The New York Public Library recently released its 2013 list of the best 100 books for kids. It’s an interesting list and it makes me wonder what are your favorite children’s books? Which books have you most enjoyed reading to your kids – or are you looking forward to reading to them once they get old enough?
You might be surprised to notice that most of these books were around when you were a child. In fact, many of them were around when even I was a child, old granny that I am! The oldest book on the list is Winnie-the-Pooh, first published in 1926. It’s a book still on my own bookshelf and that I remember having fun reading with my own boys, doing the voices for Kanga and Roo and Piglet and all.
More than half (52) of the books were published before 1980. Here is my absolutely favorite book to read to small children, Caps For Sale, but also a close runner-up in Millions of Cats. Green Eggs and Ham is here, along with The Hobbit. The beauty of children’s books is that they do seem to unite the generations. Books your children’s grandparents enjoy are still likely to be ones the children will like too.
The list includes books like Where Is The Green Sheep? that toddlers (and their parents) find charming and other books like A Wrinkle In Time that are appropriate for much, much older children. So there are ideas here for read-alouds at every age group through the elementary school years. Reading aloud to children is a great way to introduce early literacy, of course, but it’s also a great way to support older readers who have trouble “getting into” a book. No one is too old to be read to!
But what’s missing from the list? A list of only 100 books, when there are about 30,000 new “juvenile titles” published each year, according to Bowker’s Books In Print database, is bound to overlook some truly excellent books that might be your favorites or your children’s favorites.
One entire genre that’s missing is children’s non-fiction. Books like David Macauley’s The Way Things Work are not included. These are books one might not read cover-to-cover as part of the before-bedtime ritual but they are books older children, including many reluctant readers, find deeply interesting.
Poetry is also missing from the list, including Where The Sidewalk Ends, which you probably remember fondly. So this list, like any list, is incomplete. But if you’re at the library, unable to find something good to take home with your child, this list is a great place to start.
Take a look at the list and check off the ones you’ve read with your children, the ones you read and a child, and the books you want to read together soon. Then think of what’s missing. I invite you to comment and tell us what books you recommend!
© 2013, Patricia Nan Anderson. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.