To mark 125th anniversary, NYPL releases list of kids books to spark lifelong love of reading

May 22, 2020

Photo: Jonathan Blanc/NYPL

While summer vacation is sure to look different this year, the New York Public Library hopes kids will stay busy reading. In celebration of its 125th anniversary on Saturday, the library has released a list of 125 children’s books from the last 125 years, aimed at sparking a lifelong love of reading. The collection of books, which is available online, follows a list released in February of the best adult titles, with a list for teenage readers expected this fall.

“The best way to honor our anniversary is to be true to our mission and support the people of our City, who are going through a period of unprecedented challenges,” NYPL President Anthony Marx said. “We are doing that in many ways; this list, which gives families ideas for books to read together, is just one way we’re trying to help.”

“The hope is that these magical, timeless titles provide a much-needed positive distraction, support for remote learning, discussion that brings people together around books, and maybe a challenge goal to achieve over the summer: can you read them all?”

Led by the associate director of reader services, Lynn Lobash, the curated-list was created by a team of children’s librarians across the organization. Books that made the cut “inspire a love of reading, make kids want to continue reading, reminds kids why reading is fun, exciting and enlightening, and survive the test of time,” according to the library.

The 125 books are for kids aged 0 to 12 years old and range in genre, from fairy tales and folklore to historical fiction and poetry. See the full list of titles here. NYPL will host virtual events and programming based on the list all summer, including daily storytimes.

On Saturday May 23, the 125th anniversary of the library’s founding, the Empire State Building will light up in red and white to celebrate. And the library also released a video “Reading Brings Us Together,” which features 125 people, including some celebrities, talking about their favorite books.

Although all NYPL branches remain closed, you can find a ton of remote library resources, like e-books, databases, and more, here. And New Yorkers can apply for a library card to gain access to e-books here.


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