A few weeks ago, I wrote about how a-list blogger Betsy Bird was conducting a massive poll to determine the top 100 children’s novels of all time.
My husband, the statistics fanatic, noticed how books published in the last ten years were getting a disproportionate amount of attention. So he created an algorithm that would weight the books’ poll scores according to age.
The older a book was, the more value its votes would have.
In addition to fiddling with the winners of the official poll, Brian went so far as to recalculate the scores of every book that anybody voted for. That’s dedication, baby. Ergo, books like Swiss Family Robinson — even though it only got nine votes — ends up in the top 30 because it was published in 1812.
Below is the list of the top books — expanded to include 120. If you want to see the explanation of the math, read the previous post.
It’s interesting that the #1 choice didn’t change. Note, too, the big jump in scores between the top four books, and the following four. It’s also fun to see which books had the biggest increases in scores (like Heidi or Call of the Wild) and which had the biggest drops (Inkheart, The Bad Beginning). And some books from the official list disappeared altogether (such as The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane). I was personally happy to see one of my kinda-obscure childhood favorites, What Katy Did, make the list this way.
Just interesting stuff, if you’re a fan of the math. And as a certified children’s librarian, I can say with confidence that if you were to read all of these books, you’d get a very strong foundation in becoming a children’s literature expert. (*sound of official Seal of Approval ramming down on computer monitor*)
||rank||Adjusted score||Adjusted Rank||Change in rank|
|Anne of Green Gables||1908||365||9||65.861||2||7|
|The Secret Garden||1911||371||8||63.826||3||5|
|Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland||1865||129||27||46.116||5||22|
|A Wrinkle in Time||1962||593||2||45.343||6||-4|
|Lion, Witch, and Wardrobe||1950||456||4||42.197||7||-3|
|Mixed Up Files of Mrs. BEF||1967||409||5||28.883||8||-3|
|A Little Princess||1905||124||28||23.468||9||19|
|Harrry Potter: Sorcerer’s Stone||1997||533||3||23.361||10||-7|
|The Phantom Tollbooth||1961||291||10||22.607||12||-2|
|The wonderful wizard of OZ||1900||107||40||21.926||13||27|
|Little House in the Big Woods||1932||137||23||16.878||16||7|
|The Westing game||1978||248||11||14.703||18||-7|
|Wind in the Willows||1908||77||53||13.894||19||34|
|Harriet the Spy||1964||177||16||13.110||20||-4|
|Bridge to Terabithia||1977||201||13||12.108||21||-8|
|Little House on the Prarie||1935||96||42||11.276||22||20|
|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory||1964||152||19||11.259||23||-4|
|Swiss Family Robinson||1812||11||121||9.134||26||95+|
|James and the Giant Peach||1961||115||33||8.934||27||6|
|The Witch of Blackbird Pond||1958||103||41||8.393||30||11|
|Harry Potter: Prisoner of Azkaban||1999||197||14||8.364||31||-17|
|The Dark is Rising||1973||123||29||7.896||32||-3|
|Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH||1971||119||32||7.886||33||-1|
|Because of Winn-Dixie||2000||185||15||7.731||36||-21|
|Are you there God? It’s Me Margaret||1970||111||36||7.474||37||-1|
|Where the Red Fern Grows||1961||90||46||6.992||38||8|
|Five Children and It||1902||34||112||6.749||39||73|
|Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry||1976||109||37||6.671||40||-3|
|Island of the Blue Dolphins||1960||83||50||6.552||42||8|
|Ramona the Pest||1968||94||43||6.534||43||0|
|Tales of a 4th Grade Nothing||1972||92||44||6.001||45||-1|
|The tale of Despereaux||2003||141||22||5.618||48||-26|
|Percy Jackson and the Olympians||2005||142||21||5.480||49||-28|
|Swallows and Amazons||1930||43||94||5.469||50||44|
|On the Banks of Plum Creek||1937||47||85||5.348||51||34|
|The Watsons Go to Birmingham||1995||115||34||5.203||52||-18|
|Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows||2007||137||24||5.122||56||-32|
|My Father’s Dragon||1948||53||72||5.063||57||15|
|The Wolves of Willoughby Chase||1962||65||58||4.970||58||0|
|The Secret of the Old Clock||1959||60||62||4.812||60||2|
|Call of the Wild||1903||24||121||4.689||61||60+|
