Friday, August 13, 2010

250 Great Children's Books

A couple of months ago I wrote a post on the 'Top 100 Children's Books' in which I offered to produce a list of over 200 of my favourite children's books. I asked readers of this blog to contribute. I want to thank Marita, Sandy, Prue and Robyn for offering some of their favourites.

Coming up with a list of books for children is always risky. How do you judge it? Your personal preference as an adult reader? The popularity of the books with children? Longevity? How have I chosen these books:

  • They have been loved by children and adults – sometimes more by one group than the other. But each of the books on the list has been popular with children.
  • They have quality of language, story, illustrations (in the case of picture books).
  • They make you want to turn the page.
  • They say something significant (literature should have worthwhile content – it teaches – see my earlier post on this)
The next difficulty is allocating an age level. Some of the books in one age category can be read by children of different ages depending on their ability and maturity. A book like ‘Charlotte’s Web’ can be read to or by children of any age and enjoyed.

The list is not meant to be comprehensive. In fact, the list slanted to the 0-12 years age group so I have less adolescent literature. Rather than to try to list every great book, I’ve tried to give a flavour of the varied authors, styles and topics that great books cover. You should use the list to find other books by the same authors. For example, I could have listed all of Bill Peet’s books. The same could be said for many other authors on this list. Search out other titles by tried and tested authors who are represented on this list.

1. Books for Preschoolers (to be read to and with children aged 0-4 years)

'All the World' illustrated by Marla Frazee, written by Liz Garton
'Battles in the Bath' by Peter Pavey
'Bears in the Night' by Stan and Jan Berenstein
'Belinda' by Pamela Allen
'Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you see?' by Bill Martin, Jr.
'Corduroy' by Don Freeman
'Do You Know What Grandad Did?' By Brian Smith
'Dog In, Cat Out' by Gillian Rubenstein
'Don’t Forget the Bacon' by Pat Hutchins
'Duckat' by Gaelyn Gordon
'Each Peach Pear Plum' by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
'Edward the Emu' by Sheena Knowles
'Edwina the Emu' by Sheena Knowles
'Goodnight Moon' by Margaret Wise Brown
'Grandpa and Thomas' by Pamela Allen
'Grandpa and Thomas' by Pamela Allen
'Guess How Much I Love You' by Sam McBratney
'Hattie and the Fox' by Mem Fox
'Looking for Crabs' by Bruce Whately
'Mister Magnolia' by Quentin Blake
'Mother, Mother, I Want Another' by Maria Polushkin Robbins
'My Dad' by Anthony Browne
'One Hungry Spider' by Jeannie Baker
'One Dragon’s Dream' by Peter Pavey
'Peepo' by Janet and Allen Ahlberg
'The Green Umbrella' by Pamella Allen
'The Lion & Mouse' by Jerry Pinkey
'The Mitten' by Alvin Tresselt
'The Rainbow Fish' by Marcus Pfister
'The Runaway Bunny' by Margaret Wise
'The Singing Hat' by Tohby Riddle
'The Snowy Day' by Ezra Jack Keats
'The Story of Chicken Licken' by Jan Ormerod
'The Trouble with Dad' by Babette Cole
'The Trouble with Mum' by Babette Cole
'The Waterhole' by Graeme Base
'The Very Hungry Caterpillar' by Eric Carle
'Time for Bed' by Mem Fox
‘When I'm Feeling' range of books by Trace Moroney

