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100 Magnificent Children’s Books of 2010

Well, what the heck?  I read a lot of books in a given year.  I fall in love with at least 100 of them.  Why not turn them into a list?  With the understanding that I am just one person and I have not read everything published in a given year (which is why committee lists have distinct advantages over personal ones) here are 100 of my favorite books published for children in the year of 2010 with links to my reviews of some of them.  A tip of the hat to everyone behind their creation.  And remember, I had to limit the list to 100, so if your favorite title isn’t on here, that’s probably because I had to bump it at the last minute.  Keep telling yourself that, anyway.

100 Magnificent Children’s Books of 2010


Mirror by Jeannie Baker

Oh No! (Or How My Science Project Destroyed the World) by Mac Barnett, illus by Dan Santat

Flora’s Very Windy Day by Jeanne Birdsall, illus by Matt Phelan

A Pig Parade is a Terrible Idea by Michael Ian Black, illus. by Kevin Hawkes

Miss Brooks Loves Books! (and I don’t) by Barbara Bottner, illus by Michael Emberley

Children Make Terrible Pets by Peter Brown

Farm by Elisha Cooper

Jump! by Scott M. Fischer

My Garden by Kevin Henkes

How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

Big Red Lollipop by Rukshana Khan, illus. by Sophie Blackall

Shadow by Suzy Lee

Henry In Love by Peter McCarty

Spork by Kyo Maclear

Busing Brewster by Richard Michelson

Sneaky Sheep by Chris Monroe

The Boys by Jeff Newman

Subway by Christoph Niemann

Cooking With Henry and Elliebelly by Carolyn Parkhurst, illus by Dan Yaccarino

Todd’s TV by James Proimos

Oh, Daddy! by Bob Shea

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Christian Stead, illus by Erin E. Stead

Cats’ Night Out by Caroline Stutson

The Quiet Book by Deborah Underwood, ill. by Renata Liwska

Art & Max by David Wiesner

Here Comes the Garbage Barge! by Jonah Winter, ill. Red Nose Studio

Pecan Pie Baby by Jacqueline Woodson, ill. Sophie Blackall

Elsie’s Bird by Jane Yolen, ill. by David Small


The Three Little Pigs: An Architectural Tale by Steven Guarnaccia

Dust Devil by Anne Isaacs, illus by Paul O. Zelinsky

Joha Makes a Wish by Eric A. Kimmel, ill. Omar Rayyan

Pea Boy and Other Stories from Iran by Elizabeth Laird, illus by Shirin Adl

The Rooster Prince of Breslov by Ann Redisch Stampler, ill. Eugene Yelchin


Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke

House of Dolls by Francesca Lia Block, ill. Barbara McClintock

Sophie Simon Solves Them All by Lisa Graff

Guinea Dog by Patrick Jennings

Ling and Ting: Not Exactly the Same! by Grace Lin

The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry

Bink and Gollie by Alison McGee and Kate Di Camillo, ill. Tony Fucile

The Night Fairy by Laura Amy Schlitz, illustrated by Angela Barrett


Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah

Forge by Laurie Halse Anderson

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda by Tom Angleberger

Keeper by Kathi Appelt

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Tortilla Sun by Jennifer Cervantes

Crunch by Leslie Connor

Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper

A Tale Dark and Grimm by Adam Gidwitz

Home Is With Our Family by Joyce Hansen

Thresholds by Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Turtle in Paradise by Jennifer Holm

The Water Seeker by Kimberly Willis Holt

The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt and Julie Graham-Chang by Amy Ignatow

The Clockwork Three by Matthew Kirby

Departure Time by Truus Matti

Sugar and Ice by Kate Messner

The Boneshaker by Kate Milford

The Fantastic Secret of Owen Jester by Barbara O’Connor

A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park

Bamboo People by Mitali Perkins

Heart of a Samurai by Margi Preus

Shooting Kabul by N.H. Senzai

Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze by Alan Silberberg

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins by R. A. Spratt

The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh

Palace Beautiful by Sarah DeFord Williams

One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia

The Mysterious Howling: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1 by Maryrose Wood


Trickster: Native American Tales a Graphic Collection edited by Matt Dembicki

Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword by Barry Deutsch

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by Greg Neri

Zeus: King of the Gods by George O’Connor

Meanwhile by Jason Shiga

Binky to the Rescue by Ashley Spires

Shake, Rattle, and Turn That Noise Down: How Elvis Shook Up Music, Me and Mom by Mark Alan Stamaty

Smile by Raina Telgemeier

Ghostopolis by Doug Tennapel

Amazing Greek Myths: Wonders and Blunders by Michael Townsend

Guinea Pig, Pet Shop Private Eye: Hamster and Cheese by Colleen AF Venable

Thunder from the Sea: Adventure On Board the HMS Defender by Jeff Weigel


Sharing the Seasons: A Book of Poems selected by Lee Bennett Hopkins, ill. David Diaz

Poetry Speaks Who I Am: Poems of Discovery, Inspiration, Independence, and Everything Else in Your Amazing Future edited by Elise Paschen and Dominique Raacah

Guyku: A Year of Haiku for Boys by Bob Raczka, ill. Peter H. Reynolds

Ubiquitous: Celebrating Nature’s Survivor’s by Joyce Sidman, ill. by Beckie Prange

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse by Marilyn Singer, ill. Josee Masse


She Sang Promise: The Story of Betty Mae Jumper, Seminole Tribal Leader by J.G. Annino

