By Emily Temple
According to a new study, the hallowed practice of bedtime reading is falling by the wayside — and that some quarter of a million children in the UK do not own a single book.
This is a terrible shame, as regular bedtime stories have been shown to increase children’s performance in school, and are also awesome and can help create strong lifetime bonds, both with literature and with parents.
So, from the peanut gallery of those who loved being read to (and still wouldn’t say no to a bedtime story): 50 books that every parent should read to their child.
For the purposes of this list, we’re only considering books aimed primarily at children under 10 (according to the School Library Journal), which means you won’t find outstanding children’s chapter books like The Hobbit, A Wrinkle in Time, Patricia C. Wrede’s Enchanted Forest Chronicles, or C.S. Lewis’s Chronicles of Narnia here, nor will you find mention of your favorite bespectacled wizard — the idea being that these are books kids are more likely to read for themselves, without your pesky interference.
Of course, many parents will want to read these aloud as well, but with any luck, your kids will be sneaking the book open and reading ahead long after you’ve gone to bed.
We’ve also limited ourselves, for sanity’s sake, to one book per author. And finally, though these are, in Flavorwire’s estimation, 50 books every parent should read to their child, they are not the only 50 — so add any personal favorites.
The list of 50!
The Story of Babar, Jean De Brunhoff
The Big Orange Splot, Daniel Pinkwater
Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths, Ingri d’Aulaire and Edgar Parin d’Aulaire
The Paper Bag Princess, Robert N. Munsch
Corduroy, Don Freeman
Harold and the Purple Crayon, Crockett Johnson
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, Verna Aardema
The Giving Tree, Shel Silverstein
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day, Judith Viorst
The Snowy Day, Ezra Jack Keats
Caps for Sale, Esphyr Slobodkina
Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans
The Story of Ferdinand, Munro Leaf
Strega Nona, Tomie dePaola
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters, John Steptoe
The Cat in the Hat, Dr. Seuss
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, Beatrix Potter
Make Way for Ducklings, Robert McCloskey
Stone Soup, Marcia Brown
The Rough-Face Girl, Rafe Martin
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales, Jon Scieszka
Frog and Toad are Friends, Arnold Lobel
Clifford the Big Red Dog, Norman Bridwell
Lon Po Po, Ed Young
This Is Not My Hat, Jon Klassen
The Invention of Hugo Cabret, Brian Selznick
The Wind in the Willows, Kenneth Grahame
The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Hundred Dresses, Eleanor Estes
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, Virginia Lee Burton
The Wizard of Oz, L. Frank Baum
Little Bear, Else Holmelund Minarik
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, William Steig
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses, Paul Goble
My Father’s Dragon, Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Sweetest Fig, Chris Van Allsburg
Charlotte’s Web, E.B. White
The BFG, Roald Dahl
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Judy Blume
The Happy Hocky Family, Lane Smith
The Velveteen Rabbit, Margery Williams
Curious George, H.A. Rey
Tikki Tikki Tembo, Arlene Mosel
Amazing Grace, Mary Hoffman
Zen Shorts, Jon J. Muth
The Three Pigs, David Wiesner