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Top 50 children's books of all time

In 2012, Time Out Kids partnered with the New York Public Library to generate a list of the Top 50 Children's Books of All Time.

In honor of International Children's Book Day, we've decided to highlight their findings again.

The list focuses on the top picks for readers up the age of 12, although some selections, like "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" and "A Wrinkle in Time," are bound to satisfy adult audiences as well.

Here is the complete list:

  • Oldest first
  • Newest first
  • Most recommended
Scott Cowley
Sandy, UT

The only comment I have is PLEASE ditch the pagination. I know you use it for pageviews, but it would be great to have a "view all" page. Just think of all the little children with dial-up who have to wait for 4 minutes just to have a page load. They'll never get to see all of the "best books" because you decided they had to wait for each page to load individually. Have a heart!

Nan BW
ELder, CO

I agree with most of the selections made, but I abhore Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. All children remember about it are the unsavory parts. Later the author wrote books that had even less value.

I Choose Freedom
Atlanta, GA

Great selections in this list. But one that is missing is "The Indian in the Cupboard" series. These are fabulous books that I read to my kids many times as they were growing up. And I enjoyed the stories as much as my kids!

Orem, UT

Great list! Library, here we come!


The Yearling, Treasure Island, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, The Wind in the Willows? All should be in the top ten but don't even make the list? Oh well, clearly this list can be ignored.

Sandy, UT

Some new books on here I haven't read yet! Gonna download this and take it to the library with my grandkids next Tuesday!

Kaysville, UT

Did I miss Winnie the Pooh? I agree with HotGlobe - no Wind in the Willows? I was glad to see CS Lewis included. Golden Compass - thumbs down.

Orem, UT

#1 "Where the Wild Things Are" by Maurice Sendak (Age 3-6)
#2 "Charlotte’s Web" by E.B. White (Age 8-12)
#3 "Goodnight Moon" by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd (Age 6mo-3)
#4 "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone" by J.K. Rowli (Age 8-12)
#5 "The Very Hungry Caterpillar" by Eric Carle (Age 6mo-3)
#6 "The Cat in the Hat" by Dr. Seuss (Age 3-6)
#7 "A Wrinkle in Time" by Madeleine L’Engle (Age 8-12)
#8 "The Snowy Day" by Ezra Jack Keats (Age 6mo-3)
#9 "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" by C.S. Lewis (Age 8-12)
#10 "Knuffle Bunny" by Mo Willems (Age 3-6)
#11 "The Secret Garden" by Frances Hodgson Burnett (Age 8-12)
#12 "Harriet the Spy" by Louise Fitzhugh (Age 8-12)
#13 "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" by Roald Dahl (Age 8-12)
#14 "Madeline" by Ludwig Bemelmans (Age 3-6)
#15 "The Hobbit" by J.R.R. Tolkien (Age 8-12)
#16 "The Phantom Tollbooth" by Norton Juster (Age 8-12)
#17 "The Complete Adventures of Curious George" by H.A. and Margret Rey (Age 3-6)
#18 "Holes" by Louis Sachar (Age 8-12)
#19 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary (Age 6-9)
#20 "Chicka Chicka Boom Boom" by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Lois Ehlert (Age 6mo-3)
#21 "The Arrival" by Shaun Tan (Age 8-12)
#22 "Matilda" by Roald Dahl (Age 8-12)
#23 "The Tale of Peter Rabbit" by Beatrix Potter (Age 3-6)
#24 "Bark, George" by Jules Feiffer (Age 3-6)
#25 "The Invention of Hugo Cabret" by Brian Selznick (Age 8-12)
#26 "Anna Hibiscus" by Atinuke (Age 6-9)
#27 "Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse" by Kevin Henkes (Age 3-6)
#28 "A Light in the Attic" by Shel Silverstein
#29 "Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing" by Judy Blume (Age 8-12)
#30 "George and Martha" by James Marshall (Age 3-6)
#31 "The Watsons Go to Birmingham — 1963" by Christopher Paul Curtis (Age 8-12)
#32 "Caps for Sale" by Esphyr Slobodkina (Age 6mo-3)
#33 "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler" by E.L. Konigsburg (Age 8-12)
#34 "The Paper Bag Princess" by Robert Munsch (Age 3-6)
#35 "Number the Stars" by Lois Lowry (Age 8-12)
#36 "Olivia" by Ian Falconer (Age 3-6)
#37 "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman (Age 8-12)
#38 "Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11" by Brian Floca (Age 6-9)
#39 "Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters" by John Steptoe (Age 3-6)
#40 "Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman (Age 3-6)
#41 The Bone series by Jeff Smit (Age 8-12)
#42 "Little Bear" by Else Holmelund Minarik, illustrated by Maurice Sendak (Age 3-6)
#43 "Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse" by Marilyn Singer, illustrated by Josee Masse (Age 6-9)
#44 "The Golden Compass" by Philip Pullman (Age 8-12)
#45 "Doctor De Soto" by William Steig (Age 3-6)
#46 "Esperanza Rising" by Pam Munoz Ryan (Age 8-12)
#47 "Go Away, Big Green Monster!" by Ed Emberley (Age 3-6)
#49 "My Father’s Dragon" by Ruth Gannett Stiles, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (Age 6-9)
#48 "Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave" by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier (Age 6-9)
#49 "My Father’s Dragon" by Ruth Gannett Stiles, illustrated by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (Age 6-9)
#50 "Amelia Lost" by Candace Fleming (Age 8-12)

No One Of Consequence
West Jordan, UT

The Harold and the Purple Crayon series for young beginning readers, Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.

Butler, AL

I want to agree with the pagination comment, I just want to see the list, please!

Hockey Fan
Miles City, MT

@Sandy of Orem: Thank you for the list.

DN: Thank you for allowing the extra words to accommodate the list.

Rocky R
Gilbert, AZ

Missed "Horton Hatches the Egg," one of the great books of all time!!

Saint David, AZ

I love looking at these Reading lists but I too agree with the pagination comment. Thank you kind Sandy of Orem. Your time in making this list for the rest of us is appreciated by me.

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