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A Fuse #8 Production
Inside A Fuse #8 Production

Announcing the Top 100 Board Books Poll!

boardbooksIf you will be so good as to look over to the right-hand side of my blog here, you’ll notice that the top two links listed in the sidebar are two “Top 100 Polls”. What does that mean? Well, about six years ago I announced a challenge to my readers. I wanted them to personally rate their Top 10 picture books and children’s novels. After doing so they’d rate them, from one to ten, with ten being the book they least liked and number one being the one they admired the most. They sent me their results and I calculated the point spread. Ten points for everyone’s #1 choice, nine points for #2, etc. This meant that at the end of the day I ended up with a Top 100 Poll in both categories.

Six years have passed.

It’s time to do it all again. Board book style.

Yes, folks! I know it sounds fairly goofy but it’s time for you to rank your Top 10 Board Books of All Time!!! What’s that you say? You don’t have ten board books you love? I’m fairly certain you do, even if you aren’t initially aware of it. Board books have a funny way of weaseling themselves into people’s hearts. That said, if you find you can only think of three, that’s okay. Send me those three.

Now here are the official rules:

1.  Send one list of your top 10 board books by 11:59 Eastern on April 15, 2018.

2.  Not sure if you can include board books that were picture books first? It’s fine with me if it’s fine with you. My sole stipulation in terms of eligibility is that the books must have been published in America at some point in their past. I love French picture books, but eschew the ones that haven’t made it to translation yet.

3.  List these books in your order of preference. I cannot stress this enough. Your #1 board 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 list 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 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, in May, 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 I ran the poll I 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 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.  I was disappointed with the my previous polls that there wasn’t a lot of diversity when it came to either the creators or the subjects.  Please do your utmost to let your list reflect a wide variety of voices out there. After you’ve come up with your top ten, consider the creators and the books you’ve included. I cannot work with anything but the books you submit, so please help me make the results as inclusive as possible.

8. Do not vote for yourself. You may well have written the ten greatest board books of all time, but let the public decide. No stacking the deck in your favor either. I will be mindful of odd voting.

9.  Please send me your votes once.  No double voting please.

So go to it!  The deadline, as I said, is midnight on 4/15.  If you have questions or need clarification, 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. 1 That’s Not My Puppy by Fiona Watt and Rachel Wells
    2 Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell
    3 Baby’s Very First Touchy-Feely Animals Book by Usborne and Stella Baggett
    4 The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
    5 Dear Santa by Rod Campbell
    6 Are You My Mother by PD Eastman

  2. This is a wonderful idea and I plan to participate. However, I would like to comment on the request that those submitting lists not only be conscious of diversity, a positive goal, but actually “make the results as inclusive as possible.” If you are asking the opinions of, presumably educated, SLJ readers, it would not seem necessary to direct us towards a specific goal. In fact, this undermines the purpose of a poll.
    There are many factors which contribute to the quality of a board book, or of any book. In the legitimate quest for greater inclusiveness, have we forgotten this? If the list again “disappoints” you, that result might open an interesting discussion. Trying to program the outcome of the poll in advance is not helpful.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      Honestly, this is exactly the same text that I included when I did my Novels and Picture Book polls. I just copied it from the originals. Readers pretty much ignored it last time. I assumed that more folks would ask that I do something to ensure that this new list is more inclusive. I offer a suggestion that is, in this day and age and era, very much still needed. But it is up to the participants to decide whether or not to take it to heart. Clearly I am incapable of “programming the outcomes” of anything.