Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 3, 2013

100 Top Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years

On Monday, The New York Public Library (NYPL)unveiled its first-ever list of the top 100 kids books of the last 100 years, curated by librarians, called “100 Great Children’s Books.” Marking the occasion, acclaimed children’s book creators Judy Blume and Eric Carle (who both appear on the list) participated in a panel discussion at the library’s Trustees Room and read from their popular works.

100YearsChildBks_strip1croppedHow many books from this list have you read? I’ve read 38.

 In alphabetical order by title, this list is as follows:

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Judith Viorst. Illus. by Ray Cruz. (1972)

All-of-a-Kind Family. Sydney Taylor, illustrated by Helen John. (1951)

Amelia Bedelia. Peggy Parish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel. (1963)

The Arrival. Shaun Tan. (2007)

Bark, George. Jules Feiffer. (1999)

Because of Winn-Dixie. Kate DiCamillo. (2000)

Ben’s Trumpet. Rachel Isadora. (1979)

Big Red Lollipop. Rukhsana Khan. Illus. by Sophie Blackall. (2010)

The Birchbark House. Louise Erdrich. (1999)

The Book of Three. Lloyd Alexander. (1964)

The Borrowers. Mary Norton. Illus. by Beth Krush and Joe Krush. (1953)

El Gallo De Bodas: A Traditional Cuban Folktale. Lucía M. González. Illus. by Lulu Delacre. (1994)

Bread and Jam for Frances. Russell Hoban. illustrated by Lillian Hoban. (1964)

Bridge to Terabithia. Katherine Paterson. (1977)

Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bill Martin, Jr. Illus. by Eric Carle. (1967)

Caps for Sale. Esphyr Slobodkina. (1938)

The Cat in the Hat. Dr. Seuss. (1957)

Chains. Laurie Halse Anderson. (2008)

A Chair For My Mother. Vera B. Williams. (1982)

Charlotte’s Web. E.B. White. Illus. by Garth Williams. (1952)

Chato’s Kitchen. Gary Soto. Illus. by Susan Guevara. (1995)

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. Illus. by Lois Ehlert. (1989)

Corduroy. Don Freeman. (1976)

Curious George. H.A. Rey. (1941)

D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Ingri D’Aulaire and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. (1962)

Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Mo Willems. (2003)

Esperanza Rising. Pam Muñoz Ryan. (2000)

Freight Train. Donald Crews. (1978)

Frog and Toad Are Friends. Arnold Lobel. (1970)

From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. E.L. Konigsburg. (1967)

George and Martha. James Marshall. (1972)

The Giver. Lois Lowry. (1993)

Go, Dog. Go! P.D. Eastman. (1961)

Goodnight Moon. Margaret Wise Brown. Illus. by Clement Hurd. (1947)

Grandfather’s Journey. Allen Say. (1993)

The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman. Illus. by Dave McKean. (2008)

Green Eggs and Ham. Dr. Seuss. (1960)

Harold and the Purple Crayon. Crockett Johnson. (1955)

Harriet the Spy. Louise Fitzhugh. (1964)

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J.K. Rowling. (1998)

Hatchet. Gary Paulsen. (1989) The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien. (1937)

Holes. Louis Sachar. (1998)

The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Brian Selznick. (2007)

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. Simms Taback. (1999)

Jumanji. Chris Van Allsburg. (1981)

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. Yuyi Morales. (2003)

Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Kevin Henkes. (1996)

The Lion and the Mouse. Jerry Pinkney. (2009)

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis. (1950)

The Little House. Virginia Lee Burton. (1942)

The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. (1943)

Locomotion. Jacqueline Woodson. (2003)


Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China. Ed Young. (1989)

Madeline. Ludwig Bemelmans. (1939)

Make Way for Ducklings. Robert McCloskey. (1941)

Matilda. Roald Dahl. Illus. by Quentin Blake. (1988)

Meet Danitra Brown. Nikki Grimes. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. (1994)

Millions of Cats. Wanda Gág. (1928)

Miss Nelson is Missing! Harry Allard. Illus. by James Marshall. (1977)

Mr. Popper’s Penguins. Richard and Florence Atwater. Illus. by Robert Lawson. (1938)

Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Robert C. O’Brien. (1971)

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale. John Steptoe. (1987)

My Father’s Dragon. Ruth Stiles Gannett. Illus. by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (1948)

