Is Your Favorite Children’s Book on the List from NYPL?
The New York Public Library has recently unveiled a list of 100 Great Children’s Book from the Last 100 Years. The list was compiled by Jeanne Lamb, coordinator of youth collections at the Library and Supervising Librarian Elizabeth Bird.
“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 Lamb. “The purpose of this list is to encourage discussion about what you think makes a good story.”
The oldest title on the list is Wanda Gag’s Millions of Cats published in 1928. The most recent titles on the list are Big Red Lollipop (2010) by Rukhsanakhan and One Crazy Summer (2010) by Rita Williams-Garcia. Four of the books use New York City as a backdrop; From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler (1967) by E.L. Konigsburg, All-of-akind Family (1951) by Sydney Taylor, Harriet the Spy (1964) by Louise Fitzhugh and When You Reach Me (2009) by Rebecca Stead.
Here is the list:
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
by Judith Viorst, illustrated by Ray Cruz (1972) It was enough to make you want to go to Australia.
by Sydney Taylor, illustrated by Helen John (1951) Cozy vignettes of a turn-of-the-century Lower East Side family.
by Peggy Parish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel (1963) The queen of idioms makes her grand appearance on the page!
by Shaun Tan (2007) Feel what it’s like to travel to a strange new land.
by Jules Feiffer (1999) He meows, quacks, oinks, and moos, but why can’t George the dog bark?
Because of Winn-Dixie
by Kate DiCamillo (2000) India Opa Buloni describes her first summer in a small Florida town and how an ugly stray dog who adopts her at the supermarket effects people’s lives and changes hers.
by Rachel Isadora (1979) The syncopated rhythms of Harlem during the Jazz Age reverberate in handsome black and white art deco style.
Big Red Lollipop
by Rukhsana Khan, illustrated by Sophie Blackall (2010) Little sisters can be such a pain. First, Rubina is forced to bring her sister Sana along to a friend’s party, but soon it is Sana’s turn to be the big sister when she gets an invitation of her own.
The Birchbark House
by Louise Erdrich (1999) A warm family story, rich with fascinating details of traditional Ojibwa life, in which 7-year-old Omakayas and her family grow food, hunt, and face a time of transition.
The Book of Three
by Lloyd Alexander (1964) The heroic adventures of Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper in the mythical kingdom of Prydain.
by Mary Norton, illustrated by Beth Krush and Joe Krush (1953) A small world is perfectly created in this fantasy about the miniature people who live beneath the floors of quiet old houses.
The Bossy Gallito/El Gallo De Bodas: A Traditional Cuban Folktale
by Lucía M. González, illustrated by Lulu Delacre (1994) “Little Havana” in Miami is the setting for this charming, bilingual picture book in which a little rooster tries to get to his uncle’s wedding.
Bread and Jam for Frances
by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban (1964) While the same old same old can be so inviting, trying something new can sometimes be even better!
Bridge to Terabithia
by Katherine Paterson (1977) Two outsiders create their own fantasy world and in doing so forge a friendship that survives even grief.
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?
by Bill Martin, Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle (1967) A gentle rhyming delight in a storytime classic.
Caps for Sale
by Esphyr Slobodkina (1938) Naughty monkeys prove a challenge for an innocent cap seller.
The Cat in the Hat
by Dr. Seuss (1957) An unexpected guest turns a rainy day into a heart-pounding adventure.
by Laurie Halse Anderson (2008) Sold into slavery to a Tory family in New York City, Isabel schemes to free herself and her little sister while spying for the rebels.
A Chair For My Mother
by Vera B. Williams (1982) Glowing colors add cheer to this story of the wonderful day when there is finally enough money to buy Mama a new chair.
by E.B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams (1952) A story of true friendship between Wilbur the pig and Charlotte A. Cavatica, his spider savior.
by Gary Soto, illustrated by Susan Guevara (1995) Chato has the munchies for some mousies, though the clever mousies have other plans.
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
by Bill Martin, Jr., and John Archambault; illustrated by Lois Ehlert (1989) The letters of the alphabet climb a coconut tree with riotous results. A rollicking introduction to the ABC’s.
by Don Freeman (1976) A little stuffed bear searches in vain for the button that will help to get him adopted.
by H.A. Rey (1941) One cheeky monkey plus one man in a yellow hat equals a whole lot of trouble.
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths
by Ingri D’Aulaire and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire (1962)
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
by Mo Willems (2003) He’ll try to talk you into it, but whatever you do don’t give in to this snarky city fowl’s demands.
by Pam Muñoz Ryan (2000) Esperanza and her mother flee their privileged lives in Mexico and find refuge in the migrant camps of Southern California during the Great Depression.
by Donald Crews (1978) A train ride to remember with bold colors galore!
Frog and Toad Are Friends
by Arnold Lobel (1970) Toad’s a worrier and Frog’s laid back, but no matter what their differences, these two friends are there for one another.
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E.L. Konigsburg (1967) Claudia chooses the Metropolitan Museum in New York City as the elegant hiding place for herself and her little brother when they run away from home.
