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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Voting for the Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll Has Closed

The die is cast, polls closed, and the day is done.

And the votes?  Not so much with the tabulated yet.  In the past week I would get close, and then a new classroom of kids would flood me with titles.  So I am afraid, my dears, that you will have to wait a couple days while I get these votes in order before I begin the official countdown.  I know what the Top 10 are at this point, but everything below that is shifting like some crazy sea.

I can say that there will be surprises on this list.  I can say too that each and every one of you will find your beloveds and also at least one title to which you cry, "OH, FOR THE LOVE OF ALL THAT IS RIGHT AND GOOD IN THE WORLD WHAT IS THAT DOING THERE?"  The finest proof that I have not tampered with your votes is the number of book that made me cringe every time they popped up on the Top 100.  There are books there that make my teeth itch, but you voted for them.  So there they stay (and, for the record, I will be so discrete that you will never know which books those are).

Classic titles that were published long ago but have been beloved of kids for decades upon decades have been counted.  So while Treasure Island wasn’t specifically for kids, if enough people voted for it, it could make the list.

Then there are the series to consider.  Some suggested that I do series on a separate list, but what do you consider a series?  Are all the Henry Huggins and Ramona books part of a single series?  Would you say that any book with a sequel is a series?  Wrinkle in Time definitely is one, as are the Narnia, Harry Potter, Little Women, and even Harriet the Spy books.  Anne of Green Gables?  Part of a series.  No, taking away series isn’t something I can do since the term is so loosey goosey.  Where do you draw the line?

Now in the case of these series titles, I was not counting them as a whole.  My reasoning behind this is that in some cases a series will have a book that is particularly good (Harry Potter #3, perhaps) and another that is weak (Harry Potter #6, perhaps).  However, as you can see, that decision makes this a very different kind of list.  So here is one possibility.  I am counting down the list with series books defined individually.  After that list ends, a month later I could release the list of what it would look like if you mushed all the series together into a single title.  The thing is, when I combine books in this manner, it gives series titles an innate advantage.  That’s why I didn’t do it in the first place.

However it falls out, we will have fun with this.  I’ll let you know when the countdown officially starts.  Hopefully you’ll see it begin within the week.

About Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.


  1. I debated about what to do about series books when i made my nominations. In the end I decided to go with the first book in a series, even thought it wasn’t necessarily my favorite book.

  2. Elizabeth did you consider doing separate results for those under 12? I know I sound discriminatory but I can guarantee that if my students were asked, Percy Jackson, Greg Heffely, Bone, and Fablehaven would be the overwhelming winners, with little variation, and with possibly nothing written in the past Millennia. Not that any or all of those titles wouldn’t be valid, but the pool being drawn from would have considerably shrunk.

  3. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I did the same thing, Paige.

  4. I did the same thing with series books (picked the first title). If enough people do that, maybe the votes won’t get split too badly!

  5. DaNae, I did think about giving kids a separate vote. Then I figured that wasn’t fair. I mean, this is a booklist FOR kids. Why not let them have their say? Their votes probably make up 5% of the total votes I received, which means that some books will be swayed, but generally the adults will have the greater say. In fact, as the list stands right now (though I’ve more tabulating to do) there’s nothing on the Top 100 that adults didn’t also vote for. Adults ALSO like those same books, it seems.

  6. Genevieve says:

    That last comment is very reassuring, Fuse – that there’s nothing on the top 100 that adults didn’t also vote for.

    Your earlier comments about classrooms first excited me, then saddened me, and then I was embarrassed about being saddened. It’s terrific that this poll has got kids excited about books and willing to spend the time narrowing their all-time favorites to ten. I love the idea of classrooms full of kids working on this, tossing out ideas, each thinking about what books they really love. Then I was sad when I realized their pick of newer books could knock of some of my beloved older books that they may have never heard of. But then I was a little ashamed to feel that way, since it’s a kids’ book poll and they are kids – who am I, a grownup, to want the list stacked in favor of my childhood favorites? They have just as much right if not more to stack it with their childhood favorites.

  7. Genevieve, you’re absolutely right. I’ll add that in my case and I suspect others there was a feeling of MY CHOICES! I’ve read more than the kids, right? Well, maybe but we’ve all had those kids we both absolutely love and dread: the ones who have read EVERYTHING we suggest. Why shouldn’t they have as informed a say as us adults? The ones who just did it because the teacher made made them, will mostly pick titles that they got from friends or that the teacher has shown them and probably won’t sway the results much. Now if we get a bunch of titles that have only been in paperback, I’m going to suspect those were influenced by the kids. Otherwise I doubt that the numbers would really change much at all.

  8. Fair enough. I knew I was sounding all superior when I made the suggestion. I just know how narrow their focus tends to be.
    On another note, you must have had quite a gigantic response. Are you sure you don’t have a paid staff working for you, or some sort of cloning machine?

  9. I wish! Paid staff. Beautiful image. No, the fact that it’s not done right now belies that idea.

    And trust me, if an iCarly series title had ended up on the Top 100 I would have cancelled out the kid votes right then and there. You’re right, DaNae, that they love their series, but I’ve been impressed with one of their choices. One boy had an impassioned defense of why Walter Dean Myers’ “Autobiography of My Dead Brother” wasn’t teen. It is teen, but I appreciated how much he loved it. In the end, I think he replaced it with “The Hobbit”.

  10. I didn’t think you were sounding superior, DaNae. And I would be very interested after it’s all done in seeing stats breaking out the kid votes and adult votes, if Betsy has time. (I’d love to see what books would’ve made it on without the kid votes, but that’s probably asking waaaaay too much, with all the work Betsy’s doing in this gigantic and marvelous undertaking.)

    Would love hearing some of the thoughtful kid comments, as the books are revealed.

  11. I went with my favorite book in a series instead of the first one. Frankly, OVER SEA, UNDER STONE doesn’t compare with THE GREY KING in THE DARK IS RISING series.

    I would really love to see how the various series stack up against each other although that in itself could be the subject for another poll.

  12. Kristin – and some of us refuse to accept the reordering and insist that THE DARK IS RISING is the first book and OVER SEA, UNDER STONE is the second, literal chronology be d*mned.

    (My favorite of the series is probably GREENWITCH anyway…)

  13. I completely agree with your approach to votes related to series. Single titles only. A list of top ten series, well, that’s another story. By the way, do you sleep?

  14. What re-ordering? According to the copyright dates, OVER SEA, UNDER STONE was written in 1965 and THE DARK IS RISING was written in 1973. I’m betting that Ms. Cooper did’t think of it as a serie until she came up with the idea for the second book. I really liked the Greenwitch, too, but fell really hard for THE GREY KING without reading any of the others first.

  15. I was all over the place with series’. I didn’t blink on which Ramona or Anne book should make the cut, and didn’t consider them part of a series. Harry Potter was the only series that I chose the first book of, to represent the whole. I choose The High King for Prydain, as it is such a marvelously satisfying book in its entirety, although I don’t think it stands well on its own. The King of Attolia was there because it is pure genius, although the other two books still make the gifted class as well.

    Did I mention, I can’t wait to get started!

  16. Laurie (Six Boxes of Books) says:

    The fact that you know the top ten and we don’t is driving me nuts. I will try to be patient. Thank you, Betsy; this is fun.

  17. Dreadful Penny says:

    OMG, I can’t wait for the results! Between this, the Tournament of Books, and the SLJ Battle of the Books starting soon, we’ll be in countdown/battle royale frenzy.

  18. DaNae,

    I adore the Attolia books, especially KING OF ATTOLIA, but figured that they were YA.

  19. Huh, I didn’t know that. I was introduced to THE DARK IS RISING first (my dad read it to me at a young age, somewhere around 1990) and my copy definitely says “The first book in The Dark Is Rising Sequence” on its cover. It’s only when I was in middle school or so that I started seeing copies that lists OS,US as first. And I never thought to look at the copyright dates, I just assumed someone was pulling a Narnia on it. (Um… The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe really was written first in that case, right?)

    And I’m still going to maintain that it makes more sense to read TDIR first – you need to meet Will right off, and the quest for the grail is a lot more compelling—and scarier—when you know what the kids are up against.

  20. My Boaz''s Ruth says:

    Interesting. The standard (Powell’s) puts them as Children’s Middle Readers although other places put King of Attolia at “ALA Top 10 Best Book for Young Adults” and “New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age”

  21. At least a couple of my titles were listed as both YA AND Middle Reader at Powell’s, so I’m not surprised to find other titles have split categorizations as well. Some series seem to change as the series progresses–HP 1 and 2 are pretty solidly middle reader, at least in my book, but 5, 6, and 7 are so much darker it seems like they ought to be YA.

    It looks like I might be in the minority regarding series- I picked my favorite title without regard to publication order or in-story chronology.

    Can’t wait to see the results!

  22. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    One reason I went with “first book” for series is I couldn’t always easily come to a favorite book in the series (If Harry potter had made it to top 10 status, then I’d have used favorite book rather than first). The first book, for me is “standing in” for the entire series because trying to pick just one book would have been even harder.

  23. Kids vs. Adults is interesting. I’m also wondering about men vs. women. Any idea the percentage of submissions for the two groups Fuse? While I read and love both books dearly, I’m going to bet “Anne of Green Gables” is higher on list than say “The Book of Three” due in part, in part mind you, to sheer number of female participants…

  24. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    I thought about that when making my list. Some of my favorites are definitely more female than male. In fact, I put Secret Garden instead of a Little Princess in deference to just this idea. (my husband is re-reading Secret Garden RIGHT now.)… But then it dropped off the top 10 entirely. :( I just couldn’t squash enough books in there!

