The best children’s books not only help young readers understand themselves and the world better, but make them giggle, think, worry, consider, and engage all their other feelings, too. These books also tug adult readers back towards childhood, reminding us of our youth and bigger things beyond our own lives. This is no easy trick, but it feels natural when a great book pulls it off with grace. And so far, there have been dozens of releases this year that do just that.


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3 years & up. Explore early childhood concepts while using the rhythm, rhyme, and repetition that children love with this Dr. Seuss favorite. Bring the mischievous twins from Cat In The Hat, Thing 1 & Thing 2, to life with this double-sided plush hand puppet. One side of the puppet features a delightful Thing 1 twin with open eyes and the other side features Thing 2 with closed eyes. Puppets are surface wash only. Puppet size 10" tall. Hardback book has 72 pages. Included: Cat in the… More »
Fifty years after Don Freeman introduced the lovable bear to the world, actor Viola Davis updates the series. Davis, who grew up poor in Rhode Island, used to spend her afternoons at the library where Freeman’s stories of the bear and his benefactor, a young African American girl named Lisa, kept the young actress company. Now she returns the favor with Corduroy Takes A Bow in which the bear takes a much-belated interest in the world of theater.
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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.
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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