Best of the Best

Giving a child a book gives much more than a physical, tangible thing. Apart from giving the joy of a story ,the warmth of a special relationship, and the opportunity to let their imagination soar, it helps develop a lot of concepts about print that help the child believe they can be readers too… priceless.

Each year lots of people-who-know create lists of bests and favourites.  Here are some that might shape your thinking about just what to get that special child…

Bank Street College of Education Best Books 2016  Includes more than 600 titles chosen by the Children’s Book Committee as the best of the best published in 2015. In choosing books for the annual list, reviewers consider literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes.

Nonfiction titles are further evaluated for accuracy and clarity. Each book accepted for the list is read and reviewed by at least two committee members and then discussed by the committee as a whole.


The Most Beautiful Children’s Books  Enjoy children’s books with gorgeous illustrations, enchanting art and photography, and mesmerising pop-up books chosen by Book Depository and available to buy.

The Night Before Christmas

The Night Before Christmas



100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime from Amazon

Watch Read Connect. John Schumaker and Travis Jonker reveal their Top 20 for 2014

Book Depository’s Best Children’s Books Many are for older readers

Outstanding Science Trade Books for Students K–12: 2014   From the US National Science Teachers Association

Kirkus Reviews Best Children’s Books of 2014

School Library Journal’s Best Picture Books 2014

The Telegraph (UK) Best Books 2014

The Top 30 Australiana Books if you are looking for a uniquely Australian book

Bookworld’s Top Ten for Kids 2014

Bookworld’s Top Ten Picture Books 2014

NSW KOALA Children’s Choice Awards 2014 Kids Own Australian Literature Awards

Western Australian Young Readers’ Book Award 2014

The Best Children’s Books and Picture-Books of 2014 from Brainpickings

100 Most Popular Books from the New York Public Library 2014   “A group of librarians from The New York Public Library read more than a thousand titles this year, shared countless stories with the children who visit their branches, and compiled this list of the very best children’s books for toddlers through sixth graders. Consider it a snapshot of titles NYPL’s librarians thought book lovers of all ages might like to know.”

The Best Preschool and Family Books To Give Kids You Don’t Know Very Well  Compiled by Lisa von Drasek, an acknowledged expert in children’s literature on the US teacher librarian network.

Goodreads 2014 Top Picture Books – voted by Goodreads users

The New York Public Library’s list of 100 great children’s books from the last 100 years! (Not all are intended for the Under-8s though.)

If you’re looking for Australian stories, all the previous winners of the awards from the Children’s Book Council of Australia are listed.  Look for the Picture Book and Early Childhood categories. Some children may be ready for those from the Younger Readers category but these are more for students in Years 3-6.

Are these the best 100 children’s books ever written? Reading charity Booktrust’s list, published for Children’s Book Week 2013, strikes a good balance between the cosily classic and red-hot new.

Another list from US magazine Parent and Child Searchable so you can tailor it to your needs.

Publisher Weekly’s Best Picture Books of 2014

New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Books Awards for 2016. Since 1952, the Book Review has convened an independent panel of judges to select picture books on the basis of artistic merit. Each year, judges choose from among thousands of picture books for what is the only annual award of its kind.

New York Times Notable Children’s Books of 2014

Horn Books Fanfare  The Horn Book Magazine‘s choices for the best books of 2014

Amazon’s Best Books 2014

Scholastic’s 100 Greatest Books for Kids (and 4 more)  A list with a strong American flavour. How many have you read?

The 13 Best Children’s and Picture Books of 2013   “The best children’s, science, and technology books of the year, human connection and the difference between empathy and sympathy, and more.”

Loads of lists for everybody at Chicken Spaghetti

Children’s publishers choose their 2013 favourites  Publisher Weekly asked children’s publishing staffers to tell them their favorite book they read this year – one published outside of their company – and where they heard about it.

 If you want to discover the best of the best of times gone by, look for publications such as 1001 Children’s Books you must read before you grow up

1001 Children's Books you must read before you grow up

1001 Children’s Books you must read before you grow up

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2 thoughts on “Best of the Best

  1. then there’s Horn Book, ALA, Kirkus, NPR, guardian UK, Roald Dahl funny prize, and for New Zealand books (for all those kiwis who live in Australia) NZ Listener 100 best children’s books, Storylines notable Books lists, NZ Post children’s and teens book award….. And I stress teen as the book of the year is upper teens.
    cheers and happy times reading over the summer break

  2. Angela, can you please send me the links to those so I can add them, particularly those that apply to the BEST picture books for the under-8s which is the focus of this blog?

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