John Newbery, A Little Pretty Pocket-Book (1744)
A book written exclusively for the entertainment of children? That's new. John Newbery was the first to do it.
Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Grimm's Fairytales (1812)
The Brothers Grimm finally published all of those fairytales they'd been collecting. And Disney movies were never the same.
Johann David Wyss, The Swiss Family Robinson (1812)
The Robinsons are shipwrecked on an island, and adventure awaits. We might think of this book as old-school…because it is. But it sure has staying power.
Hans Christian Andersen, Andersen's Fairy Tales (1837)
Hans gives his spin on our now-classic fairytales.
Lewis Carroll, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865)
Alice was the first person to go down the rabbit hole…and millions of Internet users have followed in her footsteps.
Robert Lewis Stevenson, Treasure Island (1883)
More wonderful tales of distant islands and hidden treasures—it never gets old.
Carlo Collodi, The Adventures of Pinocchio (1883)
Heard of it? Bet you didn't know it was originally written in Italian.
Rudyard Kipling, The Jungle Book (1894)
The little boy who grows up in the jungle in India has all kinds of wild animals for friends. Classic kids' stuff right there.
L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (1900)
Follow the yellow brick road all the way to the original.
Beatrix Potter, The Tale of Peter Rabbit (1902)
One of the best-selling children's books of all time—and for good reason.
J.M. Barrie, Peter and Wendy (1911)
Do those names sound familiar? That's because this is the story of the O.G. Peter Pan.
Frances Hodgson Burnett, The Secret Garden (1911)
Another gem with staying power.
A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh (1926)
That bear just can't get enough of honey, can he?
P.L. Travers, Mary Poppins (1934)
Before there was a Disney movie, there was a book. Who knew? (We did.)
J.R.R. Tolkien, The Hobbit, or, There and Back Again (1937)
Bilbo Baggins is one goofy guy—er, hobbit.
Margret Rey and H.A. Rey, Curious George (1941)
This little monkey is too curious for his own good.
C.S. Lewis, The Chronicles of Narnia (1950-56)
When you enter through the wardrobe into the magical land of Narnia, you'll come across a whole series of books, starting with The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe.
Roald Dahl, James and the Giant Peach (1961)
In order not to overwhelm you with Dahl, we're just listing one book, but check out some of his other classics like The Witches, Matilda, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are (1963)
We all want to go where the Wild Things are.
Eric Carle, The Very Hungry Caterpillar (1969)
Carle's colorful illustrations are appealing to young children and his narrative style is straightforward and easy to comprehend. But those collage illustrations are engaging for even the oldest readers.
John Cheska, The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales (1992)
The height of what's known as post-modern children's literature—this one's highly referential and parodic. Yep, that's a lot to digest for a kids' book.
J.K. Rowling, the Harry Potter books (1997-2007)
Say hello to one of the richest women on earth. And it all started with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone.
Neil Gaiman, The Graveyard Book (2008)
Neil Gaiman's tone is dark and spooky—you might call him Roald Dahl-esque.
Jerry Pinkney, The Lion & the Mouse (2009)
This one's a wordless retelling of the famous Aesop tale.
Mo Willems, Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (2003)
Mo Willems is the Stephen King of children's literature—this guy just can't stop publishing.
Kate DiCamillo, The Tale of Despereaux (2004)
Newbery Award-winning and pretty awesome to boot.
Maria Nikolajeva, Ed., Aspects and Issues in the History of Children's Literature (1998)
This collection of essays explores children's literature as a literary form.
Cedric Cullingford, Children's Literature and its Effects: The Formative Years (2000)
How does children's literature shape the development of children? Read this book to find out.
Seth Lerer, Children's Literature: A Reader's History from Aesop to Harry Potter (2008)
Look no further than this comprehensive book for a full history of the genre.
Zohar Shavit, Poetics of Children's Literature (2009)
How has society shaped children's literature? How does children's literature reflect society? These are some of the big questions this book tries to answer.