Amazon’s 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime

Amazon’s 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime

Amazon has created a lot of lists of books to read, and I certainly don’t always agree with them.

I have to say, on this one…I think they got a lot of them right:

100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime (at AmazonSmile: benefit a non-profit of your choice by shopping*)

Given that they didn’t do two books from the same author (although they cheated by doing an omnibus for Dr. Seuss and others), I’m not immediately seeing a glaring omission. That might sound like d*mning with faint praise, but it is unusual in a list like this.

They also didn’t title it in such a way that it was clear that it was going to be fiction only, if it wasn’t, that would have changed things…but given those rules, I’m pleased.

I read quite a few of these as a child…and some others later.

Let’s see…here’s the list and what I’ve read:

  • A Wrinkle in Time (yes)
  • The Classic  Treasury of Aesop’s  Fables (yes)
  • Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day
  • Alice in Wonderland (yes)
  • Amelia Bedelia (yes)
  • And Tango Makes Three
  • Anne of Green Gables (yes)
  • Are You My Mother? (yes)
  • Are You There God?  It’s Me, Margaret
  • Beatrix Potter: The Complete Tales (yes)
  • Betsy Tacy
  • Black Beauty (yes)
  • Bread and Jam for Francis
  • Bridge to Terabithia (I saw the movie…and I wouldn’t recommend that children watch it.  Not sure about the book, though)
  • Caps  for Sale (yes) (and I watched it on Captain Kangaroo)
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (yes)
  • Charlotte’s Web (yes)
  • Chicka Chicka Boom Boom (yes) (and we’ve given it many times as a gift)
  • Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
  • Coraline
  • Corduroy (yes)
  • D’Aulaire’s Book of Greek  Myths  (yes) (and yes, this specific version)
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid
  • Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus!
  • Dr. Seuss’ Beginner Book Collection (yes)
  • Encyclopedia Brown (yes)
  • Esperanza Rising
  • From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E.  Frankweller
  • Goodnight Moon (yes)
  • Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site
  • Grimm’s Complete Fairy Tales (yes)
  • Guess How Much I Love You
  • Harold and the Purple  Crayon (yes)
  • Harriet the Spy (yes) (and we watched the movie multiple times)
  • Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (yes)
  • Holes
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins (yes)
  • Jumanji (yes)
  • Little  House on the Prairie (yes)
  • Little Women (yes)
  • Llama Llama Red Pajama
  • Madeline (yes)
  • Make Way for Ducklings (yes) (and another Captain Kangaroo books)
  • Maniac Magee
  • Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel  (yes) (thanks again, Bob Keeshan!)
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins (yes)
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (yes)
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
  • My Side of the Mountain
  • Olivia
  • Owen
  • Paddle-in-the-Sea
  • Pat the Bunny (yes)
  • Peter Pan (yes)
  • Pippi Longstocking (yes)
  • Press Here
  • Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
  • The Bad Beginning (yes)
  • The Borrowers (yes)
  • The Boxcar Children
  • Call of the Wild (yes)
  • The Complete Adventures of Curious George (yes)
  • The Cricket in Times Square (yes)
  • The Day the Crayons Quit
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
  • The Giver
  • The House at  Pooh Corner (yes)
  • The Invention of Hugo Cabret
  • The Jungle Book (yes)
  • The Lightning Thief
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (yes)
  • The Little Engine That Could (yes)
  • The Little Prince (yes)
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle (yes)
  • The New Way Things Work  (I read the original)
  • The Paper Bag Princess
  • The Phantom Tollbooth (yes)
  • The Real Mother Goose (yes)
  • The Secret Garden (yes)
  • The Secret of the Old Clock (yes) (Nancy Drew)
  • The Snowy Day
  • The Story of Babar, The Little Elephant (yes) (right back to childhood just seeing the name!)
  • The Story of Ferdinand (yes)
  • The Tale of Despereaux
  • The Tower Treasure (yes) (The Hardy Boys)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar (yes)
  • The Watsons Go to  Birmingham
  • The  Wednesday Wars
  • The Westing Game
  • The Wind in the Willows (yes)
  • The Wizard of  Oz  (yes) (as a huge Oz fan, I would actually start children with the second book)
  • Treasure Island (yes)
  • Tuck Everlasting
  • Walk Two  Moons
  • Watership Down (yes)
  • Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  • Where the Red Fern Grows (yes)
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends (yes)
  • Where the Wild Things Are (yes)
  • Wonder

Also interesting? Almost all of the books are available in Kindle editions. That wasn’t true initially with children’s books and Kindles…and the Fire Tablets have been part of that, certainly.

