If they are there for many generations, they are called “classics.”
Without getting bogged down by which are the greatest, I can think of some books grandparents have read to our parents who then read them to us, and we now read to our kids. Picture books like Where the Wild Things Are, Goodnight Moon, The Snowy day, The Giving Tree, Make Way for Duckling and too many by Dr. Seuss— all qualify.
- Universality of theme
- Memorable cadence
- Powerful art
Many books do not make it past a generation. There is an element of timing and to be frank, serendipity.
But although a writer can’t churn out a classic, I try to approach every story I create as if it is what I am making.
It makes a stronger story.