I found these while thrifting in Montana. They're just a few of my favorite books and characters as a child, and are all "must reads" for kids, in my opinion. I devoured the Ramona series. As a young writer I remember admiring how well-written her character was.
Another favorite book was The Best Christmas Pageant Ever, by Barbara Robinson. Makes a great Christmas gift for kids.
But my all-time favorite story series is Anne of Green Gables. It's storytelling at its best. When I worked at a PBS station, I always did the on-air fundraising around the series because I loved it so much (don't tell J. I told you, but he once sat up until 4 a.m. watching the trilogy with me). I have the complete book set, the trilogy on VHS (DVD is next), and the paper dollhouse book. Don't worry, I haven't decorated my house in Anne, but I am crossing my fingers that E. becomes a fan.