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New York Public Library Unveils its List of 100 Great Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years


The List – Compiled for the First Time by NYPL Librarians – Now Available Online and in Branches


SEPTEMBER 30, 2013 – The New York Public Library has unveiled its list of the top 100 children’s books of the last century.

The list – compiled for the first time by NYPL librarians and entitled 100 Great Children’s Books – is now available for free in all New York Public Library branches in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as online at 

To qualify for the list – which is alphabetical and features everything from picture books to young adult stories – books needed to be published in the last 100 years, be in print and readily available, and remain popular amongst young readers at neighborhood libraries. 

“While it would not be possible to name all of the many excellent books published for children over the course of the last 100 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,” said Jeanne Lamb, coordinator of youth collections at the Library, who along with her colleague, Supervising Librarian Elizabeth Bird, compiled the list. 

“The purpose of this list is to encourage discussion about what you think makes a good story,” she added. “As you peruse these titles, what books would you have included? What qualities do you look for when seeking a good read?  And, most importantly, we hope these suggestions will introduce new generations of readers to stories which will engage their imaginations as they participate in that age-old practice of passing on stories they enjoy to their friends and families. “

The list includes classics, such as The Cat In the Hat by Dr. Seuss, Curious George by H.A. Rey, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown, Stone Soup by Marcia Brown, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkein, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume, and others, as well as modern stories such as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by JK Rowling, and The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. 

The Library is encouraging discussion of the list on social media – readers can comment on the list and name their personal favorite books on the Library’s Twitter and Facebook feeds using the hashtag #greatchildrensbooks.

“This list should just be the start of the discussion,” said Lamb, who said creating the list was “extremely difficult.” 

The Library’s 100 Great Children’s Books was released concurrent with its acclaimed free exhibition The ABC Of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, which opened in June 2013 at the Library’s landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building and explores the history and importance of children’s literature. The exhibition, curated by renowned children’s lit expert Leonard Marcus, can be viewed until March 23, 2014. 

The list was officially unveiled today at a panel discussion and reading at the Library’s Stephen A. Schwarzman Building that featured Marcus, as well as both Blume and Carle, two legends of children’s literature who both made the list.

Support for The New York Public Library’s Exhibitions Program has been provided by Celeste Bartos, Sue and Edgar Wachenheim III, Mahnaz Ispahani Bartos and Adam Bartos Exhibitions Fund, and Jonathan Altman. Additional support for The ABC of It has been provided by the Bertha and Isaac Liberman Foundation, Inc., in memory of Ruth and Seymour Klein.


Contact: Angela Montefinise | 212.592.7506 |


About The New York Public Library

The New York Public Library is a free provider of education and information for the people of New York and beyond. With 91 locations—including research and branch libraries—throughout the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, the Library offers free materials, computer access, classes, exhibitions, programming and more to everyone from toddlers to scholars, and has seen record numbers of attendance and circulation in recent years. The New York Public Library serves more than 18 million patrons who come through its doors annually and millions more around the globe who use its resources at To offer this wide array of free programming, The New York Public Library relies on both public and private funding. Learn more about how to support the Library at