The best children's books that you will want to read to your kids every night

Why am I passionate about this?

When we were doing research for Dora the Explorer (I’m one of the show’s three creators), we read picture book versions of the episodes to preschoolers. The researcher would always begin by saying, “I’ve got a story to tell you.” The preschoolers would clap, cheer, and sometimes even hug the kid next to them. Then, my story would begin. At least with group 1, before we made a lot of changes, the children would invariably fall on their backs and beg to be taken back to class. Everyone longs to be told a great story. So, for my list, I picked some of the greatest read-aloud children’s books ever “told.” 


I wrote...

The Famously Funny Parrott: Four Tales from the Bird Himself

By Eric Daniel Weiner, Brian Biggs (illustrator),

Book cover of The Famously Funny Parrott: Four Tales from the Bird Himself

What is my book about?

Freddie Parrott is a rich, bumbling parrot who keeps getting himself into terrible trouble. Like the time he lost the waffle batter or when he was tootling around town in his roadster and accidentally knocked the police officers into the pond. Luckily, Freddie lives with Peccary, the world’s best butler. This kind and loving old friend always knows just what to do. Best of all, Peccary doesn’t judge Freddie. Being human (or being a parrot) means making mistakes, after all. 

I wrote these stories as bedtime read-alouds. I hope both parents and kids will enjoy them.

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The books I picked & why

Book cover of The Wind in the Willows

Eric Daniel Weiner Why did I love this book?

Whenever I read this book’s opening lines, I sink under the author’s magic spell.

Forget Faulkner, forget Joyce, try Grahame’s poetic prose. When Grahame wrote this, the whole idea of writing books for kids was still fresh, and the idea of anthropomorphic animals was novel, too. The book is so good it still seems like something new under the sun. 

If you don’t have a child available, pretend that a wise, kind adult is reading the book to you.

By Kenneth Grahame,

Why should I read it?

10 authors picked The Wind in the Willows as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

Spend a season on the river bank and take a walk on the wild side . . .

Spring is in the air and Mole has found a wonderful new world. There's boating with Ratty, a feast with Badger and high jinx on the open road with that reckless ruffian, Mr Toad of Toad Hall. The four become the firmest of friends, but after Toad's latest escapade, can they join together and beat the wretched weasels?

PLUS A behind-the-scenes journey, including author profile, a guide to who's who, activities and more.


Book cover of David Copperfield

Eric Daniel Weiner Why did I love this book?

This was Dickens’s personal favorite of all his books. It’s so good it makes me remember parts of my childhood–sensations, thoughts, feelings–I’d long forgotten. My wife and I read it to each other at bedtime, about five pages a night.

It’s pretty sophisticated prose, but I bet a kid as young as five could get into it in the same way they can enjoy someone reading Harry Potter books to them.

There’s something reassuring about how long the book is, too. You’ll want Dickens to keep telling you this story night after night.

By Charles Dickens,

Why should I read it?

3 authors picked David Copperfield as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Now a major film directed by Armando Iannucci, starring Dev Patel, Tilda Swinton, Hugh Laurie, Peter Capaldi and Ben Whishaw

'The greatest achievement of the greatest of all novelists' Leo Tolstoy

In David Copperfield - the novel he described as his 'favourite child' - Dickens drew on his own experiences to create one of his most moving and enduringly popular works, filled with tragedy and comedy in equal measure. It is the story of a young man's adventures on his journey from an unhappy childhood to the discovery of his vocation as a novelist. Among the gloriously vivid cast of…


Book cover of Charlotte's Web

Eric Daniel Weiner Why did I love this book?

E.B. White wrote this book to explain death to children, and while death may be impossible for anyone to understand or accept fully, Charlotte the Spider makes a pretty good attempt.

If you read this book to your kids, you will all have Charlotte (and Wilbur and the rest of the farm animals) in your hearts forever. 

By E.B. White,

Why should I read it?

15 authors picked Charlotte's Web as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

Puffin Classics: the definitive collection of timeless stories, for every child.

