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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Announcing the New Top 100 Polls!

Three years ago I had the idea to have a Top 100 Picture Book Poll here on the blog.  Actually, I didn’t have the idea.  My husband did and he got the idea from the Comics Should Be Good Top 100 Comic Book Runs poll.  My poll was such a success that I followed it up the next year with the Top 100 Chapter Books Poll.  Both of these were a lot of fun but they were not without problems.  The Picture Book Poll, for example, was so new that I didn’t get a lot of votes (in a relative sense) so the bottom of the list was fun but haphazard.  It also didn’t include easy books, a choice I later regretted.  The Chapter Book Poll fared better but when SLJ switched to a new format all the images I included in my posts disappeared.  With that in mind, let us make up for old time with . . .

The All New Top 100 Picture Book and Chapter Book Polls!

With polls so nice we’re doing ’em twice.  No, they’re not new but the results will be.  A lot can change in two or three years.

We are doing two polls concurrent with one another at the same time.  You may vote on both.  The rules are essentially the same with some significant changes.  Observe:

1.  Send me two lists.  On the first you will vote for your top ten fictional picture books.  On the second you will vote for your top ten fictional middle grade books of all time (not just this year or last year), both by 11:59 Eastern on April 15, 2012. On the picture book side you may include easy books.  On the chapter book side you may include early chapter book titles and series. This will NOT include young adult books (for kids 13 and up).

2.  Can’t tell if a book should be on the easy book poll or chapter book poll (like Bink & Gollie)?  Use your best judgement.  Does it feel like a picture book or a chapter book?  Feel free to write a justification for a book if you feel it really does belong on one list or another. Just know that I have the final right of refusal.

3.  List these books in your order of preference. I cannot stress this enough. Your #1 chapter book would be the one you feel is the most important, so I will give it 10 points. Your #2 choice will be only 9 points. And so on and such. So be very careful how you order your books.  It could make all the difference between what does and does not make the list.

4.  Submit the two lists to me at I’d rather you didn’t leave your votes in the comment feature on this site since it’s finicky and difficult to use (plus I want everyone’s votes to be a surprise).

5.  If you like, you can submit what you like about each title. Mid-April my team and I will tally up the totals and I will pull from the submitted pieces why one reader or another liked a particular book (naming the reader, of course). That way we’ll be able to hear from a whole mess of people why they love one book or another. I will then count down from 100 to 1 the top choices of what folks feel the best picture books and chapter books of all time are.  If you’re not sure how this looks just click on the Top 100 Polls in my sidebar and look at some of the titles there.  They’ll give you a good sense of how things fall out.  The more original or heartfelt your comment the more likely it is to be included.  Comments are, however, optional.

6.  Last time we ran the poll we got a lot of votes from students.  Child votes are fantastic but we had a lot of kids who would just list all the Rick Riordan books in order, or all the Wimpy Kids.  I think these votes count for something so if you would like your kids to submit their own votes I’m all for it!  I will create a separate list of Kid Poll Results so that we can see what REAL children really like.  If you would like to do this poll with your class it can be a great way to get them to think critically about the books they currently read or those they grew up with.  Just indicate on your email that the results come from kids.  I consider anyone between the ages of 0-18 a child.

7. For the chapter book poll we are asking that if you like a series please include only one book from that series.  Last time all the Harry Potter books but one made the list, which wasn’t a problem and may have only happened because of child votes.  However, to allow as many different kinds of books on this list I ask that you limit your love to a single book in a series and that if you cannot decide on a favorite then please just list the first one.

8.  I was disappointed with the last two polls that there wasn’t a lot of diversity.  I would encourage you to consider including one book on each of your lists that could be considered diverse in some way.  This is not a requirement, merely a suggestion.

9.  Finally, if you only like picture books and don’t care about chapter books or you adore chapter books but don’t give a fig for picture, that is okay.  You can send me just one list.  However, you can only send me your votes once.  No double voting please.

I would like to thank my incredible team of Number Crunchers who will be helping me compile the results.  With the aid of Eric Carpenter’s amazing algorithm he alongside Dick, Emily, Joy, Kate, Katie, Laurel, Sam, and Sondra have graciously agreed help me out.  Without them I am nothing.

If you would like to repost this word for word on your own blog, go for it!  I mind not a jot.

So go to it!  The deadline, as I said, is midnight on 4/15.  If you have questions, need clarification, or want to know if a book belongs on one list or another feel free to ask me. Most importantly, have fun!

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. You are insane, but … WHEEEEE!!! Last time I failed to notice that order mattered. This time i will be vewwy, vewwy careful.

  2. Due date same as my taxes? Aw, heck, my taxes can be late….

    As I recall, after the last one somebody (was it Eric?) redid the results and weighted them by age which I found better overall. Are you guys doing that with this algorithm?


  3. Chris in NY says:

    So can I just resubmit my list (and comment) from last time? I still love what I suggested!

  4. This is excellent! I do like the new and improved rules (especially the series rule). Will get to work on it.

  5. Sorry if I am being dense, but clarification, please – is the series rule (which I like) only for grown-ups, or should the students abide by it, as well?

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Yes, you can certainly just resubmit your last lists. That is a-okay. And the series rule is definitely for grown-ups, but for kids I can be flexible. After all, kids are always so keen on a particular book in a series that it would be a shame to limit them. Let the students do what they want, that’s what I say.

      And Brooke, I will definitely take you up on your age weighting offer. Your husband’s algorithm was fascinating. Let’s figure out something to do with that again.

  6. Yay! This is so exciting. (I actually checked to make sure it wasn’t April Fool’s Day because this news seemed just too good to be true!) Will start working on my lists immediately. I think the new rules are a definite improvement. Can’t wait to see the results.

  7. My husband, Brian, was the one who created the algorithm that weighted the poll results by the book’s age. I’m sure he’ll be happy to do so again. For those of you who missed it and are curious, here’s the link:

  8. Excellent! I am going to have my 4th graders (who followed the Newbery closely this year) come up with their lists!

  9. Ooo, I am going to make all-new lists! I never was much for the “favorites” thing, my favorites change all the time. *starts rummaging through LibraryThing*

  10. Is there an objective way to decide whether a book is upper middle grade or young YA? Do all Newbery winners qualify even if they’re more YAish?

    Soooo excited, this is my favorite thing ever. And YES, I’m pretty sure my list has changed, even if only a little, since last time, especially my picture book list.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      I believe that in the past we said that if you weren’t sure if something was YA or MG you could check with Powell’s and see where they categorized it. I would allow anything that won a Newbery onto the list, though, since it’s supposed to serve children anyway.

  11. Elizabeth, great idea. I can’t wait to see the results.

  12. Looking forward to this! Thanks for giving it another go round

  13. Jennifer in GA says:

    Oh YAY!!!!! I missed the deadline for the picture book poll last time around, but the chapter book poll was epic. I will probably re-submit my exact same list. Or maybe not.

  14. I’m so excited about this. I first found your blog during the 100 picture book countdown and have been hooked (and somewhat obsessed) ever since. Thank you for doing this again!

  15. Good thing we already submitted our taxes… this will be very time consuming in only the best way possible! This sounds like a huge undertaking so thank you so, so much for doing this for the enjoyment of your book loving readers!

  16. Mark Flowers says:

    Are board books (ie books that were only published as board books, like Sandra Boynton) eligible for the Picture Book poll? I seem to remember they weren’t last time.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      I’m going to go ahead and say absolutely. I’m allowing a wider variety of titles this time around so everything from board books to easy readers is allowed. Boynton in the house.


  1. […] with a new fangled ratings system. If you, your kids, students, etc. want to cast votes, read how here. Submissions are due before midnight on April […]

  2. […] last night, Betsy Bird, who writes School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 blog, is doing another Top 100 Chapter Books Poll. You have two more days to get in your votes! Anyone who loves books, do this soon! You’ll be […]

  3. […] She’s running both polls again. Once again, list your top 10 favorite Picture Books, and top 10 favorite Chapter Books. They will be given 10 points for first place, 9 points for second, and so on. Yes, this is very difficult to choose. She does suggest using the first book in a series. And I’m still having a problem with the definition of “chapter book.” Some of my favorites are rather in between. But I decided that when romance is one of my favorite things about the book, like The Blue Sword, by Robin McKinley, The Goose Girl, by Shannon Hale, and The Witch of Blackbird Pond, by Elizabeth George Speare, I’d leave those books out. I also decided to go with only one book by each author, so even though I like Emily of New Moon a little better (heresy, heresy) than Anne, I went with the more well-known, partly because I do think Anne is slightly more enduring, ground-breaking, and appealing to everyone. […]