You may already know that developing reading skills at a young age is important for a child’s academic and future success. (Studies show that having good reading skills tends to improve a child’s performance in other subjects such as math and science, and it helps them as adults in their future careers).

But getting children to choose a book over a digital device isn’t always easy. There are so many other options competing for their time and attention. That’s why parents are always on the lookout for books that will captivate and engage their kids so they’ll learn to love reading.

Recently, Scholastic published its biannual Kids & Family Reading Report, with results from national surveys of children aged 6–17 and their parents, as well as the parents of kids aged 5 and under. In addition to collecting the parents’ and kids’ top book choices, the survey also found that “41 percent of kids say finding books they like is a challenge”—a higher number than the parents had estimated.

Diversity (in characters and experiences) and humor were high on the list of the types of books that kids and parents favored. Most wanted to read about “strong characters” who overcome obstacles or face challenges.

Take a look at the best kids’ books and series listed below that were highlighted in the report. If your children haven’t read one or more of these popular titles, you may want to consider introducing them to a new favorite!

Parents’ Top Five Best Kids’ Books and Series:

Harry Potter Series

Most of the kids surveyed for this report read their first Harry Potter book when they were eight-years-old and the series is popular with kids of all ages. Parents cited the focus on “friendship, loyalty, and good vs. evil” as their primary reasons for selecting this series as a must-read for kids.

Dr. Seuss Books

Children have been enjoying Dr. Seuss books since the 1950s, and their enthusiasm for his clever use of a poetic meter and his original drawings has not waned over the years. In 2015, parents were delighted to learn of a previously unpublished Dr. Seuss book titled What Pet Should I Get? In addition to the fact that these are timeless classics, parents recommended Dr. Seuss books for building vocabulary and for teaching kids how to rhyme.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series

This ongoing series, which now includes 11 books, was favored among parents because of the relatable characters and situations that are featured in it. Parents also said the books were “good, funny entertainment.”

The Magic Tree House Series

The Magic Tree House series follows Jack and Annie as they travel to new adventures via a magical tree house. Parents liked the educational aspect of these books, as they are a form of historical fiction that introduces children to different cultures and time periods in history.

The Chronicles of Narnia Series

In 1949, C.S. Lewis wrote The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, which became the first in The Chronicles of Narnia seven-book series. Many parents remembered reading these books as children and say they now choose the series for their own children because of the life lessons they contain and the way the book can be enjoyed by both kids and adults alike.

Children Aged 6–8 Favorite Books or Series

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The Magic Tree House

Harry Potter

Dr. Seuss

Junie B. Jones

Pete the Cat

Berenstain Bears

Pinkalicious

The Bible

Barbie

Llama Llama

Dora the Explorer

Captain Underpants

Elephant and Piggle

Geronimo Stilton

 

Children Aged 9–11 Favorite Books or Series

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Harry Potter

Captain Underpants

Percy Jackson

Dork Diaries

Goosebumps

Geronimo Stilton

Magic Tree House

Boxcar Children

Junie B. Jones

Warriors

Nancy Drew

I Survived

 

Children Aged 12–14 Favorite Books or Series

Harry Potter

The Hunger Games

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

Percy Jackson

Goosebumps

Twilight

Eragon

Fablehaven

The Bible

Dork Diaries

Warriors

 

 

Children Aged 15–17 Favorite Books or Series

The Hunger Games

Twilight

Percy Jackson

Divergent

Harry Potter

Warriors

Goosebumps

The Mortal Instruments

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

The Bible

 

What books are missing from this list? Share your favorite children’s book in the comments section!

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