The science behind the importance of reading to your kids is pretty substantial. From building language and literacy skills, to strengthening the parent-child bond, at-home reading has many benefits and rewards. The question is, what should you read to keep them engaged? Read on to discover what some of the world’s most successful people read to their own kids every night.

photo: Beth Watson via Flickr

NPR’s Storybook Project reached out to authors, filmmakers, scientists, musicians, and philanthropists to find out exactly what titles they stock on their kid’s bookshelves. Everyone from Melinda Gates to Mayim Bialik contributed their five favorite books to read to their kids on the Storybook Tumblr. While there’s unfortunately no magical reading list that will make your own child a success, these books will definitely inspire your personal library and keep story time interesting for both your kids and you.

photo: Firefly Books via NPR

Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch
Melinda Gates had this one on her list as her kids’ favorite bedtime story. “It’s about life from birth to death, about the continuity of generations, and as we read we could see the road ahead for our family. The kids never understood why we were always crying by the time we finished.”

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Stone Soup by Marcia Brown
Self-help guru Tony Robbins describes this as a classic folktale about being resourceful. “I’ve always told people the key ingredient to success is hunger!” he told NPR.

photo: Devorss & Co. via NPR

The Invisible String by Patrice Karst
Wendy Kopp, founder of Teach For America, loves reading this book with her four kids because it illustrates how, “love always connects kids and moms – even when kids go off to school and moms go away to work.”


photo: Dial via NPR

Edward Unready For School by Rosemary Weeks
Anne-Marie Slaughter, president and CEO of the New America Foundation, and her family love all of Rosemary Wells’ books, but this one is a special favorite since her son’s name is Edward.


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Mr. Tall by Roger Hargreaves
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Powers recommends this classic Mr. Men book because it celebrates differences.


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Good Night, Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
Musician Jack Johnson told NPR his family loved this title so much, “we wore the corners off this little board book when my kids were little.”


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We’re Going On A Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
Chef Jamie Oliver says, “Another great story with brilliant illustrations and a little bit of danger. But not too much.” His other favorite? The Very Hungry Caterpillar, of course.


photo: Harper Collins via NPR

Frog and Toad Series by Arnold Lobel
Actress, Mayim Bialik, loves these tales because they explore simple concepts that are great for all ages.


photo: Simon & Schuster via NPR

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
First lady of New York, Chirlane McCray’s kids are already grown, but when they were little, reading titles like this classic was their favorite time together.


photo: Turtleback Books via NPR

Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi
Children’s book illustrator Carson Ellis told NPR, “This book will never get old in my family.”

What are some of your favorite books to read with your kids? Share the titles in the comments!