This is an incomplete list that may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with entries that are reliably sourced.
This is a list of children's classic books published at least 20 years ago and still available in the English language.
Books specifically for children existed by the 17th century. Before that, books were written mainly for adults – although some later became popular with children. Most printed works were hard to come by due to their cost and were mostly available for purchase only by upper class society. Scholarship on children's literature includes professional organizations, dedicated publications, and university courses.
Ancient Indian inter-related collection of animal fables in verse and prose, in a frame story format. Similar stories are found in later works including Aesop's Fables and the Sindbad tales in Arabian Nights.
Collection of Indian legends, fairy tales and folk tales as retold by a Saivite Brahmin named Somadeva. Generally believed to derive from Gunadhya's Brhat-katha, written in Paisachi dialect from the south of India.
With its sequels, it broke ground for epic fantasy in several ways: the first book had a non-white hero, the later books explored the role of gender in fantasy and power, and the quest structure is not good vs. evil but balance.
^Lyons (2008). Three tales from the Arabian nights. translated by Malcolm C. Lyons, Robert Irwin, and Ursula Lyons ; with an introduction by Robert Irwin. London: Penguin. ISBN978-1-84614-158-4.
^Epstein, Connie C. (1991). The Art of Writing for Children. Archon Books. p. 2. ISBN0-208-02297-X.
^Comenius, John Amos (1999). Orbis Pictus : [Orbis Sensualium Pictus. A world of things obvious to the scenes drawn in pictures] ([Faks.Repr.] ed.). Kessinger. ISBN978-0-7661-0825-7.
^Janeway, James (1994). A token for children : being an exact account of the conversion, holy and exemplary lives and joyful deaths of several young children in two parts. To which is added, A token for the children of New England / by Cotton Mather. Pittsburgh, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publications. ISBN978-1-877611-76-6.
^Defoe, Daniel (2001). Robinson Crusoe (Modern Library paperback ed. ed.). New York: The Modern Library. ISBN978-0-375-75732-7.
^Swift, Jonathan (2002). Rivero, Albert J., ed. Gulliver's travels. Based on the 1726 text : contexts, criticism (1st ed. ed.). New York: Norton. ISBN978-0-393-95724-2.
^Perrault, Charles (1963). The complete fairy tales of Charles Perrault. Illustrated by Sally Holmes ; newly translated by Neil Philip and Nicoletta Simborowski ; with an introduction and notes on the story by Neil Philip. New York: Clarion Books. ISBN978-0-395-57002-9.
Lundin, Anne (2004). Constructing the canon of children's literature : beyond library walls and ivory towers. New York: Routledge. ISBN0-8153-3841-4. A scholarly examination of canons of children's literature.
Silvey, Anita, ed. (1995). Children's books and their creators. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN978-0-395-65380-7. Includes a basic reading list on pp. xi–xvi.
Spitz, Ellen Handler (2000). Inside picture books. New Haven: Yale University Press. ISBN9780300084764.
Thwaite, Mary F. (1972). From primer to pleasure in reading : an introduction to the history of children's books in England from the invention of printing to 1914 with an outline of some developments in other countries (1st American ed.). Boston: The Horn book. ISBN978-0-87675-275-3.