The Best Picture Books:
N.Y. Times Annual List!

A newspaper list of the best picture books

(Skip to the list.)

You've gotta hand it to the New York Times.

During these dark days for journalism, they're the only paper I know still making a commitment of resources and column inches to the subject of children's books.

In fact, since 1952 they've been convening a panel of industry experts to pick the best ten picture books of the year.

The New York Times picture book list is remarkable. People think the Caldecott Medal and Honor books are the best annual American picture book list, but here's the thing...

The Caldecott goes to the best illustrator. It can go to a poorly written book with great illustrations.

If you want a great picture book overall, the Times Best Illustrated Children's Books list is a great one to turn to.

I would love to provide you all the books they've ever picked, but it's hard to find online listings of the Times best picture books list prior to 2002.

So that's what I'm providing. If you're a better Googler than I am, maybe you can find lists that go further back. Or maybe you want to check out The Times' Guide to the Best Books for Children.

Remember, these aren't the best-selling children's books. (Here is the Times' current best-selling picture book list and here's our list of the most popular since 2000.) They're just the ones a panel of experts picked as the best picture books for a particular year.

Those picture book titles that appear as links are reviewed on this site.

I'll try to remember to add the latest best picture books picks every year. If I forget, feel free to contact me!

New York Times

Best Picture Books List

2015 | 2014 | 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 | 2008 | 2007 | 2006 | 2005 | 2004 | 2003 | 2002 | 2001 | 2000


The Cat From Hunger Mountain

The Dead Bird

Freedom in Congo Square

Little Red

The Polar Bear

Preaching to the Chickens

The Princess and the Warrior

The Tree in the Courtyard

A Voyage in the Clouds

The White Cat and the Monk


  • Big Bear Little Chair
  • A Fine Dessert
  • Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras
  • Leo: A Ghost Story
  • Madame Eiffel
  • The Only Child
  • The Skunk
  • Sidewalk Flowers
  • The Tiger Who Would Be King
  • Tricky Vic

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  • Draw!
  • Shackleton's Journey
  • Haiti, My Country
  • Harlem Hellfighters
  • Time for Bed, Fred
  • Here Is the Baby
  • Where's Mommy?
  • The Promise
  • The Baby Tree
  • The Pilot and the Little Prince

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  • Ballad
  • Fog Island
  • My Brother's Book
  • The Dark
  • Jemmy Button
  • Holland
  • Jane, the Fox and Me
  • Locomotive
  • Journey
  • Nelson Mandela

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  • Red Knit Cap Girl
  • The Beetle Book
  • Bear Despair
  • Infinity and Me
  • Unspoken: A Story from the Underground Railroad
  • Little Bird
  • The Hueys in the New Sweater
  • One Times Square: A Century of Change at the Crossroads of the World
  • Stephen and the Beetle
  • House Held Up by Trees

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  • Big Red Lollipop
  • Bink & Gollie
  • Busing Brewster
  • Children Make Terrible Pets
  • Henry in Love
  • Here Comes the Garbage Barge
  • A Sick Day for Amos McGee
  • Seasons
  • Shadow
  • Subway

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  • All the World
  • The Lion and the Mouse
  • Moonshot: The Flight of Apollo 11
  • The Odd Egg
  • Only a Witch Can Fly
  • A Penguin Story
  • The Snow Day
  • Tales from Outer Suburbia
  • White Noise
  • Yummy: Eight Favorite Fairy Tales

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  • A Is for Art
  • The Black Book of Colors
  • Ghosts in the House
  • The Little Yellow Leaf
  • Pale Male
  • A River of Words
  • Skim
  • Wabi Sabi
  • Wave
  • We Are the Ship

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  • Adèle & Simon in America
  • Flotsam
  • Gone Wild
  • Hello Twins
  • John, Paul, George & Ben
  • The Little Red Hen
  • Mommy?
  • Move!
  • The Red Lemon
  • So Sleepy Story

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  • Arrowville
  • The Boy, the Bear, the Baron, the Bard
  • A Child's Christmas in Wales
  • Duck for President
  • Kitten's First Full Moon
  • The Mighty Asparagus
  • The People Could Fly
  • Polar Bear Night
  • Teeth, Tales & Tentacles
  • Walt Whitman: Words for America

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  • Close Your Eyes
  • Dog Food
  • The First Thing My Mama Told Me
  • Hondo and Fabian
  • I Stink!
  • Knick-Knack Paddywhack!
  • The Last Resort
  • Stars in the Darkness
  • This Little Chick
  • Yellow Umbrella

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  • Only Passing Through: The Story of Sojourner Truth
  • Henry Hikes to Fitchburg
  • Night Garden: Poems From the World of Dreams
  • A Day, a Dog
  • One Lighthouse, One Moon
  • Rain
  • I Walk at Night
  • Mammalabilia: Poems and Paintings
  • Market Day
  • Buttons

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Remember, the Caldecotts honor the best picture book pictures.

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