Top 100 Children’s Chapter Books

Fuse 8 has finished announcing the top 100 Children’s Chapter booksAbby (the) Librarian posted which ones she had read, so I thought I would do the same.  The ones in bold are the ones I have read.

100. The Egypt Game – Snyder (1967)
99. The Indian in the Cupboard – Banks (1980)
98. Children of Green Knowe – Boston (1954)
97. The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane – DiCamillo (2006)
96. The Witches – Dahl (1983)

95. Pippi Longstocking – Lindgren (1950)
94. Swallows and Amazons – Ransome (1930)
93. Caddie Woodlawn – Brink (1935)
92. Ella Enchanted – Levine (1997)

91. Sideways Stories from Wayside School – Sachar (1978)
90. Sarah, Plain and Tall – MacLachlan (1985)
89. Ramona and Her Father – Cleary (1977)

88. The High King – Alexander (1968)
87. The View from Saturday – Konigsburg (1996)
86. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – Rowling (1999)
85. On the Banks of Plum Creek – Wilder (1937)
84. The Little White Horse – Goudge (1946)
83. The Thief – Turner (1997)
82. The Book of Three – Alexander (1964)
81. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon – Lin (2009)
80. The Graveyard Book – Gaiman (2008)

79. All-of-a-Kind-Family – Taylor (1951)
78. Johnny Tremain – Forbes (1943)
77. The City of Ember – DuPrau (2003)
76. Out of the Dust – Hesse (1997)
75. Love That Dog – Creech (2001)

74. The Borrowers – Norton (1953)
73. My Side of the Mountain – George (1959)
72. My Father’s Dragon – Gannett (1948)
71. The Bad Beginning – Snicket (1999)
70. Betsy-Tacy – Lovelae (1940)
69. The Mysterious Benedict Society – Stewart ( 2007)
68. Walk Two Moons – Creech (1994)
67. Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher – Coville (1991)
66. Henry Huggins – Cleary (1950)

65. Ballet Shoes – Stratfeild (1936)
64. A Long Way from Chicago – Peck (1998)
63. Gone-Away Lake – Enright (1957)
62. The Secret of the Old Clock – Keene (1959)
61. Stargirl – Spinelli (2000)
60. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle – Avi (1990)
59. Inkheart – Funke (2003)
58. The Wolves of Willoughby Chase – Aiken (1962)
57. Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – Cleary (1981)
56. Number the Stars – Lowry (1989)
55. The Great Gilly Hopkins – Paterson (1978)
54. The BFG – Dahl (1982)
53. Wind in the Willows – Grahame (1908)
52. The Invention of Hugo Cabret (2007)

51. The Saturdays – Enright (1941)
50. Island of the Blue Dolphins – O’Dell (1960)
49. Frindle – Clements (1996)

48. The Penderwicks – Birdsall (2005)
47. Bud, Not Buddy – Curtis (1999)
46. Where the Red Fern Grows – Rawls (1961)
45. The Golden Compass – Pullman (1995)
44. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing – Blume (1972)
43. Ramona the Pest – Cleary (1968)

42. Little House on the Prairie – Wilder (1935)
41. The Witch of Blackbird Pond – Speare (1958)
40. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – Baum (1900)
39. When You Reach Me – Stead (2009)
38. HP and the Order of the Phoenix – Rowling (2003)

37. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry – Taylor (1976)
36. Are You there, God? It’s Me, Margaret – Blume (1970)
35. HP and the Goblet of Fire – Rowling (2000)
34. The Watson’s Go to Birmingham – Curtis (1995)
33. James and the Giant Peach – Dahl (1961)

32. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH – O’Brian (1971)
31. Half Magic – Eager (1954)
30. Winnie-the-Pooh – Milne (1926)
29. The Dark Is Rising – Cooper (1973)
28. A Little Princess – Burnett (1905)
27. Alice I and II – Carroll (1865/72)
26. Hatchet – Paulsen (1989)
25. Little Women – Alcott (1868/9)
24. HP and the Deathly Hallows – Rowling (2007)
23. Little House in the Big Woods – Wilder (1932)
22. The Tale of Despereaux – DiCamillo (2003)
21. The Lightening Thief – Riordan (2005)
20. Tuck Everlasting – Babbitt (1975)
19. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Dahl (1964)