How about you? Have you read most of these? Are there any books you absolutely think should have been in this list? I’ve cited Captain Kangaroo as an influence for me on several of these books…for some of you, I’m guessing it might have been Reading Rainbow or Wishbone. Are there other childhood reading influencers (besides friends and family…something in the public) you would name? Classics Illustrated comics, perhaps? Feel free to tell me and my readers what you think by commenting on this post.

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This post by Bufo Calvin originally appeared in the I Love My Kindle blog. To support this or other blogs/organizations, buy  Amazon Gift Cards from a link on the site, then use those to buy your items. There will be no cost to you, and a benefit to them.

14 Responses to “Amazon’s 100 Children’s Books to Read in a Lifetime”

  1. Roberta Says:

    The Giving Tree is not on this list? How is that even possible?

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Roberta!

      It’s possible because they chose to go with Where the Sidewalk Ends as their Shel Silverstein book instead.🙂

      I think that’s a defensible choice. Sidewalk has a much higher average rating than Giving Tree on Amazon, for example.

      Me? I still think of “Uncle Shelby” as a counter culture figure…music is my first touchstone, then, I’d say Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book (definitely not a children’s books…it’s a brilliant parody).

  2. Lady Galaxy Says:

    I think I’ve read 66, but every time I look at the list I realize there’s another one I’ve read and didn’t count the last time! It’s too bad they set a limit of one per author, but I understand the reasoning. My biggest complaint is that the list is trying to cover too wide of an age range. “Pat the Bunny” and “Watership Down” hardly seem to belong on the same list. I wouldn’t have included “Watership Down” as a children’s book. That’s more on the high school end of the list.

    A few of my favorites that made the list include, “Amelia Bedelia,” “Charlotte’s Web,” “Make Way for Duckings,” “Where the Sidewalk Ends,” “Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,”
    “The Wind in the Willows,” “The Little House on the Prairie,” … there are just too many to list! Of the ones I have read, there isn’t one I would remove from the list to make way for something else.

    I can’t judge the ones I haven’t read as being worthy of inclusion or not, but how could they leave out “The Velveteen Rabbit”? It is my all time favorite children’s book! Where are the classics like “Stone Soup,” “Tops and Bottoms,” and “Stega Nona”?

    Books my students loved that didn’t make the list include “Family Pictures” by Carmen Lomas Garza, “If You’re Not Here Please Raise Your Hand” by Kalli Dakos, “If You Give a Mouse a Cookie” by Laura Numeroff, “The Circle of Thanks” by Brucha, “And Still the Turtle Watched” by Sheila MacGill Callahan.

    One book on the list is also on my wish list, “The Day the Crayons Quit.” This one came out after I retired. Unfortunately, my only Kindle option is the Kindle Cloud reader, and that doesn’t work well with my badly in need of a system upgrade computer.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, Lady!

      I think those are good insights. You’ve certainly mentioned some other worthy titles…but like me, I think your sense is that this generally pretty good.

      I also had the same thought on Watership Down. I do think high schoolers can count as children, but for me, Watership Down is really best read by adults.

  3. Zebras Says:

    I’m at about 35 read. My Mom worked for a company that turned the award winning children’s books into filmstrips and movies, and I helped stock shelves, etc. at a young age, and I can name several of the books that I read sitting in there conference room waiting for my Mom to be done with work, etc. We have a picture of the entire office staff and it includes life size Where The Wild Things Are characters.

