100 Great Children’s Books at the New York Public Library

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I’m always on the lookout for recommended children’s books and was happy to recently come across the New York Public Library’s top 100 at www.nypl.org/childrens100. They also have lists of “best” picture books, baby and toddler books, and easy books for children ages 4-6.

The “100 Great Children’s Books |100 Years” list was compiled on the occasion of the NYP Library’s exhibition “The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter,” on display now through September 7, 2014 at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, adjacent to the main library at Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street.

This exhibit highlights children’s books that have become classics and what those books reveal about the time periods and societies in which they were written. The library says about the exhibit, “Through a dynamic array of objects and activities, the exhibition celebrates the extraordinary richness, artistry, and diversity of children’s literature across cultures and time.” The library hopes to show us that good children’s books stay with us and motivate us to learn more and read more.

Here are some of the books that made the library’s top 100 list, with their descriptions. Are any of them your family’s favorites?

  • “Bark, George” by Jules Feiffer (1999) He meows, quacks, oinks, and moos, but why can’t George the dog bark?
  • “Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?” by Bill Martin, Jr., illustrated by Eric Carle (1967) A gentle rhyming delight in a storytime classic.
  • “Caps for Sale” by Esphyr Slobodkina (1938) Naughty monkeys prove a challenge for an innocent cap seller.
  • “Corduroy” by Don Freeman (1976) A little stuffed bear searches in vain for the button that will help to get him adopted.
  • “Freight Train” by Donald Crews (1978) A train ride to remember with bold colors galore!
  • “Grandfather’s Journey” by Allen Say (1993) A young man struggles with both loving his new land and feeling homesick for the Japan he left behind.
  • “Millions of Cats” by Wanda Gág (1928) When an old man sets off to find a cute little kitty, he ends up with millions of cats, billions of cats, millions and billions and trillions of cats.
  • “The Snowy Day” by Ezra Jack Keats (1962) A little boy explores the first city snow of the year from snow angels to a snowball tucked away safely into his pocket.
  • “The True Story of the Three Little Pigs” by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith (1989) All he was doing was trying to borrow some sugar.  Alexander T. Wolf tells his side of the story.
  • “Where is the Green Sheep?” by Mem Fox, illustrated by Judy Horacek (2004) Woolly kooks go amuck in this seemingly simple story.
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