According to BBC Culture, a survey was conducted among 177 book experts from 56 countries to determine the top 100 greatest children’s books of all time. The top five books were also revealed.
1. Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
2. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
3. Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
4. The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
5. The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
74 of the 100 books featured were first published in the English language, with the next most popular language being Swedish, with nine entries. Meanwhile, books published between the 1950s and 1970s were most prevalent, which may be related to the age profile of voters, the majority of whom were born in the 1970s and 1980s. Fourteen of the top 100 books were published in this century – and it would be fascinating to see how many other newer books might be included, should we repeat the poll in 10 or 20 years’ time. Given the publishing industry’s continued efforts to create a more inclusive landscape, one could also expect the list of authors to diversify further.
However, if great children’s writing is not receiving the critical respect it should these days, then it certainly continues to make news headlines – which are, for better or worse, a reminder of how core it is to our existence. Recently for example, there’s been the furor over the rewriting of Roald Dahl’s novels for modern sensibilities – and more generally, the widespread concern over the growing movement in the US towards banning children’s books, including many dealing with racial and LGBTQ+ themes. All in all, then, it felt like the right time to do our bit to both give children’s literature its due and consider what has made and continues to make great children’s writing. And so, in order to do that, we have decided to ask many experts a very simple question: what is the greatest children’s book of all time?
See the complete list of 100 Greatest Childrens Books