Janell Cannon tells the story of a little fruit bat named Stellaluna. This little one gets separated from her mother and is found and taken care of by a mama bird. The mama bird insists that Stellaluna do everything the way ordinary birds do, which is totally different than the way bats do things. When Stellaluna can finally fly, and actually ends up finding her mother, she is told that what she feels is the right way to do things are her natural instincts, and that she should follow them. She is very relieved to be able to do all the things bats naturally do once again. Sharing this story will teach you and your children about how bats look, live, and are different from birds.

Author and illustrator Esther Averill wowed readers with her Cat Club stories starring Jenny Linsky and friends, and this gem about Pickles the bad cat, who longs to be a good fire cat, is the perfect introduction to one of the most beloved children’s series around. Charming and timeless in both look and message, The Fire Cat is sure to be requested again and again.
This tricky tale tells the story of hungry soldiers who outsmart villagers unwilling to share their food. The soldiers concoct a soup made of stones, that little by little requires vegetables and meat, until the soldiers ultimately cook up a hearty meal. A book about sharing and cleverness, Stone Soup also featuring drawings that reveal something new with each view.
Everyone loves a funny story, and this is one that will give you and your children more laughs than you bargained for. When the night watchman at the zoo checks on the gorilla and tells him ‘good night.’ The gorilla steals the keys to all the other cages of all the other animals. While he follows the watchman around and watches him say good night, completely unobserved, he lets each animal out, one at a time. The animals follow the watchman home and end up sneaking into his house. With the surprises that follow and the fun that awaits, you and your children are sure to not be disappointed with this tale.

Jon J. Muth tells the tale of three children who meet their new neighbor, a Panda bear named Stillwater. As they listen to the stories told by Stillwater, the kids learn to look at the world in new ways. This introduction to Zen is good to use as a group story to read aloud, or as a bedtime story between you and your child. Throughout this children’s book, an introduction to Buddhism is carefully integrated. Simple illustrations make it easy to follow. Written for ages five and up, it is entertaining and a tale that many parents may enjoy sharing with their children.


Orbis Pictus from 1658 by John Amos Comenius was the earliest illustrated book specifically for children. It is something of a children's encyclopedia and is illustrated by woodcuts.[1] A Little Pretty Pocket-Book from 1744 by John Newbery was the earliest illustrated storybook marketed as pleasure reading in English.[2] In Japan, kibyoshi were picture books from the 18th century, and are seen as a precursor to manga.[3] Examples of 18th-century Japanese picture books include works such as Santō Kyōden's Shiji no yukikai (1798).[4][5]

In 1949 American writer and illustrator Richard Scarry began his career working on the Little Golden Books series. His Best Word Book Ever from 1963 has sold 4 million copies. In total Scarry wrote and illustrated more than 250 books and more than 100 million of his books have been sold worldwide.[10] In 1963, Where The Wild Things Are by American writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak was published. It has been adapted into other media several times, including an animated short in 1973, a 1980 opera, and, in 2009, a live-action feature film adaptation directed by Spike Jonze. By 2008 it had sold over 19 million copies worldwide.[11] American illustrator and author Gyo Fujikawa created more than 50 books between 1963 and 1990. Her work has been translated into 17 languages and published in 22 countries. Her most popular books, Babies and Baby Animals, have sold over 1.7 million copies in the U.S.[12] Fujikawa is recognized for being the earliest mainstream illustrator of picture books to include children of many races in her work.[13][14][15]


This story about a little boy who is looking for the perfect pet will open doors to your child’s learning (no pun intended). As he looks for a pet, each flap can be lifted to see a different animal inside. Making a game out of it with guessing what lies behind the flap, or even learning animal sounds along with reading the book, will be something that will make it even more loved. Easy for little hands to hold, and fun with looking under the flaps make this one of the best picture books for young children. It’s educational and fun all in one.
Graeme Base has created yet another astounding book to add to the list of the best. This beautiful and amazing picture book will have you looking for clues throughout it to find out the answer to the question, ‘Who stole the birthday feast?’ A mystery like no other with clues on each page and in every illustrated picture, the fun is just beginning with the reading. When you think you know the answer, you may find something that will tell you whether you are right or wrong. Mystery lovers young and old will find this story one to enjoy over and over, alone or with a loved one.
This is a book that’s unlike any of the other best picture books out there. It all begins with a single yellow dot, and the instructions to press it. The reader is then sent on a magical journey that shows them that things are not always what they seem! This is a book full of surprises, and excitement! Kids will giggle with delight as they see the dots change direction, get bigger, and even multiply! When a unique book is needed, this is a great option – especially for kids who are used to interaction and who typically don’t get excited about flat words on a flat page.
This was Mayer’s first book, published in 1975, and it was an instant classic, thanks to the honesty with which it portrays a common phenomenon: a kid trying to help his mom out, but goofing up the job. “I wanted to wash the floor just for you, but the soap was too bubbly,” he says, as soap bubbles fill the floor and fly up into the air and his mom has a weary look that many of us can relate to. Even though Little Critter’s mom is frequently exasperated in this book, she’s more often amused by his missteps, and in the end enjoys his bedtime kiss.
This classic by Robert Munsch offers adventure, suspense, humor, and romance. What more could you want in a children’s book? Princess Elizabeth and Prince Ronald are to be married, but when a dragon kidnaps Prince Ronald and catches the castle on fire, burning everything owned by the princess- even her clothes, it puts a damper on their plans. Undaunted by this set back, Princess Elizabeth puts on a paper bag for a dress, and goes out to find her prince. After she manages to rescue him, the prince tells her to come back after she is dressed like a real princess. Hilarity and humor will keep you laughing as you share this romance gone wrong with your children.
What better way to teach babies and toddlers where each body part is than with a game and a book? Karen Katz has created one of the most interactive and teachable peek-a-boo type of stories that will help you as you and baby have fun learning. It is one of the best children’s books. Finding the belly button, the eyes, and other parts of baby’s anatomy will be exciting and fun as you make a story into a game. Interacting with the baby and the story will be one of the easiest ways to teach simple concepts. Play time, nap time, any time, this story will keep you and baby having fun for a long time
100 Great Children’s Books has been published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The list was selected by The New York Public Library’s Jeanne Lamb, Coordinator, Youth Collections, and Elizabeth Bird, Supervising Librarian. 
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