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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Announcing the New Top 100 Picture Books and Novels Polls . . . Tomorrow

The November 14, 1960 edition* of Publishers Weekly contained the article Children’s Books of 1930-1960 That Have Become Modern Classics.  Acknowledging that those three decades were particularly good to the world of children’s lit they sent an informal survey to the children’s librarians of New York, Chicago and San Francisco to determine “which books of the post-Winnie-the-Pooh era . . . have proved to be so popular with children that they deserve to be called classics.”  The librarians, for the record, were remarkably good at their predictions though they did have the odd misfire (Joan Walsh Anglund’s Love Is a Special Way of Feeling, anyone?).

Our polls of the Top 100 Picture Books and Top 100 Children’s Novels looked for different results.  Perhaps in the future I will indulge in a Best of the Last 30 Years Poll, but for now this is a poll that determines what folks right here, right now, as of 2012 believe are the best books for kids out there. Oh, they’re doozies.

I’ve looked at the results, cleaned up the documents, and with the help of my incredible team of tally monkeys, with Eric Carpenter and Sondra Eklund going particularly above and beyond the call of duty, this is one heckuva new list.  Things have changed.  Things have stayed the same.  And books are shifting like never before. All things being equal and the creek don’t rise, here’s the schedule for the coming month:

May 15th (Tue) – #100-91 Children’s Novels
May 16th (Wed) – #100-91 Picture Books
May 17th (Thur) – #90-81 Children’s Novels
May 18th (Fri) – #90-81 Picture Books
May 19th (Sat) – #80-71 Children’s Novels
May 20th (Sun) – #80-71 Picture Books
May 21st (Mon) – #70-61 Children’s Novels
May 22nd (Tue) – #70-61 Picture Books
May 23rd (Wed) – #60-51 Children’s Novels
May 24th (Thur) – #60-51 Picture Books
May 25th (Fri) – #50-41 Children’s Novels
May 26th (Sat) – #50-41 Picture Books
May 27th (Sun) – #40-31 Children’s Novels
May 28th (Mon) – #40-31 Picture Books
May 29th (Tue) – #30-21 Children’s Novels
May 30th (Wed) – #30-21 Picture Books
May 31th (Thur) – #20-11 Children’s Novels
June 1st(Fri) – #20-11 Picture Books
June 2nd (Sat) – #10 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 3rd (Sun) #9 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 4th (Mon) #8 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 5th (Tue) #7 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 6th (Wed) #6 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 7th (Thur) #5 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 8th (Fri) #4 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 9th (Sat) #3 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 10th (Sun) #2 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 11th (Mon) #1 – Chapter Book
June 12th (Tue) #1 – Picture Book
June 13th (Wed) – Children’s Poll Results

All this is done secure in the knowledge that at any point I may have to tweak this schedule and skip a day.  However, I think that for the most part this is something we can do.  Call me cautiously optimistic.

A couple notes about the results themselves.  When I asked for the children’s novels results I requested but did not demand that folks list the first book in a series when they loved a series.  However, I stipulated that in the event that the book was particularly good they should feel free to vote for it, whether or not it was the first.  You will see that folks took me at my word on that one.

Also, you will some repeated background information if the books were on the polls before.  That’s just for my own sanity’s sake.  These things will be difficult to do, ten at a time.  I’m also giving each book its own post with a final list with links at the end.  I will also not list the ranking of the votes for each book within their posts.  At the end of the release I will post the spreadsheet with all the vote rankings and you can assess for yourself whether or not one book or another should have actually have been on the list.  I will, however, include the point spread.

In any case, my other blogging may be put on the backburner while I finish this but rest assured that it will resume full throttle when all is said and done.

See you tomorrow!

*Thanks to Eric Carpenter for informing me about the PW article.

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. Jennifer in GA says

    YAY!! I’m so excited!!

