Check out our best classic books for kids on Epic!
A great read is like an old friend. No matter how long it’s been, when you meet again, the memories, the pictures, characters and stories all come rushing back. And what better way to relive the magic of the children’s books you loved growing up than to share them with your little ones? While it’s nice to have a few on hand, you don’t have to own them all. You can take story time online with Epic. Here’s a list of just a few of our best classic books for kids of all ages.
Written by: Margaret Wise Brown
Illustrated by: Clement Hurd
Ages: 4 & under
A little bunny, tucked away and ready for sleep, says goodnight to all the familiar things in its softly lit room. “Goodnight room, goodnight moon,” and everything from the clocks and his socks, to the mittens and the kittens.
With its melodic word sequences and gentle imagery, “Goodnight Moon” has lulled generations of sleepy tots to sleep. This classic bestseller is the perfect first book and bedtime story for your young reader or pre-reader.
By: Cydney Weingart
Ages: 4 & under
“Hey diddle diddle, the cat has a riddle!” This great book is a cute way to introduce young readers to classic stories and nursery rhymes.
The 16-page read-aloud format does the narrating for you while keeping kids engaged with fun, colorful pictures.
By: Beatrix Potter
Beatrix Potter’s “The Tale of Peter Rabbit” is among the most beloved classic stories. Your kid can follow the mischievous Peter Rabbit as he (despite his mother’s warnings) raids Mr. McGregor’s garden for some yummy veggies. It’s great fun until he gets caught!
The simple illustrations and traditional language will transport your kid into another time as they read this timeless classic.
Written by: Nadia Higgins
Illustrated by: Kathleen Petelinsek
Kids can follow a little girl (Little Red) as she strolls through the woods, encounters a “friendly” wolf and comes out on top after facing peril at Grandma’s house.
This gorgeously illustrated version of “Little Red Riding Hood,” written by Nadia Higgins, teaches kids about bravery, resilience, keeping your wits about you and the importance of listening to parents and caregivers.
By: Maurice Sendak
While kids don’t get treated to the dreamlike illustrations of this audiobook version of the classic tale from Maurice Sendak, the narration is enough to inspire their imaginations.
Adult fans of “Where the Wild Things Are” will remember Max, whose imagination transports him far away to a magical forest filled with wild things after he threatens to eat his mother (eek!) and she sends him to bed without supper.
Fortunately, the wild things don’t eat Max, and instead make him their king. In the end Max realizes that king or not, he still needs the love of his parents. One of the best classic books for kids of all time, the story teaches kids about love, family and that it’s okay to have strong feelings and still treat others with love and respect.
By: Arnold Lobel
In this Read-To-Me version, “Frog and Toad Are Friends” is a book of five short heartwarming stories about best friends frog and toad as they navigate their friendship’s ups and downs.
The first story begins with Frog explaining to Toad that winter has ended before the two hop outside to start their adventures. Young readers will enjoy the tender friendship between the two amphibians and quickly become immersed in the endearing stories, each of which stresses the importance of friendship and caring.
“Frog and Toad Are Friends” is a great way to instill the values of friendship in your child. Bonus: because of the short story format, it’s the perfect way to keep kids occupied on car rides both long and short.
7. Little Women
Retold by: Maggie Blossom
Illustrated by: Katarzyna Bukiert
This vibrantly illustrated picture book for older kids is a wonderful way to introduce kids too young for Louisa May Alcott’s 1868 novel “Little Women” to the heart-warming story of the March sisters.
This abridged, “ten-minute classic” version highlights main plot points and gives kids a basic understanding of this 150-year-old story. In addition to the beautiful imagery, the shorter length and updated language makes it easy-to-digest for elementary schoolers.
Chapter Books & Graphic Novels
By: Frances Hodgson Burnett, Martha Hailey
What’s more enchanting than a sprawling garden, complete with lush greenery and locked secrets? When orphan Mary Lennox is sent to gloomy Misselthwaite Manor to live with her uncle, she feels scared and hopeless until she meets disabled, housebound Colin.