  4. D. Knight Says:

    I’ve read more than half of these–roughly the same amount/same ones as you. I didn’t count, but there were ~4-5 the you read that I hadn’t and ~4-5 that I’d read that you hadn’t.

    One, though, that I noticed missing: The Princess and the Goblin (or another of George MacDonald marvelous tales). He was a huge influence on both C. S. Lewis and Tolkien, so it does seem a glaring omission to me.

    BTW, I also have given Chicka Chicka Boom Boom as gift many times.

    I highly recommend The Giver to you. It’s available on KU, and quite enjoyable for an adult (I was an adult when I read it). And, text to speech is not blocked.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, D.!

      Yes, The Princess and the Goblin is great! That’s a good choice…but I’m not sure I was scanning the list looking for it

      You’ve convinced me.🙂 I’ll read The Giver. I actually own it, but it’s nice that is in KU.

  5. tuxgirl Says:

    The giver is awesome, but its not my favorite Lois Lowry book. I loved Number the Stars.

    I wish they had at least separated it between short picture books and more of chapter books (or chapter length books, since where the sidewalk ends doesnt fit nicely in either). I definitely struggle with a list that has both Goodnight Moon and The Giver on it.I think splitting the list would also lead to more sales from the list.

    What about Nancy Drew?

    Speaking of the Giver, I read that book back in 4th grade. I was in college when I found out that there were sequels!!! That was rather mind-blowing for me.

    Anyway, I’d love to see some Lawrence Yep on the list. I started with dragonwings, then went to the dragon of the lost sea series, and then read most of the Golden mountain chronicles, and built from there. The golden mountain chronicles are an amazing collection showing the chinese-american experience throughout different time periods.

    And for Silverstein, I would’ve put the giving tree instead of where the sidewalk ends, personally.

    Max Lucado’s You Are Special is another I would add…

    Sorry, that was rambling. I’m on my phone!

    • Lady Galaxy Says:

      I would have preferred “Number the Stars” over “The Giver” as well. I think “Number the Stars” appeals to a wider age range.

      Good news is that Nancy Drew is in the list under the title of “The Secret of the Old Clock.” I think that one is the first in the series. I wonder if today’s kids still read the older books or if they’re more attracted to the newer titles or the graphic novel that pairs Nancy Drew with the Hardy boys?

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, Lady!

        You beat me to the Nancy Drew…I guess I was the George on this one.😉

        My guess is that modern kids read both.🙂 I think people certainly may tend to start their kids with the originals…and that kids finding it on their own might start with a modern one.

        Oh, and yes, Old Clock is the first in the series.

    • tuxgirl Says:

      Found Nancy Drew… Had missed it in the list…🙂

      I’ve read 35 of the books listed… Although some of them multiple times… I don’t want to know how many times I’ve read Goodnight Moon. Not quite as many as most of the little critter books… I can (and have) read those with my eyes shut…

      • Bufo Calvin Says:

        Thanks for writing, tuxgirl!

        Oh, sure! I’ve read many of these books multiple times as well. Kids love to be able to predict what happens next…I find that’s also true of some dogs.🙂 Repeatedly reading the same book enables that.

    • Bufo Calvin Says:

      Thanks for writing, tuxgirl!

      Rambling on the phone?🙂 I always find that tends to restrict me more. I’m curious: were you speaking it? Then rambling makes more sense to me.

      I agree with Lawrence Yep! I can think of a lot of books I could add:

      * As a former bookstore manager, I might include both a Choose Your Own Adventure and a Baby-Sitters Club. People were so emotionally invested in those! I’m not saying they are the best written, necessarily, but should you read them? I think that makes sense. The Animorphs might also be on that sort of list
      * The Monster at the End of this Book: we read this book over and over again, and it’s also popular
      * No Daniel Pinkwater?
      * Wacky Wednesday
      * The Story about Ping

      I agree: it’s a pretty heterogenous list. I think it might dilute the effect to break it up too much, though…and where do you draw the line? I suspect it also has to do with tying into a section in the store…

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