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. 

The half-wall next to my eight-year-old daughter’s desk is filled with post-it notes marked with mis-spelled positive affirmations: “you got ths” and “you r luvd,” they say. I could easily sneak one in there that says, “I m a worior godiss.” The book, I Am a Warrior Goddess feels as simple as a collection of pages of encouraging self-talk for my daughters. The illustrations are fun and lively, telling us the story of a sweet little redhead who talks to herself wisely and affirmatively— the way we are teaching our young girls to speak to themselves.
Robert McCloskey has won the Caldecott Medal for this winner with families everywhere. Mr. And Mrs. Mallard are looking for a place in the city of Boston to raise their young ducks. They need a place where there will be no threat from wolves, foxes, or turtles. When they decide to nest in Boston’s Public Garden, they are right at home with the help of a police officer and others. The illustrations of Boston’s famous landmarks adds to the authenticity of this story. A treasure to share and educational too, this is one that may become a family favorite to read together.
Thank you for the wonderful list! I’ve been teaching elementary learning support for 16+ years, and there are 2-3 books in particular I find myself reading over and over and over . . . The kids can’t get enough of them – Taxi Dog” and “The Baby Beebee Bird!” Thankfully, I adore these books too! Oh – and can’t forget “Room on the Broom;” it’s a favorite all year long! 🙂
In 1937, Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel), at the time a successful graphic artist and humorist, published his first book for children, And to Think That I Saw It on Mulberry Street. It was immediately successful, and Seuss followed up with The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins in 1938, followed by The King's Stilts in 1939, and Horton Hatches the Egg in 1940, all published by Random House. From 1947 to 1956 Seuss had twelve children's picture books published. Dr. Seuss created The Cat in the Hat in reaction to a Life magazine article by John Hersey in lamenting the unrealistic children in school primers books. Seuss rigidly limited himself to a small set of words from an elementary school vocabulary list, then crafted a story based upon two randomly selected words—cat and hat. Up until the mid-1950s, there was a degree of separation between illustrated educational books and illustrated picture books. That changed with The Cat in the Hat in 1957.
Chris Van Allsburg has created a story of fantasy, adventure and fun, with this book about two kids who get more than they bargained for with a board game that they find. Not only does it take them from boredom to excitement, but the trouble they encounter along the way will thrill you and be fun to share with your own children. Playing a game may never be the same again, once you find out what happens with this simple little board game. Magical, mystical and full of surprises, this is one story that will be a great addition to any day.
Many more picture book biographies appeal to upper elementary school age kids while still others appeal to both upper elementary and middle school age kids. Some recommended picture book biography titles include and A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, both of which were written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet and The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter.
We love Priddy books at our house. We've had 4 children and the books get so loved that we've had to replace several over the years - you can only expect a book to hold up to so much (like try explaining to a two-year old why books can't take tubbies). Books are sturdy, pictures are bold and bright and clear. My toddler even takes these to bed with him because he loves them so much.
Instead of purchasing at bookstores, you do not have to spend another dime with these free moral short stories specially prepared for kids. Our online short stories are brimming with lessons that your kid can use in life. These small English stories are not only entertaining, they teach children about several things in life. By reading a short story from this page every day, you can help your kid build values, as well as improve his reading comprehension skills.
Many more picture book biographies appeal to upper elementary school age kids while still others appeal to both upper elementary and middle school age kids. Some recommended picture book biography titles include and A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin, both of which were written by Jen Bryant and illustrated by Melissa Sweet and The Librarian of Basra: A True Story of Iraq, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter.
An alphabet story that is amusing and funny with a twist that is sure to bring laughs, this is one little story that you will never tire of reading with your little ones. As each little letter (lower case) invites another to the top of the coconut tree, and each next letter follows along, the tree ends up getting heavier and heavier, and finally results in the tree being bent. That is, until all the letters are shaken off as the tree snaps back to standing tall, and they are tossed in a heap underneath. Charming and delightful, this is one tale to share time and time again.

