Over the weekend, Anna Dewdney, the author and illustrator of the beloved "Llama Llama" series of children's books, passed away after a fierce 15-month battle with cancer. Even in her passing, Dewdney proved how important children's literacy is to her by asking friends, family and fans to forgo a memorial service for her and instead to read a book to a child.

Reading to kids can help them learn, grow and thrive. Even more than that, it can help you and your kids share special moments together and set your child up for a lifetime love of reading. No matter if your child is still in diapers or taking the SAT, there are so many great books to share with your kids. We've compiled a list of 50 to get you started.

For babies and toddlers

Reading with a baby Reading with a baby is more about the giggles and snuggles than the words on the page. (Photo: Oksana Kuzmina/Shutterstock)

At this age, it's all about the experience and making reading a fun, comforting and memorable moment. The best books in this category are those with bold, bright images and simple or silly words that capture a baby's attention. Babies and toddlers can build their vocabulary while they learn about colors, shapes, numbers and letters. But most importantly, they learn that reading is awesome way to spend quality time with mom or dad. Give one of these books a try the next time you and your favorite little one are settling down for a snuggle:

  1. Any book by Dr. Seuss
  2. "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown
  3. "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman
  4. "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?" by Bill Martin Jr. and Eric Carle
  5. "Guess How Much I Love You?" by Sam McBratney
  6. "Counting Kisses" by Karen Katz
  7. "Time For Bed" by Mem Fox
  8. "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle
  9. "In The Tall, Tall Grass" by Denise Fleming
  10. "Goodnight Gorilla" by Peggy Rathmann
  11. "Kitten's First Full Moon" by Kevin Henkes
  12. "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats
  13. "Gossie" by Olivier Dunrea
  14. "Is Your Mama a Llama?" by Deborah Guarino
  15. "Close Your Eyes" by Kate Banks

And, of course,

  1. "Llama Llama Red Pajama" by Anna Dewdney

For young readers

Reading with a child Sharing a book with a young child is about keeping the magic of reading alive. (Photo: Dmytro Zinkevych/Shutterstock)

Just because your kids are reading on their own doesn't mean that you have to stop reading together. At this age, kids are just as likely to want to curl up next to you as they are to want their own space. They may want to be the one doing the reading, or they may want to leave it to you. Follow their lead and keep it simple with these stories that keep the pages turning.

  1. "Charlotte's Web" by E.B. White
  2. "Matilda" by Roald Dahl
  3. "The Tale of Despereaux" by Kate DiCamillo
  4. "Anne of Green Gables" by L.M. Montgomery
  5. "The Boxcar Children" by Gertrude Chandler Warner
  6. "The Mouse and the Motorcycle" by Beverly Cleary
  7. "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg
  8. "Mr. Popper's Penguins" by Richard Atwater
  9. "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  10. "Ella Enchanted" by Gail Carson Levine
  11. "Stuart Little" by E.B. White
  12. "Island of the Blue Dolphins" by Scott O'Dell
  13. "The Indian in the Cupboard" by Lynne Reid Banks
  14. "Tikki Tikki Tembo" by Arlene Mosel
  15. "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis
  16. "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl
  17. "Winnie The Pooh" by A.A. Milne
  18. "Where The Sidewalk Ends" by Shel Silverstein

For tweens and teens

Family reading time As kids get older, you can still share books by making time to read together as a family. (Photo: Grekov's/Shutterstock)

At this age, kids are well on their way to enjoying their own books at their own pace and in their own space. But even older tweens and teens can enjoy sharing books with the whole family. Turn the gadgets off 30 minutes earlier in the evening to enjoy some family reading time — either reading aloud or just sharing books in each other's company. Or read the same book at the same time so that you can talk about the characters and plot twists as the story unfolds. Here are some great books to share with older readers:

  1. "Little House on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  2. Any Harry Potter book by J.K. Rowling
  3. "Holes" by Louis Sachar
  4. "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster
  5. "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien
  6. "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L'Engle
  7. "The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate" by Jacqueline Kelly
  8. "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman
  9. "The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn" by Mark Twain
  10. "Tuck Everlasting" by Natalie Babbitt
  11. "The Princess Bride" by William Goldman
  12. "The Goose Girl" by Shannon Hale
  13. "The Book of a Thousand Days" by Shannon Hale
  14. "Esperanza Rising" by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  15. "The Lightning Thief" by Rick Riordan
  16. "Pippi Longstocking" by Astrid Lindgren
50 great books to read to kids
These books are perfect for reading with your favorite tots, toddlers, tweens and teens.