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The Top 100 Children’s Novels Poll (#1-100)

“Perhaps it is only in childhood that books have any influence on our lives . . . In childhood, all books are books of divination, telling us the future.” – Graham Greene

We’ve had a lot of fun here, haven’t we? I’ve had fun putting these posts from the poll together. You’ve had fun predicting them and making crazy stats left and right (read Eric’s round-up of the final statistics here, if you’ve a chance). Good times. Good times.

It’s not entirely over yet, but here is the list of every book that has appeared on the countdown with links to the posts giving background information:

#1 Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

#2 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

#3 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

#4 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

#5 From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg

#6 Holes by Louis Sachar

#7 The Giver by Lois Lowry

#8 The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett

#9 Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

#10 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

#11 The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

#12 The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

#13 Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson

#14 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

#15 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

#16 Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh

#17 Maniac Magee by Jerry Spinelli

#18 Matilda by Roald Dahl

#19 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

#20 Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt

#21 Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riodan

#22 The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread by Kate DiCamillo

#23 Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#24 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

#25 Little Women by Louisa May Alcott

#26 Hatchet by Gary Paulsen

#27 A Little Princess by Francis Hodgson Burnett

#28 Winnie-the Pooh by A.A. Milne

#29 Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland /Alice Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

#30 The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper

#31 Half Magic by Edward Eager

#32 Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien

#33 James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl

#34 Watsons Go to Birmingham, 1963 by Christopher Paul Curtis

#35 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire JK Rowling

#36 Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume

#37 Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor

#38 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix by J.K. Rowling

#39 When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

#40 The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

#41 The Witch of Blackbird Pond by Elizabeth George Speare

#42 Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#43 Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

#44 Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

#45 The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

#46 Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

#47 Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis

#48 The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits and a Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall

#49 Frindle by Andrew Clements

#50 Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell

#51 The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright

#52 The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

#53 Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

#54 The BFG by Roald Dahl

#55 The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson

#56 Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

#57 Ramona Quimby, Age 8 by Beverly Cleary

#58 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken

#59 Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

#60 The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi

#61 Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

#62 The Secret of the Old Clock (The Nancy Drew mysteries) by Caroline Keene

#63 Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright

#64 A Long Way from Chicago by Richard Peck

#65 Ballet Shoes by Noah Streatfeild

#66 Henry Huggins by Beverly Cleary

#67 Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher by Bruce Coville

#68 Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech

#69 The Mysterious Benedict Society by Trenton Lee Stewart

#70 Betsy Tacy by Maud Hart Lovelace

#71 A Series of Unfortunate Events: The Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket

#72 My Father’s Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett

#73 My Side of the Mountain by Jean Craighead George

#74 The Borrowers by Mary Norton

#75 Love That Dog by Sharon Creech

#76 Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse

#77 City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau

#78 Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

#79 All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

#81 Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin

#82 The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander

#83 The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner

#84 Little White Horse by Elizabeth Goudge

#85 On the Banks of Plum Creek by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#86 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling

#87 The View from Saturday by E. L. Konigsburg

#88 The High King by Lloyd Alexander

#89 Ramona and her Father by Beverly Cleary

#90 Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan

#91 Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar

#92 Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

#93 Caddie Woodlawn by C. R. Brink

#94 Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome

#95 Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

#96 The Witches by Roald Dahl

#97: The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo

#98 Children of Green Knowe by L.M. Boston

#99 The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

#100 The Egypt Game by Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I’ve been asked to add to these titles the number of nominations and the number of #1 votes each one got. I may do this if I get a chance.

How many people voted? I received 318 emails containing Top 10 lists. Of these emails, about six were from teachers and their students, Those emails averaged out to about 8 lists per email. So a rough estimate of votes received would look something like 366 lists. A fair sampling.

Some of you will recall that in my poll-crazed state I challenged the lot of you to guess what the Top 10 of this list would be and in the correct order. Some of you were sad that I asked for order, but I had good reason. In the end, a whopping sixteen of you correctly predicted which books would appear in the Top 10. These folks were not swayed by the possible appearance of Diary of Wimpy Kid (tomorrow: an explanation of why it didn’t appear on the list). They understood that The Little Prince could not possibly make it at this point. And they respected the Tollbooth. That was probably the most forgotten title (though a couple fellas did miss out on Anne).

But how many got the order right? Well, last year I didn’t ask for order and only one person correctly predicted the Top 10 Picture Books. This year sixteen people correctly figured out the Top 10 but none of them got the order exactly right. A couple people did slot the right book into the right number, however. So I kept track. If someone correctly predicted just #1 (Charlotte’s Web) and #10 (The Phantom Tollbooth) then they got two correct. Whoever got the most correct would win. Here are some stats on how this turned out then.

