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Children's Literature @ NYPL

From the Shelves at NYPL: 100 Great Children’s Books


New York Public Library’s librarians have compiled a list of children’s books, 100 Great Children's Books—100 Years to celebrate the Library’s exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children's Books Matter, and to open a conversation with children about what books would make it on to their favorites list.
While it would not be possible to name all of the many excellent books published for children over the course of the last one hundred years, we thought it would be interesting to check the shelves at the New York Public Library and report on titles which have withstood the test of time and are still making that journey from library shelf to home and back again. We could not decide on any one “best” book published in the last 100 years, as the interaction between story and reader is such a personal one. However, while compiling these titles, we found echoes of all the great stories, myths, epics and storytellers that have preceded our start date of 1913.  Stories from Aesop; Homer;  Mahabharata; Gilgamesh; Shakespeare; the Grimm brothers; Andersen; Twain; Dickens; Pyle, Potter, Baum, Courlander and more.
The titles chosen for this list had to have been published in the last 100 years and had to meet two other criteria: titles had to be in print (which excluded some wonderful titles that are momentarily out of print), and books had to be favorites of the Library’s young patrons. The richness of the stories being published for children during the past hundred years is astonishing, as the medium reflects the technological, social and political changes wrought throughout the last century. In 1913 children were anxiously awaiting L. Frank Baum’s next Oz book, The Patchwork Girl of Oz, N.C. Wyeth’s newly illustrated rendition of the classic Kidnapped was widely acclaimed, Bud Fisher’s The Mutt and Jeff Cartoons went in to a second printing during its first month of publication, and series such as The Motor Girls and The Racer Boys were all the rage.
2013 promises to be another year of exceptional storytelling and bookmaking for children. The thirst for tales of family, friendship, bravery and finding one’s place in the world has not changed. Given the limitation of 100, these selections provide a snapshot, rather than an exhaustive overview, with highlights from the 20th c , along with titles published after 1990 – titles which may find their place on the library’s shelves for generations to come. The list is organized alphabetically by title.
What qualities do you look for when seeking a good read? What would be on your list of great books? Share your favorite titles using the hashtag  #GreatChildrensBooks on


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100 books

Great list overall, but The Stinky Cheese Man got snubbed!

Thanks for mentioning. Jon

Thanks for mentioning. Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith certainly broke new ground with The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. Children, and plenty of adults, keep returning to this collection of “almost Fairy Tales” again and again. There are plenty of other great collaborations between these two remarkable talents . . . the Time Warp Trio series is still going strong, & let’s not forget Math Curse and Science Verse.

Top 100 Children's Books

Absolutely love your list... I have started ordering them in groups of ten from Toronto PL. Thank you so much. I am shocked that I have not read so many of them. I was quite surprised that there was no Robert Munsch included?? Thanks, Steve

Have no fear, there is lots

Have no fear, there is lots of love for Robert Munsch here. The Paper Bag Princess and 50 Below Zero are favorites for storytelling. . . and we have a shout-out for Stephanie's Ponytail. Thanks for checking in & keep sharing those books you love!

Top 100 Children's Books

Love this list~ most are familiar old friends, but how could Laura Ingalls Wilder's books be omitted? They took me into the life of pioneer history!

100 Children's Books

Golden Books seem to have gotten short shrift on this list, and I wonder if it is because they are not as well represented in library collections as books from "higher-class" publishers. There is no "Tootle," "Poky Little Puppy," or Richard Scarry. I agree with the Wilder comment, and I was also surprised not to see "Eloise" or Shel Silverstein. I own a used book store, and everything I have mentioned is frequently asked for.

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