Reading Icon

Discover the Greatest Children’s Books of All Time

greatest children's books

We all have our favourite books from childhood, but which books would you say were the greatest children’s books of all time?

In a world captivated by video storytelling, placing value on books is a healthy habit for students and adults alike!

BBC Culture set out to determine the greatest children’s books ever written. The poll involved 177 book experts from 56 countries, creating a captivating list celebrating children’s literature’s power and enduring impact.

The Underappreciation of Children’s Literature

Children’s literature often is underappreciated. Many parents may acknowledge its importance in fostering imagination and instilling a love for reading at a young age. Yet, children’s books are unfortunately considered second class compared to other literature.

Children’s literature possesses a unique power to captivate and educate young minds, shaping their values, broadening their horizons, and fostering empathy.

Children who develop a love of reading at a young age are more likely to become strong readers for life. Not only do good reading skills benefit students academically, they are also a skill required for lifelong success. Reading:

  • Develops vocabulary,
  • Increases attention span,
  • Promotes stronger analytical thinking

Unfortunately, by underestimating children’s literature, we fail to recognize its impact on shaping the future generation, empowering young readers to become curious, empathetic, and critical thinkers. But by embracing and celebrating children’s literature, we can lead to a richer literary landscape acknowledging these books’ profound influence on shaping young minds.

Children’s Literature in Today’s World

The poll coincides with recent discussions about children’s literature and what books should and shouldn’t be available to children.

However, the controversies surrounding the rewriting of Roald Dahl’s novels for modern sensibilities and the growing movement to ban children’s books addressing BIPOC and LGBTQIA+ themes highlight the importance of recognizing and celebrating these works.

The poll aims to give children’s literature its due and explore the enduring qualities that make great children’s writing.

The full list is a tribute to the boundless imagination, thrilling storytelling, and profound themes in children’s literature— a celebration of literature, creativity, and the books that have genuinely changed us all.

A Selection Of The 100 Greatest Children’s Books of All Time List

# 20 Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown and Clement Hurd, 1947

#48 The Neverending Story by Michael Ende, 1979

# 96 The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams, 1921

#75 A Kind of Spark by Elle McNicoll, 2020

#10 Matilda by Roald Dahl and Quentin Blake, 1988

#45 The Lord Of the Rings by JRR Tolkien, 1954

#34 A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, 1962

Click here to see the #1 book on the list and to view the full 100 Children’s books.

Does Your Child Need Reading Support? Consider a Tutoring Program

Although we are celebrating the wonders of children’s literature with the greatest children’s books—it’s important to know that some children may find reading challenging. 

If your child needs assistance with reading, consider a tutoring program that could provide the support they need to develop their skills and unlock the magic of books.
Contact a location near you to learn more.

Find an Oxford Learning® Location Near You!

We Have Over 100 Centres Across Canada!
Contact A Location