The American Library in Paris’s Children’s and Teens’ Services Manager Celeste Rhoads compiled this curated selection of recommended reading for ages 0-12 with input from expert librarians around the world.

The list includes award-winners, well-loved books that have been around for decades, as well as contemporary classics whose characters and settings have already become part of the cultural lexicon. Parents and educators might be surprised to see several graphic novels included here, but these books should not be dismissed. Graphic novels are full of text that readers must decode and analyze, as well as exciting and complex plots, characters, and conflicts. They’re also engaging! If you are not yet familiar with Jerry Craft’s Newbery Medal-winning New Kid, it’s a great choice for readers age 8 and up (even for tweens and teens). In his Newbery acceptance speech Craft gives compelling examples of the importance of offering all children mirrors and windows in their reading.

All of the books listed here are available in English (including several well-known translated works). Here, you will find picture books, including Maurice Sendak’s 1963 Where the Wild Things Are, and the contemporary Wild Berries by Cree-Metis author, illustrator, and artist Julie Flett, as well as illustrated early readers (Such as Mo Willems’ We Are in a Book), and novels for school-aged children to read alone or with an adult. As with all best-of lists, there will likely be titles that surprise some readers— and half the fun of a selection of this sort is debating about what did or didn’t make it on! This list can be used as a tool for discovery, and a starting point for those of you who are unfamiliar with children’s literature, as well as the go-to spot for anyone of who would like to grab a sure hit to take home or a gift to give to the young reader in your life, but most of all, please use this list to engage with that young reader, and find out what type of book they are looking for.

