Are you looking for a birthday gift for a grandchild or other young child in your life? Is encouraging a love for reading one of your ulterior motives? (A motive we strongly endorse, by the way.) Why not pick a book that you loved as a child or young adult? We asked Road Scholars to tell us their favorite books from childhood—here is our Top 20, each with a quote from a survey respondent saying why the book is important to them. Want to share your love of learning with your grandchild with Road Scholar? See our complete collection of learning adventures for Grandparents & Grandchildren.


“Oh, the Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss

“Life is a journey—explore and achieve your dreams!”


“Heidi” by Johanna Spyri

“A glimpse into life in another country and culture.”


The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling

“The hero’s journey we all experience one way or another.”

Explore the Wizarding World of Harry Potter with your Grandchild »


“Make Way for Ducklings” by Robert McCloskey

“Teaches love and respect for animals set in an historical milieu.”


“Little House on the Prairie” by Laura Ingalls Wilder

“Gives a sense of life in 19th-Century America and appreciation for being a pioneer and risk-taker.”


“The Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum.

“I first thought of it as exciting places to travel unlike home, not as a quest to return home.”


“Anne of Green Gables” by Lucy Maud Montgomery.

“It gently teaches that people should not be judged by appearance or circumstance.”


“Wind in the Willows” by Kenneth Grahame

“Friends who are interestingly flawed, on a road trip together.”


The Narnia Chronicles by C.S. Lewis

“Kids need to be transported into other worlds to foster their sense of exploration.”


“The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” by Mark Twain

“Encourages adventure and self-reliance.”


“Black Beauty” by Anna Sewell

“Children has an opportunity to learn about compassion from this beautiful story about animals, people, triumph and tragedy.”


“The Boxcar Children” by Gertrude Chandler Warren

“The importance of family.”

Bring to life the fun and adventure of “The Boxcar Children” »


“The Secret of the Old Clock” and other Nancy Drew mysteries by Carolyn Keene

“It’s about a smart and independent young woman.”


“A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle

“A strong female character and big philosophical questions.”


“Where the Wild Things Are” by Maurice Sendak

“Scary, but with a safe ending, teaching tolerance the acceptance of diversity.”


“The Little Engine That Could” by Watty Piper

“With a positive attitude life becomes a series of opportunities and possibilities.”


“Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White

“A timeless, sweet story about friendships, the circle of live, the importance of listening, appreciating the moment, being humble and accepting change without fear.”


“The Secret Garden” by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“It’s about overcoming obstacles, real or imagined, and that it’s okay to have secrets as long as they don’t hurt anyone.”


“Henry Huggins” by Beverly Cleary

“She captures what it’s like to be a kid, and her stories still resonate with kids today.”


“The Little Prince” by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

“Teaches the importance of love and faithful friendship.”


What was your favorite book as a child? Why would you recommend it to children now?


Interested in traveling with your grandchild?

Explore our complete collection of Adventures for Grandparents and Grandchildren »


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