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The 100 Greatest Children’s Books of All Time

We all have fond memories of the books we read as children, whether in school or at home. They shaped our imagination, our curiosity, our sense of wonder. But how do we decide which ones are the greatest of all time?

That’s the question posed to BBC Culture this year, who contacted hundreds of experts in children’s books from around the world, including authors, illustrators, editors, publishers, academics, librarians, writers and readers. They were asked to vote for their favorite children’s books, from picture books to novels, from classics to contemporary works.

The result is the following 100 titles, spanning more than a century of children’s literature. Some books are widely known and loved, others are more obscure or surprising. Some are old favorites while others are recent discoveries. Some are serious and profound, others are funny and whimsical.

But they all have one thing in common: they are great children’s books that have stood the test of time and continue to delight and inspire readers of all ages.

If this list inspires you to write and publish your own children’s book, Outskirts Press can help (and even illustrate it for you).

Is your favorite children’s book on the list? Let us know in the comments.

1 Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak, 1963)
2 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865)
3 Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren, 1945)
4 The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943)
5 The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien, 1937)
6 Northern Lights (Philip Pullman, 1995)
7 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis, 1950)
8 Winnie-the-Pooh (AA Milne and EH Shepard, 1926)
9 Charlotte’s Web (EB White and Garth Williams, 1952)
10 Matilda (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1988)
11 Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery, 1908)
12 Fairy Tales (Hans Christian Andersen, 1827)
13 Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (JK Rowling, 1997)
14 The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle, 1969)
15 The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper, 1973)
16 The Arrival (Shaun Tan, 2006)
17 Little Women (Louisa May Alcott, 1868)
18 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl, 1964)
19 Heidi (Johanna Spyri, 1880)
20 Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, 1947)
21 The Adventures of Pinocchio (Carlo Collodi, 1883)
22 A Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K Le Guin, 1968)
23 Moominland Midwinter (Tove Jansson, 1957)
24 I Want My Hat Back (Jon Klassen, 2011)
25 The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911)
26 Duck, Death and the Tulip (Wolf Erlbruch, 2007)
27 The Brothers Lionheart (Astrid Lindgren, 1973)
28 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling, 1999)
29 Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson, 2014)
30 The Three Robbers (Tomi Ungerer, 1961)
31 The Snowy Day (Ezra Jack Keats, 1962)
32 The Tiger Who Came to Tea (Judith Kerr, 1968)
33 Howl’s Moving Castle (Diana Wynne Jones, 1986)
34 A Wrinkle in Time (Madeleine L’Engle, 1962)
35 Watership Down (Richard Adams, 1972)
36 Tom’s Midnight Garden (Philippa Pearce, 1958)
37 Grimm’s Fairy Tales (Brothers Grimm, 1812)
38 The Tale of Peter Rabbit (Beatrix Potter, 1902)
39 The Railway Children (Edith Nesbit, 1906)
40 Noughts and Crosses (Malorie Blackman, 2001)
41 The BFG (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1982)
42 Rules of Summer (Shaun Tan, 2013)
43 Momo (Michael Ende, 1973)
44 The Story of Ferdinand (Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson, 1936)
45 The Lord of the Rings (JRR Tolkien, 1954)
46 The Owl Service (Alan Garner, 1967)
47 Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter (Astrid Lindgren, 1981)
48 The Neverending Story (Michael Ende, 1979)
49 The Panchatantra (Anonymous / folk, -200)
50 Treasure Island (Robert Louis Stevenson, 1883)
51 Mary Poppins (PL Travers, 1934)
52 Ballet Shoes (Noel Streafield, 1936)
53 So Much! (Trish Cooke and Helen Oxenbury, 1994)
54 We’re Going on a Bear Hunt (Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury, 1989)
55 The Adventures of Cipollino (Gianni Rodari, 1951)
56 The Giving Tree (Shel Silverstein, 1964)
57 The Gruffalo (Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, 1999)
58 Julián Is a Mermaid (Jessica Love, 2018)
59 Comet in Moominland (Tove Jansson, 1946)
60 Finn Family Moomintroll (Tove Jansson, 1948)
61 The Witches (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1983)
62 A Bear Called Paddington (Michael Bond, 1958)
63 The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame, 1908)
64 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry (Mildred D Taylor, 1977)
65 Karlsson-on-the-Roof (Astrid Lindgren, 1955)
66 The Phantom Tollbooth (Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, 1961)
67 The Cat in the Hat (Dr Seuss, 1957)
68 The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate DiCamillo and Bagram Ibatoulline, 2006)
69 Peter and Wendy (JM Barrie, 1911)
70 One Thousand and One Nights (Anonymous / folk)
71 From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler (EL Konigsburg, 1967)
72 When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Judith Kerr, 1971)
73 Shum bola (G’afur G’ulоm, 1936)
73 Ernest and Celestine (Gabrielle Vincent, 1981)
75 A Kind of Spark (Elle McNicoll, 2020)
76 Little Nicholas (René Goscinny and Jean-Jacques Sempé, 1959)
77 Black Beauty (Anna Sewell, 1877)
78 Daddy-Long-Legs (Jean Webster, 1912)
79 No Kiss for Mother (Tomi Ungerer, 1973)
80 My Family and Other Animals (Gerald Durrell, 1956)
81 Jacob Have I Loved (Katherine Paterson, 1980)
81 The Lorax (Dr Seuss, 1971)
83 Fairy Tales / The Tales of Mother Goose (Charles Perrault, 1697)
84 The Moomins and the Great Flood (Tove Jansson, 1945)
85 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz (L Frank Baum, 1900)
86 Just William (Richmal Crompton, 1922)
87 The Twits (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1980)
87 The Mouse and His Child (Russell Hoban, 1967)
87 Out of My Mind (Sharon M Draper, 2010)
87 Moominvalley in November (Tove Jansson, 1970)
87 Little House in the Big Woods (Laura Ingalls Wilder, 1932)
92 Danny the Champion of the World (Roald Dahl, 1975)
93 The Snowman (Raymond Briggs, 1978)
94 Wave (Suzy Lee, 2008)
95 The Black Brothers (Lisa Tetzner, 1940)
96 The Velveteen Rabbit (Margery Williams, 1921)
97 The Bad Beginning (Lemony Snicket, 1999)
98 The Graveyard Book (Neil Gaiman, 2008)
99 American Born Chinese (Gene Luen Yang and Lark Pien, 2006)
100 Haroun and the Sea of Stories (Salman Rushdie, 1990)

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The 100 Greatest Children’s Books of All Time


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