My Name is Yoon. Helen Recorvits. Illus. by Gabi Swiatkowska. (2003)

Olivia. Ian Falconer. (2000)

One Crazy Summer. Rita Williams-Garcia. (2010)

The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. Virginia Hamilton. Illus. by Leo/Diane Dillon. (1985)

The Phantom Tollbooth. Norton Juster. Illus. by Jules Feiffer. (1961)

Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue. Maurice Sendak. (1962)

Pink and Say. Patricia Polacco.  (1994)

Pippi Longstocking. Astrid Lindgren. (1950)

Ramona the Pest. Beverly Cleary. (1968)

Rickshaw Girl. Mitali Perkins. Illus. by Jamie Hogan. (2007)

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Mildred D. Taylor. (1976)

Rumpelstiltskin. Paul O. Zelinsky. (1986)

A Sick Day for Amos MCGee. Philip Stead. Illus. by Erin E. Stead. (2010)

The Snowy Day. Ezra Jack Keats. (1962)

Starry River of the Sky. Grace Lin. (2012)

The Stories Julian Tells. Ann Cameron. Illus. by Ann Strugnell. (1981)

The Story of Ferdinand. Munro Leaf. Illus. by Robert Lawson. (1936)

Strega Nona. Tomie dePaola. (1975)

Swimmy. Leo Lionni. (1963)

Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. William Steig. (1969)

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Judy Blume. (1972)

The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit. Julius Lester. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. (1987)

Tar Beach. Faith Ringgold. (1991)

Ten, Nine, Eight. Molly Bang. (1983)

Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose. Tomie dePaola. (1985)

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Jon Scieszka. Illus. by Lane Smith. (1989)

Tuesday. David Wiesner. (1991)

The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Eric Carle. (1969)

The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. Christopher Paul Curtis. (1995)

The Westing Game. Ellen Raskin. (1978)

When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead. (2009)

Where Is the Green Sheep? Mem Fox. Illus. by Judy Horacek. (2004)

Where the Wild Things Are. Maurice Sendak. (1963)

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. Verna Aardema. Illus. by Leo/Diane Dillon. (1975)

Winnie-the-Pooh. A.A. Milne. Illus. by Ernest H. Shepard. (1926)

A Wrinkle in Time. Madeleine L’Engle. (1962)

The unveiling of the list coincides with NYPL’s well-received kid lit exhibition,The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter,” on view at the library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

The list was selected by The New York Public Library’s Jeanne Lamb, coordinator of youth Collections, and Elizabeth Bird, supervising librarian.

Talk tomorrow,



  1. Printing this list 🙂 And there’s also THIS wonderful stuff to check out from that exhibit 🙂 I was so glad to know it:


    • be sure to note the videos posted!


      • I just counted them. I’ve read 46, have a few I own that I haven’t read yet, several on the list I would like to read and a good bunch I never heard of either!


    • Donna,

      Thanks for posting the link.



      • Forgot to ask. Do you have a favorite book on the list?


      • Kathy, it is a very rare thing when I can name ONE favorite because the ones I love have their own special place 🙂 I highlighted 18 that could be listed, both PBs and MGs. It’s always easy for me to say anything Harry Potter because that whole series is amazing for so many reasons, but there are others I love, too. How about you?!


  2. I visited the world of ABC’s of Children’s books at the library…will do a blog on it soon…. and it’s a world unto itself! fabulous…


    • Chris,

      All the times I have been in the area and I never stopped in to visit. Glad you told me how much you liked it. I’ll have to make sure I get there.



  3. So many of these books bring back sweet childhood memories.
    Thanks for sharing. Another post I’ll keep for reference. 🙂


  4. I read 42…guess I’d better get busy!


    • Darlene,

      Well, you beat me. There are a few on my list to read – so much to read and so little time.



  5. 52
    and more than are on this list
    -mom to 4 kids/teens and adults now


    • Em,

      More than 50% – Good job. I don ‘t think I will get to read that many, since I probably have 52 books sitting in my Kindle and decorating my night stand. Do you have a favorite on the list?



  6. 71
    I need to check some of them out. I honestly have never heard of some of them. I’m missing out.
    Thanks so much. I love lists of books.


    • Yettee,

      Wow! 71, that is really good. Do you have a favorite?



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