There are so many books out there, and children have such diverse abilities, interests, maturity levels that no one list will work for everyone. That being said, there are some widely praised books/authors that are working checking out and exploring further. There are also top notch reading lists in a number of places. Below are some links to reading lists on other sites/places. Remember, just because a book has won an award doesn’t mean you have to like it; conversely, if you love a book that hasn’t won an award, don’t sweat it! These lists include many, many books we haven’t read–use discretion.

Jim Trelease of Read Aloud Handbook fame (check here for great read aloud suggestions)

Top 100 Children’s Novels (from A Fuse #8–Betsy Bird’s blog)

ALA Notable Children’s Book List 

Caldecott Medal Winners

Newberry Medal Winners

National Book Award Winner List 

Boston Globe-Hornbook Award List 

Coretta Scott King Award List (for African American authors/illustrators)

Pura Belpre Award List (for Hispanic authors/illustrators)

American Indians/Native Americans Booklist (a list of books by/about Native Americans)

Batchelder Award List (for best work in translation–a terrific way to explore literature written by non-English speakers)

New York Public Library 100 Best Picture Books

ECPA Christian Book Awards (formerly the “Gold Medallion” Award; there is a category for children)

Sonlight (they will note RA for read aloud as well as independent reading level; these are suggested age ranges of course; this is a Christian homeschool curriculum that is heavy on reading and tends to pick top notch works; book choices dovetail with their history program; they also have good multicultural recommendations)

Veritas (classical Christian curriculum; advanced reading selections–your child may or may not be ready to read their list for the appropriate grade; book choices follow history curriculum)

First Language Lessons (grammar program that pulls excerpts from great works of literature. Check the samples/tables of contents for various grades and note the titles used for the different exercises)

Writing With Ease (writing program tied to literature; Check samples/tables of contents for various grades and note titles used)

Heart of Dakota (another Christian curriculum–more Charlotte Mason in style and literature heavy; nice selections and range of abilities represented–check out the “bookpacks” for their suggestions)

Ambleside Online (Charlotte Mason style homeschool curriculum; rigorous book lists–again, your child may or may not be reading at the same level they suggest; they are heavy on the classics)

Best Books/Fiction for Young Adults (ALA sponsored list–this is more popular reading than some of the previous lists)

Booklists/Award Lists from YALSA (division of ALA that focuses on Young Adult literature; includes link to Printz Award among others)