What are the best children and YA books from the 80's and earlier?

asked by Anonymous
248 contributors
16 solutions
  1. 31

    #1A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)

    A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)
    A Wrinkle in Time, the first in Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet series, is centered on how Meg Murry and her family met an unearthly stranger during a stormy night and was introduced to the tesseract, which is the book's term for a wrinkle in time.

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    Christine Contreras
    Written on April 24, 2018
    "I didn't like this because I'm burned out on time travel. It' too convenient a device for writers. I read about a quarter of the book and then left it. What I read was okay, not great."
  2. 27

    #2The Secret Garden

    The Secret Garden

    The Secret Garden is a novel about Mary Lennox, a spoiled and alone child who is sent to his grieving uncle after her parent's death. She found out about that there is a forgotten garden there and she visited it to know its mysteries.


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    Michael Ryan
    Written on April 13, 2018
    "This book has been on my to-read list for quite a while. The story follows 10 year old Miss Mary. She grew up in India with her parents until cholera wiped out her household. When she was little, she was raised by her nurse and was given anything she wanted. I highly recommend this book if you have never read it before."
  3. 27

    #3The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)

    The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is the first book in the series Chronicles of Narnia. The story revolves around the journey of four siblings to Narnia where they fight with an evil witch.  


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    Eric Davidson
    Written on May 4, 2018
    "Great book for the kids, they will enjoy the fantasy world and really be immersed with the characters. Highly recommended."
  1. 25

    #4The Phantom Tollbooth

    The Phantom Tollbooth
    Boredom, curiosity, and a phantom tollbooth led Milo to the Lands Beyond, where the boy found out that life is more exciting than it seems. In Phantom Tollbooth, Milo goes on an adventure that he did not think was possible.

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    Amy Hu
    Written on April 29, 2018
    "I adore The Phantom Tollbooth, which shows how wondrous the world can be when seen through the eyes of a child. Weird, wild, and oh-so-funny, this book is perfect for kids with an open imagination and propensity to explore. Delightfully written and contains some intriguing philosophical discussion as well."
  2. 25

    #5Charlotte's Web

    Charlotte's Web
    Charlotte's Web by E.B. White is a tender novel of friendship, love, life, and death that will continue to be enjoyed by generations to come.

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    Willie Duncan
    Written on April 21, 2018
    "This book is a classic, not much needs to be said, except that everyone should read this. The story of a friendship between a spider and a pig that is much deeper, a story of friendship, love, life, and death. This book is fantastic."
  3. 21

    #6The Lord of the Rings

    The Lord of the Rings

    The Lord of the Rings is written by J.R.R. Tolkien which is the sequel to the 1937 novel The Hobbit. This follows the course of the War of the Ring after the Dark Lord Sauron created the One Ring to rule the other Rings of Power. 


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  4. 17

    #7The Boxcar Children

    The Boxcar Children

    The Boxcar Children, ideal for grade 2-6 readers, is about the four orphans who start to make a home in a boxcar just to stay together. In their adventure, they meet their grandfather.


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    Hannah Little
    Written on April 5, 2018
    "Boxcar Children is an exceptional book and a certain classic. It is easily among the best children's books from the 80s and earlier and it has held up very well over the years."
  5. 16

    #8The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

    The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
    The Fellowship of the Ring is the first part of J.R.R. Tolkien's classic epic series, The Lord of the Rings. It was originally published in Great Britain in 1954 and has been adapted into a world-famous film.

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    Carol Boyd
    Written on April 22, 2018
    "Lord of the Rings is a classic. It's definitely stood the test of time and will get any young reader hooked into its magical world."
  6. 12

    #9Harriet the Spy

    Harriet the Spy

    Harriet the Spy is the first book in the Harriet the Spy series written by Louise Fitzhugh. This book for children and young adult readers was originally published in 1964.


