The 100 Best Children’s Books Of All Time and how reading them enriches both kids and adults.

The best children’s books make the impossible approachable. How else to describe the variety and depth of life revealed by a few carefully chosen words, or not, combined with apparently simple illustrations?

The aim of art is to represent not the outward appearance of things, but their inward significance. ~ Aristotle

While considering picture books to purchase for my one-year-old grandson, I found this article by TimeThe 100 Best Children’s Books of All Time. Scanning the books, as if reunited with old friends, two things exploded in my heart simultaneously.

I remembered the many hours spent reading to my young children. The cozy couch. My daughter enraptured. My sons wrestling like puppies at our feet, listening, then becoming enraptured. The books drew them in every time.

Here are four of my favorite children’s books mentioned in the Best 100 list, one for each of my children:

Blueberries for Sal for my sweet Devin who looked so much like Sal when she was little and who now has a little Sal of her own.

Where the Wild Things Are for my wild thing, Aiden, who stares down monsters standing in the batter’s box and who never went to bed without his supper.

Harold and the Purple Crayon for my creative Ian who colors outside of the lines and dreams big.

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day for J.P. who loves this book and the movie because I imagine that he identifies with being the littlest in our crowd.

I also remembered my personal experience of many of these books. I recall reading Love You Forever and becoming so choked up with tears that I stopped reading, leaving my children hanging with anticipation and pleas to “Finish, mama!” Many times I was swept away to imaginary worlds full of delightful companions, only to find myself absorbed into a tender moment that offered insight, healing, or love. Picture Books Adults Should Read lists some of our family favorites along with thoughtful questions to ponder.

The outward appearance of the best children’s books make them approachable. The impossible part is that they reveal and direct us toward inner significance, no matter our age.

When you were a child, did adults read to you? Have you read picture books to children? What are your favorite children’s books? Would you consider reading a children’s book just for your own enjoyment? 

I’m off to read a book to J.P. and I hope your week isn’t off to a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad start ~~~~~~~~ Angie Mc 

26 thoughts on “The 100 Best Children’s Books Of All Time and how reading them enriches both kids and adults.

  1. The times I spent cuddled up on the couch with the kids reading are some of my fondest memories. We loved Margie Palatini’s books. They were as much fun for me to read as it was for the kids to hear. I got to do lots of great voices. 🙂

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    • Thanks for introducing me to Margie Palatini, fun! I *love* doing different voices while reading children’s books. One day my husband came home while I was reading “Hank the Cowdog” and he said with the flattest affect, “Never do that in public” LOL. We keep my voices private 😉

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      • I have fun moments with my kids although I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t be the first adjective to come to mind to describe me! “Means business” is more like it 😉
        One of my favorite pig books is Pig Pig Rides by David McPhail. Pig Pig’s mother has bouffant hair to die for 😀

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  2. My mother reports I was a horrible child until I learned to read. I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this but do remember very much enjoying being holed up in my room – alone – reading and reading everything I could get my hands on.

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    • Sounds like you were a spirited child, Barbara 😀 My daughter also found much peace once she began to read, rather young. She begged me to teach her how to read and, honestly, she taught herself. Reading led to writing which led to journalism which led to her blog https://dkpope.wordpress.com/ . You two may be kindred spirits ❤

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  3. Oh, the memories. Dav Pilkey and Captain Underpants … Where the Wild Things Are (“Let the wild rumpus start!”) … Dr. Seuss, Richard Scarry and even Where’s Waldo. Warm fuzzies all around, Angie, thank you!

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  4. Okay, so I must be some kind of freak. I always hear people talk about how beautiful “Love You Forever” is. (Assuming I’m recalling the right book) I just don’t think mothers should be peaking into their adult children’s windows at night. Is that not odd to anyone else?

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  5. I don’t remember my mother ever reading stories to us, but she was a wonderful storyteller. As I’ve always loved reading, I read to my children every day and every night. Then along came grandchildren and another reason to dig out my favorite children’s books and read to them. My list of favs would be too long to enumerate, but I can say they changed with each child and with each stage of their development. For little ones, I loved anything Eric Carle, and when they were a bit older there were the books from the imagination of Chris Van Allsburg.

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    • How wonderful that your mother was a great storyteller! My husband, especially when the children are young, tells the best stories. I lean more toward reading books and Eric Carle…Tomie dePaola…Patricia Polacco…Chris Van Allsburg…just terrific!

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  6. I love, “Where the Wild Ones Are” SOOO much! I can’t recall being read to, other than from my great grandmother. But, the memories are fuzzy and vague. I do however, recall reading on my own from a very young age as reading has always been my favorite pastimes. My favorite childhood author is Beverly Cleary and I adored the Ramona character and series! I have a deeply seated affinity for that lady ❤️ Cheers

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