Quality literature for the 0 to 3 set and beyond

This page originally only covered English-language literature for kids 0 to 3, but I've now added a bit more, though in less detail. Somehow time got away from me and I now have teenagers.

Quality literature for the 0 to 3 set

Books for tiny kids pretty much divide into two categories: ones that are complete drivel or at least anemic (and which often come in big series), and those that have redeeming virtues as pieces of literature. Here are some of the good ones. I sometimes threatened to throw out all the other kids books we own, but I have to confess that my children's opinions of which books to obsess over don't always match up with my judgements as shown below.

Ones to avoid:

Quality literature for the 4 to 6 set

There are many, many wonderful picture books for slightly bigger kids. A few of my favorites were:

Literature for the 7 to 9 set

At this stage my kids (both boys) only wanted to read books about small animals with martial tendencies, which mainly come in many volume series. If that's not your thing, I've got nothing for you. If it is, well, they really loved:

They read thousands of pages of these books and have been great readers ever since. It was lucky that they learned to read, because, personally, I got a bit bored of these books after the first 5 or 6….

Literature for the 10 to 12 set

There were a few truly great books that we read as a family during this period. Two of them are:


Teenagers these days want to read dystopian fantasies. It's not something you can influence. Things like Ready Player One. They tell me Old Man's War is a good series.

Christopher Manning -- <manning@cs.stanford.edu> -- Sep 22, 2004; updated Feb 29, 2018.