Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Top 20 Favorite Children's Books

Several years back, School Library Journal published a list of Top 100 Children's Novels, which I used as the kick-off for a school-wide survey of favorite books. Now seemed like a great time to revisit that list, especially for those looking to give books as gifts.

All first through sixth grade students were given the opportunity to create a Top 10 List of their own personal favorite children's books (novels and/or picture books). In addition, my third grade students took their lists home and surveyed their parents, siblings, friends, and family members. Many staff members and teachers also shared their favorite books.

I'll be sharing the results of the surveys, broken down by grade level. This first post will cover the Top 20 Favorite Children's Books across everyone surveyed. Future posts will focus in on books recommended by first graders, second graders, third graders, fourth graders, sixth graders, and parents.

Top 20 Favorite Children's Books

#1 Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling

The Harry Potter series was the runaway favorite, receiving votes from across all grade levels surveyed, as well as from parents and teachers. I had been curious whether the series' popularity would fade with the completion of the movies, but there appears to be no end in sight for this favorite.

#2 Books by Dr. Seuss

Dr. Seuss received many votes, both as an author and for individual books. Popular titles included The Lorax, Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and many others.

#3 Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney

Votes for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books were concentrated pretty heavily among the third and fourth graders, but even some parents and staff added their votes for this perennial favorite. This series has become among the most dog-eared of any in my classroom library, many of which have reached a point of nearly being loved-to-death with missing pages and spine glue.

#4 The Giver by Lois Lowry

The Giver is number 1 on my all-time favorite children's book list, and I am hoping its continued popularity is due more to being read as a classroom novel by the sixth graders and less to the recent release of the movie (which I am afraid to watch).

#5 The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The wordplay and characters are timeless in this classic book. Though read by our fourth grade students later in the year, this book remained popular among older students as well. What's not to love about an actual Spelling Bee or a watchdog named Tock?

#6 The Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The first Little House book, Little House in the Big Woods, takes place in Wisconsin, making it even more interesting to our students. Despite recognition that some aspects of this series no longer read well in today's world, these books continue to be popular among both students and parents.

#7 The Hobbit by J. R. R. Tolkien

Tolkien's classic children's book was popular among older students and parents, and it is likely another book to have drawn additional interest from the recent movie versions.

#8 Calvin and Hobbes by Bill Watterson

Students continue to love the antics of young Calvin and his pet Tiger, Hobbes. Our school library had to make the anthology books of these comics for "Library Use Only" just to keep any on the shelves.

#9 The Chronicles of Narnia series by C. S. Lewis

Many individual books from the Chronicles of Narnia series were name-checked in the surveys, and this remains a popular series among parents. My third grade students will have the opportunity to choose to read The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe later in the year in a book club discussion format. (I am still a strong believer in the original publication order, not the chronological order the book series is often rearranged into.)

#10 Charlotte's Web by E. B. White

Charlotte's Web was the #1 pick in the published Top 100 Novel's List and rounds out our school's Top 10. This was another title that scored votes from across the grade levels and from parents and teachers.


#11 Nancy Drew books by Caroline Keene and new Nancy Drew Clue Crew series

#11 Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce


#12 Percy Jackson and the Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan

#13 Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo


#14 Books by Shel Silverstein

#16 Christopher Mouse by William Wise

#17 Captain Underpants series by Dav Pilkey

#18 Number the Stars by Lois Lowry

#19 The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osbourne

#20 A Wrinkle in Time and series by Madeline L'Engle

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