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100 Magnificent Children’s Books 2014

If I’m going to be honest about it, this is a list I do every year strictly for myself.  It sort of helps me get my head in order.  Figure out what I liked.  What I didn’t.  What I reviewed.  What I missed.  I recommend you make your own sometime.  The categories are from the 100 Titles for Reading and Sharing List as created by New York Public Library.  I like how they help me parcel out the genres.


Picture Books (For Children Ages 2-6)

Anna Carries Water by Olive Senior. Illustrated by Laura James. Tradewind Books.

The Baby Tree by Sophie Blackall. Nancy Paulsen Books.

Bad Bye, Good Bye by Deborah Underwood. Illustrated by Jonathan Bean. HMH Books for Young Readers.

A Dance Like Starlight by Kristy Dempsey. Illustrated by Floyd Cooper. Philomel.

Dragon’s Extraordinary Egg by Debi Gliori. Bloomsbury USA.

Elsa and the Night by Jons Mellgren. Little Gestalten.

Fox’s Garden by Princesse Camcam. Enchanted Lion Books.

The Girl and the Bicycle by Mark Pett. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.

Have You Seen My Dragon? by Steve Light. Candlewick.

Henny by Elizabeth Rose Stanton. Paula Wiseman Books.

Here Comes Destructosaurus by Aaron Reynolds. Illustrated by Jeremy Tankard. Chronicle Books.

Hug Machine by Scott Campbell. Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

I Wish I Had a Pet by Maggie Rudy. Beach Lane Books.

Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse by Torben Kuhlmann. NorthSouth.

The Mermaid and the Shoe by K.G. Campbell. Kids Can Press.

The Most Magnificent Thing by Ashley Spires. Kids Can Press.

Once Upon an Alphabet: Short Stories for All the Letters by Oliver Jeffers. Philomel.

Princess Sparkle-Heart Gets a Makeover by Josh Schneider. Clarion Books.

Rules of Summer by Shaun Tan. Arthur A. Levine Books.

Three Bears in a Boat by David Soman. Dial.

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales. Roaring Brook.


Folktales and Fairy Tales

The Fox and the Crow by Manasi Subramaniam. Illustrated by Culpeo S. Fox. Karadi Tales.

Issun Boshi: The One-Inch Boy by Icinori. Little Gestalten.

My Grandfather’s Coat by Jim Aylesworth. Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Scholastic Press.

Hansel and Gretel by Neil Gaiman. Illustrated by Lorenzo Mattotti. TOON Books.

The Princess of the Springs by Mary Finch. Illustrated by Martina Peluso.  Barefoot Books.

The Princess Who Had No Kingdom by Ursula Jones. Illustrated by Sarah Gibb. Albert Whitman & Company.

The Six Swans by the Brothers Grimm. Illustrated by Gerda Raidt. NorthSouth.

You Can’t Have Too Many Friends by Mordecai Gerstein. Holiday House.



Firefly July: A Year of Very Short Poems selected by Paul B. Janeczko. Illustrated by Melissa Sweet. Candlewick.

Hi, Koo: A Year in Seasons by Jon J. Muth. Scholastic Press.

A Pond Full of Ink by Annie M.G. Schmidt. Illustrated by Sieb Posthuma. Eerdmans Books for Young Readers.  

Santa Clauses: Short Poems from the North Pole by Bob Raczka. Illustrated by Chuck Groenink. Carolrhoda Books.

Water Rolls, Water Rises / El Agua Rueda, El Agua by Pat Mora. Illustrated by Meilo So. Lee & Low Books.

Winter Bees and Other Poems of the Cold by Joyce Sidman. Illustrated by Rick Allen. HMH Books for Young Readers.

Stories for Younger Readers

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon. Dial.

Jim’s Lion by Russell Hoban. Illustrated by Alexis Deacon. Candlewick.

Leroy Ninker Saddles Up by Kate DiCamillo. Illustrated by Chris Van Dusen. Candlewick.

Lulu and the Rabbit Next Door by Hilary McKay. Illustrated by Pricilla Lamont. Albert Whitman & Company.

Night Sky Dragons by Mal Peet and Elspeth Graham. Illustrated by Patrick Benson. Candlewick.

Oliver and the Seawigs by Philip Reeve. Illustrated by Sarah McIntyre. Random House Books for Young Readers. 

Pinocchio by Kate McMullan. Illustrated by Pascal LeMaitre. Henry Holt & Co.

Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale. Illustrated by LeUyen Pham. Candlewick.

Tales of Bunjitsu Bunny by John Himmelman. Henry Holt and Company.


Stories for Older Readers

Absolutely Almost by Lisa Graff. Philomel

Audrey (cow) by Dan Bar-el. Illustrated by Tatjana Mai-Wyss. Tundra Books.

Boys of Blur by N.D. Wilson. Random House Books for Young Readers.

Caminar by Skila Brown. Candlewick.

The Cat at the Wall by Deborah Ellis. Groundwood Books.

The Categorical Universe of Candice Phee by Barry Jonsberg. Chronicle Books.

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.  HMH Books for Young Readers.

Curiosity by Gary Blackwood.  Dial.

The Fourteenth Goldfish by Jennifer L. Holm. Random House Books for Young Readers.

The Great Greene Heist by Varian Johnson. Arthur A. Levine Books.

