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11 Children’s Books That Influenced These Famous Lives

Which classics helped shape the young minds of Stephen King, Scarlett Johansson, and President Barack Obama?

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Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown

“I just love the idea of blessing everything that’s near and dear to you before you go to sleep with a simple ‘Goodnight.’”—actress Gwyneth Paltrow

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The 500 Hats Of Bartholomew Cubbins by Dr. Seuss

“I never forgot how the hooded headsman, with his gigantic ax, made me feel. That story had it all: suspense, danger, an intrepid, good-hearted hero, and…best of all…a happy ending.” —author Stephen King

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Eloise by Kay Thompson

“I loved Eloise, for everything she wasn’t. She wasn’t pretty, she wasn’t the model child—she was a little devil, and I envied her spunk.” —journalist Meredith Vieira.  Some of the most famous books, along with the best book quotes, stay with you forever.

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James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

“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

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Stone Soup by Marcia Brown

“It tells you that art and life are made of nothing but imagination.” —actor David Duchovny. 

Enrich your life with the most popular fairytales of all time. 

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Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

“My wife still thinks that I’m Max, that I’m getting into mischief all the time.” —President Barack Obama

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Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl

“I was in second or third grade when my sister read this to me. 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.” —actress Scarlett Johansson

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The Story of Ferdinand by Munro Leaf

Ferdinand The Bull, written in 1936 by author Munro Leaf, has always held a warm spot in my heart because it is about a bull who would rather stop and smell the flowers than fight. Ultimately Ferdinand wins the day because of his peace-loving beliefs.” —actor Ed Asner

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The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

“I wanted to be Mary Lennox so badly. I still have a soft spot for gardens, and I’m always going off to see if I can find locked doors inside them.” —actress Anne Hathaway

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Br’er Rabbit by Joel Chandler Harris

“I still love stories where heroes survive on their wits and cunning.” —actor Matt Brown

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Blubber by Judy Blume

“I was first navigating the complicated waters of female friendship, when schoolmates were starting to divide up into groups, and status within the classroom was suddenly a ‘thing.’ I couldn’t put a name to bullying yet, but I recognized my life in that book, and it made me feel like I wasn’t alone.” —author Erin Lange

Reader's Digest
Originally Published in Reader's Digest