University of Washington’s Center for Philosophy for Children
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Literature Lists for Pre-College Philosophy


© Susie Fitzhugh

© Susie Fitzhugh

© Susie Fitzhugh

Note: All of the picture books and most of the chapter books can be used to inspire philosophy discussions with a wide variety of age groups.


Picture Books

The Incredible Painting of Felix Clousseau, by Jon Agee
The Ugly Duckling, by Hans Christian Andersen
Benjamin’s Dreadful Dream, by Alan Baker
The Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown
The Runaway Bunny, by Margaret Wise Brown
My Friend the Monster, by Clyde Roberta Bulla
Why? by Lindsay Camp
Stellaluna, by Janell Cannon
Hello, Red Fox, by Eric Carle
Emily's Art, by Peter Catalanotto
The Christmas Menorahs: How A Town Fought Hate, by Janice Cohn
Duck, Death and the Tulip, by Wolf Erlbruch
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, by Mem Fox
How to Paint the Portrait of a Bird, by Mordicai Gerstein
The Little Book of Thunks, by Ian Gilbert
Rumpelstiltskin, by the Brothers Grimm
Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson
Emma, by Wendy Kesselman
Peach and Blue, by Sarah Kilborne
I Want To Paint My Bathroom Blue, by Ruth Krauss
Philosophy Rocks, by Stephen Law
Really Really Big Questions, by Stephen Law
Stormy Night, by Michéle Lemieux
The Man Who Kept His Heart in a Bucket, by Sonia Levitin
Boodil My Dog, by Pija Lindenbaum
A Color of His Own, by Leo Lionni
Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, by Leo Lionni
An Extraordinary Egg, by Leo Lionni
Fish is Fish, by Leo Lionni
Frederick, by Leo Lionni
Matthew's Dream, by Leo Lionni
Swimmy, by Leo Lionni
Frog and Toad are Friends, by Arnold Lobel
Frog and Toad Together, by Arnold Lobel
Owl at Home, by Arnold Lobel
The Great Blueness and Other Predicaments, by Arnold Lobel
The Mountain That Loved a Bird, by Alice McLerran
The Big Box, by Toni Morrison
The Three Questions, by Jon J. Muth
The Art Lesson, by Tomie de Paola
The Upside-Down Cat, by Elizabeth Parsons
The Rainbow Fish, by Marcus Pfister
Max Found Two Sticks, by Brian Pinkney
The Big Orange Splot, by Daniel Manus Pinkwater
The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter
Ish, by Peter Reynolds
Hildilid's Night, by Cheli Duran Ryan
Emma’s Rug, by Allen Say
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, by Jon Scieszka
Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak
Amos and Boris, by William Steig
Brave Irene, by William Steig
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, by William Steig
The Amazing Bone, by William Steig
Yellow and Pink, by William Steig
Green Eggs and Ham, by Dr. Seuss
Horton Hears A Who, by Dr. Seuss
The Lorax, by Dr. Seuss
The Araboolies of Main Street, by Sam Swope
The Sky Jumps into Your Shoes at Night, by Jasper Tomkins
Knuffle Bunny, by Mo Willems
Albert's Toothache, by Barbara Williams
The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams
Morris the Moose, by B. Wiseman
I Know a Lady, by Charlotte Zolotow


Early Chapter Books

The Lemming Condition, by Alan Arkin
Knee-Knock Rise, by Natalie Babbitt
Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt
The Wizard of Oz, by Frank Baum
My Friend the Monster, by Clyde Robert Bulla
Thinking Stories, Thinking Stories II and Thinking Stories III, edited by Philip Cam
Twister, Quibbler, Puzzler, Cheat by Philip Cam
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass, by Lewis Carroll
Behind the Attic Wall, by Sylvia Cassedy
Frindle, by Andrew Clements
Danny, The Champion of the World, by Ronald Dahl
James and the Giant Peach, by Ronald Dahl
The Hundred Dresses, by Eleanor Estes
Hitler’s Daughter, by Jackie French
The Chinese Mirror, by Mirra Ginsburg (trans.)
The Poet-Bat, by Randell Jarrell
The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, by E.L. Konigsburg
Lesse Webster, by Ursula LeGuin
A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeline L'Engle
Perelandra, by C.S. Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis
The Dragon with the Red Eyes, by Astrid Lindgren
Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren
In the Year of the Boar and Jackie Robinson, by Betty Bao Lord
Raging Robots and Unruly Uncles, by Margaret Mahy
Standing Up to Mr. O, by Claudia Mills
The World of Pooh, by A.A. Milne
Five Children and It, by E. Nesbit
The Story of the Amulet, by E. Nesbit
Secret of the Andes, by Ann Nolen
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh, by Robert C. O'Brien
Tom's Midnight Garden, by Philippa Pearce
A Day No Pigs Would Die, by Robert Newton Peck
The Golden Compass, by Philip Pullman
Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds
Harry Potter series, by J.K. Rowling
The Bears' House, by Marilyn Sachs
Fran Ellen's House, by Marilyn Sachs
The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
The Cricket in Times Square, by George Selden
Old Ramon, by Jack Shaefer
When You Reach Me, by Rebecca Stead
Abel's Island, by William Steig
The Real Thief, by William Steig
The Bear That Wasn't, by Frank Tashlin
Many Moons, by James Thurber
The Thief, by Megan Whalen Turner
A Traveler in Time, by Alison Uttley
Charlotte's Web, by E.B. White
Stuart Little, by E.B. White
The Sword in the Stone, by T.H. White
Sleeping Ugly, by Jane Yolen
The Book Thief, by Markus Zusak


Books for Teenagers and Adults

The Universe and Dr. Einstein, by Lincoln Barnett
Three Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, by George Berkeley
Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life, by Sissela Bok
The Stranger, by Albert Camus
Mrs. Bridge, by Evan Connell
Meditations on First Philosophy, by Descartes
Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, by Annie Dillard
Middlemarch, by George Eliot
The Campaign, by Carlos Fuentes
The Mind’s I: Fantasies and Reflections on the Self and Soul, composed and arranged by Daniel C. Dennett and Douglas R. Hofstadter
The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Sophie's World, by Jostein Gaarder
Grendel, by John Gardner
In the Suicide Mountains, by John Gardner
In A Different Voice, by Carol Gilligan
Engaging Philosophy, by Mitch Green
Their Eyes Were Watching God, by Zora Neale Hurston
"A White Heron," in The Country of the Painted Firs and Other Stories, by Sarah Orne Jewett
The Trial, by Franz Kafka
Fear and Trembling and The Sickness Unto Death, by Soren Kierkegaard
Philosophical Fragments, by Soren Kierkegaard
The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas, by Ursula LeGuin (short story)
A Sand County Almanac, by Aldo Leopold
The Time of the Hero, by Mario Vargas Llosa
The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, by Milan Kundera
One Hundred Years of Solitude, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Tar Baby, by Toni Morrison
What Does It All Mean? by Thomas Nagel
The Examined Life, by Robert Nozick
Tell Me A Riddle, by Tillie Olsen
A Dialogue on Personal Identity and Immortality, by John Perry
The World of Silence, by Max Picard
The Republic, by Plato
A Theory of Justice, by John Rawls
The Problems of Philosophy, by Bertrand Russell
The Catcher in the Rye, by J.D. Salinger
Nausea, by John-Paul Sartre
No Exit, by Jean-Paul Sartre
Walden, by Henry David Thoreau
A Young Person's Guide to Philosophy, edited by Jeremy Weate
Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf