“Wherever You Are, My Love Will Find You by Nancy Tillman. We are a military family and right before my husband’s third deployment he recorded that book for our children. This meant so much to our children being able to hear his voice. So now I give this book to my friends/family having babies because usually I’m the one that doesn’t live close by. I want them to know I’ll love them no matter where I am.” ― Kassie Rice
Penelope, the classmate-eater to which the title refers, is a cute dinosaur who’s just beginning school. And, yes, she does indeed devour her classmates. But only because she doesn’t know better and, well, kids are damn tasty. When her teacher does tell her not to do it, Penelope subsequently hocks them out (they’re fine, if a bit slimy). In the clever tale that follows, Penelope learns how to act in her new environment, even if she stumbles and scarfs down a classmate a few more times.
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“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
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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