People Who Got Zero in the Right Order: 3
People Who Got One in the Right Order: 4
People Who Got Two in the Right Order: 3
People Who Got Three in the Right Order: 3
People Who Got Four in the Right Order: 2

And finally, the folks who correctly predicted five of the books in exactly the right slots . . . give it up for . . .

Genevieve and Melissa!!!!


They have already been contacted about their stupendous win. I will be offering them their choice of fabulous prizes.

Tomorrow . . . the books that never made it on the list. Where were they? What happened?

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. Guys, shmuys — *I* forgot Ann, and no excuse. Love Anne. Forgot.

    But I’ve also been beating myself up for forgetting the cornerstone of such moral code as I have, Little Women, and you know? I’m going to stop. I hereby assert that Little Women is YA.

  2. Thank you for all of your hard work on this. I’ve been following along from the very beginning and have enjoyed every step of the way.

  3. Yes, thank you, thank you, thank you! My teachers and I truly appreciate all the hard work you put into this list (even though I’m still kicking myself for missing the entry deadline!).

  4. This has been great and there are lots of wonderful books here … but I’m pretty frustrated.
    The great master of the mid-grade is not on this list: Daniel Pinkwater.
    From his early masterpiece Lizard Music to more recent wonders like The Neddiad, Pinkwater has created a world (or multiverse) for all of us middle-school weirdos to rejoice in.

  5. Pleeease do Madeleine L’Engle the favor of spelling her name correctly, here and in the original post. It’s right there on the cover. Thanks.

  6. Betsy, thank you for the great list. A little typo at 96/97. 96 is the witches and 97 is edward tulane. Somehow they got combined as 96 edward tulane.

  7. Betsy, I’ve made a 1 sheet handout and I’ll email it to you (with corrections as listed above).

  8. rockinlibrarian says

    Good times indeed! You are awesome, thank you.

    I am reading Children’s Literature Gems now because I can’t get enough of you talking about good books.

  9. Thank you so much for doing this. Your effort is greatly appreciated! Thank you, thank you, thank you! (BTW, I added about 17 books to my TBR pile.)

  10. Interesting. This is what I get for working off the old Word document where I was keeping track of the list. Anywho, corrected.

  11. Melissa ZD says

    This TOTALLY made my day. A prize! As if getting to participate in this project and having the sheer fun of reading the posts and comments every day weren’t reward enough. Thanks again Betsy, for all of your hard work. I can’t wait for the next poll, but I bet you can!

  12. If only I hadn’t forgotten Phantom Tollbooth! I got the remaining 9 correct, and 7 of them were in the right position.

  13. Lisa Von Drasek says

    I love this list! If I get that reference question again- What are the essential books that I should have in my library, all I have to do is point. Maybe I will ask the kids if they agree or disagree.

  14. Amazing how many of these I never saw as a kid. Some of my favorites are there, and I am pleased that The Borrowers and Anne are still hanging in there.

  15. This is so exciting! As Melissa said, the fun of reading Betsy’s analysis and all the links she found for every book, poring over the covers, seeing everyone’s comments, that’s been tremendous. Something marvelous to look forward to every morning. A prize is a lovely extra!

  16. Mitali Perkins says

    Wonderful! Thanks so much, Betsy. Well, you were right, it’s not too “multicultural” of a list, apart from Christopher Paul Curtis and Grace Lin. Am I missing anybody? Wonder what this list will look like when your great-granddaughter compiles it in honor of your centennial …

  17. Ohhhhhh! So close! I was one of the two who got four correct. I wonder what would have happened if you subtracted the correct placement from the person’s guess. For example, guessing ANNE at Number 1, put me off by 9-1 = 8, but having Charlotte’s Web as Number 2 was only off by 1. Still, that ANNE overestimating would have been my undoing that way, I figure. And HOLES as #10 was off by 4. WRINKLE was off by 3, but the rest were only incorrect by one slot. My total places off was 18, so I probably should be happy you figured it the way you did.

    And I’d been kicking myself for not putting CHARLOTTE at #1, which I really knew was where it would be. But if I had, then I would have been off by one on HP and LWW, because I didn’t guess WRINKLE would beat them, so I would have only had three in the correct slots.

    Still, my feelings are: Darn! So close…..!

    But thanks for a FANTASTIC series, Betsy! You rock! And I for one hope you will publish a book with these lists.

