Thursday, June 16

Top 100 Lists: Top 100 Children's Books

This list is the result of a survey of teachers on the NEA website. I've copied the list here and put any of the books I've read in bold. Whenever I felt like making a comment, I did. You'll find my own comments in brackets.

(If it's a chapter book and I've read it, chances are it can be found in one of the piles of children's books I'm sorting through on a table in the basement. I sorted through the picture books several years ago, so most of those are gone.)

  1. Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (9-12 years) [Good choice for number one.]
  2. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (4-8 years)
  3. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
  4. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
  5. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak (4-8 years)
  6. Love You Forever by Robert N. Munsch (4-8 years)
  7. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein (All ages)
  8. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Baby-Preschool)
  9. Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls (Young Adult)
  10. The Mitten by Jan Brett (4-8 years)
  11. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (Baby-Preschool)
  12. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen (9-12 years) [I should like his books more than I do, since he hails from my old stomping grounds at least part of the time.]
  13. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C. S. Lewis (9-12 years)
  14. Where the Sidewalk Ends: the Poems and Drawing of Shel Silverstein by Shel Silverstein (All ages)
  15. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (9-12 years)
  16. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon (4-8 years)
  17. Oh, The Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
  18. Strega Nona by Tomie De Paola (4-8 years)
  19. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst (4-8 years)
  20. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see? by Bill Martin, Jr. (Baby-Preschool)
  21. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl (9-12 years) [I tried to read this one. Roald Dahl and I don't mix.]
  22. The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams (4-8 years)
  23. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle (9-12 years)
  24. Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor (9-12 years) [Phyllis Reynolds Naylor and I don't mix, either.]
  25. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
  26. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka (4-8 years) [Jon Scieszka and I mix. I share his sense of humour.]
  27. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archambault (4-8 years)
  28. Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder (9-12 years)
  29. The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett (9-12 years) [I'd like her books a lot better if she ended them about 40 pages sooner.]
  30. The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh by A. A. Milne (4-8 years)
  31. The Boxcar Children by Gertrude Chandler Warner (9-12 years) [Should have read these. Didn't.]
  32. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it. Watched the Hallmark movie instead.]
  33. Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks (9-12 years)
  34. Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell (9-12 years)
  35. Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli (9-12 years)
  36. The BFG by Roald Dahl (9-12 years)
  37. The Giver by Lois Lowry (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it]
  38. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Joffe Numeroff (4-8 years)
  39. James and the Giant Peach: A Children's Story by Roald Dahl (9-12 years)
  40. Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder (9-12 years)
  41. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it.]
  42. The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien (Young Adult) [Have it, haven't read it. You can shoot me now!]
  43. The Lorax by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
  44. Stone Fox by John Reynolds Gardiner (9-12 years)
  45. Number the Stars by Lois Lowry (9-12 years)
  46. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert C. O'Brien (9-12 years)
  47. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott (All ages)
  48. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (Baby-Preschool)
  49. Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman (4-8 years)
  50. The Best Christmas Pageant Ever by Barbara Robinson (9-12 years)
  51. Corduroy by Don Freeman (Baby-Preschool)
  52. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg (4-8 years)
  53. Math Curse by Jon Scieszka (4-8 years) [Didn't know this one existed. Now I'll have to find it.]
  54. Matilda by Roald Dahl (9-12 years)
  55. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls (Young Adult)
  56. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume (9-12 years) [Probably have it; haven't read it.]
  57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary (9-12 years)
  58. The Trumpet of the Swan by E. B. White (9-12 years)
  59. Are You My Mother? by Philip D. Eastman (4-8 years)
  60. The Chronicles of Narnia by C. S. Lewis (9-12 years)
  61. Make Way for Ducklings by Robert McCloskey (4-8 years)
  62. One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
  63. The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (9-12 years)
  64. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats (Baby-Preschool)
  65. The Napping House by Audrey Wood (4-8 years)
  66. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (4-8 years)
  67. The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter (4-8 years) [...his sobs were overheard by some friendly sparrows, who flew to him in great excitement, and implored him to exert himself.]
  68. Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it.]
  69. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum (All ages)
  70. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery (9-12 years)
  71. Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
  72. Basil of Baker Street by Eve Titus (4-8 years)
  73. The Little Engine That Could by Watty Piper (4-8 years) [First book I ever read. Read it to my kindergarten class when I was in kindergarten.]
  74. The Cay by Theodore Taylor (Young Adult) [Have this one, too, but haven't read it.]
  75. Curious George by Hans Augusto Rey (4-8 years)
  76. Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox (4-8 years)
  77. Arthur series by Marc Tolon Brown (4-8 years) [Some of them, anyway....]
  78. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson (9-12 years) [A truly Christian book, with a fairly clear presentation of the gospel, but don't tell anyone, or they'll take it out of the public school libraries.]
  79. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes (4-8 years)
  80. Little House books by Laura Ingalls Wilder (9-12 years)
  81. The Little House by Virginia Lee Burton (4-8 years)
  82. The Runaway Bunny by Margaret Wise Brown (Baby-Preschool)
  83. Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar (9-12 years)
  84. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish (4-8 years)
  85. Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh (9-12 years)
  86. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein (9-12 years)
  87. Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater (9-12 years) [Have it; haven't read it.]
  88. My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett (9-12 years)
  89. Stuart Little by E. B. White (9-12 years)
  90. Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech (9-12 years)
  91. The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare (9-12 years)
  92. The Art Lesson by Tomie De Paola (4-8 years)
  93. Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina (4-8 years) [Love this one!]
  94. Clifford, the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell (4-8 years)
  95. Heidi by Johanna Spyri (All ages)
  96. Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (4-8 years)
  97. The Sign of the Beaver by Elizabeth George Speare (Young Adult) [Have this one; haven't read it.]
  98. The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis (9-12 years)
  99. Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney (Baby-Preschool)
  100. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert N. Munsch (4-8 years)