Greenglass House by Kate Milford. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Hook’s Revenge by Heidi Shulz. Illustrated by John Hendrix. Disney-Hyperion.

The Key That Swallowed Joey Pigza by Jack Gantos. Farrar Straus and Giroux.

The Luck Uglies by Paul Durham. Illustrated by Pétur Antonsson. Harper Collins.

The Madman of Piney Woods by Christopher Paul Curtis. Scholastic Press.

The Night Gardener by Jonathan Auxier. Illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith. Harry N. Abrams.

Nightingale’s Nest by Nikki Loftin. Razorbill.

Operation Bunny: The Fairy Detective Agency’s First Case by Sally Gardner. Illustrated by David Roberts. Square Fish.

Saving Baby Doe by Dannette Vigilante. Putnam Juvenile.

Secrets of the Terra-Cotta Soldier by Ying Chang Compestine & Vinson Compestine. Harry N. Abrams.

Under the Egg by Laura Marx Fitzgerald. Dial.

Upside Down in the Middle of Nowhere by Julie T. Lamana. Chronicle Books.

West of the Moon by Margi Preus. Harry N. Abrams.

The Whispering Skull by Jonathan Stroud. Disney-Hyperion.


Graphic Books

The Dumbest Idea Ever! by Jimmy Gownley. GRAPHIX

El Deafo by Cece Bell. Harry N. Abrams.

Gaijin: American Prisoner of War by Matt Faulkner. Disney-Hyperion.

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust by Loic Dauvillier. Illustrated by Marc Lizano & Greg Salsedo. First Second.

Nathan Hale’s Hazardous Tales: Treaties, Trenches, Mud and Blood by Nathan Hale. Harry N. Abrams.

Phoebe and Her Unicorn by Dana Simpson. Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Sisters by Raina Telgemeier. GRAPHIX .

The Stratford Zoo Midnight Revue Presents: MacBeth by Ian Lendler and Zack Giallongo. First Second.



Angel Island: Gateway to Gold Mountain by Russell Freedman. Clarion Books.

At Home in Her Tomb: Lady Dai and the Ancient Chinese Treasures of Mawangdui by Christine Liu-Perkins. Illustrated by Sarah S. Brannen. Charlesbridge.

Ballerina Dreams: From Orphan to Dancer by Michaela and Elaine DePrince. Illustrated by Frank Morrison. Random House Books for Young Readers.

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. Nancy Paulsen Books.

Buried Sunlight: How Fossil Fuels Have Changed the Earth by Molly Bang and Penny Chisholm. The Blue Sky Press.

Chasing Cheetahs: The Race to Save Africa’s Fastest Cat by Sy Montgomery. Photos by Nic Bishop. HMH Books for Young Readers.

Edward Hopper Paints His World by Robert Burleigh. Illustrated by Wendell Minor. Henry Holt & Co.

Everybody Paints! The Lives and Art of the Wyeth Family by Susan Goldman Rubin. Chronicle Books.

Grandfather Gandhi by Arun Gandhi and Bethany Hegedus. Illustrated by Evan Turk. Atheneum Books for Young Readers.

The Girl from the Tar Paper School: Barbara Rose Johns and the Advent of the Civil Rights Movement by Teri Kanefield. Harry N. Abrams.

Greek Mythology by Ken Jennings. Illustrated by Mike Lowery. Little Simon.

The Griffin and the Dinosaur: How Adrienne Mayor Discovered a Fascinating Link Between Myth and Science by Marc Aronson and Adrienne Mayor. Illustrated by Chris Muller. National Geographic Children’s Books.

Guys Read: True Stories edited by Jon Scieszka. Illustrated by Brian Floca. Walden Pond Press.

Handle With Care: An Unusual Butterfly Journey by Loree Griffin Burns. Photos by Ellen Harasimowicz. Millbrook Press.

Have You Heard the Nesting Bird? by Rita Gray, illustrated by Kenard Pak. HMH Books for Young Readers.

He Has Shot The President! by Don Brown. Roaring Brook Press.

Josephine: The Dazzling Life of Josephine Baker by Patricia Hruby Powell. Illustrated by Christian Robinson. Chronicle Books.

Mama Built a Little Nest by Jennifer Ward. Illustrated by Steve Jenkins. Beach Lane Books.

My Country, ’tis of Thee: How One Song Reveals the History of Civil Rights by Claire Rudolf Murphy. Illustrated by Bryan Collier. Henry Holt and Company.

Neighborhood Sharks: Hunting the Great White Sharks of California’s Farallon Islands by Katherine Roy. David Macaulay Studio.

Roller Derby Rivals by Sue Macy. Illustrated by Matt Collins. Holiday House.

Separate Is Never Equal: Sylvia Mendez and Her Family’s Fight for Desegregation by Duncan Tonatiuh. Harry N. Abrams.

Shooting at the Stars: The Christmas Truce of 1914 by John Hendrix. Harry N. Abrams.

Stubby the War Dog: The True Story of World War I’s Bravest Dog by Ann Bausum. National Geographic Children’s Books.


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. Nancy Paulsen says

    Great list! I love so many of these too — and many tbr. (And FYI A BABY TREE is published by us at Penguin.) thx!

  2. Great list as always… I have a lot of catching up to do! Thank you for adding to my “to read” list.


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