26 Classics for Kids | Peace, Love, and First Grade

26 Classics for Kids

It's Book Talk Tuesday, friends! 

Today, Book Talk is all about the Classics!

When I started putting this list together,
I had to decide where to draw the line as far as dates go.

I know there are many books like Olivia that are already classics,
but I went a little further back-almost 40 years.

All the books on this list were written before 1976.

Here you go! My list of classics I use with my kiddos!

Alexander hit the scene in 1972.
Poor Alexander!
He can't catch a break! You just have to feel for him!
He knew from the minute he woke, his day was going to be horrible!
This book is such a great lead-in to writing. 

There are several other books about Alexander written after 1976.

Are You My Mother? by PD Eastman
I wrote about this book last week, but it deserves another post.
Written in 1960, this is my hands-down absolute favorite childhood book!
The story of a tiny bird searching for his mother.
If this is not in your classroom, find a copy now.
Trust me on this one!
All of Eastman's books are winners!!

Bedtime for Frances by Russell and Lillian Hoban
Frances, the badger first showed up in 1960.
You have to love Frances.
She sings! All the time!
She fusses with her baby sister and her best friend.
She runs away under the dining room table.
She's pure fun, and she makes me smile!

We read every Frances book in my classroom!
More books about Frances: Bread and Jam for Frances 1964,
A Baby Sister for Frances
1964, A Birthday for Frances 1969
Best Friends for Frances
, A Bargain for Frances 1970

Bill Martin, Jr. published Brown Bear in 1967, and today, it's stronger than ever.
Perfect book for color recognize and introducing rhyme and repetition.
Can't keep it on the shelf!

Caps for Sale  by Esphyr Slobodkina
Caps for Sale was written in 1938 and still makes children smile.
This is the story of a cap peddler who gets outwitted by some cute and clever monkeys.

 The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
You know the cat who came to town in 1957.
He brought those Things with him and made a mess of the house when Mom was out.
The fish in this book is one of my favorite characters. Full of personality!
Dr. Seuss belongs in every first grade classroom!

Corduroy by Don Freeman
Published in 1968, Corduroy is the story of a department store bear
waiting to be adopted by a child.
Kiddos love sweet Corduroy's adventures.
I Love all of Don Freeman's stories!
There are several other Corduroy books, as well.

Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Originally published in 1936, Ferdinand is the story of a beloved bull from his days smelling flowers to his big day in the bullfight arena.
Precious book!

George and Martha by James Marshall
First seen in 1972, George and Martha are two plump and precious hippo friends
who have all sorts of adventures!
Great for showing children how to resolve differences. 

There are several books in this series.

Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
Harry came to town in 1956, a sweet and funny dog who hates having a bath.
When he gets so dirty his family doesn't recognize him,
Harry has to figure out a way to go back home!

More books about Harry:  Harry and the Lady Next Door 1960,
Harry by the Sea 1965, No Roses for Harry 1976

Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Bemelmans published Madeline in 1939,
the story of a small girl at a boarding school who isn't frightened by much.
Little girls everywhere adore this character.  This girl included!

More Madeline: 
Madeline's Rescue
1953, Madeline and the Bad Hat 1957,

Madeline and the Gypsies 1959, Madeline in London 1961

Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Published in 1941, this adorable book shares the day in the life of a Mama duck and her ducklings. Precious!
Other classics by McCloskey: Blueberries for Sal 1948

Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Originally published in 1939, this is the much-loved story of Mike Mulligan
and his best friend, steam shovel Mary Ann.

Other classics by Burton: The Little House 1942,
Katy and the Big Snow
1943, and Maybelle the Cable Car 1952

Oh, Grover! Growing up, I had a stuffed Grover.
I loved that thing!!
This precious book, narrated by my fave, was published in 1971.
Yes, it is a Little Golden Book, and yes, it is a classic!
For anyone who ever loved Sesame Street or Henson's lovable Muppets,
this book is for you!
Kids adore it!

Other Classic Goldens:
The Poky Little Puppy 1942, Scruffy, the Tugboat 1946,
The Saggy Baggy Elephant
The Little Red Caboose 1953

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Keats published The Snowy Day in 1962.
May I just say how much I love Ezra Jack Keats??
If you are into author studies, pick him! Pick him!
This book tells the story (in beautiful pictures) of a "snowy day" in the life of a little boy.
I can't say enough about this book or Keats! 

More from Keats: Whistle for Willie 1964, Peter's Chair 1967, A Letter to Amy 1968,  Pet Show 1972

The Story about Ping by Marjorie Flack
Originally published in 1933, this story is about the adventures of a duck
who lives on a boat on the Yangtze river.
Don't let the "old" cover turn you off, this one is good!

Swimmy by Leo Lionni
Swimmy made his first appearance in 1963.
The story of a little black fish among a school of red fish. 

Swimmy teaches the other fish about teamwork and perseverance! Love, love, love Lionni's work! Read them all!

1969-Really? I honestly didn't realize this book was so old.
Evidently, my childhood teachers had not discovered it yet
because I don't remember hearing it in school.
  Obviously, this story of a caterpillar who eats too much is a must-have!

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Sendak published this book in 1963. 
My teachers knew this one!
In this story, a little boy named Max gets into mischief then goes
on an imaginary journey to meet The Wild Things.
Most of Sendak's books are classics! Don't miss them!

Other Classics you don't need to miss!

Anything by: 

Virginia Lee Burton
PD Eastman
Don Freeman
Ezra Jack Keats
Leo Lionni
Arnold Lobel 
Maurice Sendak
Dr. Seuss

The Giving Tree (1964) by Shel Silverstein
Harry and the Purple Crayon (1955) by Crockett Johnson
The Little Engine that Could (1930) by Watty Piper
Millions of Cats (1928) by Wanda Ga'g
Tikki Tikki Tembo (1968) by Arlene Mosel
The Velveteen Rabbit (1922) by Margery Bianco Williams
The Wump World (1970) by Bill Peet 

There are tons of classics out there, friends!
I'd love to hear about your favorites!

All the links here are Amazon affiliate links, but these books are available on other sites, as well.