100 Best Children's Books

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A list of 100 best children's books can add some classic titles to your reading list in addition to introducing you to new favorites. Check out some of the ideas below.

A List of 100 Best Children's Books

10 Classic Novels

  • Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery
  • Black Beauty by Anna Sewell
  • The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden
  • Heidi by Johanna Spyri
  • The Hobbit, or There and Back Again by J. R. R. Tolkien
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
  • Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder
  • Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
  • The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

10 Classic Picture Books

  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
  • Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin, Jr.
  • Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • Curious George by H. A. Rey
  • Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
  • Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
  • The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown
  • The Saggy Baggy Elephant by Kathryn and Byron Jackson
  • Strega Nona: An Old Tale by Tomie dePaola
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

10 Caldecott Award Winners

The Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), awards the Caldecott Medal each year to the most distinguished American picture book for children.

  • Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (1942)
  • The Big Snow by Berta and Elmer Hader (1949)
  • Madeline's Rescue by Ludwig Bemelmans (1954)
  • Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (1964)
  • Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, retold by Verna Aardema (1976)
  • Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg (1982)
  • The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1986)
  • Rapunzel by Paul O. Zelinsky (1998)
  • The Man Who Walked Between the Towers by Mordicai Gerstein (2004)
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (2008)

10 Newbery Award-Winning Books

The ALSC awards books the Newbery Medal for distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

  • Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes (1944)
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (1961)
  • A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (1963)
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O'Brien (1972)
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (1977)
  • Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1978)
  • Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices by Paul Fleischman (1989)
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (1994)
  • Holes by Louis Sachar (1999)
  • The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo (2004)

10 Printz Award Winners and Honor Books

The Young Adult Library Services Association, a division of the ALA, awards the Michael L. Printz Award for Excellence in Young Adult Literature.

  • Monster by Walter Dean Myers (2000)
  • Hard Love by Ellen Wittlinger (2000)
  • Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicolson by Louise Rennison (2001)
  • A Step From Heaven by An Na (2002)
  • The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (2004)
  • Looking for Alaska by John Green (2006)
  • American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang (2007)
  • The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation; v. 1: The Pox Party by M.T. Anderson (2007)
  • Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta (2009)
  • Going Bovine by Libba Bray (2010)

10 Best-Selling Books

  • The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
  • Charlotte's Web by E. B. White
  • Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone by J. K. Rowling
  • Love You Forever by Robert Munsch
  • The Outsiders by S. E. Hinton
  • Pat the Bunny by Dorothy Kunhardt
  • The Poky Little Puppy by Janette Sebring Lowrey
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter
  • Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

10 Books to Stir the Imagination

  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
  • The Borrowers by Mary Norton
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
  • Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs by Judith Barrett
  • If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
  • The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch
  • Peter Pan by James M. Barrie
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs "as told to" Jon Scieszka and illustrated by Lane Smith
  • Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
  • The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

10 Biographies and Autobiographies

  • Abe Lincoln's Hat by Martha Brenner
  • The Art Lesson by Tomie DePaola
  • DK Biography series by assorted authors
  • Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling
  • Helen Keller by Margaret Davidson
  • John Lennon: All I Want Is the Truth, a Photographic Biography by Elizabeth Partridge
  • Life Freaks Me Out: And Then I Deal with It by K. L. Hong
  • Lou Gehrig: The Luckiest Man by David A. Adler
  • Matt Christopher Sports Biographies series by Matt Christopher
  • When Marian Sang: The True Recital of Marian Anderson by Pam Munoz Ryan

10 Banned Books

  • Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  • The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events #1) by Lemony Snicket
  • Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey
  • The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
  • The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank
  • Hatchet by Gary Paulsen
  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
  • Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
  • What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones

10 Books That Celebrate and Recognize Diversity

  • And Tango Makes Three, written by Peter Parnell and Justin Richardson and illustrated by Henry Cole
  • Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon and written by Margaret Musgrove
  • Before We Were Free by Julia Alvarez
  • Black Mirror by Nancy Werlin
  • Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
  • Farewell to Manzanar: A True Story of Japanese American Experience During and After the World War II Internment by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston and James D. Houston
  • I Love My Hair! by Natasha Tarpley
  • Letters from Rifka by Karen Hesse
  • Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young
  • Parrot in the Oven: mi vida by Victor Martinez

Of course, there are more than 100 best children's books. Use this list as a starting point for building your own library of the most enchanting stories available.

100 Best Children's Books