The National Education Association's Top 100 Children's Books

shelved under Best of... and Children's Books

In 2007, the National Education Association conducted an online survey of educators to determine the 100 very best children's books. The first ten results, in ranked order, are below; you can see numbers 11-100 on the NEA website.


#1: Charlotte's Web

by E. B. White, illustrated by Garth Williams, Rosemary Wells

Tim Vetter says:

Some pig. I met this story by way of an animated cartoon adaptation the teacher played for us in my Canadian grade school. Among the great children's books of all time. White once said: "My fears about writing for children are great — one can so easily slip into a cheap sort of whimsy or cuteness." He doesn't. The book delivers on big themes like friendship, sacrifice, mortality, and transformation, all without a whiff of condescension to the target demographic. For literate adults and their kids.


#3: The Giving Tree

illustrated by Shel Silverstein

Eric Mueller from Los Angeles, CA says:

As one reviewer humorously put it, "The Giving Tree gives and gives... a selfish boy takes and takes." All kidding aside, this lovely book's ending is deliberately left vague, leaving room for the reader to draw their own conclusions.

This book also appears on Picture Books We Love to Hate


#4: Green Eggs and Ham

by Dr. Seuss

Deb Sanders from Denver, CO says:

This was the first book I told my parents to "read it again!" ...over and over and over ad nauseum. It'll help your kids learn to love the cadence of the English language. It might even give them the courage to try new foods. You can't go wrong with Dr. Seuss, and this is by far my favorite.


#5: Goodnight Moon

by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd

Jim from "I think this world is perfect..." says:

Before my daughters could speak in complete sentences, they could respond to the line "And a quiet old lady who was whispering..." with a lingering "hush..."


#6: Love You Forever

by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Sheila McGraw

Eric Mueller from Los Angeles, CA says:

This humorous, touching story of the love between a mother and her son leaves no dry eyes in its wake.

This book also appears on Picture Books We Love to Hate


#7: Because of Winn-Dixie

by Kate Dicamillo

Shannon Rigney Keane from I'm thinking... says:

This book is a sentimental favorite of mine, another one that I read aloud to my third graders every year. There were many pages that inspired us to laugh out loud, and a couple that inspired us (or, at least, me) to cry. At the start of the book, ten-year-old Opal has just moved to Florida with her father, a preacher. They are both still smarting from Opal's mother's departure years earlier, and don't know how to heal their wounds. Opal has a hard time connecting to people until she meets Winn-Dixie, a stray dog that she decides to keep. Opal reaches out to others in her new town and discovers that they are also “broken” in some way, and all in need of healing. The story is sweet and optimistic, and Opal is a compassionate character making her way through a difficult time.


#8: Oh, the Places You'll Go!

by Dr. Seuss

Hannah Egan says:

Inspiring and empowering. A book every child should read, or have read to them.


#9: The Little House

by Virginia Lee Burton

Heather Lawrence says:

Though a well-built house may possibly stay the same over many years, its surroundings most certainly do not. What started out as a happy little house way out in the country became a little house in a bustling city, where it couldn't see the sun anymore because the skyscrapers were so close to it. Yes, houses have feelings too, evidently (and it's quite believable with the charming illustrations by the author). When the descendants of the family who build the little house find it again, they move it back to its original setting... if not quite its original location.


#10: The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg

Patsy says:

One of my all time favorites... especially the set that includes the book on tape. I've officially now listened to it — while I flip the pages — more times than my grandsons. Shhh, I sneak peeks between their visits. The illustrations and the story awaken the child within me: I'm on the train (can't you hear its chugging pace?), I'm searching for my ticket, I'm watching out the windows, cold nose pressed against the glass... it's as if the writer gives the train full of growing children one last heart-spinning visit to make-believe, before they are pressed to grow up. All aboard!