On foggy mornings, Charlotte's web was truly a thing of beauty . Even Lurvy, who wasn't particularly interested in beauty, noticed the web when he came with the pig's breakfast. And then he took another look and he saw something that made him set his pail down. There, in the centre of the web, neatly woven in block letters, was a message. It said: SOME PIG!

This is the story of a little girl named Fern, who loves a little pig named Wilbur - and of Wilbur's dear friend,…


Book cover of Winnie-the-Pooh

Eric Daniel Weiner Why did I love this book?

A.A. Milne wrote these stories as bedtime stories for his son, using his son’s own stuffed animals as the heroes.

Children are very forgiving when it comes to parents making up bedtime stories (they’ll help by pointing out inconsistencies and suggesting plot points), but children will also appreciate it if you read them these tales, which are some of the greatest, funniest, sweetest, most profound bedtime stories ever told.

By A.A. Milne, Ernest H. Shepard (illustrator),

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Winnie-the-Pooh as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

An award-winning production, with an all-star cast including Stephen Fry and Judi Dench, brings to life one of the best-loved children's books of all time.

Packed full of fun and adventure with Winnie-the-Pooh and all his friends in the Hundred Acre Forest. This is a wonderful dramatisation of Winnie-the-Pooh with original music. This captivating adaptation conveys all the magic and humour of AA Milne's classic stories.

The cast includes the following stars:

Pooh - Stephen Fry
Piglet - Jane Horrocks
Eeyore - Geoffrey Palmer
Kanga (and Narrator) - Judi Dench
Roo - Finty Williams
Rabbit - Robert Daws
Owl -…


Book cover of Frog and Toad Are Friends

Eric Daniel Weiner Why did I love this book?

Arnold Lobel’s masterpiece series about friendship is labeled an I Can Read book on the cover, Reading Level 2, With Help. “With help” is the key phrase because if you’re the one who’s helping a child read these books, that means you’ll get to read them, too.

Lobel writes so beautifully and with so few words. I think his work is right up there with Dr. Seuss.

By Arnold Lobel,

Why should I read it?

5 authors picked Frog and Toad Are Friends as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 4, 5, 6, and 7.

What is this book about?

This beautiful commemorative picture book edition of the Caldecott Honor title Frog and Toad Are Friends is the perfect way to celebrate Frog and Toad's 50th anniversary!

This handsome edition features matte paper, remastered artwork, and a green ribbon book marker. It makes a lovely gift for collectors, fans of children's literature, and anyone and everyone who loves Frog and Toad!

First published in 1970, Frog and Toad Are Friends was the first of the four beloved Frog and Toad books. This special edition contains all of the original stories-from the story about going swimming, to finding lost buttons!

This…


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Book cover of This Animal Body

Meredith Walters

New book alert!

What is my book about?

Neuroscience PhD student Frankie Conner has finally gotten her life together—she’s determined to discover the cause of her depression and find a cure for herself and everyone like her. But the first day of her program, she meets a group of talking animals who have an urgent message they refuse to share. And while the animals may not have Frankie’s exalted human brain, they know things she doesn’t, like what happened before she was adopted.

To prove she’s sane, Frankie investigates her forgotten past and conducts clandestine experiments. But just when she uncovers the truth, she has to make an impossible choice: betray the animals she’s fallen in love with—or give up her last chance at success and everything she thought she knew.

By Meredith Walters,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked This Animal Body as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Frankie Conner, first-year graduate student at UC Berkeley, is finally getting her life together. After multiple failures and several false starts, she's found her calling: become a neuroscientist, discover the cause of her depression and anxiety, and hopefully find a cure for herself and everyone like her.

But her first day of the program, Frankie meets a mysterious group of talking animals who claim to have an urgent message for her. The problem is, they're not willing to share it. Not yet. Not until she's ready.

While Frankie's new friends may not have her highly evolved, state-of-the-art, exalted human brain,…


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