Fans of the famous bestseller It’s a Book will love this book from the same creator. It is a story that’s rich with family history, the legacy our ancestors hand down to us, and the power of love. Grandpa Green may be a gardener now, but it wasn’t always that way. He grew up on a farm, got the chickenpox as a kid, became a soldier, and eventually an artist. The story follows Grandpa Green and his great-grandson as they explore the garden Grandpa Green created. The boy learns important lessons about his great-grandfather, and discovers his rich and stunning family history.
This is the delightful tale of a young boy and his struggle with believing in Santa Claus. When he goes to bed on Christmas Eve, he is sure there is no such thing as Santa. Much to his surprise, a train pulls up in front of his house to take him to the North Pole. Along with other children, he experiences the reality of Santa and Christmas, and is brought to the obvious conclusion that he was wrong. Adventurous, heartwarming, and fun to read alone or to share, this is one of those childrens books that is sure to be treasured for many years.
The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Since 1965 the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth literature prize) includes a category for picture books. The IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration has been awarded since 1966. The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, first presented in 1967, includes a category for picture books. In 2006, the ALA started awarding the Geisel Award, named after Dr. Seuss, to the most distinguished beginning reader book. The award is presented to both the author and illustrator, in "literary and artistic achievements to engage children in reading."
Dr. Seuss has brought many winning books to the world of reading, and this is another to add to the list. Not only is it a simple story that is fun to read, as all Seuss books are, but it is also very helpful in teaching kids to read. The words are simple and the phrases have a lot of word play, such as rhyming. The wild illustrations are fitting with traditional Seuss style, and will keep you looking with wonder as you turn each page. Sharing this story with children of any age will be something to treasure as they grow up.
Mrs. Biddlebox – This is possibly my favorite picture book of all time, and I don’t say that lightly. Unfortunately, it’s out of print. The good news is you can get a used copy in good condition on Amazon. Mrs. Biddlebox wakes up in a bad mood, but instead of sitting around like a grouch, she tackles that bad mood and turns it around in time for sleep. We reach for this book anytime my little ones and I have butted heads during the day, and it’s the perfect tool to help us process the bad mojo and end the day on a positive note.

This bright, bold, biology book of sorts has entertained and educated kids and parents for decades. Maybe it’s the array of images of animals and people going about their business (pun intended) that delights. Or maybe it’s the unapologetic honesty of the text that readers find refreshing and fun. Whatever the case, this classic that brings new meaning to the term “potty humor” belongs in every young library!


Cassie Louise Lightfoot wishes to freely go wherever she wants in life, and one night, on the tar roof of her Harlem apartment building, her dream comes true. She flies over Manhattan and claims the buildings as her own, imagining a different future for her and her family. A story of courage and hope, Tar Beach melds African American history with young literature.


In 1931, Jean de Brunhoff's first Babar book, The Story Of Babar was published in France, followed by The Travels of Babar then Babar The King. In 1930, Marjorie Flack authored and illustrated Angus and the Ducks, followed in 1931 by Angus And The Cats, then in 1932, Angus Lost. Flack authored another book in 1933, The Story about Ping, illustrated by Kurt Wiese. The Elson Basic Reader was published in 1930 and introduced the public to Dick and Jane. In 1930 The Little Engine That Could was published, illustrated by Lois Lenski. In 1954 it was illustrated anew by George and Doris Hauman. It spawned an entire line of books and related paraphernalia and coined the refrain "I think I can! I think I can!". In 1936, Munro Leaf's The Story of Ferdinand was published, illustrated by Robert Lawson. Ferdinand was the first picture book to crossover into pop culture. Walt Disney produced an animated feature film along with corresponding merchandising materials. In 1938 to Dorothy Lathrop was awarded the first Caldecott Medal for her illustrations in Animals of the Bible, written by Helen Dean Fish. Thomas Handforth won the second Caldecott Medal in 1939, for Mei Li, which he also wrote. Ludwig Bemelmans' Madeline was published in 1939 and was selected as a Caldecott Medal runner-up, today known as a Caldecott Honor book.
Ferdinand has been one of the most beloved characters of many children over the last fifty years. He is different than other young bulls. They all love to run, jump, play, and be as rowdy as they can be, but Ferdinand likes the peace and quiet that he finds under his cork tree. Sitting in the shade while the others are out in the hot sun playing and laughing, Ferdinand is quite content. That is until he has a bad experience with a bee. Unfortunately for Ferdinand, the bee sting happens when the rodeo men have come to choose the best young bull to have in a bullfight. Ferdinand, with all of his jumping and snorting from that horrible bee sting, is just what they want. Joining him as he experiences the bullfighting arena and seeing how he handles it will be something to treasure with this fun story.
Fans of the famous bestseller It’s a Book will love this book from the same creator. It is a story that’s rich with family history, the legacy our ancestors hand down to us, and the power of love. Grandpa Green may be a gardener now, but it wasn’t always that way. He grew up on a farm, got the chickenpox as a kid, became a soldier, and eventually an artist. The story follows Grandpa Green and his great-grandson as they explore the garden Grandpa Green created. The boy learns important lessons about his great-grandfather, and discovers his rich and stunning family history.