  2. Elle Librarian says

    I’ve been very anxious to see if some of my new favorites made the “cut”. *Crossing fingers* Thanks for all your hard work, Betsy (and volunteer number-cruncher crew)!

  3. Looking forward to this, and dreading, it, too. My analysis last time around (the frequency with which stereotypes of American Indians are in the books was almost 1/4th of them) and the back and forth on some of them (defense of the stereotypes) was disheartening.

    Sentiment over common sense seems to rule the hearts and minds of so many people.

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Debbie, I won’t say much but I will say that I think you’ll be pleased with some of the changes on the new list. Maybe not 100% pleased . . . but pleased just the same.

  4. Very excited, but worried that the 10 book a day regime is going to kill you. I could have gone into July for your mental health. But nevertheless, giddy as a drunken sailor in anticipation of tomorrow.

    I have only three books left to read from the original chapter book list. And I’m kind of wondering if I will need to read THE LITTLE WHITE HORSE and SWALLOWS AND AMAZONS if they don’t make the cut this time. I’m sure ALICE IN WONDERLAND will still be there and I have read it before. I just feel I need to keep reading it until it like it.

    And Debbie Reese, I couldn’t get more than a few chapters into AN INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD before I gave up. You carry a strong voice that echos in my head.

  5. Wow, I thought we were going to have to wait longer for the results. What a pleasant surprise to know it begins tomorrow!!!! I’m very interested to see how different the lists are from before.

  6. Genevieve says

    Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaayyyyyyy! (full-throated Kermit yell) Can’t wait!!

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      “Full-Throated Kermit Yell” is now officially the name of my next band.

  7. David Ziegler says

    I’m very excited this is happening so soon. I also agree with DaNae that you should not risk injury or insanity keeping rigidly to your schedule. Work, baby Bird and hosting a discussion at SLJ Day of Dialog plus all this is a heck-of-a-lot on your plate. I suggest using paper plates for the next month as a labor saving device….

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Well, we’ll see how it goes. To a certain extent it’ll get easier the further in we go. Right now I’m dealing with a lot of new books which means producing a lot of new posts. Once we get more repeats we’ll have less to create out of the blue.

  8. OK… Where we can find the article Children’s Books of 1930-1960 That Have Become Modern Classics?

  9. Elizabeth!
    How do I find the list on the Internet?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      It is being slowly released a day at a time. Mid-June I will post the full list.

  10. Genevieve says

    Was there something earlier explaining the points system? (Just wondering, when I see that day’s points, how many points I gave to the books I submitted.)

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Yeah, considering that I’m doing 10 books a day I don’t have time to hunt and peck for all the individual votes. So at the end I’ll post a big spreadsheet with all the titles and their votes. S’okay?

  11. Genevieve says

    S’okay! (Hey, you’re undertaking this Herculean effort – again, new and fancy-like – so anything you do s’okay!)

  12. Elizabeth!
    Where we can find the article Children’s Books of 1930-1960 That Have Become Modern Classics IN THE INTERNET?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      It doesn’t exist. I was only able to find it by running to my library’s microfische room and making a physical copy. You’ll have to see if your local library has something similar, but as of right now PW articles from the 60s are not available online.

  13. Eliabeth!
    I’m in Russia. Do you have the possibility to place this list “Children’s Books of 1930-1960 That Have Become Modern Classics” on the Internet?

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      I have a scan though it’s in terrible condition and wouldn’t appear online very well. I’ll see what I can do.

  14. Elizabeth,
    in any case thank you very much.

  15. Joyce Campbell says

    I just ran across this discussion, and I, too would be very interested in reading the article “Children’s Books of 1930-1960 that have Become Modern Classics”. That’s the period that so many terrific children’s books were published in Britain, and as a child I read many of them! Did you succeed in scanning it online??

    • Elizabeth Bird says

      Not quite yet. Looks like I should do a post on it. The trouble is that the scan is foggy and not all the text could fit on a single printed page (big big microfische). But I’m looking into it, have no fear.