Wenzel’s Caldecott winning They All Saw A Cat, which explored the different ways various creatures perceive a wandering housecat, was an exercise in empathy. Hello, Hello is an exercise in enthusiasm: Through vibrant illustrations and simple rhyming text, Wenzel walks young readers through a menagerie of exotic animals (including 30 of which are on the endangered species list) all of which share something in common. It’s a simple, joyous book that celebrates the diversity of wildlife.
Written by Fatherly editor-at-large Joshua David Stein, Brick follows a young Brick as she searches for her place in the world. Inspired by the idea that “Great things begin with small bricks,” she visits castles and churches and walls and apartments around the world, searching for places she might fit in. It’s a fun book with a heap of great illustrations by Julia Rothman and it’s about much more than architecture and fitting in. Yeah, we sort of had to mention it because Joshua works for us. But, if he didn’t, we would’ve included it on this list anyway.
Crane, Dozer, and Digger are the anthropomorphized construction equipment of this story but Digger is the only one with a thumping heart. It is he who stumbles upon a single blue flower growing on the last bare patch of land in the city and subsequently saves it from harm before nurturing it back to life. It’s a spare story about protecting nature told without much humor but instead, like its main character, a lot of heart and compassion.
“The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson. A really intricate story about travel, and family, and beauty, and awe, and carving your own path, and how even small things and people can make a big impact on the world and those they love, but it’s so accessible to even small kids, and so beautifully written. Sometimes I read it just for myself.” ― Meghan Hart Arbuckle
100 Great Children’s Books has been published on the occasion of The New York Public Library’s acclaimed exhibition The ABC of It: Why Children’s Books Matter, on view at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The list was selected by The New York Public Library’s Jeanne Lamb, Coordinator, Youth Collections, and Elizabeth Bird, Supervising Librarian.