At first he seems like just a spoiled, unhappy boy afraid to leave his bedroom. But through the discovery of a mysterious, abandoned garden, together they come to embrace life and all of its joys.
A staple in the world of English kids’ lit, “The Secret Garden” has stayed the test of time for over a century, and this audio version is the perfect introduction.
Written by: Didier Le Bornec
Illustrated by: Mario Cortes
Faith, pixie dust and lively illustrations take this Disney version of the J.M Barrie classic story of Peter Pan to new heights. The high-flying eternal boy Peter Pan takes siblings Wendy, John and Michael to a spellbinding Neverland filled with mermaids, magic tricks and pirates ships.
If you loved this imaginative adventure as a child, your kid can enjoy it along with you in this updated, graphic novel format whether or not they’ve seen the Disney film on which it’s based.
10. Ella Enchanted
By: Gail Carson Levine
In this modern classic take on Cinderella, Ella Enchanted is a young woman with a secret: when she was a young girl, a foolish but well-meaning fairy “blessed” her with the gift of obedience. When her mother couldn’t get her to stop crying, she cast a spell and ordered her, “stop crying.” That might’ve seemed like a good idea at the time, but from that point on there was no decree, no matter how ridiculous, that she couldn’t obey.
Feisty, strong-willed Ella refuses to accept her fate, and against a bold backdrop of princes, ogres, giants, wicked stepsisters and fairy godmothers, Ella goes on a zany quest to break the curse.
Adapted by: Mariah Marsden
Illustrated by: Brenna Thummler
For those unfamiliar with this age-old classic, meet spunky Anne Shirley, an orphan girl mistakenly sent to live with a pair of middle-aged siblings–once orphans themselves–who had asked for a boy to help manage their farm, Green Gables. In what turns into a blessing in disguise, they decide to keep her, and the story follows her adjustment to her new life as she touches everyone she meets with her spirited nature, inquisitive mind and unbridled authenticity. Based on one of the best classic books for kids of all time, this graphic novel version is a great way to introduce kids to the novel version by L.M. Montgomery.
By: Brian Selznick
Although written in 2007, “The Invention of Hugo Cabret” has the feel and old-world charm of a classic book. An orphaned and mechanically-interested Hugo fights to survive, secretly living in the walls of a busy Paris train station all on his own. Life has always been tough, but when his fate meets that of a quirky, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs the station toy booth, Hugo’s secret life and all of his secrets are put in jeopardy.
Kids who love adventure and intrigue, will love this tender, spellbinding mystery audiobook.
By: Johanna Spyri
“Heidi” tells the story of a young, orphaned girl who, at 5-years old, finds a home in the Swiss Alps with her Grandfather. Beginning in her small mountain town and eventually in the city, Heidi learns about life, loss and finding joy in hard situations. “Heidi” is one of the best-selling books of all time and has been enjoyed by millions throughout the world.
Your reader will experience a realistic view on common human experiences—explored through the eyes of a child.
Written by: Brothers Grimm, Karen Kelly
Illustrated by: C.B. Canga
As the first to collect the fairy tales and folklore of Germany in one place, the Brothers Grimm brought life to life many of today’s most iconic stories. This illustrated Calico Classics version of “Grimm’s Fairy Tales” makes these age-old stories accessible for younger readers while staying true to the original plots. Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, Hansel and Gretal, Snow White and more are included in this collection for older elementary school readers.
If your kid enjoys this book, they might like another Calico Classics book on Epic: “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll.
More Great Book Suggestions
These are some of our favorite classic books for kids on Epic, but if your kid’s looking for more, here are a few must-read children’s classics for all ages not (as of this writing) included on our platform. Almost all are free via Amazon Audible during the pandemic:
- “A Wrinkle in Time,” by Madeleine L’Engle
- “Charlotte’s Web,” by E.B. White
- “Green Eggs and Ham,” by Dr. Seuss
- “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” by Roald Dahl
- “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone,” by J.K. Rowling
- “Pippi Longstocking,” by Astrid Lindgren
- “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” by Shel Silverstein
- “Winnie the Pooh,” by A.A. Milne.
- “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,” by Mark Twain
- “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe,” by C.S. Lewis