This tale of Chinese folklore is one that will amuse you and may leave you humming or repeating the little rhyme that many children enjoy after reading it. Arlene Mosel and Blair Lent have done an amazing job at bringing a classic story of a little boy who falls into a well. The rescue takes longer than it should because his name is so long and must be completely said before he can be rescued. This story is sure to be loved by young and old alike and will be treasured by many as something to savor as they read and enjoy it together with loved ones.

Even the youngest children love to know that they can do the things that other kids can do. This story shows young children how two kids, named Paul and Judy, can do many things. It is an encouragement to young children to do the same things. Smelling flowers, interacting with the world around them, and seeing the delightful illustrations will have your youngsters moving and discovering in no time. Dorothy Kunhardt brings to life a story that will help open your children’s eyes to the beauty in the world around them. Sharing it will be something to treasure. Adults and children alike are sure to adopt this as a family favorite. Curling up in a chair together, exploring the things around you with your child, and watching as they learn and discover the world will be what you get out of this endearing tale. Interaction and imagination are packed into this one storybook
Small miracles—like weedy flowers that fight for life in an unforgiving urban environment—are everywhere, if you just look. That's just one of many ideas readers can glean from Lawson and Smith's wordless tale, something of a small miracle itself, which traces a father and daughter's travels through gray city streets that gain color through acts of kindness and reverence.
It’s everyone’s favorite precocious piglet—Olivia! The red-only-wearing, brother-scaring darling who hates naps and loves exhausting everyone makes an unforgettable name for herself in this howl that pays homage to Eloise. Full of expertly rendered charcoal drawings that deliver zinger after zinger, Olivia is perfect for energetic kids and their exhausted grown-ups.
For my needs I recently created - Best Popular Picture Books on Goodreads with pretty limited criteria - that is 5000 ratings and shelved at least 500 times as "picture book". Sure it won't be as long as this list - and if people ever start voting on it, I'll probably end up doing a lot of deletion. But it will always be a good starting place for picture books.
These fairly stupid tales are not like the fairy tales you may have known while growing up. They are, rather, a total mockery of them, similar to the other books by Jon Scienszka, written with sarcasm and humorous scandal. Taking the originals apart and interjecting characters who belong in other fairy tales into some old favorites, the humor and hilarity may amaze you. Kids love to read stories that offer the unexpected, and bring in sarcasm and surprises. This one will not disappoint, and may become a favorite to share whenever you want a laugh or a new look at the way things should be, and the way things could be.
Sharing a cookie may be fun, but when you share it with a mouse, be prepared to be put to work. In this charming tale of a boy and his mouse, Laura Joffe Numeroff and Felicia Bond have created a story that will give good attention to cause and effect, consequences to actions, and offer enough fun and entertainment to keep you coming back again and again. The illustrations will give you an even bigger picture about the hilarity behind the story, and make reading this tale even more fun. This one is sure to become a family favorite, and one that you will keep coming back to.
This story, winner of a Caldecott Medal, was written by David Wiesner. The word ‘flotsam’, simply means something that floats on water and may eventually be found on the beach. Anyone who reads this book may find himself becoming a treasure hunter of sorts. Wiesner brings things into perspective that will be educational and inspiring to adults and children alike. Becoming more aware of the hidden things on the beach will offer hours of fun and excitement. This is one of many childrens books he has written that will be something special to share whether at home or on a family vacation

