The 100 best children's books: who voted?

Read the top tens of those whose nominated for our 100 best children's books, including award-winning authors and illustrators like Cressida Cowell, Charlie Higson, Sophie Kinsella and Chris Riddle


To draw up our list of 100 best children's books, we asked our own team of writers, kids' book experts and several of the best children’s bookshops in London for their personal top ten favourites. We also asked a host of authors and illustrators including Cressida Cowell, Charlie Higson, John Boyne, Chris Riddle, Jeremy Strong, Sophie Kinsella and Terry Deary, as well as the current UK Children’s Laureate, Chris Riddell. Read on to see who they picked.

RECOMMENDED: read the full results in our 100 best children's books

We've also teamed up with the brilliant bookshop Foyles to bring you our favourite children's books available to buy in one place.

Best children's books contributors

Laurence Anholt

Laurence Anholt has created more than 200 children’s books, many of which are illustrated by his partner, Catherine Anholt. His first full-length novel ‘The Hypnotist’ will be published by Penguin Random House in October.

1. ‘We Are All Born Free’ by Amnesty International
2. ‘Johnny and the Clockmaker’ by Edward Ardizzone
3. ‘The Cat In The Hat’ by Dr Seuss
4. ‘Tintin and the Shooting Star’ by Hergé
5. ‘Tail-End Charlie’ by Mick Manning
6. ‘Oi! Get Off Our Train’ by John Burningham
7. ‘Aren’t You Lucky’ by Catherine Anholt
8. ‘Little Rabbit Foo-Foo’ by Michael Rosen and Arthur Robins
9. ‘Heaven Eyes’ by David Almond
10. ‘Siddhartha’ by Hermann Hesse

Ros Asquith

Author and illustrator Ros Asquith has been a Guardian cartoonist for 20 years, and has written and illustrated over 70 books for children and teenagers. She is the author of the Teenage Worrier series and ‘Letters From an Alien Schoolboy’, shortlisted for the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

1. ‘Peepo’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
2. ‘Dogger’ by Shirley Hughes
3. ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ by Roald Dahl
4. ‘Frog and Toad’ by Arnold Lobel
5. ‘Alice in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll
6. ‘Kasper in the Glitter’ by Philip Ridley
7. ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar
8. ‘The Once and Future King’ by TH White
9. ‘Northern Lights’ and the ‘His Dark Materials’ trilogy by Philip Pullman
10. 'Five children and It’ by Edith Nesbitt


Ben Bailey Smith

Actor, stand-up comedian and rapper Ben Bailey Smith (aka Doc Brown) makes his debut as a children’s author with the picturebook ‘I Am Bear’ published by Walker Books.

1. ‘Not Now Bernard’ by David McKee
2. ‘Father Christmas’ by Raymond Briggs
3. ‘Eloise’ by Kay Thompson and Hilary Knight
4. ‘The Fantastic Mr Wani’ by Kanako Usui 
5. ‘I Should Have Stayed in Bed’ by Joan M Lexau, illustrated by Syd Hoff 
6. ‘Barbapapa’ by Annette Tilson and Talus Taylor
7. ‘My Big Shouting Day’ by Rebecca Patterson
8. ‘Clarice Bean, That’s Me’ by Lauren Child
9. ‘Rosie's Walk’ by Pat Hutchins
10. ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ by Roald Dahl

John Boyne

Irish author John Boyne has written nine novels, five books for young readers and a collection of short stories. His works include ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ and his latest book, ‘The Boy at the Top of the Mountain’ is out now.

1. ‘White Fang’ by Jack London
2. ‘The Silver Sword’ by Ian Serraillier
3. ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by CS Lewis
4. ‘The Bunker Diary’ by Kevin Brooks
5. ‘Emil and the Detectives’ by Erich Kästner
6. ‘The Cat in the Hat’ by Dr Seuss
7. ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams
8. ‘The Little Prince’ by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
9. ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ by Roald Dahl
10. ‘The Secret Seven’ by Enid Blyton


Tony Bradman

Tony Bradman has written many books for children, including ‘Young Merlin’ and ‘Merlin and the Ring of Power’. His latest novel is ‘Viking Boy’ and he celebrates the thirtieth anniversary of the publication of ‘Through My Window’ this month.

1. ‘Peepo!’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
2. ‘Mr Magnolia’ by Quentin Blake
3. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak
4. ‘Dogger’ by Shirley Hughes
5. ‘The Eagle of the Ninth’ by Rosemary Sutcliff
6. ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien
7. ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
8. ‘Owl Babies’ by Martin Waddell and Patrick Benson
9. ‘Please Mrs Butler’ by Allan Ahlberg
10. ‘The Tale of Peter Rabbit’ by Beatrix Potter

Cerrie Burnell

Writer, actress, singer and CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell is a World Book Day author in March 2016 with Harper and the Sea of Secrets. Her new book, Harper and the Circus of Dreams is also out in March.

1. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak
2. ‘Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland’ by Lewis Carroll
3. ‘The Faraway Tree’ by Enid Blyton
4. ‘The Tiger Who Came to Tea’ by Judith Kerr
5. ‘Matilda’ by Roald Dahl
6. ‘Pippi Longstocking’ by Astrid Lindgren
7. ‘Northern Lights’ by Phillip Pullman
8. ‘Toby Alone’ by Timothée de Fombelle
9. ‘The Wildwood Chronicles’ by Colin Meloy
10. ‘Rooftoppers’ by Katherine Rundell


Joseph Coelho

Coelho’s debut poetry collection for children, ‘Werewolf Club Rules! and other poems’ won the CLiPPA poetry award in 2015. It’s published by Frances Lincoln.

1. ‘Watership Down’ by Richard Adams
2. ‘Atlas of Adventures’ illustrated by Lucy Letherland
3. ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness
4. ‘Blood Donors’ by Steve Tasane
5. ‘The Weight of Water’ by Sarah Crossan
6. ‘Falling Out of the Sky: Poems About Myths and Monsters’ by various
7. ‘The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe’ by CS Lewis
8. ‘Outside Over There’ by Maurice Sendak
9. ‘The Conquerors’ by David Mckee
10. ‘The Cat In The Hat’ by Dr Seuss

Cressida Cowell

Cowell’s bestselling ‘How to Train Your Dragon’ has been adapted into a major animation film series. She has written many books for children, also including the Emily Brown series. 

1. ‘Charlie and Lola: I Will Not Ever Eat a Tomato’ by Lauren Child
2. ‘The Lorax’ by Dr Suess
3. ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
4. ‘The Ogre Downstairs’ by Diana Wynne Jones
5. ‘Holes’ by Louis Sachar
6. ‘Pippi Longstocking’ by Astrid Lindgren
7. ‘Wonder’ by RJ Palacio
8. ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien
9. ‘The Hitchhiker’s’ Guide to the Galaxy’ by Douglas Adams
10. ‘A Monster Calls’ by Patrick Ness


Terry Deary

Terry Deary’s multi million-selling ‘Horrible Histories’ series has been adapted in many formats and continues to inspire children. Classic editions are relaunched in February with a shiny new look (published by Scholastic). 

1. ‘Island of Adventure’ by Enid Blyton
2. ‘The Ladybird Book of British Birds’ (by Anon)
3. ‘The Fourteenth of October’ by Winifred Bryher
4. ‘The Boy Who Was Afraid’ by Armstrong Sperry
5. ‘The Family from One-End Street’ by Eve Garnett
6. ‘Charlotte’s Web’ by EB White
7. ‘Patrick Kentigern Keenan’ by Mollie Hunter
8. ‘Redwall’ by Brian Jacques
9. ‘The Gruffalo’ by Julia Donaldson
10. ‘The Disgusting Sandwich’ Gareth Edwards, illustrated by Hannah Shaw

Mini Grey

Mini Grey is a prize-winning author and illustrator. Her books include ‘Egg Drop’, ‘The Pea and the Princess’, ‘Biscuit Bear’ and ‘Traction Man is Here’. Her latest book, ‘Space Dog’, is out now.

1. ‘There Are Cats in this Book’ by Viviane Schwartz
2. ‘Maths Curse’ by Lane Smith and Jon Scieszka
3. ‘Who’s Afraid of the Big Bad Book?’ by Lauren Child
4. ‘Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears’ by Emily Gravett
5. ‘The Arrival’ by Shaun Tan
6. ‘Beegu’ by Alexis Deacon
7. ‘That Rabbit Belongs to Emily Brown’ by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton
8. ‘Fred’ by Posie Simmonds
9. ‘Dexter Bexley and the Big Blue Beastie’ by Joel Stewart
10. ‘Two Frogs’ by Chris Wormell

Best children's books contributors

Sav Akyüz

After years working as a commercial storyboard artist, Akyüz made his picturebook début with ‘I am Bear’, written by Ben Bailey Smith and just published by Walker Books.

1. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak
2. ‘The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business’ by Werner Holzwarth and Wolf Erlbruch
3. ‘This Is Not My Hat’ by Jon Klassen
4. ‘Oh No George’ by Chris Haughton
5. ‘Stuck’ by Oliver Jeffers
6. ‘Mr Big’ by Ed Vere
7. ‘Whatever’ by William Bee
8. ‘Some Dogs Do’ by Jez Alborough
9. ‘Would you Rather’ by John Burningham
10. ‘The Odd Egg’ by Emily Gravett

Martin Brown

Brown’s distinctive illustrative style has made Terry Deary’s Horrible Histories series of books instantly recognisable, perfectly reflecting Deary’s humour and wisdom. Classic editions in the series have just been relaunched by Scholastic. 

1. ‘The Mysteries of Harris Burdick’ by Chris Van Allsburg
2. ‘Be Good Gordon’ by Angela McAllister
3. ‘The How and Why Wonder Book of Dinosaurs’
4. ‘The Flying Steamroller’ by Jon Chalon
5. ‘Treasure Island’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
6. ‘The Rabbits’ by John Marsden and Shaun Tan
7. ‘The Sneetches and Other Stories’ by Dr Seuss
8. ‘Fun with a Pencil’ by Andrew Loomis
9. ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien
10. ‘Our Cat Cuddles’ by Gervase Phinn and Amanda Montgomery-Higham


Caroline Binch

Binch’s work includes ‘Amazing Grace’, ‘Grace and Family’ and ‘Starring Grace’. She is a winner of the Smarties Prize and the UKLA Award. 

1. ‘Black Beauty’ by Anna Sewell
2. Ladybird Books
3. ‘The Enormous Crocodile’ by Roald Dahl
4. ‘The Twits’ by Roald Dahl
5. ‘The BFG’ by Roald Dahl
6. ‘The People Could Fly: American Black Folk Tales’ by Virginia Hamilton
7. ‘The Adventures of Dudley Dormouse’ by Judy Taylor
8. ‘The Stupids Die’ by Harry Allard
9.  ‘Ghosts and Bogles’ by Dinah Starkey
10. ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’ by Raymond Briggs

Brita Granström

Granström and Mick Manning have developed a unique approach to picture information, mixing words and pictures. They have won many awards and their latest book is ‘William Shakespeare, Scenes From the Life of the World’s Greatest Writer’ (Frances Lincoln).

1 ‘Peepo’ by Janet and Allan Ahlberg
2. ‘The Hobbit’ by JRR Tolkien
3. ‘What to Look for in Autumn’ by EL Grant Watson and CF Tunnicliffe
4. ‘Our Village’ by John Yeomen and Quentin Blake
5. ‘The Kin’ by Peter Dickinson
6. ‘Tiny: The Invisible World of Microbes’ by Nicola Davies and Emily Sutton
7. ‘The Long Ships’ by Frans G Bengtsson
8. ‘Is a Blue Whale the Biggest Thing There Is?’ by Robert E Wells
9. ‘Camille and the Sunflowers’ by Laurence Anholt
10. ‘Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit Book Burglar’ by Emily MacKenzie


Jackie Morris

Morris lives in a small house by the sea in Wales, where she writes and paints. ‘The Wild Swans’ is the companion title to ‘East of the Sun, West of the Moon’. Her picturebooks for Frances Lincoln Children’s Books include ‘The Snow Leopard’.

1. ‘Where the Wild Things Are’ by Maurice Sendak
2. ‘The Arrivals’ by Shaun Tan
3. ‘Northern Lights’ by Philip Pullman
4. ‘Black Fish’ by Samad Behrangi
5. ‘Amazing Grace’ by Mary Hoffman and Caroline Binch
6. ‘Fox's Garden’ by Princesse CamCam
7. ‘Princess's Blankets’ by Carol Ann Duffy and Catherine Hyde
8. ‘The Cloth of Dreams’ by James Mayhew
9. ‘The Bear and the Piano’ by David Litchfield
10. ‘A Wizard of Earthsea’ by Ursula LeGuin

Jane Ray

Ray’s acclaimed picturebooks include ‘Jinnie Ghost’, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, ‘The King of Capri’ with Jeanette Winterson, ‘Romeo and Juliet’ with Michael Rosen, ‘The Dolls’ House Fairy’ and ‘Snow White’, which she both wrote and illustrated.

1. ‘The Dolls House’ by Rumer Godden
2. ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’ by Janet and Alan Ahlberg
3. ‘Lucy and Tom’s Christmas’ by Shirley Hughes
4. ‘Pippi Longstocking’ by Astrid Lindgren
5. ‘The Children of Green Knowe’ by Lucy Boston
6. ‘Little House in the Big Woods’ by Laura Ingalls Wilder
7. ‘My Naughty Little Sister’ by Dorothy Edwards
8. ‘The Moomins’ by Tove Janson
9. ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ by Philippa Pearce
10. ‘Katie Morag’ by Marie Hedderwick

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