2. Books for Children Ages 4-7 (suitable to be read to younger readers or read by beginning readers)

‘A.B. Paterson’s Mulga Bill’s Bicycle’ by Kilmeny & Deborah Niland
'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' by Judith Viorst
'Amazing Grace' by Mary Hoffman
'Amelia Bedelia' by Peggy Parish
'Animalia' by Graeme Base
'Aranea: A Story About a Spider' by Jenny Wagner
'Are You My Mother?' by Philip D. Eastman
‘Arthur’ series by Marc Tolon Brown
'Basil of Baker Street' by Eve Titus
'Caps for Sale' by Esphyr Slobodkina
'Chicka Chicka Boom Boom' by John Archambault
'Clifford, the Big Red Dog' by Norman Bridwell
'Complete Adventures of Blinky Bill' by Dorothy Wall
'Counting on Frank' by Rod Clement
'Cowardly Clyde' by Bill Peet
'Curious George' by Hans Augusto Rey
'Fancy Nancy' by Jane O'Conner
'Fantastic Mr Fox' by Roald Dahl
'Fox in Socks' by Dr Seuss
'Granpa' by John Burningham
'Green Eggs and Ham' by Dr. Seuss
'Horton Hatches the Egg' by Dr. Seuss
'How the Grinch Stole Christmas' by Dr Seuss
'Hubert’s Hair-raising Adventure' by Bill Peet
'If You Give a Mouse a Cookie' by Laura Joffe Numeroff
'In My Back Yard' by Nette Hilton & Anne Spudvilas
'Irving the Magician' by Tohby
'John Brown, Rose and the Midnight Cat' by Jenny Wagner
'Jumanji' by Chris Van Allsburg
'Lester and Clyde' by James Reece
'Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse' by Kevin Henkes
'Love You Forever' by Robert N. Munsch
'Make Way for Ducklings' by Robert McCloskey
'My Hiroshima' by Junko Morimoto
'No Kiss for Mother' by Tomi Ungerer
‘Oh, The Places You'll Go’ by Dr. Seuss
'Petunia' by Roger Duvoisin
'Red Sings from Treetops: A Year of Colors' by Joyce Sidman
'Snugglepot and Cuddlepie' by May Gibbs
'Stellaluna' by Janell Cannon
'Strega Nona' by Tomie De Paola
'Sunshine' by Jan Ormerod
'Sylvester and the Magic Pebble' by William Steig
'Tale of Despereaux' by Kate DiCamillo                 
'The Art Lesson' by Tomie De Paola
'The Banana Bird and the Snake Men' by Percy Trezise and Dick Roughsey
'The Bears’ ABC Book' by Robin & Jocelyn Wild
'The Cat in the Hat' by Dr. Seuss
'The Complete Adventures of Peter Rabbit' by Beatrix Potter
‘The Complete Tales of Winnie the Pooh’ by A. A. Milne
'The Digging-est Dog' by Al Perkins
'The Eleventh Hour' by Graeme Base
'The Enchanted Wood' by Enid Blyton
'The Fisherman and the Theefyspray' by Jane Tanner
'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein
'The Jolly Postman or Other People’s Letters' by Janet & Allen Ahlberg
'The Lighthouse Keeper’s Lunch' by Ronda & David Armitage
'The Little Engine That Could' by Watty Piper
'The Little House' by Virginia Lee Burton
'The Lorax' by Dr. Seuss
'The Magic Pudding' by Norman Lindsay
'The Napping House' by Audrey Wood
'The Paper Bag Princess' by Robert N. Munsch
'The Polar Express' by Chris Van Allsburg
'The Rainbow Serpent' by Dick Roughsey
'The Story of Ferdinand' by Munro Leaf
'The Tale of Peter Rabbit' by Beatrix Potter
‘The True Story of the Three Little Pigs’ by Jon Scieszka
‘The Story of Shy the Platypus’ by Leslie Rees
'The Velveteen Rabbit' by Margery Williams
'Tough Boris' by Mem Fox
'What Made Tiddalik Laugh' by Joanna Troughton
'Wheel on the Chimney' by Margaret Wise Brown
'Where’s Julius' by John Burningham

'Where the Forest Meets the Sea' by Jeannie Baker
‘Where the Sidewalk Ends: the Poems and Drawing of Shel Silverstein’ by Shel Silverstein
'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak
'Whistle Up the Chimney' by Nan Hunt
'Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge' by Mem Fox

3. Books for Children Ages 8-10 (many of these books can be read to children aged 6-8 or can be read by most children aged 9-10 years)

'A Dream of Stars' by Brian Caswell
'A Light in the Attic' by Shel Silverstein
'A Little Fear' by Patricia Wrightson
'Anne of Green Gables 'by Lucy Maud Montgomery
'A Wrinkle in Time' by Madeleine L'Engle
'Callie’s Castle' by Ruth Park
'Charlie and the Chocolate Factory' by Roald Dahl
'Charlotte's Web' by E. B. White
'Chronicles of Ancient Darkness' by Michelle Paver
'Dirty Beasts' by Roald Dahl
'Grandma Cadbury’s Trucking Tales' by Dianne Bates
'Harriet the Spy' by Louise Fitzhugh
'Harry Potter' series by J.K Rowling
'Hatchet' by Gary Paulsen
'Island of the Blue Dolphins' by Scott O'Dell
'James and the Giant Peach' by Roald Dahl
'Jodie’s Journey' by Colin Thiele
'Little House in the Big Woods' by Laura Ingalls Wilder
'Little House on the Prairie' by Laura Ingalls Wilder
'Little Women' by Louisa May Alcott
'Maniac Magee' by Jerry Spinelli
'Matilda' by Roald Dahl
'Mike' by Brian Caswell
'Mr. Popper's Penguins' by Richard Atwater

'Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh' by Robert C. O'Brien
'My Father's Dragon' by Ruth Stiles Gannett
'Paw Thing' by Paul Jennings
'Pippi Longstocking' by Astrid Lindgren
'Rabbit Hill' by Robert Lawson
'Ramona Quimby, Age 8' by Beverly Cleary
'Revolting Rhymes' by Roald Dahl
‘Rowan of Rin' series by Emily Rodda
'Sarah, Plain and Tall' by Patricia MacLachlan
'Shiloh' by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
'Sideways Stories from Wayside School' by Louis Sachar
'Stone Fox' by John Reynolds Gardiner
'Stuart Little' by E. B. White
'Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing' by Judy Blume
'The 27th Annual African Hippopotamus Race' by Morris Lurie
'The Arrival' by Shaun Tan
'The Best Christmas Pageant Ever' by Barbara Robinson
'The BFG' by Roald Dahl
'The Borrowers' by Mary Norton
'The Boxcar Children' by Gertrude Chandler Warner
'The Chronicles of Narnia' by C. S. Lewis
'The Eighteenth Emergency' by Betsy Byars
'The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate' by Jacqueline Kelly
'The Giver' by Lois Lowry
'The Giving Tree' by Shel Silverstein
'The Great Gilly Hopkins' by Katherine Paterson
'The Indian in the Cupboard' by Lynne Reid Banks
'The Iron Man' by Ted Hughes
'The Jungle Books' by Rudyard Kipling
'The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe' by C. S. Lewis
'The Phantom Tollbooth' by Norton Juster
'The Pinballs' by Betsy Byars
'The Secret Garden' by Frances Hodgson Burnett
'The Shrinking of Treehorn' by Florence Parry Heide
'The Super-Roo of Mungalongaloo' by Osmar White
'The Trumpet of the Swan' by E. B. White
'The Village Dinosaur' by Phyllis Arkle
'Tuck Everlasting' by Natalie Babbitt
'The Watsons Go to Birmingham-1963' by Christopher Paul Curtis
'The Wind in the Willows' by Kenneth Grahame
'The Witch of Blackbird Pond' by Elizabeth George Speare
'Walk Two Moons' by Sharon Creech
'Where the Mountain Meets the Moon' written by Grace Lin
'Where the Sidewalk Ends: the Poems and Drawing of Shel Silverstein' by Shel Silverstein

4. Books for children aged 10-13+

'Boy' by Roald Dahl
'Bridge to Terabithia' by Katherine Paterson
'Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night' by Mark Haddon
'Deltora Quest' series by Emily Rodda
'Dragonkeeper' trilogy by Carole Wilkinson
'Goodnight Mister Tom' by Michelle Magorian
'Lord of the Rings' by JR Tolkien
'Merryll of the Stones' by Brian Caswell
'Nargun and the Stars' by Patricia Wrightson
'Number the Stars' by Lois Lowry
'Old Kingdom' series by Garth Nix
'Playing Beattie Bow' by Ruth Park
'Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry' by Mildred D. Taylor
'Slave Girl: The Diary of Clotee, Virginia, USA 1859' by Patricia McKissack
‘Strange Objects’ by Gary Crew
'Summer of My German Soldier' by Bette Greene
'The Hobbit' by JR Tolkein
'The Fire in the Stone' by Colin Thiele
'The Ice is Coming' by Patricia Wrightson
'The Graveyard Book' by Neil Gaiman
'The Machine Gunners' by Robert Westall
'The Princess Bride' by William Goldman
'The Stone Quartet' by Alan Garner
'The Wheel on the Schoo'l by Meindert DeJong
'Thunderwith' by Libby Hathorn
'When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit' by Judith Kerr
'When You Reach Me' by Rebecca Stead
'Wizard of Earthsea' trilogy by Ursula Le Guin

Other resources

You can find many other lists on this blog that are gouped in various ways. For example:

My 'Author Focus' series allows you to consider the books of well-known authors HERE
My 'Key Themes' in children's literature can help you to find books on 'death', the 'environment', 'conquering fears' and so on. The link is HERE
You can look at Children's Literature award list HERE
You can look at books for Boys (HERE) and Girls (HERE)


PlanningQueen said...

Superb list Trevor! Printed it out to have a as a reference not only for my kids but makes a perfect present list!

Trevor Cairney said...

Thanks Nicole, glad you see it as helpful. I'll keep updating it over time. Trevor

Ann said...

Great list Trevor and some books I will certainly be putting on my list for next trip to the library. :-) Ann