I counted 61 out of 100. Not bad. How about you?

Any books that should have been there that aren't? I'm thinking Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel.

Any books that shouldn't be there that are? I'm vetoing all the Roald Dahl ones, so that should make room for any additions you've got.

[Update: Adding to the list.

  • From me, along with Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton, I'm wondering where Millions of Cats by Wanda Gag is? And the Frances books by Russell Hoban? I have to have Caddie Woodlawn by Carol Ryrie Brink on there, too.

  • srp wants all the Margaret Wise Brown books on the list. I can remember that there are more, but I'm coming up blank on names. Feel free to help me out.

    Also from srp: The Very Quiet Cricket and The Very Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle; If You Gave a Moose a Muffin, the companion book to If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Joffe Numeroff; Blue Hat, Green Hat by Sandra Boynton; Misty of Chincoteague by Marguerite Henry; and the Walter Farley horse stories.

  • Violet adds My Friend Flicka and Thunderhead by Mary O'Hara.

  • Judy adds The Bears' Autumn by Keizaburo Tejima:
    If I had to use only one book to teach the entire Kindergarten curriculum it would be this one. An exotic location, a mother's tough love teaching technique, the joy of accomplishment, humour and the ability to dream all conveyed with a few words. The Japanese woodcuts are icing on this treasure.

  • Chrisk wants to ADD books by Raold Dahl to the list. Hmmm.....okay, but only because I already have a few guns pointed at me. So here they are: Danny the Champion of the Worldand Fantastic Mr. Fox.

    He also adds Jacob Two-Two Meets the Hooded Fang by Mordecai Richler. If you're not Canadian, you might not be familiar with this book, but if you're interested, you can buy it at the link above in a great buy package with (ahem!) Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

    Chris adds the Great Brain books by John Fitzgerald, too.

  • Sal wants to add the Trixie Belden Mystery Series.

  • Brandon adds adds The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I've heard of this one, but I haven't read it. He also adds several more in a post on his own blog, including one that was one of my favorites when I was 10 or so: Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson.

  • Linda adds Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame, The Saturdays and other books by Elizabeth Enright, Paddington Bear by Michael Bond; Blueberries for Sal and Homer Price by Robert McCloskey (I was wondering where Blueberries for Sal was! Robert McCloskey would get my vote for best illustrator of children's books.), The Story About Ping by Marjorie Flack, Barnyard Dance by Sandra Boynton, Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson, Katy No-Pocket by Emmy Payne, and The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden.


  • DLE wants to add Piggies by Audrey Wood with illustrations by Don Wood, The Five Chinese Brothers by Marjorie Flack, Mark Twain's books, and Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane. I hadn't noticed that Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn were missing, but I agree they ought to be there.

  • This is the spot for your additions. I'll keep adding to the list as long as you keep adding in the comments.]

    Interested in the kids' version of this list? Find it here.

    Like top 100 lists? Then stick around for the rest of the month of June because I'll be posting several more of them.
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