Cows may seem quite boring to most people, especially when they are plain old ordinary cows. The way Doreen Cronin tells it with pictures by Betsy Lewin that prove it to be true, Farmer Brown’s cows are no ordinary cows, at least not after they find an old typewriter that someone left in the barn. When the cows begin to learn how to spell and write, they insist on being treated differently and end up going on strike when Farmer Brown refuses their demands. Funny, delightful and entertaining, this is a great book for the entire family to share.
The Kate Greenaway Medal was established in the United Kingdom in 1955 in honour of the children's illustrator, Kate Greenaway. The medal is given annually to an outstanding work of illustration in children's literature. It is awarded by Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals (CILIP). Since 1965 the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth literature prize) includes a category for picture books. The IBBY Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration has been awarded since 1966. The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award, first presented in 1967, includes a category for picture books. In 2006, the ALA started awarding the Geisel Award, named after Dr. Seuss, to the most distinguished beginning reader book. The award is presented to both the author and illustrator, in "literary and artistic achievements to engage children in reading."
Graeme Base brings storytelling to a whole new level with puzzles made out of illustrated animals and different layers used to create illustrations that will draw the eye to find all the hidden treasures. This is like no other children’s alphabet story, and it will amuse and entertain anyone from age 2 to 102. Colorful, exciting, and entertaining, the detail is a virtual eye feast. Each page of detailed puzzles is matched to a letter of the alphabet and will encourage the reader to take their time finding all that is hiding within the pictures. Fun to share and even more fun to enjoy alone, this is one story that will keep you coming back.
Fans of the famous bestseller It’s a Book will love this book from the same creator. It is a story that’s rich with family history, the legacy our ancestors hand down to us, and the power of love. Grandpa Green may be a gardener now, but it wasn’t always that way. He grew up on a farm, got the chickenpox as a kid, became a soldier, and eventually an artist. The story follows Grandpa Green and his great-grandson as they explore the garden Grandpa Green created. The boy learns important lessons about his great-grandfather, and discovers his rich and stunning family history.
This story, completely done in pictures by David Wiesner, is a delightful depiction of a little girl who finds a magic book and is shown the way to the place inside the book by maps, landmarks, and a boy who is in the book and shows her where she is. After school, she buys some helium filled balloons and floats away, but while she is on her way to the magical land of the book, she drops the book. As she goes higher and higher, she sees another child pick up the book. When the book is opened, the person who found it sees the girl with the balloons reach the desired area, and the cycle begins all over again. Imaginative and charming, this is one of those picture books that you will want to look at over and over again.
Nancy is a little girl who loves everything fancy, and the fancier the better. If it’s frilly, fluffy, shiny, sparkling, or glamorous, Nancy wants to wear it or own it. Not only is she fancy, she tries to make her entire family be fancy too. Boring and ordinary will never do for Nancy. Dressing up means wearing her tiara and her bright jewelry. Jane O’Connor weaves a tale of laughs, glamour, and adventure, with each Fancy Nancy story. Nothing is the same once you have been exposed to a fancier way of life with Nancy and all her fancy adventures.

I appreciate your interest in instilling morality, but it is built on a weak foundation. You could just have them read a children's Bible.... pretty much covers all these topics... plus gives some backing for "Why" should you care. Without some reference to a "high power", there is no reason to be selfless. If there is no higher power, or final judgement..... just do what you think is best for you!!! It is called "Moral Relativism"... and its growth aligns directly with growing divisions in our society. Moral Relativism is built on sand lacking foundation for persistence when theory meets real life situations..... or as we like to say.. "All hat, No Cowboy"
×