Every year thousands of books are published in the United States for children. With the volume of children’s books, it can be difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. There are wonderful stories and picture books that children and adults will read again and again. Some become instant classics and others fade into a distant memory.
Top Book Awards for Children
There are several top book awards given each year that are a great starter point to build your collection of children’s books. Many of these books are classics and have been enjoyed by generations of children and many generations to come.
The John Newbery Medal
The Newbery Medal is the oldest children’s book award and started in 1921. John Newbery was an English publisher who helped make the children’s book genre popular and profitable. The award’s purpose is:
“To encourage original creative work in the field of books for children. To emphasize to the public that contributions to the literature for children deserve similar recognition to poetry, plays, or novels. To give those librarians, who make it their life work to serve children’s reading interests, an opportunity to encourage good writing in this field.”
The Newbery Medal has one winner with several Honor books that were top contenders for the prize. For a full list of winners from 1921 to the present click here.
The 2012 Newbery Medal goes to Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos. The Honor Books are Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai and Breaking Stalin’s Nose by Eugene Yelchin.
The Randolph Caldecott Medal
The Caldecott Medal is awarded to the best children’s picture book published in the previous year. This award began in 1938 and was named after a famous illustrator and artist Randolph Caldecott who specialized in children’s books.
The 2012 Caldecott Medal goes to A Ball for Daisy, written and illustrated by Chris Raschka. The Honor Books are Blackout by John Rocco, Grandpa Green by Lane Smith, and Me … Jane by Patrick McDonnell. For a list of all the Caldecott winners look here.
More Top Children’s Books
Other resources to find great children’s books are below:
- Phil Nel has a great list resources for finding good children’s books on his blog Nine Kinds of Pie.
- Oprah has a Kid’s Reading List.
- The Library of Congress has a list of free classic children’s books.
- Teacher First has a list of 100 Best Books for Children.
How do you find top books for your children? Please leave your suggestions in the comments.