When it comes to buying—as opposed to borrowing—books, my bar is pretty high. But in the past two years or so I’ve gone a little nuts filling our home shelves with wonderful, beautiful classics. I want my kids to have easy access to the good stuff, but let’s be honest: these books are also for me.
Today I’m sharing my favorites—the ones sitting on our family bookshelves right now.
Puffin Classics paperbacks. These appear in my Instagram feed on a regular basis and I always get asked about them. They are Puffin Classics paperbacks from Penguin’s Young Readers collection, and you’ll find them on the spinning racks at bookstores and libraries everywhere. A few years ago someone gifted me the 16 book set shown above (only $50!). Additional titles are available for $5-$6 each.
The newer Puffin Chalk series is also beautiful (but a little pricier).
Puffin Young readers hardcover classics. Another frequent star on Instagram (and my kids’ nightstands). The box sets include 6-10 titles (shown on the right above), depending on the merchant. Titles can be purchased individually: we recently added to our box set with Matilda and The Wizard of Oz.
The Anne of Green Gables collection. There are so many phenomenal additions to choose from, in hardcover and paperback. We have 6 copies of Anne of Green Gables, including the Tundra Books paperback editions (above) I purchased as a Christmas gift for myself.
Puffin in Bloom collection. I keep beating this drum because they really are that good, and a great value, besides.
I’m sorry to say I’m a little disappointed in Alice in Wonderland, the newest addition to the collection, only because it doesn’t play nicely with the others. I thought I could slip it onto my shelves with the other Puffin in Bloom titles, but was surprised to discover it’s much larger than its sisters. The cover is 8×10; the covers on the first four are closer to 5×7.
The Little House on the Prairie paperback box set. I didn’t read these until I was an adult and had no idea what I was missing out on all those years! Now I want my kids to have easy access to them, because they’re worth reading over and over again. (They aren’t terribly difficult to find second hand.)
The Mother Daughter Book Club. My daughters have read every title at least 5 times. For my own girls, the peak Mother Daughter Book Club years were 8-10. I tracked down old hardbacks because I thought they were pretty, but the paperback box set is also attractive (and cheap).
In every book, the club reads through one classic together. I love the idea of giving the accompanying classics to older readers along with the box set (e.g., a beautiful edition of Jane Eyre for Wish You Were Eyre, Pride and Prejudice for Pies and Prejudice).
The Beverly Cleary collection. My whole family loves Beverly Cleary. We gave Lucy (age 6 at the time) a paperback box set a couple of years ago and every kid in my family has read these books at least 3 times each.
The Harry Potter series. Maybe every kid in America has a set by now, but a back-up isn’t a bad idea because they tend to be much loved. Take your pick of several beautiful formats.
Harry Potter: The illustrated collection. These fully illustrated editions of Harry Potter are gorgeous and a great way to introduce the next generation to Hogwarts. Get started with Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, or look for the box set of books 1-3. (I spied these at Costco this fall.)
The Chronicles of Narnia. It seems like this set’s place under the Christmas tree has been usurped by Harry, but this beloved fantasy series deserves a place in every family’s library.