|Harry potter and the Goblet of Fire||2000||112||35||4.680||62||-27|
|The Little White Horse||1946||47||84||4.635||63||21|
|The Great Gilly Hopkins||1978||74||55||4.387||67||-12|
|Harry Potter: Order of the Phoenix||2003||109||38||4.343||68||-30|
|The Boxcar Children||1924||31||117||4.337||69||48|
|My Side of the Mountain||1959||53||73||4.251||70||3|
|The Golden Compass||1995||92||45||4.163||72||-27|
|When you Reach Me||2009||107||39||3.875||74||-35|
|Bud, Not Buddy||1999||87||47||3.694||76||-29|
|Ramona Quimby, Age 8||1981||65||57||3.674||77||-20|
|The Book of Three||1964||47||82||3.481||78||4|
|Children of Green Knowe||1954||40||98||3.473||79||19|
|The Penderwicks: A summer tale||2005||85||48||3.281||82||-34|
|The Magician’s Nephew||1955||38||102||3.248||83||19|
|Number the Stars||1989||65||56||3.235||84||-28|
|Tom’s Midnight Garden||1958||39||101||3.178||85||16|
|The High King||1968||45||88||3.128||86||2|
|Harry Potter: 1/2 bood prince||2005||81||52||3.126||87||-35|
|Mrs. Piggle Wiggle||1947||32||113||3.106||88||25|
|The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle||1990||61||60||2.988||89||-29|
|The Invention of Hugo Cabret||2007||77||52||2.879||90||-38|
|What Katy Did||1872||9||121||2.879||91||30+|
|The Thirteen Clocks||1950||31||119||2.869||92||27|
|Voyage of the Dawn Treader||1952||31||121||2.779||93||28+|
|A Cricket in Times Square||1960||35||108||2.763||94||14|
|The Egypt Game||1967||39||100||2.754||95||5+|
|Ramona and her Father||1977||45||89||2.711||97||-8|
|Betsy, Tacy and Tib||1941||25||121||2.669||98||23+|
|Jeremy Thatcher, Dragon Hatcher||1991||55||67||2.652||99||-32|
|Sideways Stories from Wayside School||1978||44||91||2.609||100||-9|
|A Long Way from Chicago||1998||58||64||2.502018||104||-40|
|The Long Winter||1940||23||121||2.49515||105||16+|
|Walk Two Moons||1994||54||68||2.482432||106||-38|
|Sarah, Plain and Tall||1985||44||90||2.333909||109||-19|
|The Indian in the Cupboard||1980||40||99||2.297299||111||-12|
|The Frog Princess||2002||56||66||2.266885||112||-46|
|A Series of Unfortunate Events: #1||1999||53||71||2.250262||114||-43|
|House with a Clock in its Walls||1973||35||111||2.246791||115||-4|
|Out of the Dust||1997||50||76||2.191481||117||-41|
|Danny Champion of the World||1975||35||110||2.176467||118||-8|
|Betsy and Tacy go Downtown||1943||21||121||2.172063||119||2+|
|Wizard of Earthsea||1968||31||118||2.154679||120||-2|
10 thoughts on “The Top 100 Children’s Books Redux”
This is the top 120? Shhhh, don’t tell our friend Matt that LeGuinn came in dead last, it is his favorite book.
I don’t know it means that my Ramona stayed right where she should be?
Actually, the reason why Brian extended the list to 120 was entirely because he wanted A Wizard of Earthsea to make the list. And I heartily concur.
My daughter nominated What Katy Did and Understood Betsy very high on her list. She would be gratified by this new listing. And wow- look at Heidi!
Smart guy! This list does seem better to me. I love Harry Potter as much as the next librarian, but I don’t think ALL (or almost all) of the books deserve to be on there.
This is fantastic! I get the feeling this list is much more balanced. Excellent modification.
Just came over from Betsy’s site …
I really like this list (and my nerd husband approves too)! It puts The Wizard of Oz in a much more acceptable position. I was shocked when it came in at 40. And as for the other newer books, I would love to see people revisit their own selections in twenty years and see if they all hold up over time. I’m wondering if all of mine will …
I may have missed it, but did “Alice in Wonderland” miss the cut? One of my favorites!
Alice in Wonderland came in as #5 on the revised list, and somewhere in the 20s in the original list.
I love this revised list, too. Especially since ANNE moved up to her rightful spot! But now it reads like a list of classics, the ones that have truly proven to be great by the test of time. Of course, it may just be because I’m 45 years old that I like this list better!
I still want to go through and rank the authors by the points their books received. So far, I haven’t taken the time, though, so it may never happen.
Great! I’d like to see the same thing done to the top 100 picture books list from last year…