100 Best Books for Children ~ Andersen

Up first on The Hundred Best Books for Children list found in The Book-lover by James Baldwin is Andersen’s fairy tales.

Andersen’s Fairy Stories

Hans Christian Andersen was a Danish author who wrote 168 tales for children. These fairy stories have been translated and compiled over the years into many various collections.

Andersen’s stories are often found to be more complicated than the very watered-down versions we are more accustomed to. As such, his fairy stories expressing themes such as love, self-sacrifice, perseverance in hardship, and overcoming obstacles, will be enjoyed on a different level by adults.

His most popular fairy tales include:

  • The Princess and the Pea.
  • The Emperor’s New Suit.
  • Thumbelina.
  • The Ugly Duckling.
  • The Fir Tree.
  • The Snow Queen.
  • And so many more!

Hans Andersen was a poor boy who taught himself much by reading the works of Holberg and Shakespeare. His formal education, after he had failed on the stage, was long and unsatisfactory; but his real education was in travel. No man ever understood himself less than he. He tried to be a poet, dramatist, novelist and descriptive writer, with only moderate success. What he could write, but did not value, were his exquisite sketches of fairy lore and human character in his books for children. They won the heart of the world, and they have kept it and will keep it, for they are among the best literature of the kind ever penned and the choicest product of Danish literature.

“The Literature of Scandinavia,” The Book of Knowledge

We all have our favorites, and with so many stories to choose from, finding a suitable compilation of Andersen’s tales can be a challenge. We have done our best below.

Fairy Tales: Hans Christian Andersen

Fairy Tales: Hans Christian Andersen
Everyman’s Library Children’s Classic Series; Translated by Reginald Spink
This is the version we had on our shelf (later replaced with individual illustrated works). Aimed at a slightly older group than some of the others.

Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen

Fairy Tales by Hans Christian Andersen
Illustrated by Arthur Rackham

The Ugly Duckling

The Ugly Duckling and Other Fairy Tales
Dover Children’s Thrift Classics
These have the advantage of being unabridged, and much less expensive!

The Emperor's New Clothes

The Emperor’s New Clothes
Told by Virginia Lee Burton of Mike Mulligan fame. A particular favorite.

Free eBooks

Andersen’s Fairy Tales
Favorites told to children.

Hans Christian Andersen
Page at AmericanLiterature.com featuring many of the stories along with illustrations.

Stories from Hans Andersen
With illustrations.

Hans Christian Andersen Fairy Tale Collection
Audio (LibriVox).

Additional Resources

Preschool Thumbelina Download with Activities {Free}
From Core Knowledge Foundation.

Activity: Storytelling
Exercises featuring The Ugly Duckling.

Author Notebooking Pages {Free Download}
Use this free set to create an author notebook for our 100 Best Books for Children series.

The Hundred Best Books for Children ~ Introduction
The Hundred Best Books for Children

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