George and Martha
by James Marshall (1972) A pair of hippopotami navigate the highs and lows of a perfect friendship.
by Lois Lowry (1993) At the Ceremony of the Twelves, Jonas begins to learn the horrifying truth about the perfect society he has grown up in.
Go, Dog. Go!
by P.D. Eastman (1961) A strange little Zen easy reader with a madcap energy entirely of its own.
by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947) A beloved bedtime classic, both lovely and soothing.
by Allen Say (1993) A young man struggles with both loving his new land and feeling homesick for the Japan he left behind.
The Graveyard Book
by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean (2008) Brought up by the Dead, Bod is hunted by an assassin, befriends a murdered witch, and prepares himself for life beyond the burying ground.
Green Eggs and Ham
by Dr. Seuss (1960) Methinks Sam’s friend doth protest too much.
Harold and the Purple Crayon
by Crockett Johnson (1955) With crayon firmly in hand Harold creates whole worlds for himself and his readers.
Harriet the Spy
by Louise Fitzhugh (1964) Shocking in its honesty, Harriet spies on friends and strangers alike until her secret observations get her in trouble.
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
by J.K. Rowling (1998) A down-trodden orphan is summoned to an elite academy of wizards to fulfill his destiny.
by Gary Paulsen (1989) When his plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness, Brian and his single hatchet must survive the wild elements alone.
by J.R.R. Tolkien (1937) A rich imaginative tale of dragons, dwarves and the ageless search for gold. Rooted in authentic Saxon lore, but written and illustrated with humor and charm.
by Louis Sachar (1998) Why does Stanley’s juvenile detention center in the Texas desert require each boy to dig a 5-foot hole every day? An inventive narrative puzzle filled with twists and turns.
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
by Brian Selznick (2007) In this epic tale set in a Paris train station, a young boy finds unexpected allies as he reconstructs his father’s mysterious machine.
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat
by Simms Taback (1999) From coat to button, not a single stitch is wasted.
by Chris Van Allsburg (1981) One afternoon Judy and Peter play a jungle game and find it becoming all too real.
Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book
by Yuyi Morales (2003) Grandma Beetle’s so smart she could outwit death itself, and that’s just what she has to do when Senor Calavera comes to call.
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse
by Kevin Henkes (1996) The beloved mouse adores her teacher until the terrible day when he confiscates her wonderful new fashion accessories.
The Lion and the Mouse
by Jerry Pinkney (2009) The Serengeti has never looked more majestic than in this nearly wordless fable illustrated with exquisite watercolors.
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe
by C.S. Lewis (1950) The old theme of good against evil is restated in a tale that creates its own world of magic.
The Little House
by Virginia Lee Burton (1942) A heartwarming story of surviving change and finding just the right place for you.
The Little Prince
by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943) An allegorical tale of a stranded pilot and a boy from beyond the stars. “One sees clearly only with the heart.”
by Jacqueline Woodson (2003) When his teacher introduces him to poetry, 11-year-old Lonnie Collins Motion finds a new way to talk about his friends, his family, and even his crabby foster mother. A verse novel for the ages.
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China
by Ed Young (1989) Three sisters match wits with a wily wolf.
by Ludwig Bemelmans (1939) Sometimes when you’re the smallest you also have to be the bravest.
Make Way for Ducklings
by Robert McCloskey (1941) Mother duck has to keep her babies, Jack, Kack, Lack, Mack, Nack, Ouack, Pack, and Quack in line. And it’s certainly nice to have a friend in your corner when trying to cross a busy Boston street.
by Roald Dahl, illustrated by Quentin Blake (1988) She may have the worst parents in the world and a truly terrifying headmistress, but thanks to her loving teacher Miss Honey, Matilda finds ways to outsmart all the villains in her life.
Meet Danitra Brown
by Nikki Grimes, illustrated by Floyd Cooper (1994) “…the most splendiferous girl in town.” Two friends bring out the best in each other in thirteen high-spirited rhymes.
Millions of Cats
by Wanda Gág (1928) When an old man sets off to find a cute little kitty, he ends up with millions of cats, billions of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.
Miss Nelson is Missing!
by Harry Allard, illustrated by James Marshall (1977) The truly terrible children of Room 207 are about to meet their match in the odious Miss Viola Swamp!
Mr. Popper's Penguins
by Richard and Florence Atwater; illustrated by Robert Lawson (1938) Take one ordinary house painter, add in some kooky penguins, and watch as the results get a little crazy!
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
by Robert C. O’Brien (1971) A group of tech savvy rats come to the rescue of a widowed mouse and her children.
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale
by John Steptoe (1987) A kind sister and a selfish sister vie for the love of a king in a story inspired by a folktale from Zimbabwe.
My Father’s Dragon
by Ruth Stiles Gannett, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (1948) Elmer Elevator tries to rescue a baby dragon in distress from an island full of dangerous animals. A great read-aloud filled with adventure.
