With children's literature reigning as the best-selling sector of the publishing market, choosing the perfect book can be challenging, especially if we're not well versed in the genre. But giving away a book is always a welcome gesture, even among adults who may not be frequent readers. But when faced with the task of choosing a children's book, it can seem confusing. What criteria should we consider? The moral conveyed, captivating illustrations, or the author's reputation?
Fortunately, the esteemed British media BBC has revealed a comprehensive list of the 100 best children's books of all time. This sample was not compiled at random. As explained in the announcement, 177 experts, including critics, authors and figures from the publishing world, participated in the process. Together they evaluated and voted for 1,050 books from 56 countries, from Austria to Uzbekistan. Each voter submitted their top 10 children's books, which were carefully evaluated to curate the final top 100. In this article, we present the top 30 books from this esteemed list.
The list is of course not intended as an exhaustive conclusion, but rather as a source of inspiration for further exploration and discussion. We invite you to share your thoughts and highlight any books you feel may be missing using the hashtag #100GreatestChildrensBooks.
We hope you find this survey as captivating and enlightening as we have – a celebration of writing, creativity and the profound influence these books have had on us all.
Best children's books of all time
- Where the Wild Things Are (Maurice Sendak, 1963)
- Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll, 1865)
- Pippi Longstocking (Astrid Lindgren, 1945)
- The Little Prince (Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, 1943)
- The Hobbit (JRR Tolkien, 1937)
- Northern Lights (Philip Pullman, 1995)
- The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (CS Lewis, 1950)
- Winnie-the-Pooh (AA Milne and EH Shepard, 1926)
- Charlotte's Web (EB White and Garth Williams, 1952)
- Matilda (Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1988)
- Anne of Green Gables (LM Montgomery, 1908)
- Fairy Tales (Hans Christian Andersen, 1827)
- Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (JK Rowling, 1997)
- The Very Hungry Caterpillar (Eric Carle, 1969)
- The Dark is Rising (Susan Cooper, 1973)
- Arrival (Shaun Tan, 2006)
- Little Women (Louisa May Alcott, 1868)
- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl, 1964)
- Heidi (Johanna Spyri, 1880)
- Goodnight Moon (Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, 1947)
- The Adventures of Pinocchio (Carlo Collodi, 1883)
- The Wizard of Earthsea (Ursula K Le Guin, 1968)
- Moominland Midwinter (Tove Jansson, 1957)
- I want my hat back (Jon Klassen, 2011)
- The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1911)
- The Duck, Death and the Tulip (Wolf Erlbruch, 2007)
- The Lionheart Brothers (Astrid Lindgren, 1973)
- Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (JK Rowling, 1999)
- Brown Girl Dreaming (Jacqueline Woodson, 2014)
- The Three Thieves (Tomi Ungerer, 1961)
If you want to check the rest of the ranking, you can do it at this link.
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