The Wizard of Oz
L. Frank Baum
Classically fantastic and beloved by the young (and young at heart), this beloved story shows the lengths that Dorothy, Toto, Tin Man, Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion will go to for each other, to defeat the Wicked Witch of the West, and reach the fabled Land of Oz.
Louisa May Alcott
Tracing the lives of four sisters, and the bonds that keep them together, Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women is a truly timeless novel. As their family endures the hardships of the Civil War, and their father’s absence, the sisters come of age and learn life’s hardest lessons.
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
In Lewis Carroll’s iconic tale, resourceful Alice comes face to face with an array of fascinating, surreal, and even dangerous characters, from the Mad Hatter to the treacherous Queen of Hearts. Surviving the travails of childhood, and decidedly more mature situations, Alice has lessons for us all.
Nancy Drew Mystery Stories
A great sleuth for all ages, Nancy Drew’s detective series has inspired readers for decades. On the trail of her very first case, The Secret of the Old Clock, Nancy seeks the truth behind a missing will, involving a little girl, her two great aunts, and more surprises than she bargained for!
The Golden Compass: His Dark Materials
In a mystical world where humans are linked with their animal daemons, inquisitive and orphaned Lyra finds herself pulled into a spiraling journey, one where she must find her friend, Roger, contend with the warnings of her mysterious uncle, Lord Asriel, and realize the truth behind the fabled Golden Compass.
The Hobbit (Movie Tie-in Edition)
Pulled into an adventure by the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves, the hobbit Bilbo Baggins soon finds himself at the center of a quest to confront a dangerous dragon and chase a magical ring. Laying the groundwork for The Lord of the Rings, it’s a magnificent tale unto itself!
The Secret Garden
Frances Hodgson Burnett
Sent to live in Yorkshire after unimaginable tragedy strikes, young Mary soon hears of a whimsical secret garden, and sets out to discover it for herself. Forging ahead despite her illness, Mary’s determination marks an indomitable spirit, and demonstrates that healing can be found in the wildest of places.
No matter when you grew up, you’re bound to have a favorite childhood read or two, those books that transported you to other worlds and lives, even for a few pages. These standout reads, told to Read It Forward by our readers, might remind you of some of your stalwart earliest books—and even encourage you to revisit those treasured characters once more. For kids from 5 to 105, these childhood classics hold lessons, truths, and some of the most standout literary characters of all time!
Featured illustration: Kate Gavino