My Name is Yoon
by Helen Recorvits, illustrated by Gabi Swiatkowska (2003) Desperately embarrassed by her name a little girl from Korea comes to understand that even in English her name is still “shining wisdom”.
by Ian Falconer (2000) An amusing portrait of a precocious little pig with artistic sensibilities and a flair for fashion.
One Crazy Summer
by Rita Williams-Garcia (2010) Three sisters are shipped off to California to stay with their estranged and distant mother at the height of the Black Panther movement.
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales
by Virginia Hamilton, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon (1985) In this mystical tale, slaves brought to America find the power to fly away to freedom in a timeless tale of hope.
The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer (1961) Complaining of boredom, Milo travels through a tollbooth to a ridiculous land where Rhyme and Reason are lost.
Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue
by Maurice Sendak (1962) When a hungry lion asks you if you’d like to be his lunch, it’s probably unwise to answer “I don’t care”.
Pink and Say
by Patricia Polacco (1994) After a former slave saves the life of a white soldier on a Civil War battlefield they forge an all-too-brief friendship.
by Astrid Lindgren (1950) Outlandish fun is sure to follow the girl who lives on her own with a monkey, a horse, and a fortune in gold coins.
Ramona the Pest
by Beverly Cleary (1968) The year Ramona Quimby becomes a kindergarten dropout.
by Mitali Perkins, illustrated by Jamie Hogan (2007) Naima, a Bangladeshi child, uses her artistic talents to save her family’s livelihood. A tale of using your wits to escape hard times.
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
by Mildred D. Taylor (1976) Segregation and bigotry are no match for Cassie Logan and her large loving family in Depression-era Mississippi.
by Paul O. Zelinsky (1986) Can you guess his name? Stunning paintings in the late medieval style take a classic fairy tale to new heights.
A Sick Day for Amos McGee
by Philip Stead, illustrated by Erin E. Stead (2010) Zoo animals fret when their beloved keeper catches a cold and doesn’t show up for work one day.
The Snowy Day
by Ezra Jack Keats (1962) A little boy explores the first city snow of the year from snow angels to a snowball tucked away safely into his pocket.
Starry River of the Sky
by Grace Lin (2012) Rendi, a sullen young runaway stranded in a remote Chinese village, discovers secrets, stories, and the location of the missing moon.
The Stories Julian Tells
by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Ann Strugnell (1981) Five humorous stories about mischievous Julian, his little brother Huey, and his warm and caring family.
The Story of Ferdinand
by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson (1936) Bulls are supposed to snort and kick and fight but Ferdinand has other ideas.
by Tomie dePaola (1975) Big Anthony gets into big trouble with a magic pasta pot.
by Leo Lionni (1963) A brave little fish learns to survive his ocean home by using his brains instead of his size.
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
by William Steig (1969) Sometimes wishes come true . . . even the bad ones.
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing
by Judy Blume (1972) Peter must survive the antics of his little brother Fudge in this hilarious tale set in New York City.
The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit
by Julius Lester, illustrated by Jerry Pinkney (1987) The beloved trickster tales from black tradition skillfully retold in vivid contemporary language.
by Faith Ringgold (1991) Cassie has a wondrous dream of swooping through the city from a Harlem rooftop on a starry night.
Ten, Nine, Eight
by Molly Bang (1983) A father gently counts his daughter to sleep. Tender.
Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose
by Tomie dePaola (1985) Classic nursery rhymes, both familiar and unknown, are deftly mixed together by this picture book master.
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs
by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (1989) All he was doing was trying to borrow some sugar. Alexander T. Wolf tells his side of the story.
by David Wiesner (1991) While the town sleeps, an eerie flotilla of frogs flies through on lily pads.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar
by Eric Carle (1969) It’s a counting book, a days of the week story, a tale of colors, a die-cut wonder, and a memorable read-aloud rolled up in one!
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis (1995) A road trip to grandma’s for ten-year-old Kenny and his “weird” family is filled with humor until it is marked by the tragedy of a church bombing.
The Westing Game
by Ellen Raskin (1978) Multimillionaire Samuel Westing reaches from the grave to make his heirs compete in a game of his own devising.
When You Reach Me
by Rebecca Stead (2009) Miranda grows increasingly alarmed as she finds mysterious notes tucked into her personal belongings that foretell a coming death. Not all is as it appears to be in this intriguing New York City tale.
Where Is the Green Sheep?
by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek (2004) Woolly kooks go amuck in this seemingly simple story.
Where the Wild Things Are
by Maurice Sendak (1963) Sometimes when you’re having a bad day you need to go to a place where you can be a monster.
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears
by Verna Aardema, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon (1975) The trouble began when mosquito told lies so big that iguana put sticks in his ears to block out the sound. A stunning West African folktale.
by A.A. Milne, illustrated by Ernest H. Shepard (1926) There is nothing like having a group of friends who are always there for you. Lovable quirks and all.
A Wrinkle in Time
by Madeleine L’Engle (1962) Three children cross time and space to rescue Meg’s father from the evil, pulsating It.
© The New York Public Library, Astor, Lenox and Tilden Foundations, 2013.