International Children’s Books Day: What's Your Favorite?

There are certain parts of childhood we all miss: Recess, picture books, nap time. Today, International Children’s Books Day (on what would have been Hans Christian Andersen's 204th birthday) gives us a chance to relive some of those nostalgic moments with cats in hats, hungry caterpillars, ugly ducklings and other wild things. So we asked a few influential figures in media and education to share their favorite titles—the ones that sparked their imaginations and shaped their lives.

Daphne Durham
Managing Editor of Books,


Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

"Where the Wild Things Are was my first love—simply told, lushly illustrated, and featuring characters that leap off the page (it is a wild rumpus after all)—it was, and is, the perfect picture book."

Vivian Schiller
CEO, National Public Radio

big red barn

Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown

My favorite children' book is Big Red Barn by Margaret Wise Brown. Most parents gravitate towards Brown's more well known Goodnight Moon, which is indeed a masterpiece. But even after 860 outloud readings, I was consistently moved - and soothed by the rhythmic text and the simple loveliness about the day in the life of animals."

Jan Brett
Children's Author and Illustrator


The Tale of Samuel Whiskers Or The Roly-Poly Pudding by Beatrix Potter

"I had a great time trying to imagine that there were rats in the attic using a rolling pin to make a Roly-Poly Pudding. Also, as a six-year-old girl, I felt very grown-up reading 'big words' like wainscot and skirting board. I loved arcane words. Beatrix Potter was a master at using pictures to tell a story; the words gave it an even greater dimension."

Frances Haugen
Product Manager, Google Book Search 


Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban

"One day Frances the Badger informs her parents she will only eat bread and jam. Very soon though, she realizes how boring eating her favorite food is every day and begs to eat everything again. When I was a kid my mother used to say the book should really have been called ‘Lox and Bagels for Frances’ in homage to my picky eating habits." 

Keith Michael Fiels
Executive Director, American Library Association 


I Had Trouble Getting to Solla Sollew by Dr. Seuss

"Our protagonist is plagued by various irritating creatures that convince him that he must leave in pursuit of the mythical Solla Sollew, 'where they have no troubles, or at least very few.' His epic journey takes him on a series of improbable adventures, involving, among other things, a one wheeled hubble and a camel that bubbles. Needless to say, things do not work out as planned when he finally reaches the nearly perfect Solla Sollew. The story ends with our hero on his way back home, with a new attitude—and a big stick! A perfect parable of life as it should be lived by one of our greatest authors."


What's your childhood favorite? Tap into your inner kid and leave us a comment.

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