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    Amit Pawar
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "Harriet the Spy is a classic piece of young adult literature. I couldn't wait to share this book with my daughter as soon as she was old enough. I love being able to compare my interpretation of the story as an adult with my daughter's views. We've learned so much about how each of us views friendship and responsibility. I think every kid should read Harriet the Spy. There are great lessons to be learned."
  7. 10

    #10Go Ask Alice

    Go Ask Alice

    Anonymously written, Go Ask Alice is a diary—which may be real or fictional— of a teenage girl who got sucked into a drug-filled world. This book chronicles her descent into addiction, as she takes to drugs to escape real life.


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    Gloria Rose
    Written on April 20, 2018
    "I adored this book! It was fun, exciting, sad, and happy all at the same time. I couldn't ask for a cooler and more interesting story from the 80s."
  8. 8

    #11Where the Wild Things Are

    Where the Wild Things Are
    Where the Wild Things Are is one of the most highly acclaimed and best-loved children's picture books of all time, written by American author and illustrator Maurice Sendak.

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    Zachary Duncan
    Written on April 12, 2018
    "One of my favorite children's books from my childhood. My younger cousin, who I am very close with, absolutely loves it now. Great pictures by Maurice Sendak!"
  9. 7

    #12From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler

    From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs Basil E. Frankweiler

    From The Mixed-Up Files Of Mrs. Basil E. is a classic picture book written and illustrated by literary icon E.L. Konigsburg. It was originally published in 1957. It is about a girl who ran away from her house and found an adventure in New York City.


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    Tyler Cooper
    Written on May 8, 2018
    "Even though it is very old now, From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler has aged quite well. It is a perfect story for teenagers and young adults, as it addresses the angst of frustrations of youth. This award winning novel remains very popular with readers today."
  10. 5

    #13The Outsiders

    The Outsiders
    The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton is about how Ponyboy Curtis saw life as one of the greasers, one of the people who does not belong in a regular society. This book has won a number of awards for its contribution to the young adult genre.

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    Aanya Kapoor
    Written on March 16, 2018
    "The Outsiders has some violence in it but it is definitely a great book for young teens to find characters they can relate to in a pretty cool story. I read this many times when I was younger and it's a pretty cool book. "
  11. 1

    #14Green Eggs and Ham

    Green Eggs and Ham

    “Do you like green eggs and ham?” asks Sam-I-am in the classic book for children by Dr Seuss that has cemented its place among American children for ages. Follow Sam-I-Am and encourage your children to read by themselves. 


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    Steven Robinson
    Written on May 1, 2018
    "If you want a great book to read to you child, look no further then Dr. Suess. I personally grew up on Dr. Suess, and this book is an absolute classic. I would be surprised to find a kid that did not enjoy this book, however if not there are plenty of other ones in the series to try out."
  12. 0

    #15George's Marvelous Medicine

    George's Marvelous Medicine
    George's Marvelous Medicine is a children's book written by Roald Dahl and illustrated by Quentin Blake. It tells the story of the titular character, as he tries to invent a medicine that will cure his grandmother of her grumpiness.

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    Jesse Mendoza
    Written on April 19, 2018
    "This was a great book for children or young adults! The 80's and earlier definitely had a lot of great options but this is surely near the top. Dahl is a master of young adult novels/stories, being of course more well known for his other top hits "James and the Giant Peach" and the iconic "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". "George's Marvelous Medicine" is yet another feather in his cap and a great read!"
  13. 0


    First published in 1988, Matilda is a children's book by acclaimed author, Roald Dahl. It tells the story of Matilda, an intelligent little girl with superpowers, as she faces off with the school principal, the cruel Mrs. Trunchbull.

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    Chirag Mehra
    Written on April 30, 2018
    "My parents has the children book "Matilda" but I unfortunately didn't read it. If your looking for a book children's book during the 80's this is a good book to get. But there are a few older children's book that are in the 70's as well."


Best What are the best children and YA books from the 80's and earlier
1A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet)Books 31 Paid
2The Secret GardenBooks 27 Paid
3The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia)Books 27 Paid
4The Phantom TollboothBooks 25 Paid
5Charlotte's WebBooks 25 Paid
6The Lord of the RingsBooks 21 Paid
7The Boxcar ChildrenBooks 17 Paid
8The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the RingBooks 16 Paid
9Harriet the SpyBooks 12 Paid
10Go Ask AliceBooks 10 Paid

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