“There are many little ways to enlarge your child’s world. Love of books is the best of all.” – Jacqueline Kennedy
As a mother of four, and a former classroom teacher, I’ve had the absolute privilege of reading hundreds and hundreds of children’s books. For me, there is nothing as magical as sharing a story with your child, and watching the world unfold before them. Books spark imagination, inspire creativity, and set children on the path of life-long learning. With the popularity (THANK YOU) of my list of 100 Chapter Books You MUST Read to Your Children!, I wanted to create a similar list using picture books.
While I won’t say these are the 100 “best” children’s books out there, I will say these are MY personal favorites, and have been kid-tested and approved. I’ve read hundreds (and hundreds) of books to kids over the years, and these are definitely amongst the most popular. Most of these titles are appropriate for kids ages 3+. (You may find yourself enjoying many of these titles right along with your child!)
My hope is that you will be inspired to head to your local library or bookseller, and begin working your way through this list with your children/grandchildren.
“So please, oh please, we beg and pray, go and throw your tv set away! And in its place you can install, a lovely bookshelf on the wall.” ~Roald Dahl
1. The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle
2. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
4. Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett
5. Amelia Bedelia by Peggy Parish
6. The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
7. The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
8. Frog and Toad are Friends by Arnold Lobel
10. Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
11. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
12. Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathmann
15. Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
16. Strega Nona by Tomie de Paola
17. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
18. No, David! by David Shannon
19. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
21. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce
22. Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
23. Stellaluna by Janell Cannon
24. The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy
25. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie by Laura Numeroff
26. A Chair for my Mother by Vera B. Williams
27. Watch the Stars Come Out by Riki Levinson
28. Paul Bunyan: A Tall Tale by Steven Kellogg
29. George Shrinks by William Joyce
30. The Snow Globe Family by Jane O’Connor
31. A Bargain for Frances by Lillian Hoban
32. Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse by Kevin Henkes
33. The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister
34. So, You Want to be President? by Judith St. George
35. The Napping House by Audrey Wood
36. Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson
37. Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson
38. Goodnight Gorilla by Peggy Rathmann
39. Dear Mrs. LaRue: Letters from Obedience School by Mark Teague
40. Caps For Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobodkina
41. Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Bill Martin
42. Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown
43. It Looked Like Spilt Milk by Charles G. Shaw
44. Miss Nelson is Missing by Harry Allard
45. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka
46. The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch
47. Inside a Barn in the Country by Alyssa Satin Capucilli
48. Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus by Mo Willems
50. The Doorbell Rang by Pat Hutchins
51. Harry the Dirty Dog by Gene Zion
52. The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss
53. The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
55. Toot and Puddle by Holly Hobbie
56. Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
57. How do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen
58. Fancy Nancy by Jane O’Connor
59. Arthur’s Eyes by Marc Brown
60. Mrs. Wishy Washy by Joy Cowley
61. Somebody Loves You Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
62. The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle
63.Liang and the Magic Paintbrush by Demi
64. Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss
65. Tony Baloney by Pam Munoz Ryan and Edwin Fotheringham
66. I’m Gonna Like Me : Letting Off a Little Self-Esteem by Jamie Lee Curtis
68. There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback
69. How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
70. The Runaway Pumpkin by Kevin Lewis
71. The Day Jimmy’s Boa Ate the Wash by Trinka Hakes Noble
72. Horris and Morris but Mostly Delores by James Howe
73. Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
74. Spoon by Amy Krouse Rosenthal
75. Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker
76. Pinkalicious by Elizabeth and Victoria Kann
77. We’re Going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen
78. Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems
79. Clifford the Big Red Dog by Norman Bridwell
82. A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon
83. Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
84. Tacky the Penguin by Helen Lester
85. Perfect the Pig by Susan Jeschke
86. Papa, Please Get the Moon for Me by Eric Carle
87. Imogene’s Antlers by David Small
88. Gregory the Terrible Eater by Mitchell Sharmat
89. Brave Irene by William Steig
90. Chicka, Chicka, Boom Boom by Bill Martin Jr.
91. The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
92. The Stinky Cheese Man: And Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka
93. Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
95. George and Martha by James Marshall
96. Fiddle-I-Fee by Will Hillenbrand
97. A Color of His Own by Leo Lionni
98. Jumanji by Chris Van Allsburg
99. Leo the Late Bloomer by Robert Kraus
100. Giraffes Can’t Dance by Giles Andreae
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” ~ Dr. Seuss
*Please share this post with your family, friends, and social networks to get more parents reading to their children! Let’s help raise up a new generation of readers!
LOVE this list too! One of our favorites is “Little Blue Truck” by Jill McElmurry. Not only is it a great story but the illustrations are fantastic too.
Thanks Martha! I had that on there, and took it off…It is a favorite of my son Harry. We have the sequel for that book as well. I actually have a post in the works of my faves for younger kids, and it will definitely make that list!
This looks to be an older post, but I’d add “Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site” by Rinker and “I Stink” by McMullin both are great picture books, especially for little boys.
I agree! Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site is #75, and we love it! I do like I Stink and I’m Mighty as well….perhaps on list #2! Thanks for stopping by!
I love your list and I believe in picture books!
I would add at least one book by Patricia Polacco, Mrs Katz and Tush is my favorite.
Thank you for sharing your list!
I actually can’t believe I left her off of my list! When I was teaching, she came to visit our school! Perhaps I’ll create a Part 2 list someday!
Ooops…well, we love all the sequels too, I guess I was looking for all of those.
I’m surprised to not see “If You Give A Mouse a Cookie” on here! 🙁
It’s actually #25. =) One of our favorites.
What a wonderful list! Thank you! I’ll have to head to the library now! Lol. My kids and I are completely in love with Julia Donaldson’s books: Room on the Broom, The Gruffalo, Stick Man, Highway Rat, and so many more that she wrote.