We all have our favorite children’s books that have shaped who we are.
Even highly successful people can appreciate the enduring impact various childhood stories have had on their lives.
‘The Harry Potter’ Series by J.K. Rowling
A series that needs no introduction, “Harry Potter” has brought millions of fans worldwide together to celebrate the story’s magical, yet entirely relatable, world of witchcraft and wizardry.
Adam Grant, a professor of management at Wharton, told Business Insider that J.K. Rowling is perhaps the most influential person alive.
“There’s a lot of originality in the ‘Harry Potter’ stories: The way to get to Hogwarts, all of the different ideas about how to cast spells, children being the individuals who are responsible for saving adults – all of that is setting a standard for saying, ‘I want to do something new,'” he said.
‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
- Harcourt, Brace, & World
“The Little Prince” is the story of a stranded pilot that meets a young Prince from outer space. It is an allegorical tale of the author’s real life experiences when fleeing to North America during World War II.
Robert Grimminck of List Verse reported that actor “James Dean deeply identified with the book and took it with him any time he moved.”
Grimminck said that the book was so important to Dean that his good friend and biographer William Bast wrote about it in an inscription on Dean’s memorial near his crash site.
The inscription includes Dean’s favorite line from the book:”What is essential is invisible to the eye.”
‘Goodnight Moon’ by Margaret Wise Brown
- Harper Festival
Brown’s poetic story of a bunny saying goodnight to all of his inanimate belongings is one that inspires blessings and gratitude.
“I just love the idea of blessing everything that’s near and dear to you before you go to sleep with a simple ‘Goodnight,'” Gwyneth Paltrow told Oprah Magazine.
‘James and the Giant Peach’ by Roald Dahl
- Puffin Books
Among one of Roald Dahl’s most beloved works is “James and the Giant Peach,” the enchanting story of an orphan who befriends bugs living inside a peach with whom he subsequently embarks on an eventful journey to New York City.
“Nobody wrote more imaginative stories for kids. These worlds he created had the nonsensical appeal of Dr. Seuss, while at the same time, the characters were all written with wonderful complexities and enormous heart,” actor John Krasinski told First Book.
‘The 500 Hearts of Bartholomew Cubbins’ by Theodore Geisel
Dr. Seuss’s story of a boy removing 500 hats in order to appease his king is among his most gripping stories, Stephen King told the Center for Fiction,
“I guess the book that really made me a reader was ‘The 500 Hats Of Bartholomew Cubbins,’ by Doctor Seuss,” King said. “It was my first encounter with a horror story, because poor Bartholomew was going to get his head chopped off if he couldn’t take off his hat for the king.”
‘Fantastic Mr. Fox’ by Roald Dahl
“I was in second or third grade when my sister read this to me, Scarlet Johansson told Reader’s Digest.“I remember that when she was finished, I insisted she start right over again.”
“I attribute my love of drama to having heard her do all the characters’ voices,” she said.
‘Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret.’ by Judy Blume
- Random House Inc.
Although technically categorized as a young adult novel, this creation of Judy Bloom’s demonstrates its protagonist’s quest to find and adopt a single religion.
“My mother died then I was in the fifth grade, so I didn’t have a mother to talk to about girl things,” Rosie O’Donnell told Parents magazine. “I would read that book over and over.”
‘The Giving Tree’ by Shel Silverstein
- Harper Collins Publishers
Among one of the most illustrious children’s stories is the one that showcases the relationship of a young boy and an apple tree.
Tony Robbins told NPR that “the secret to living is giving. No one so purely evokes emotions of the heart and soul as giving, receiving, rejection, expectation, love, and sorrow like Shel Silverstein.”
‘The Rainbow Fish’ by Marcus Foster
- North-South Books
Another book that Robbins has heralded is Marcus Pfister’s “The Rainbow Fish,” the story of a multi-colored fish that learns to share.
“Another similar tale about conscience, respect, and true beauty is ‘The Rainbow Fish,’ which is a little more like the kid’s version of ‘Shallow Hal,'” Robbins told NPR.
‘The Secret Garden’ by Frances Hodgson Burnett
After discovering a locked door to a dilapidated secret garden, an orphaned girl, along with her two companions, find a way in and seek to bring it to life in this engaging tale by
“I wanted to be Mary Lennox so badly,” Anne Hathaway told the National. “I still have a soft spot for gardens and I’m always going off to see if I can find locked doors inside them.”
‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl
- Puffin Books
“Matilda” is the story of gifted young girl with crude parents that uses her powers of telekinesis to defend her friends from their evil principal and her twisted parents.
“It was the first ‘big’ book I ever read,” Kelly Clarkson told Bookstor. “I was alone a lot as a kid, so I related to Matilda, in the sense that she was on her own too. I also loved that she was the underdog.”
‘Stone Soup’ by Marcia Brown
“Stone Soup” is a folk story in which hungry strangers convince their fellow townspeople to relinquish a small portion of their food to create a unique concoction from which everyone can benefit and enjoy.
“‘Stone Soup’ is the best children’s book,” David Duchovny told Men’s Health. “It tells you that art and life are made of nothing but imagination.”