  18. It’s a tiny bit more multicultural than the picture book list, but not by much. One of the reasons I’m reluctant to turn it into a book, to be honest. Perhaps I can find a way to work more books in. There should be a way . . .

  19. Judy Freeman says

    Spectacular series, Betsy. I have been blown away by your essays on each book and the sheer organizational complexity that you took on. All that math! Whew! This most certainly will make one fabulous book, though you’re right–the multicultural issue is vexing and perplexing.

    What’s next? Poetry or nonfiction? You’re definitely on a roll here, though if you’d like to take a week off to catch your breath, we’re OK with that.

    Congratulations on helping spring come–you’ve ushered in the flowers and the warm weather over these past wonderful weeks.

    Judy Freeman

  20. You could do a Top 100 titles by multicultural authors poll, then present the top 100 from this poll and the top 100 from that poll alphabetically in this-still-hypothetical book?

  21. Mitali, you’re missing Mildred D. Taylor (Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry). And I’m glad Christopher Paul Curtis is one of the few authors who is on there twice. But yes . . . I would’ve liked to have seen you, Lisa Yee, many others . . .

  22. Karen Wang says

    Oh, I am SO MAD at myself! With all the talk of When You Reach Me and A Wrinkle in Time everywhere in the kidlitosphere, I thought I had already read about Wrinkle on the Top 100 list somewhere between 100 and 11, so I left it off of my Top 10 predictions — but got the other nine right! Of course, my order was all off, but still. I’m very angry at myself. I should have known A Cricket in Times Square wouldn’t make the Top 10…

  23. Karen Wang says

    Oops, I also meant to say: thanks so much for putting this all together, Betsy! 🙂

  24. My Boaz's Ruth says

    Enh. What’s a multicultural author? When I read a book, I don’t think about the ethnicity of the author. Sometimes I’m very surprised to discover the ethnicity of the character unless the book makes a big deal of it. But then I don’t tend to picture what I am reading so much. I even dream in words, not pictures, mostly.

  25. Mitali Perkins says

    Thanks, Genevieve.

    Betsy, how about pairing each classic with an “If you loved this back in the day, you and your kids will love …” boxed suggestion of five books to read that include some from the margins?

    You could compile those suggestions on your blog, too.

  26. Again, this is an absolute gift and it’s been a joy to follow. Thanks so much.

  27. Thank you!

    btw, my 8 y.o. daughter absolutely *loved* “The Little White Horse”. Why didn’t I ever hear about it when I was her age? Probably because no one like Betsy put together such an awesome list.

  28. Such fun! It was a real pleasure to read along and try to guess the winners. Looking forward to best YA next year? 😉

  29. Genevieve says

    Sondy, my total for places off is 12 (half of which was for Anne, so I’m with you on that!).

  30. Since the fun began I’ve been reading or rereading books that are bit muzzy in my memory. Right now I’m on Roll of Thunder Hear my Cry. I’d read it about 25 years ago and had little memory left except that it was wonderful. I don’t think the adjetive exsist to express how wonderful it really is.

    I think you are on to something there Sondy. I need Eric to come up with some sort of displaced point system that wins me a prize for getting close. Because if Genevieve and Melissa win Betsy’s new Enola ARC I’m going to have great big noisy fuss that would impress Ramona.

  31. Oh, the Enola ARC. That WOULD make a good gift idea. Kudos for the idea, DaNae.

  32. MelissaZD says

    Sondy & Genevieve, I was off 2 for HP, 1 for Wrinkle, 1 for Charlotte, 2 for Anne and 2 for Giver, and I am still astonished by how close I got pretty much by chance…mine was not a very objective endeavor. And DaNae, I am hoping for a picture book, so you’re safe. 🙂

  33. bear_bull says

    Thank you. Russian version of the list presented in my live journal (bear_bull)

  34. Oh my goodness, I saw All of a Kind Family on the list. I LOVED that whole series when I was a kid. It gave me a warm fuzzy feeling to see it here!!

  35. Thank you so much Fuse#8! This has been a high point of my life recently, and I am sorry to see the fun end. You probably hate the idea after all your hard work, but how about Melissa’s suggestion (reprinted below)? I think she is on to something. Besides, it gives us at least 1 more poll to look forward to!
    MelissaZD commented:

    You could do a Top 100 titles by multicultural authors poll, then present the top 100 from this poll and the top 100 from that poll alphabetically in this-still-hypothetical book?