18. Matilda – Dahl (1988)
17. Maniac Magee – Spinelli (1990)
16. Harriet the Spy – Fitzhugh (1964)
15. Because of Winn-Dixie – DiCamillo (2000)
14. HP and the Prisoner of Azkaban – Rowling (1999)

13. Bridge to Terabithia – Paterson (1977)
12. The Hobbit – Tolkien (1938)
11. The Westing Game – Raskin (1978)
10. The Phantom Tollbooth – Juster (1961)
9. Anne of Green Gables – Montgomery (1908)
8. The Secret Garden – Burnett (1911)
7. The Giver -Lowry (1993)
6. Holes – Sachar (1998)

5. From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler – Koningsburg (1967)
4. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – Lewis (1950)
3. Harry Potter #1 – Rowling (1997)
2. A Wrinkle in Time – L’Engle (1962)
1. Charlotte’s Web – White (1952)

Whew!  63 out of 100.  Not nearly as good as Abby’s 80, but still very respectable.   I hoped to make 50, so I definitely exceeded my goal.

I was very excited to see 5 of MY top ten picks make it.  Way to go Jeremy Thatcher!!!  But where was Bunnicula???  I was sure he would make it!

Jen

EDIT:  Can I just say that I am really really upset with Ms. Bird.  She posted today about some of the books that were close, but did not make the poll and had this to say about the voting:

“In the event that a class of kids votes, I will count the votes and tally them.  However, for a classroom child’s vote to count (and I’m sorry to do this guys, but I can’t see any way around it) two adults must have voted for the same book for it to appear on the Top 100 poll.  Individual votes from kids will count as the same as adult votes.  The reason for this is that often teachers will make this poll an assignment in class and it sometimes seems as if not all the kids want to participate.  To avoid vote swaying, we have had to institute this rule.”

WHAT????  As a children’s librarian, I am used to people saying children are not as important as adults when it comes to patrons, and children’s materials always come second to adult materials.  I did not expect to hear this same sentiment coming from another children’s librarian!!!  It is a POLL…..does she not understand how polls work???  People vote, and the votes are counted….they should not be manipulated to get the results you want.

The poll was for people’s favorite books, not the best books, their favorite books.  She said that if she had included all the kid’s votes it would have been “50% fantasy sequels published in the last 5 years.”  So what??!!!!

I ABSOLUTELY HATE the fact that as a whole librarians are so elitist about books.  There are GOOD books, and then there are books that they tolerate because kids love them.  I don’t include myself in that because a lot of the GOOD books according to librarians are not enjoyable at all to me.

So anyway, the whole poll means nothing to me anymore because the results were tampered with.  A few of the commenters were like, “Oh good for you, Betsy for making sure the RIGHT books made it on the list.”

Sheesh…..I am very disappointed in my profession right now.  I want to be a plumber.

EDIT:  Also, I just thought of something else…..half of the comments about the various favorites on the poll started out with “I first fell in love with this book when I was 9 and couldn’t stop reading it….blah, blah, blah.”  So it is okay if it is an adult’s favorite book from when they were in 3rd grade, but a child’s favorite book from right now means nothing.  Hmmmmm, no wonder kids hate grown-ups.

Okay, rant officially over, I promise.  :)

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16 Responses to “Top 100 Children’s Chapter Books”


  1. 1 ngtjill April 14, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Not bad! And I’m totally copying this post. People are going to be so sick of us by the end of April. :)

    P.S. You REALLY need to read The Witch of Blackbird Pond! It’s one of my all-time favorites. Maybe I should re-read it…ok, yep, I definitely going to re-read it soon. Maybe THAT will take me out of my I’m-reading-terrible-books-lately funk.

  2. 2 Abby April 14, 2010 at 5:27 pm

    1. YES, read The Witch of Blackbird Pond! I lovelovelove it!

    2. I can completely understand your dismay that Betsy finagled the votes… I’m going to wait and see the list of all the books voted on before I decide whether I’m Annoyed or not. I definitely see what you’re saying, but at the same time, I know how viral titles can be in classrooms and how one class of kids that are obsessed with Rangers Apprentice or something can really skew the vote… also…

    3. I mean, there’s no way this poll can be taken as an actual representative sample anyway. People who blog and/or read blogs are such a small fraction of the actual people who might vote in a poll like this if they knew about it.