  1. Actual Size: Written and illustrated by Steve Jenkins
  2. Ada Twist, Scientist: Written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
  3. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland: Written by Lewis Carroll
  4. All the World: Written by Liz Garton Scanlon, illustrated by Marla Frazee
  5. Alvin Ho, Allergic to Girls, School and Other Scary Things: Written by Lenore Look, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  6. And Tango Makes Three: Written by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, illustrated by Henry Cole
  7. The Arrival: Written and illustrated by Shaun Tan
  8. Bark, George: Written and illustrated by Jules Feiffer
  9. Bomb: The Race to Build – and Steal – the World’s Most Dangerous Weapon: Written by Steve Sheinkin
  10. A Bear Called Paddington: Written by Michael Bond, illustrated by Peggy Forthum
  11. The Berenstain Bears Forget Their Manners: Written and illustrated by Stan and Jan Berenstain
  12. The Big Orange Splot: Written and illustrated by Daniel Pinkwater
  13. The Borrowers: Written by Mary Norton
  14. A Chair for My Mother: Written and illustrated by Vera Williams
  15. Charlotte’s Web: Written by E.B. White
  16. The Crossover: Written by Kwame Alexander
  17. The Day the Crayons Quit: Written by Drew Daywalt, Illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
  18. Brown Girl Dreaming: Written by Jacqueline Woodson
  19. Bunnicula: Written by Deborah and James Howe
  20. Cinderella, and Other Tales from Perrault: Written by Charles Perrault
  21. Coraline: Written by Neil Gaiman
  22. Corduroy: Written and illustrated by Don Freeman
  23. Each Kindness: Written by Jacqueline Woodson, illustrated by E.B. Lewis
  24. Eat Your Peas: Written by Kes Gray, illustrated by Nick Sharratt
  25. El Deafo: Written and illustrated by Cece Bell
  26. Elmer: Written and illustrated by David McKee
  27. Eloise: Written by Kay Thompson, illustrated by Hilary Knight
  28. Esperanza Rising: Written by Pam Muñoz Ryan
  29. Extra Yarn: Written by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Jon Klassen
  30. Feathers: Written by Jacqueline Woodson
  31. Flora and Ulysses: Written by Kate DiCamillo, illustrated by K. G. Campbell
  32. Georgie: Written and illustrated by Robert Bright
  33. Ghost: Written by Jason Reynolds
  34. The Girl and the Wolf: Written by Katherena Vermette, illustrated by Julie Flett
  35. The Giver: Written by Lois Lowry
  36. The Golden Compass (His Dark Materials): Written by Phillip Pullman
  37. Grand Canyon: Written and illustrated by Jason Chin
  38. Grimm’s Fairy Tales: Written by the Brothers Grimm
  39. The Gruffalo: Written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
  40. Guess How Much I Love You: Written by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram
  41. Harold and the Purple Crayon: Written and illustrated by Crockett Johnson
  42. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone: Written by J.K. Rowling
  43. Hatchet: Written by Gary Paulsen
  44. I Will Not Ever Eat a Tomato: Written and illustrated by Lauren Child
  45. Inside Out and Back Again: Written by Thanhha Lai
  46. Joseph Had a Little Overcoat: Written and illustrated by Simms Taback
  47. Just a Minute!: Written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales
  48. Knuffle Bunny: Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
  49. Last Stop on Market Street: Written by Matt de la Peña, illustrated by Christian Robinson
  50. The Little Engine That Could:  Told by Watty Piper
  51. The Little Prince: Written and illustrated by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
  52. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe: Written by C.S. Lewis
  53. The Lorax: Written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss
  54. Lost and Found: Written and illustrated by Oliver Jeffers
  55. The Man Who Walked Between the Towers: Written and illustrated by Mordicai Gerstein
  56. March: Book One: Written by John Lewis and Andrew Aydin, Illustrated by Nate Powell
  57. Merci Suarez Changes Gears: Written by Meg Medina
  58. My Happy Life: Written by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Eriksson
  59. The Name Jar: Written and illustrated by Yangsook Choi
  60. Nancy Drew: The Secret of the Old Clock: Written by Carolyn Keene
  61. Neighborhood Sharks: Written and illustrated by Katherine Roy
  62. Nelson Mandela: Written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson
  63. New Kid: Written and illustrated by Jerry Craft
  64. The One and Only Ivan: Written by K. A. Applegate, illustrated by Patricia Castelao
  65. One Crazy Summer: Written by Rita Williams-Garcia
  66. The Paper Bag Princess: Written by Robert Munsch, illustrated by Michael Martchenko
  67. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief: Written by Rick Riordan
  68. Peter Pan: Written by J.M. Barrie
  69. Peter Rabbit: Written and illustrated by Beatrix Potter
  70. Pippi Longstocking: Written by Astrid Lindgren
  71. Please, Baby, Please: Written by Spike Lee and Tonya Lewis Lee, illustrated by Kadir Nelson
  72. Press Here: Written and illustrated by Hervé Tullet
  73. The Princess and the Pony: Written and illustrated by Kate Beaton
  74. The Princess in Black: Written by Shannon and Dean Hale, illustrated by LeUyen Pham
  75. Room on the Broom: Written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
  76. Rosie Revere, Engineer: Written by Andrea Beaty, illustrated by David Roberts
  77. A Sick Day for Amos McGee: Written by Phillip C. Stead, illustrated by Erin Stead
  78. Stella by Starlight: Written by Sharon M. Draper
  79. Stellaluna: Written and illustrated by Janell Cannon
  80. A Tale Dark and Grimm: Written by Adam Gidwitz
  81. Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes: Written by Mem Fox, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury
  82. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing: Written by Judy Blume
  83. This is Not My Hat: Written and Illustrated by Jon Klassen
  84. The Runaway Bunny: Written by Margaret Wise Brown, illustrated by Clement Hurd
  85. The Snail and the Whale: Written by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler
  86. The Snowy Day: Written and illustrated by Ezra Jack Keats
  87. This Bridge Will Not be Gray: Written by Dave Eggers, Illustrated by Tucker Nichols
  88. Toilet: How it Works: Written and illustrated by David Macaulay
  89. The True Story of the Three Little Pigs: Written by Jon Scieszka, illustrated by Lane Smith
  90. The Velveteen Rabbit: Written by Margery Williams
  91. The Very Hungry Caterpillar: Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
  92. The Watsons Go to Birmingham: Written by Christopher Paul Curtis
  93. Weapon: Written by Steve Sheinkin
  94. We Are in a Book: Written and illustrated by Mo Willems
  95. Where the Sidewalk Ends: Written and illustrated by Shel Silverstein
  96. Where the Wild Things Are: Written and illustrated by Maurice Sendak
  97. Winnie the Pooh: Written by A.A. Milne
  98. The Witches: Written by Roald Dahl
  99. Wonder: Written by R. J. Palacio
  100. A Wrinkle in Time: Written by Madeleine L’Engle

Celeste Rhoads

Celeste Rhoads is originally from John Steinbeck’s hometown of Salinas, California, where she read on the beach, in trees, on road trips, and everywhere in between. She moved to Paris in 2005, and immediately found a home at the American Library in Paris, volunteering in the Children’s and Teens’ Services Department.

Celeste was hired as the Children’s and Teens’ Services Manager in 2010 to oversee the Library’s collections, policies, and programs for ages 0–18.

Celeste has a master’s degree in Library Science from Rutgers University, where she focused on digital libraries, and children’s literature. She enjoys connecting people of all ages with great reads—especially contemporary titles. She has served on numerous book selection committees, including the Young Adult Library Services Best Fiction for Young Adults Commitee, and Great Graphic Novels for Young Adults Committee, and she has written for the BnF’s “La Revue des Livres Pour Enfants” about American children’s literature post-Sendak.

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