First, can I just say I loved coming up with this list and really thinking about the books that my children love the most — I kept having endearing flashbacks to cozy reading sessions and quiet bedtime routines. Second, coming up with this list was such a challenge! There is an incredible amount of excellent work out there. Narrowing it down to fifty was tougher than I expected. Most of all, I’m over-the-moon about the reaction to the Children’s Library Giveaway. Yay for books!

A few notes: As I compiled, I realized I want to make a few different lists — favorite toddler books, favorite chapter books, favorite holiday books… But for this list, I’m focusing on picture books. I had in mind children ages 3 to 10 — though some books skew younger than 7 and some skew older than 6. I also included a few books that would fall under the toddler book category, but that are loved by most everyone of any age. There are a couple of well-illustrated chapter books too — selections that even my young children enjoy.

The other thing I tried to do as I compiled the list, was to include as many authors and illustrators as possible. For example, there are at least 6 Dr. Seuss books I would consider essential to a children’s library, but I only included one here. Lastly, I made sure to include a Fairy Tales collection, Mother Goose collection and Fables collection — it wouldn’t be a decent library without them.

I’d love(!) to hear how your list might look different. Any picture books that would make your top 50 that didn’t make mine?

P.S. — Image by Brooke of Inchmark. She writes wonderful library book reviews.

The Design Mom Top 50 Picture Books, in alphabetical order:

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day

All in a Day

Archie and the Pirates

Arrow to the Sun

A Bargain for Francis


Blueberries for Sal

Curious George


Fairy Tales

Frog and Toad Together


Good Night, Gorilla

Goodnight Moon

Green Eggs and Ham

Harold and the Purple Crayon

The Incredible Book-Eating Boy


The Jolly Postman

Joseph Had a Little Overcoat

The Little Bear Treasury

The Little House



Many Moons

Mother Goose

A Million Dots

My Father’s Dragon

The Napping House


Not a Box

Oh, What a Busy Day


Ox-Cart Man

The Paper Bag Princess



Polkabats and Octopus Slacks

The Relatives Came

The Reluctant Dragon



A Sick Day for Amos McGee

The Snowy Day

So You Want to be President?

The Stinky Cheese Man

The Story of Ferdinand


Strega Nona

A Tree Is Nice

Time for Bed

Where the Sidewalk Ends

Where the Wild Things Are


The Widow’s Broom

Winnie the Pooh (4-volume set)

Very Hungry Caterpillar

You are Awesome

Zen Shorts