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21 Best Children's Books, According To Teens (Who Are The Real Experts, Anyway)

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As a preschool teacher, I'm often asked by parents which books I would recommend to young children. Of course, I know the ones I love best; many of them are the ones I grew up with (back in the Jurassic era), and others are ones that I read to my own kids. But I'm surprised that no one thinks to ask the real experts: teenagers. Which children's books do teens recommend? Which ones sparked their imaginations, or comforted them, or just stand out in their minds? Their answers fascinated me, and I think they'll fascinate you, too.

I did an informal poll of my own children (10th and 8th grades... don't get me started on how boggled my mind is about that), as well as a random sampling of their friends. Which books did they remember best? Surprisingly, most of them were classic titles by authors we all grew up with. (Talk about standing the test of time.) But for many of them, their choices were based not only on the books themselves, but on their memories of their parents reading to them. Even a decade or more later, these young women and men still fondly remembered cozy bedtime moments, or being entertained by moms and dads attempting tongue-twisters or adopting silly voices.

If you haven't yet introduced these books to your kids, then make a beeline for your library and borrow them for upcoming bedtimes. They come highly recommended by young experts (who were not paid or otherwise compensated for their opinions). When you read them, you'll know that you're giving your child more than pretty pictures and fun rhymes — you're giving them a love of reading and a memory of bonding with you that will last long after they've moved on to more complex literature.