Amy Krause Rosenthal, a novelist, TED talker, radio host, and children’s book author, died in 2017 after battling ovarian cancer. She gave the world many gifts. Don’t Blink!, her latest children’s book, is a gift to parents at bedtime. A bedtime book that dares children to stay awake, it presents a plea bargain to kids who don’t want to go to bed: if you don’t blink, you don’t have to go to bed. The catch? Every time they do blink, they must turn a page. Reach the end and its night-night. A big-eyed owl acts as the guide, offering a variety of fun tactics for the postponement of blinking and therefore bedtime. It’s a cleverly constructed story, one that should always arrive at the same ending: with heavy eyelids and a head on the pillow.
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We’re living in a golden age of young-adult literature, when books ostensibly written for teens are equally adored by readers of every generation. In the likes of Harry Potter and Katniss Everdeen, they’ve produced characters and conceits that have become the currency of our pop-culture discourse—and inspired some of our best writers to contribute to the genre. To honor the best books for young adults and children, TIME compiled this survey in consultation with respected peers such as U.S. Children’s Poet Laureate Kenn Nesbitt, children’s-book historian Leonard Marcus, the National Center for Children’s Illustrated Literature, the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress, the Every Child a Reader literacy foundation and 10 independent booksellers. With their help, we’ve created two all-time lists of classics: 100 Best Young-Adult Books and 100 Best Children’s Books. Vote for your favorite in the poll below.
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