    But then again, Swiss Family Robinson stayed and Both Treasure Island and Adventures of Tom Sawyer were very close… so maybe not as much as you might think.

    I thought about Book of Three. I won’t be surprised to see it in the top 100, but it didn’t rise to top 10 for me at all.

  25. Regarding men vs. women, yar. Women certainly trumped the men in terms of votes. There may even have been more boys voting than men. But while the list definitely skews lady-wise, the womenfolk did a good job of getting some straight out boy readers on the list as well. Not that I’ll say which ones . . .

  26. rockinlibrarian says:

    Oh I’m so excited!

    If I was drawing the series line, I would say series that have one overarching storyline, like Harry Potter, count as one together, but series that can be read in any order, even if they do have a chronological order to them (like the Time Quartet– they do have an order, but the stories don’t have to do with each other), count by individual titles. (Although I think you can read EITHER The Dark Is Rising OR Over Sea Under Stone first and still have it make sense, if you want my opinion. Unfortunately The Dark is Rising only made my Top Twenty and then got cut, so my opinion doesn’t matter here I guess!)

    I am looking forward to seeing the list no matter what gets on it where!

  27. KHazelrigg says:

    Oh come on, Betsy, we want to know which titles make your teeth itch! Tell us! Tell us!

    Unless they’re on my list. Then keep the lips zipped.


  28. I did the first title in the series thing, too, even if it wasn’t my favorite.

    Except for “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” because that really should be No. 1, NOT “The Magician’s Nephew”. Pffft on the recent publishers for making it book 1 of the Narnia chronicles.

  29. My Boaz's Ruth says:

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe IS the first title in the series. (When choosing firsts, I went by first written not the modern interpretation of what series order should be.) Many series go back and write prequels, but I don’t consider the prequel to should be read first anyway!

  30. Sondy at Sonderbooks says:

    I put QUEEN OF ATTOLIA on my list, but would have preferred to put it on the YA vote. But I bowed to Powell’s, because I didn’t want it to not get credit where credit’s due. I’m afraid a lot of my choices were like that — could go either way. Despite our discussion, I put WITCH OF BLACKBIRD POND on my YA list. I probably should have put some books on both, but I wanted to recognize too many books!

    Betsy, I still think it would be fun to use the same scoring on Authors: 10 points for first choice, 9 for 2nd, etc. And see who makes the top 100 for that list. (For Picture Books, I bet Mo Willems would have been on top, but people like Dr. Seuss would have done better than his individual titles did.)

  31. Sondy:
    Using just the results from the top 100, the top author/illustrator was Sendak with an amazing 611 points Eric Carle ~300 points and then Clement Hurd/Margaret Wise Brown, Mo Willems and Robert McCloskey round out the top 5. Even if you add the Seuss titles that didn’t crack the top 100 (10 additional titles for another 62 points) he only gets up to 113 points still below Scieszka/Smith and Henkes (if you also add his off list points).

    While it saw clear from the get go that WTWTA would be the #1 by a large margin last year, I doubt the gap between 1st and 2nd will be anywhere near as large with the novels. So this time around the author ranking will probably be more revealing because likely poll toppers such as E.B. White and Raskin don’t have nearly the same number of titles as vote splitting authors such as Dahl, Wilder, Paterson, and Konigsburg.

  32. Sincere question — isn’t it “the die is cast,” as in the singular of “dice”? Or have I been wrong about this my whole life?

  33. Well, I’ll be hornswaggled. Nope, you are right about that. That’s what comes from growing up in a home where things are routinely dyed.

  34. Stop the presses! It was pointed out to me today that I left Charlotte’s Web off my list. That’s crazy! The pain I’m feeling now is sure to get worse as the results come in and I see all the others I forgot.

    The suspense is killing me.

  35. Jennifer in GA says:

    I get the idea behind listing the first book in a series as representative of the series (even if you personally don’t think it’s the best book) but I just couldn’t do that with Harry Potter.

    For me, I *had* to put Deathly Hallows as the series representative. Everything about that series leads to that book. The series has no point without that book. I mean, it’s not like J.K. Rowling wrote Sorcerer’s Stone, had a hit on her hands and decided to write six sequels.

    In other news, the suspense is killing me!! 😀

  36. I’m off of work on Thursday. Should give me the time I need to compile properly.

  37. See, I went for HP#1 to stand in for the series because it was so good, it made you want to read the rest. Yes, I personally like #3 and 4 a bit more, but without that first, original book nothing else would have mattered.

    And while I live EB White, Stuart Little makes more than my teeth itch.

  38. Jennifer Schultz says:

    Ohhh, I want to know which books on the list make Betsy’s teeth itch. I wonder if I’ll be able to guess.

  39. You might. The posts will be written through gritted, itchy teeth.