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. 
This is the tale of Max and Arthur, who are wonderful friends who share a common hobby: painting. Arthur is quite the accomplished artist, while Max is just starting out. When Max’s initial attempt at painting is less than he desires, the two friends embark on a journey through the numerous artistic media options – which leads to hilarious and unexpected challenges. Max may be inexperienced, but he’s a fast learner and is willing to try new things. The energy and enthusiasm he shows adds adventure and leads to a wonderful, triumphant end. This is a book that shows kids that practice really can make perfect.
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.

Jon J. Muth tells the tale of three children who meet their new neighbor, a Panda bear named Stillwater. As they listen to the stories told by Stillwater, the kids learn to look at the world in new ways. This introduction to Zen is good to use as a group story to read aloud, or as a bedtime story between you and your child. Throughout this children’s book, an introduction to Buddhism is carefully integrated. Simple illustrations make it easy to follow. Written for ages five and up, it is entertaining and a tale that many parents may enjoy sharing with their children.
Writer Robert McCloskey knows that one of the highlights of summer is picking berries, and this tale makes that a reality for children of all ages. When little Sal and her mother go out to pick blueberries to can for winter, they run into a little problem. Sal loves picking the berries, but she loves eating them even more. That is not the problem though. As Sal and her mother pick their berries, there is also a mama bear and her cub picking berries. Sal isn’t paying as much attention to her mother as she is to eating the berries, and eventually ends up following the bear rather than her mother. The problems they face and the adventures they share with the bears will be entertaining and fun to share.
Victoria Kann and Elizabeth Kann tell the tale of a little girl who loves pink. She loves it so much, in fact, that she only wants to eat pink, yummy treats. The pinker, the better and the gooier, the yummier. When she begins to turn pink, her parents take her to the doctor who insists that she begin to eat more green in the form of vegetables- yuck! After her parents insisting that she eat more vegetables so she can return to normal, she sneaks just one last pink treat and turns even darker- almost red! That’s when she decides that vegetables aren’t so bad after all and finally returns to normal. The only problem is her little brother has now decided that he loves pink food! Oh no! Here we go again!

Rufus Butler Seder has created a masterpiece with this new form of animation called scanimation. The pictures actually look like they are moving. With this story, you will see a horse running, a rooster strutting, a turtle swimming, and birds flying. Seeing the animals move with very natural action as you flip each page gives you a sense of awe as you try to figure out the science behind the magical movements. This is one story that will amaze adults as much as children. Enjoying it together as you try to figure it out may become the highlight of your day.


Janell Cannon tells the story of a little fruit bat named Stellaluna. This little one gets separated from her mother and is found and taken care of by a mama bird. The mama bird insists that Stellaluna do everything the way ordinary birds do, which is totally different than the way bats do things. When Stellaluna can finally fly, and actually ends up finding her mother, she is told that what she feels is the right way to do things are her natural instincts, and that she should follow them. She is very relieved to be able to do all the things bats naturally do once again. Sharing this story will teach you and your children about how bats look, live, and are different from birds.

In 1938, the American Library Association (ALA) began presenting annually the Caldecott Medal to the most distinguished children's book illustration published in the year. The Caldecott Medal was established as a sister award to the ALA's Newbery Medal, which was awarded to a children's books "for the most distinguished American children's book published the previous year" and presented annually beginning in 1922. During the mid-forties to early fifties, honorees included Marcia Brown, Barbara Cooney, Roger Duvoisin, Berta and Elmer Hader, Robert Lawson, Robert McCloskey, Dr. Seuss, Maurice Sendak, Ingri and Edgar Parin d'Aulaire, Leo Politi, Tasha Tudor, and Leonard Weisgard.

