Once a week my sister, mother, and I filled a cardboard box with new library books to read. Now, almost four decades later, I still borrow an excessive amount of library books, not just for me but also for my own children and my K-5 students.
For me, a lifelong avid reader and book lover, picking the best 100 children's books felt like picking my favorite child: nearly impossible. In order to make the top 100, the book needed to be an all-time children's favorite - not just a book that editors and critics liked. Then, with a little help from my librarian friends, my Goodreads list
, and my fellow book-loving buddies, I considered everything about the title: the illustrations, story richness, depth of characters, uniqueness of plot, movement and pacing, vocabulary, and even critics' reviews. Much to my surprise, I discovered that there's actually a bit of debate over whether some of my favorite young-adult books are technically
YA, so I decided to cut them from the list: To Kill a Mockingbird
, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
, Little Women
, Lord of the Rings
, The Chosen
, Enders Game
, Animal Farm
, and Lord of the Flies
. If you're wondering about those books, they were in my heart, but I couldn't include them.
No matter their ages, kids can be introduced to new worlds through books. If you want to raise readers, surround your children with stories they'll actually enjoy. Introduce them to some of your favorites and let them choose their own at the library or bookstore. In the words of the great philosopher, Dr. Seuss, "The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." Here's a guide to some of the best literature for kids from babies to tweens. Don't see your favorite on the list? Nominate it here
! - Melissa Taylor