a little extra attention or special care.