This is one of the classic board books for babies through preschool age. Christopher Santoro has created a flap book that will help your children learn about farm animals and help them with motor skill development as they learn how to open and close the flaps. Hiding behind each flap will have a different animal hiding behind it for your child to find. Making a peek-a-boo game with this book will offer you and your child an interactive way to enjoy it together. Since this is a board book, it’s easy for little hands to hold and handle, and durable enough for the rough way the younger child will handle it.
Every child loves to hear stories of another child, even if that other child happens to be a little pig named Olivia. Precocious and energetic, Olivia has a way of wearing her mother out. Each night as her mother puts Olivia to bed, she tells her that she loves her- even though she wears her out. With a message of parental love and devotion, as well as a child who is being their naturally curious and active self, this story will touch your heart, and may become one of your family’s favorite children’s books ever. Ian Falconer has brought together reality and fantasy in a way that will touch your heart and give you a laugh.
Publisher’s Synopsis: Featuring beautiful images and a lyrical text with an exquisitely readable cadence, this book gives life and meaning to all the requisite elements of a treehouse, from time, timber, and rafters to ropes of twisted twine that invite visitors to sprawl out on a limb and slide back down again. For anyone who’s ever wanted to escape real life and live in a nostalgic dream come true, this poignant picture book captures the universal timelessness of treehouses and celebrates all the creativity and adventure they spark.
Oh, Harry! He hates baths so much that he’s willing to run away from his beloved family for a romp through construction sites and coal chutes until he’s no longer a white dog with black spots, but a black dog with white spots. When Harry finds himself unrecognizable to his loved ones, he learns that being clean might not be so bad after all. A book that will make anyone sit up and beg for another reading.
This is one story that will offer encouragement to anyone. Grace is a little girl who loves stories, and she loves to pretend. When the opportunity comes for her or one of her classmates to play Peter Pan in a play at school, Grace really wants to be Peter Pan. Her friends discourage her. After all, Peter is a boy, and Grace is a girl. With the encouragement and support of her mother and grandmother, Grace decides that she can do whatever she sets her mind to do. The surprises that await are many, and the illustrations will offer even more to the reader.
This is the tale of Max and Arthur, who are wonderful friends who share a common hobby: painting. Arthur is quite the accomplished artist, while Max is just starting out. When Max’s initial attempt at painting is less than he desires, the two friends embark on a journey through the numerous artistic media options – which leads to hilarious and unexpected challenges. Max may be inexperienced, but he’s a fast learner and is willing to try new things. The energy and enthusiasm he shows adds adventure and leads to a wonderful, triumphant end. This is a book that shows kids that practice really can make perfect.
Jon J. Muth tells the tale of three children who meet their new neighbor, a Panda bear named Stillwater. As they listen to the stories told by Stillwater, the kids learn to look at the world in new ways. This introduction to Zen is good to use as a group story to read aloud, or as a bedtime story between you and your child. Throughout this children’s book, an introduction to Buddhism is carefully integrated. Simple illustrations make it easy to follow. Written for ages five and up, it is entertaining and a tale that many parents may enjoy sharing with their children.
Publisher’s Synopsis: On the last day of a family vacation, a little girl is as blue as the sea, and her shoes are filled with sand. What should she do with all of this sand? Together, she and her brother decide to plant the grains of sand, and imagine what will grow. A field of beach umbrellas, to wave hello to the sun? Or a forest of windmills, to fill the sails of a boat? Before drifting off to sleep, the girl has her dad promise they’ll go back for new grains of sand next year.

Every year on the night before my sons’ birthdays, I read them the same picture book. My older son’s is “Someday” by Alison McGhee and my younger son’s is “Love” by Matt de la Pena. I read “Dear Girl” by Amy Krouse Rosenthal earlier this year and plan to have that as the birthday eve book for my niece, who will be three in July. It’s such an amazing book.
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.
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! 🙂
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! 🙂
What do you get when you put together a peddler, some monkeys, and the story telling gift of Esphyr Slobodkina? You get a classic story that has been around for decades and is still just as entertaining and fun as it was when first published in 1938. Generations of children have grown up with this and other classics that have made storytelling an art. With the humor and warmth found only in the past, this is one children’s book that will continue to amuse, delight, and inspire many families for many more years to come. Family classic and a treasure to share – what more could you want in a story?
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.
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!
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.
No child’s room is complete without a budding bookshelf, and we’re here to help you build your little one’s library. From classic to contemporary reads, we’ve brought together 50 of the most unforgettable picture books of all time. Knowing that most children (or babies, even!) receive The Cat in the Hat, Goodnight Moon  The Very Hungry Caterpillar  and Where the Wild Things Are as shower or birthday gifts, we bypassed those four to make room for a few other delights. (For example: have you ever heard of Fortunately? Well, fortunately, now you have!) Happy shelf-stocking!
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