The books we read as children stay with us all our lives. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say they are the foundations of our education. In fact, children’s stories are basic to our culture. Some date back to ancient Greece and feature archetypal characters having memorable adventures. They’re more than good stories, too — often they’re also parables about moral behavior and good sense. (Don’t be mean to other people, and above all don’t get lost in the woods!)
24/7 Tempo has compiled a list of some of the most famous children’s books in the English language. Books like these books are rediscovered by every new generation — and some are regularly reinterpreted as plays and films. The titles and the characters in many of them will be familiar to almost everybody, whether they first appeared centuries ago or in recent decades — from Mother Goose to Snow White to Peter Rabbit (who is certainly one of the most famous bunnies of all time).
The books on our list aren’t necessarily just for children, and there may be more going on in them than meets the eye. For example, some critics have interpreted “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” as a political allegory. Ernest Hemingway said that all modern American literature comes from Huck Finn.
Children’s books are big business too, and not just for publishers. Films based on them, such as “Cinderella,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “The Jungle Book” have grossed hundreds of millions of dollars. These are the 50 top grossing movies of all time.