Sixteen THOUSAND Children's Book Lists???
That's how many pages a popular search engine found when I went searching for children's book lists.
That's more than the number of different children's books than are published in a single year. And you thought finding a list would help you narrow your search for children's books.
It's just making it harder!
Well, it doesn't have to.
The best list of classic children's literature
This is the best kids' book list I've ever seen. These are the "oldies" that have stood the test of time, as chosen by schools, teachers and librarians.
If you're okay with books that weren't written recently, this list of classic children's books could be the only children's book list you'll ever need.
The most prestigious list of recent children's books
This one is easy. The ALSC (Association of Library Services to Children) is part of the American Library Association, the oldest, largest library association in the world.
ALSC has been putting out three children's book lists of "notable" books dating back to 1996. They break it down by Younger, Middle, and Older Readers.
"Younger" tends to mean picture books you would read to your child. "Middle" seems to mean more text-heavy books but that are usually illustrated as well. "Older" appears to mean chapter books, no illustrations.
You can find the current list at
From there you can link to previous years.
But what if my child and I don't think like librarians?
I know what you mean. You know best what kind of children's books your child likes and what kind of books you approve of. Aren't there children's book lists out there that match your tastes?
There are, but you need a clever way to find them. Here's a clever way.
You'll need a good search engine. (I'll provide one below.)
You'll also need to know (if you don't already) how to search for a phrase with your search engine. You do it by putting the phrase in quotes. For instance:
"illustrated children's bible"
Find three of your child's books that you both love. They should be the same type of book. (For instance: beautifully illustrated, or funny, or on a particular subject).
The oldest and the newest should have been published at least 5 years apart. (More is better.)
They should each be by a different author.
Now open your favorite search engine.
Type in the three titles, each in its own set of quotes. Now type the word LIST.
Voila! You now have a list of children's book lists customized to your likes. People who liked the same three books you do. (Along with some other internet junk, of course.) Start clicking.
(If the results are too limited, eliminate one of the three books from your search.)
I found the children's book list, So you'd like to... make your 5 year old laugh out loud, an Amazon list by "Tracy Lopez, funny playful parent." It was PRECISELY what I was looking for.
How's that for a trick!
Speaking of Amazon...
There are a lot of children's book lists on their site. Over 10,000. So again, the problem is: which one matches your tastes?
One thing you can do if you're an Amazon customer is make better use of Amazon's technology. Think of the recommendations they give you when you first arrive on the site as their attempt to give you a customized list of products you might be interested in...
Because that's exactly what it is. Customized children's book lists for every parent who arrives at the site.
Sometimes they get it right, sometimes they get it wrong. But you can help them get it right more often.
Go to their home page. Find their recommendations for you. Click "see more recommendations." Find children's books you've bought. Rate them.
Those ratings you provide will help them refine your personalized recommendations. Each time you show up, they'll have an improved children's book list personalized just for you!
Other ways to find the best children's books on this site
To find the best books using children's book awards, children's book reviews or children's book best-sellers as criteria, start here.
Best Children's Books - Find, Read or Write home page.