    4. Plus, I’d argue that a list of the 100 Best Children’s Book and a list of the 100 Favorite Books of Children are going to be two EXTREMELY different beasts. Yes, it would be great to compile a list of kids’ favorite books, but I would argue that kids do not yet have the breadth of reading experiences that will allow them to actually judge the best books in a poll like this. Does that make me an elitist librarian? Maybe so… (Sorry!)

  3. 3 ngtjennifer April 14, 2010 at 10:04 pm

    Oh Abby, I would never call you an elitist librarian! I guess one of the reasons I was so upset was because she usually rubs me the wrong way anyway. Plus, it meant that my 2nd favorite Harry Potter book was knocked off the list.

    I guess if she was going to mess with the results it should have been all or nothing right from the beginning. Either include all kid’s votes or don’t include any of them. Don’t mess with them until they make the list come out like you want it.

    I guess I also felt betrayed because she didn’t mention it until after the poll was over. Maybe it was posted earlier, but I checked those posts everyday and I don’t remember her saying anything about it.

    It would be interesting to hear what some of those classes thought about the way she treated their votes. I know they were probably keeping track of the results since they voted. I would be pissed if I was one of those children.

  4. 4 ngtlindsay April 14, 2010 at 10:32 pm

    I can see the validity of Abby’s argument, but I have to agree with Jen here. If the voting wasn’t going to be valid unless an adult voted the same way, why have the kids vote at all? If I were one of those kids, I think I would have lost some faith in libraries.

    • 5 Abby April 16, 2010 at 6:49 am

      I can totally see where y’all are coming from. I’ll say one more thing in her defense (just to throw it out there) and that’s that she didn’t solicit votes from kids, necessarily. I believe what happened is some of the teachers that read her blog started assigning their kids to vote. So it’s not like she said “Hey, all you kids! Come vote in my poll!” and then decided not to count their votes. I think all the votes coming in from the kids were a surprise to her and maybe not necessarily the audience she had intended to poll.

      That said, I can still see where you guys are coming from.

      • 6 ngtjennifer April 16, 2010 at 8:19 am

        Yeah, and I totally think that’s what happened too. I know a few kids voted on the last poll, but not nearly as many. I still think she should have gone one way or the other by counting all the kid’s votes or none of them. It was a crappy thing for her to do, but I think I am always looking for ways to criticize her because I don’t really like her.

  5. 7 ngtjennifer April 16, 2010 at 11:14 am

    After looking through the books that everyone voted for, I think her decision to not count children’s votes is even more lame. There would have only been SEVEN books added to the countdown, if the kid’s votes were counted as equals. She made it sound like literally half of the countdown would be taken over. Sheesh!
    The only new titles would have been the other 4 percy jackson books, the Magic Thief, Half-Blood Prince, and The Frog Princess. Really????? I don’t have a problem with any of those books, but she obviously did.

    • 8 Amber April 16, 2010 at 5:24 pm

      UGGG those are all very legit books to be on the list! I AM SO MAD THAT SARAH PRINEAS WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ON THERE AND SHE WASN’T! Humph.

  6. 9 Kate April 22, 2010 at 12:18 pm

    Great list! A lot of my favorites are on there. In fact the only one that I didn’t see is Sewing A Friendship, it didn’t come out in time for my childhood, but I got it for my niece and we loved reading it together. A great bonding book.

  7. 10 Fuse #8 June 19, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Ah! I was very surprised that nobody mentioned any of this on my blog at the time! I’ve only just now discovered the objections, two months after the fact.

    My husband pointed out to me right from the start, “If you don’t count all the kid votes, people are going to be angry at you.” And of course, he was right. The thing is, people were going to be a lot angrier at me if I counted every single one. And it wasn’t as if I could pick and choose. Either the Top 10 consisted of all Percy Jackson, Harry Potter, and Fablehaven books or it didn’t.

