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Top 100 Children’s Books According to Experts

Children’s literature is an often overlooked but important part of any child’s education. Recently, BBC Culture across the pond in England, polled 177 experts on books across 56 different countries to find out what the top 100 children’s book are.

Children’s minds are often molded by the tales they are told as a young child. When you think back on your own childhood you may remember the stories that were told to you, or the ones you read under the covers in the dead of night because you couldn’t put it down yet. These types of stories stay with you.

Some of the highest ranked books include The Little Prince (1943), The Hobbit (1937), The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (1950), and ranked at #1, Where the Wild Things Are (1963).

Six Roald Dahl books and two of Dr Seuss’s books also make this as well as Luisa May-Alcott’s Little Women.

Each respondent was told to list their top 10 favorite children’s books and from there the BBC compiled and rated each book listed by all 177 experts polled.

The list reflected the diversity of thought from those polled and spanned generations.

The earliest tale dates back to the 2nd Century BCE and the most recent to 2020. The bulk of the stories are from the 1950s to the 1970s.

Now, in retirement, we hopefully get to spend time reading the stories we recall and love to share with our children when they were young and now our grandchildren.

Take a look at the full list below, maybe one of your favorites is already listed, or perhaps your grandchild’s next favorite book is among those chosen here.

  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)

  74. 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)

  82. 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)

  88. The Mouse and His Child (Russell Hoban, 1967)

  89. Out of My Mind (Sharon M Draper, 2010)

  90. Moominvalley in November (Tove Jansson, 1970)

  91. 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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