Unraveling Freedom by Ann Bausum

Spies of Mississippi: The True Story of the Spy Network that Tried to Destroy the Civil Rights Movement by Rick Bowers

Hive Detectives: Chronicle of a Honey Bee Catastrophe by Loree Griffin Burns

The Extraordinary Mark Twain (according to Susy) by Barbara Curley, illus by Edwin Fotheringam

Sparky: The Life and Art of Charles Schulz by Beverly Gherman

Ballet for Martha by Jan Greenberg and Sandra Jordan, ill. Brian Floca

How the Sphinx Got to the Museum by Jessie Hartland

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illus. Bryan Collier

Born to Be Giants: How Baby Dinosaurs Grew to Rule the World by Lita Judge

Pop! The Invention of Bubble Gum by Meghan McCarthy

Spilling Ink: A Young Writer’s Handbook by Anne Mazer and Ellen Potter, ill. Matt Phelan

Kakapo Rescue: Saving the World’s Strangest Parrot by Sy Montgomery

I make one of these lists each year, and they’re a good litmus test for areas where I could make some improvements.  I doubt I’m alone in noticing the lamentable lack of books by Hispanic authors and illustrators here (one David Diaz book and one by Jennifer Cervantes and that’s IT?).  I should bulk up my poetry reading and non-fiction reading a little more, though I did better this year than I did last.

Have you made your own Top 100 2010 books list?  If so, send me the link to your blog post and I’ll place it here as well.

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. How very pleased I am to see Mirror on your list, Betsy! I think it’s a wonderful book that genuinely encourages empathy and tolerance.

  2. Magnificent list indeed!

    Thanks for classifying them – I love that there is poetry on the list as well as non-fiction and even graphic novels!

    A tip of the hat from

    Read Aloud Dad

  3. For Hispanic titles, what about Dreamer? Definitely one of my favorites this year!

  4. or Flotando en la Cancion de Mama por Laura Lacamara Illustrado por Yuyi Morales

    Forgive the lack of proper accents. The English title is Floating on Mama’s Song. It is a Katherine Tegen book. I love it (and so do my first graders).

    By the way, Betsy, congratulations on your marvelous June project! Cheers!

  5. Great list! I especially like your title. “Magnificent” is a much better word choice than “Best.” Who can argue?

  6. I love your list – thank you.

  7. I think I would add Scumble to my list as well.

  8. Hi Elizabeth,
    Thank you so much for inlcuding TORTILLA SUN on your list. I am honored 🙂 What a fantastic list!!!!


  9. Thanks so much! This is lovely company for me to find myself in. 🙂

  10. I am so honored to be on this list. Thank you, Ms. Bird!

  11. I too feel honored to be on your list. Time for more cupcakes!

    Thanks B.B.


  12. I liked Muu, Moo: Rimas de Animales and oh crap what was the other? No that’s not a title. Although if I ever write a book I might as well call it that! Habia una vez. Both bilingual titles.

    Love this list. Ghostopolis though? With the incongruous Jesus guy in the middle? Really liked that book, but I didn’t think it needed any Jesus.


  13. I’m thrilled to be betwixt such amazing authors — thanks for the “mention”!
    N.H Senzai

  14. Thank you for including my book Palace Beautiful on your list! I’m in some pretty wonderful company–a lot of great new books this year!

    -Sarah DeFord Williams

  15. Super list! but where is the Mo? We Are in a Book AND City Dog, Country Frog seem to have been accidentally left off this list. That’s okay though, everyone makes mistakes.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Would you believe I haven’t read Scumble yet? As I say, I am limited by time and what I’ve actually seen. Muu Moo should be on there, but I haven’t had a chance to examine it. But Mo . . . well the dog/frog thing may not be my favorite Mo book. Or Muth book. Thinking about it, I probably should have included an Elephant and Piggie, but he has so many and while they’re brilliant I had to give some other folks space. Next time, Mr. Mo.

  16. Magnificent list! Thanks so much for compiling and sharing it.

  17. Anne Isaacs joins me in expressing great happiness at being on your list of magnificence. I assume she does; I haven’t actually asked her.

  18. Love this list! A couple of my faves from 2010 are on it–Out of My Mind and Origami Yoda. BTW, hope you get a chance to read Scumble soon–loved that one too 🙂

  19. What a great list. I need to add some of these to my pile.

    I read The Popularity Papers and One Crazy Summer. Great books. I truly loved Meanwhile by Jason Shiga. What a cool and inventive book. I highly recommend it!

  20. Hey, I’m half Hispanic!

  21. This is an awesome and comprehensive list. I’d also like to add Jazz Fly 2 by Matthew Gollub to the list. It’s a great English/Spanish kids book and music CD I recently picked up for my four year old daughter. I’ve found that it’s helped her interest in a post-Dora the Explorer world.

  22. Well, Ms. Bird, while Wiff and Dirty George did not make your esteemed list, I’m still rocking and rolling from that most smashing review you gave my book back in March. You, as they say, rock!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Ah, Mr. Swinburne. If it’s any comfort yours was one of the very last books I was forced to remove. The number 100 is a cruel mistress. Nonetheless, loved your title. A truly enjoyable tale.

  23. I’m constantly mistaken as Hispanic. Abuelas berate me in Spanish for forgetting my mother tongue. Does that count for .1?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Hmmm. Let’s say .05, unless you took some high school Spanish. Then we’ll consider upping your grade.

  24. Great company to swim with!
    One third of my name is Hispanic.


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