  36. I’m kicking myself for forgetting From the Mixed-Up Files! I don’t know how I managed to do that, since I read it to one of my classes last fall. Getting nine out of ten right though…even if they weren’t in the right order, is pretty good though. Right?

  37. Kate Coombs says

    Hey, Betsy, a couple of these links send you to the wrong book. (I should have written them down, but it was late at night, and it didn’t even occur to me to tell you until morning!)

  38. Lucy Pollard-Gott says

    You mentioned the wish to add some multicultural selections in the future; a good one is “Botchan” by Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki. It has been called the “Huckleberry Finn” of Japan, and critic Donald Keene notes that it is “probably the most widely read novel in modern Japan,” popular with young and old. You can read more about Botchan in my book The Fictional 100, where this character is ranked 95 out of 100. “Botchan” is available in a couple of English translations in paperback. Thanks for your wonderful list–a great project!!

  39. Hi Kate,

    Are you sure? Remember that for a lot of these posts they were in groups of five. So while the first book won’t be right, you can scroll down and get to the correct one. I’m fairly certain I connected these all correctly, but definitely let me know if something goes astray.

  40. Barbara H. says

    I remember reading Freckles, Tales of the Limberlost, and The Girl from the Limberlost by Gene Stratton Porter as a child, but I don’t know if they were children’s novels per se. I’ve often thought I’d like to go back and revisit them some day — I don’t remember much about them now.

  41. I notice that on several lists J.M Barrie’s classic “Peter Pan” is overlooked…such a pity.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Folks just didn’t vote for it. I think the era of Pan-love may be past.

  42. I am astounded that the Wizard of Earthsea plus sequels by Ursula Le Guin does not appear in this list. These books are vastly superior to Harry Potter in terms of narrative, literary quality and issues raised.

    The Snow Spider trilogy by Jenny Nimmo is a beautifully told series based on Celtic mythological tradition.

    Alan Garner’s works (especially Weirdstone of Brisingamen, Moon of Gomrath, Elidor, Owl Service) have also been left out, which is a crying shame.

    Incidentally, the above, plus John Masefield’s Midnight Folk and Box of Delights feature in my list of 100 top reads alongside fiction and non-fiction written for adults. Follow my link if you are curious see my selections.

  43. jaci pieters says

    im reading hatchet and it is my favorite book and i think it should be number 1

  44. Casey Robbins says

    No mention of any of C.S. Lewis or J.R.R. Tolkien’s other works in this list? That’s a shame considering they’ve withstood the test of time to be called “classics” while Rowling’s works (6 of the 7 Harry Potter books) have not withstood any particular test of time.

    I guess I can just attribute this list to the recency effect in memory. There’s no way Rowling is THAT much better of an author than Lewis or Tolkien. In another 40-50 years, you might find 1 of her books on a top 100 children’s novels list… if you’re lucky.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Since both The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe and The Hobbit are on this list I will assume that you are objecting to the fact that there are not more Narnia and Middle Earth titles here. One might argue that Lord of the Rings and its fellows was more teen than children’s fare. As for the other Narnia books, some of them are perfectly peachy but few would argue that books like The Last Battle would have any place on this list.

  45. I hated the Hobbit as an 11 year old. I think that’s really a grown up book. Peter Pan isn’t on the list because very few people have actually read it. I thought Walt Disney wrote Peter Pan till I was in Junior High. Then I discovered the book and adored it. Who remembers Captain Hook’s monologue on the playing fileds of Eton and the old School tie?

    About 80 books on this list are old and new favorites of mine.

  46. The fact that Percy Jackson beat out The Golden Compass by twenty places makes the order of this entire list a little suspect to me. My disagreements with the ranking aside, this is a lovely nostalgia-filled post. 🙂

  47. aidan sullivan says

    this list is great for all my book clubs!!!
    syl, aidan

  48. NONE BY MICHAEL ENDE??? not even momo ?? black beauty ???? the three musketeers ?? jules verne??? and so much more are missing here 🙁

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Ah, but did you vote? That is the problem with polls. If you didn’t vote it’s hard to critique.

  49. Ella Speers says

    a few missing there folks!

  50. Clarice O'Brien says

    Um, am I correct that #32 should actually read “Mrs. Brisby and the Rats of NIMH” Not Mrs. Frisby?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Ah. You are thinking of the movie version of the book. They had to change the original name of “Frisby” to “Brisby” to avoid a lawsuit from the Frisbee corporation. Or so I have been told.

  51. kien tran says

    I haven’t read all the books in the list but I think Rebecca of Sunnybrook farm should be in it


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