100 Best Children’s Books of All Time

My BooksWhen it comes to great children’s literature, kids have hundreds of books to choose from – everything from the enduring classics to award-winning, modern-day picture books and novels.

Here, listed by category, title, author and illustrator is our list of the best children’s books of all time – stories that will excite your kids and remain in their memories for years to come. This list represents the views of parents, children’s literature experts and our own readers.

While not every classic children’s book is listed, these are the books that strike a special chord and stay with us through adulthood.

Books for Babies 1 Picture Books l Chapter Books l Nonfiction/Poetry

Books for Babies

Goodnight Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

Have You Seen My Duckling?, by Nancy Tafuri

Pippo (series), by Helen Oxenbury

Spot (series), by Eric Hill

Ten, Nine, Eight, by Molly Bang

The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle

Picture Books

Alfie (series), by Shirley Hughes

Arthur (series), by Marc Brown

Babar (series), by Jean De Brunhoff

Bread and Jam for Frances, by Russell Hoban, illustrated by Lillian Hoban

A Chair for My Mother, by Vera Williams

Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Lois Ehlert

Chrysanthemum, by Kevin Henkes

Doctor DeSoto, by William Steig

Dog Heaven, by Cynthia Rylant

Frog and Toad (series), by Arnold Lobel

Harold and the Purple Crayon, by Crockett Johnson

Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins, by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman

A Hole Is to Dig, by Ruth Krauss, illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Horton Hears a Who, by Dr. Seuss

If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond

Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg

Lon Po Po, by Ed Young

Madeline, by Ludwig Bemelmans

Make Way for Ducklings, by Robert McCloskey

Martha Speaks, by Susan Meddaugh

Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel, by Virginia Lee Burton

Millions of Cats, by Wanda Gag

Miss Nelson is Missing!, by Harry Allard and James Marshall

Miss Rumphius, by Barbara Cooney

The Mitten, by Jan Brett

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing, by John Burningham

Olivia, by Ian Falconer

The Ox-Cart Man, by Donald Hall

Peter Rabbit (The Tales of), by Beatrix Potter

The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg

Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes, by Eleanor Coerr

The Snowy Day, by Ezra Jack Keats

The Spider and the Fly, by Mary Howitt, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi

The Story of Ferdinand, by Munro Leaf, illustrated by Robert Lawson

The Story of Holly and Ivy, by Rumer Godden

The Velveteen Rabbit, by Margery Williams, illustrated by William Nicholson

Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, by Varda Aardema, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon

Chapter Books

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Sir John Tenniel

Anastasia Krupnik, by Lois Lowry

Anne of Green Gables, by L.M. Montgomery

Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret, by Judy Blume

Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo

The Borrowers (series), by Mary Norton

Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Patterson

Charlotte’s Web, by E.B. White

The Devil’s Arithmetic, by Jane Yolen

Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Myers

The Friendship, by Mildred Taylor

The Giver, by Lois Lowry

The Great Gilly Hopkins, by Katherine Patterson

Grimms’ Fairy Tales, by the Brothers Grimm

Harriet the Spy, by Louise Fitzhugh

Harry Potter (series), by J.K. Rowling, illustrated by Mary Grandpré

Hatchet, by Gary Paulson

Henry and Mudge (series), by Cynthia Rylant, illustrated by Sucie Stevenson

Holes, by Louis Sachar

Homer Price (series), by Robert McCloskey

The Indian in the Cupboard (series), by Lynne Reid Banks

Island of the Blue Dolphins, by Scott O’Dell • James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George

The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (The Chronicles of Narnia series), by C.S. Lewis

Little House (series), by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

M.C. Higgins the Great, by Virginia Hamilton

Maniac Magee, by Jerry Spinelli

Number the Stars, by Lois Lowry

One-Eyed Cat, by Paula Fox

Peter Pan, by J.M. Barrie

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster

Ramona (series), by Beverly Cleary

Redwall (series), by Brian Jacques

Sarah, Plain and Tall, by Patricia MacLachlan

The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett

Shiloh, by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Stone Fox, by John Reynolds Gardiner

The Story of Dr. Doolittle, by Hugh Lofting

Stuart Little, by E.B. White

The Summer of the Swans, by Betsy Byars

The Thief Lord, by Cornelia Funke

Tuck Everlasting, by Natalie Babbitt

Where the Red Fern Grows, by Wilson Rawls

The Wind in the Willows, by Kenneth Grahame

Winnie-the-Pooh, by A.A. Milne

The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare

A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L’Engle

Nonfiction or Poetry

Diary of Anne Frank, by Anne Frank

It’s Perfectly Normal, by Robie Harris, illustrated by Michael Emberley

A Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein

The New Kid on the Block, by Jack Prelutsky

Talking Like the Rain (anthology), by Dorothy and X.J. Kennedy

The Way Things Work, by David Macaulay

You Be Good and I’ll Be Night, by Eve Merriam

Did we miss one of your favorites?

Let us know on our Best Books Recommendations Forum


Read All About It

For more on children’s literature, authors and the art of storytelling, see:

Behind the Pages - Seven noted children’s book authors share their childhood memories and influences

What Makes a Great Children’s Book? A look at why great children’s books strike a chord and stay with us through adulthood.

Start Your Own Parent-Child Book Club Book clubs are great forum for sharing ideas and nurturing a lifelong love of reading.

The Very Creative Children’s Book Author A Conversation with the inimitable Eric Carle.

Why Reading to Your Kids Works Celebrated storyteller Jim Weiss discusses how sharing books and stories fosters deeper parent-child bonds.

Reading to Two

More Book Reviews from our Family Bookshelf