Sunday, June 9, 2013

Ms. O's Top 100 (or so) Books for Kids

These lists sort of irritate the ever living daylights out of me. After a cousin posted a Top 100 on Pinterest and I saw it and went ... ARGH! over a good 90% of it I decided to write my own. That's thinking pretty highly of my own opinion, I know. ;)

I'm going to list them in groups. Easy Picture Books. Everybody Picture Books (because older kids should read these even when they CAN read harder or longer ones!). Chapter Books and then Middle Grade/Tween Lit that goes right up to when kids might choose YA. I'm sure I forgot something. It's also not in chronological order by release or anything. Just as I remembered them or saw them in my Goodreads profile.

Easy Picture Books (great for read alouds or shared reading ... not necessarily fixed vocab readers)
  • Every Piggie and Elephant book ever written! My personal all time favorite is There is a Bird on Your Head but they're all funny. And of course the Pigeon books. Really, just about anything by Mo Willems. A given.
  • Interrupting Chicken (David Ezra Stein)
  • I Want My Hat Back AND That Is Not My Hat (Jon Klassen)
  • The Circus Ship (Chris Van Duesen)
  • Shark Vs. Train (Chris Bartlett)
  • Blackout (John Rocco)
  • Duck & Goose OR Rocket books (Tad Hills)
  • Creepy Carrots (Aaron Reynolds)
  • Llama, Llama books (Anna Dewdney)
  • Where's Walrus (almost wordless ... by Stephen Savage)
  • Turtle's Penguin Day (Valeri Gorbachev)
  • Good News, Bad News OR Frog and Fly (Jeff Mack)
  • anything by Jan Thomas
  • Pete the Cat books (the ones done by BOTH Eric Litwin and James Dean)
  • anything by Oliver Jeffers
  • Suzanne Bloom's Bear and Duck books 
  • How to Teach a Slug to Read (Susan Pearson)
  • I'm the Biggest Thing in the Ocean (Kevin Sherry)
  • A Balloon for Isabel (Deborah Underwood)
  • Bunny Days (Tau Nyeu)
  • Children Make Terrible Pets (Peter Brown)
  • Dog Loves Books (Louise Yates)

Everybody Picture Books
  • Over and Under the Snow (Kate Messner)
  • anything by Nic Bishop (amazing photographer and non-fic writer)
  • anything by Steve Jenkins (amazing paper artist and non-fic writer)
  • 14 Cows for America (Carmen Agra Deedy ... and be ready to cry)
  • Henry's Freedom Box (Ellen Levine)
  • Independent Dames and/or Thank You, Sarah (both historically based and by Laurie Halse Anderson)
  • Flotsam (might be wordless but it's so beautiful with possibilities for discussion I'm listing it here ... by David Wiesner)
  • Scaredy Squirrel series (by Melanie Watt ... he's actually a "proactive" little guy plus you get some great non-fic text features in a very fiction environment! He's also funny.)
  • all of David Elliot's "In the" poetry books
  • North, the Amazing Story of Arctic Migration (Nick Dowson)
  • "Life Size" books (Teruyuki Komiya ... great photos and FUN because of the size)
  • What If? (Laura Vaccaro Seeger)
  • Here Comes the Garbage Barge! (Jonah Winter)
  • Library Mouse (Daniel Kirk)
  • Orangutans Are Ticklish (Steve Grubman ... a fun photography book)

Chapter Books
  • any Frog and Toad book (Arnold Lobel)
  • Katie Woo books (Fran Manushkin)
  • Cork and Fuzz (Dori Chaconas)
  • Marty McGuire (two available so far by Kate Messner)
  • Clementine books (FUNNY by Sara Pennypacker)
  • Humphrey books (all of them are realistic fic (except for the fact that Humphrey is a talking hamster) with great examples of how friends get along by Betty G. Birney)
  • 43 Old Cemetery Road (an epistolary slightly spooky series by Kate Klise)
  • Melvin Beederman series (Greg Trine)
  • Frankie Pickle series (Eric Wight)
  • Franny K. Stein series (Jim Benton)
  • Gabby & Gator (James Burks)

