Picking the 100 best children’s books of the year is far from easy. I solicit input from my crackerjack corps of reviewers and do a fair amount of solitary navel-gazing on the subject. I want to make sure I assemble a healthy mix—picture storybooks, informational picture books, poetry, graphic novels, novels, nonfiction, early readers, books for boys, books for girls….You get the picture. And I agonize over my inability to include every book that I have come to love.
But at the end of it all, having whittled the year’s output down, I am struck again at the astonishing talent and dedication of the creators and publishers of children’s books. Here we have books that will inspire, comfort, inform, delight, provoke and amuse; books for babies through upper-elementary students. Books that welcome children into the world and help them get ready for what is to come. All that agony is definitely worth it.