Even now, when we’re long past the age of bedtime stories and getting tucked in at night, we can’t help but pry open the pages of children’s books. From fantastical plots to underlying lessons and heartwarming characters, there’s always something new to learn from a book written for young readers. After all, it’s those first stories that inspire a lifelong love of reading at an early age.
To reflect on page-turners of the past, we visited Target-hosted book festivals to ask a few of our favorite children’s books authors for their favorite children’s books.
First childhood reading memory: One of my favorite childhood book series is R.L. Stine’s “Goosebumps.” I collected nearly all of them, and developed a love for reading with the thrilling series! It’s my first true reading memory.
Favorite books: All the Dr. Seuss books are great reads. I also love reading “Goodnight Moon” to my children, but my daughter loves anything with “Backyardigans.”
First childhood reading memory: I remember my father reading “The Owl and the Pussycat” by Edward Lear to me before I fell asleep.
Favorite books: “The Giving Tree”: I loved it as a child but the meaning of the book grew for me as I grew older. “Milo’s Hat Trick”: Beautiful, well paced and a great ending. And “Where the Wild Things Are”: I hate to be so cliché, but this book really opened things up for me.
First childhood reading memory: I remember books called “Little Big Books.” They had text on one side and a picture on the other. There were so small, they could fit in your pocket! I took them to school every day.
First childhood reading memory: A family friend gave me “The Chronicles of Narnia” on a Sunday evening. I faked a major illness to stay home from school and read the entire series in one week!
Favorite books:“Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”: All of Roald Dahl’s books make me want to be the main character! “Ender’s Game” by Orson Scott Card: You can re-read this book at different ages and always get something new out of it. And “Charlie Joe Jackson’s Guide to Not Reading” by Tommy Greenwald: A funny book with a lot of heart. Kids can really relate to it.
First childhood reading memory: My first grade teacher reading “Paddington Bear” stories to us—I immediately checked out the book so I could get more.
Favorite books: “Alan Mendelsohn, The Boy from Mars” by Daniel Pinkwater: A very funny book with great characters! “Charlotte’s Web” by E.B. White: Such a strange premise, but it really works. And “The Midnight Fox” by Besy Byars: Beautiful story about a young boy who befriends a wild fox.
First childhood reading memory: My dad reading me “The Poky Little Puppy” on his lap at bedtime—I fell in love with that pup.
Favorite books: “Anne of Green Gables”: I loved Anne’s irrepressible spirit! “Where the Wild Things Are”: Who doesn’t love a wild rumpus? And “A Sick Day for Amos McGee”: A charming picture book that highlights the special bond between animals and humans.
First childhood reading memory: My first visit to my local library—back when librarians still told you to “HUSH!”
Favorite books: “Harold and his Purple Crayon” by Crockett Johnson, and anything by Dr. Seuss for poetry and humor.
First childhood reading memory: Reading together with my family. My parents read to my sisters and me every night!
Favorite books: “The Little House”: I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder’s series (and I still do)! They helped inspire my love of history and historical fiction. “Misty of Chincoteague” by Marguerite Henry “The Witch of Blackbird Pond” by Elizabeth George Speare: I also loved these!