Middle Grade
  • The One and Only Ivan (awesome talking animals story by Katherine Applegate)
  • Wonder (remember to CHOOSE KIND by R.J. Palacio)
  • A Long Walk to Water (important human rights commentary for kids by Linda Sue Park) 
  • The Teacher's Funeral (FUNNY, funny, funny historical fic by Richard Peck)
  • Brixton Brothers (great old school detective work! by Mac Barnett)
  • Squish graphic novel series (Jennifer and Matthew Holm ... there is some GREAT science vocab "hidden" in these!)
  • Books of Elsewhere (great very only slightly spooky series by Jacqueline West)
  • Cosmic (ever so funny if you "get" British humor by Frank Cottrell Boyce)
  • Belly Up (Hilarious! by Stuart Gibbs)
  • How They Croaked (amazing non-fix by Georgia Bragg)
  • The Books of Umber (series by P.W. Catanese ... at first I only read because book one was on the state list ... but I'm so glad I did!)
  • Bud, not Buddy (Christopher Paul Curtis)
  • The Outcasts of 19 Schuyler Place (E.L. Konigsburg)
  • Any Which Wall (Laurel Snyder)
  • Spilling Ink (Ellen Potter ... this is a MUST have if you have a budding author)
  • H.I.V.E. books (Mark Walden ... great adventure in these!)
  • Young James Bond (Charlie Higson)
  • Wind in the Willows AND Return to the Willows (Jacqueline Kelly)
  • The End of the Beginning (Avi)
  • Percy Jackson, Heroes of Olympus, and Kane Chronicle books (Rick Riordan)
  • Ranger's Apprentice series (John Flanagan)
  • Harry Potter series (DUH ... JK Rowling)

Click on the link HERE to get a downloadable PDF of this list from Google Drive. It's not super pretty but it works.



  1. I was so glad to see the Ranger's Apprentice series on your list. My teenagers got me hooked! I just purchased his Brotherband series for my library.

    1. Yep! It's a great start to LOTR. Not for the "average" third grade reader, by any means ... but I've had loads of 4th and 5th graders devour them. I'm behind on reading the Brotherband ones. And I just saw on ... either Netgalley or Edelweiss. Anyway, a blurb for an ARC for a NEW spin-off to the series. Like Will is an adult. And ... it said right away in the blurb ... something BAD has happened. I screamed and in my E-ARC request I said "Don't do this to Alyss! Don't!" But he did. #stillwanttoreadit Those will be more for middle/high school, I'm sure. As Ranger's Apprentice is sort of pushing it at the elementary level.

  2. Ha ha, was I the cousin that pinned the top 100 you didn't like:) I'm always looking for new book ideas!

    1. Ha, ha. No ... straw that broke the proverbial camel's back was a cousin from my Dad's side. Though parts of your lists (cause I can't help myself I click through) might have started it. Only parts. I'm not so "la la la look at me" to say all other best of lists are terrible. Just ... lots of them. ;)

  3. Thank you for sharing such an extensive list! I am always looking for books that are appropriate and enjoyable for my pre-teen and I can see you have good taste! I know you weren't impressed with the list of recommendations that you saw but I do have a book that I think should be added to the list and if you haven't read it you should! Both my pre-teen and I have read and re-read "The Beat on Ruby's Street" by author Jenna Zark ( The book follows young Ruby Tabeata in 1958 Greenwich Village. Ruby's parents are "beatnicks" and she has grown up in a very unconventional and unique way. She goes to school with the neighborhood kids at the local store (deciding their own hours, learning math from the cash register) and has to learn to be self-sufficient and tough at the very young age of 11. Ruby soon finds herself accused of stealing and sent to a children's care home because her home has been deemed unsafe. When she arrives, Ruby has to fight off a bully and her own panic at the thought of never seeing her family again. She does finally make her way home but she uncovers a family secret that means life as she knows it will never be the same. Lost and lonely Ruby decides to follow her heart to find the one thing she needs with the power to help her heal. Her poetry and love of the arts motivates her and helps her find out who she is and what her path is in life :) It's a fantastic read! I can't promote it enough!