    Was it elitist? I’d like to say no, but it was. Ageist, is probably a closer term though. And this was not to say that all kids were discounted. Individual kids (I’d say, about 20) wrote me and each one of their votes counted. It was the classes of kids that threw me. Generally speaking, a teacher would assign this poll in class and send me the results. And often times fourteen kids would mention the same ten books in a slightly different order. I began to realize that the books were often the ones they were reading in class or had been assigned.

    The question then becomes, what is a “best” children’s book? If you’ve only 10 years on the globe then what you’ve seen so far is the best. On the other hand, does that make you any less worthy, being only ten?

    Obviously, I was gobstruck by the situation. I’d done the Top 100 Picture Books poll the year before, but no one had ever assigned that in school. Now I had a lot of votes for iCarly titles. So I made an executive decision. It wasn’t a good idea to mention it after the fact, but at the same time, I didn’t want teachers NOT to poll their students because it’s a really fun assignment. The compromise was that if kids were in classes their votes would count if two adults voted for the same book. I love The Magic Thief too, but apparently it’s only popular with kids these days. If I redo the poll in ten years, I’ll guarantee you that it will make the list.

    • 11 ngtjennifer June 19, 2010 at 5:47 pm

      Wow, Betsy…..even after all the stuff I said, I really do read your blog on a regular basis and enjoy it. I am kind of surprised that you found our little blog.

      Thanks for the explanation about the voting. I was looking back on my posts about this list and when making my own list I had 3 titles in the #10 position and I said, it’s my list and I can do what I want! So I can’t really blame you for running your poll the way you want to.

      I think that my problem with the whole thing is that in my mind it was always a poll of “favorite” books and not “best” books. When I think of a top ten list for me, it is automatically things that I love most, not necessarily what I think is best. So many of the quotes at the beginning of each entry talked about a book as a “favorite.”

      My taste tends to skew in the direction of a child’s and not a librarian’s. I think either way you did it someone would look at the list and be dissatisfied. Librarians would say “Ugh! Look at all those horrible Rainbow Magic books!” Whereas I, and many kids would look at the list and think, “Ugh! Look at all those old books I’ve never heard of!” You can’t really make either side completely happy, and since the poll was directed at librarians, you made the right choice in the end.

      Like you said, most people in the comments didn’t seem to have any problem with your decision. I was, of course, too chicken to leave a comment on the actual blog post, so instead came here to rant.

      Thanks for responding Betsy, and even though I got all huffy-and puffy I will still check in every day for your next poll idea.

  8. 12 Fuse #8 June 23, 2010 at 2:15 pm

    Oh, not a problem. And actually, I need some advice. I’ve been trying to figure out what the next poll should be. I can’t do YA since that’s not my area of expertise. I could do graphic novels or easy readers or non-fiction, but which? Then I had the idea of polling folks for their Top 10 Illustrators. That way, kids could vote all they wanted and every one would count.

    The problem? What if some illustrators tell their fans to vote for them so that they can sway the results? Hmm. And how do I make the votes more multicultural? Lots to ponder. Advice is more than needed.

    • 13 ngtjennifer June 23, 2010 at 10:11 pm

      Ooooh, that is a tricky one. I think it would be great to see what an easy readers poll would look like. There are soooo many easy readers out there, but aside from Dr. Seuss and favorite character books I can’t name all that many off the top of my head, so it would be cool to see the results of that poll (and helpful).

      But, I think the illustrator thing would be fun too. That would take things in a whole new direction and open up lots of cans of worms. It’s funny that out of all the things you suggested, that is the category I could automatically list off my choices without having to think.

      So really, there isn’t much advice buried in my ramblings. I think any new poll will be met with a big response. Good luck!

    • 14 ngtjill June 23, 2010 at 10:40 pm

      All of those sound really, good, but I would LOVE to see the results for a poll on non-fiction and graphic novels. I think those could be really interesting.

      Sorry, I don’t think I helped much. I’m giving opinions instead of advice. Either way, I know I’ll be submitting or voting in your next poll! :)


  1. 1 Top 100 Children’s Chapter Books – Jill « NerdGirlBlogging Trackback on April 14, 2010 at 2:42 pm
  2. 2 100 Favorite Children’s Novels « A Magical Childhood Trackback on June 18, 2010 at 11:33 pm

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