The Evanston Public Library has released its annual 101 Great Books for Kids List, a resource unique among Chicagoland library systems. The list of specially-selected children’s literature is a result of the effort and collaboration of the Library’s 101 Great Books for Kids committee, led by Collection Development Manager Betsy Bird and Children’s Librarian Brian Wilson. For a downloadable PDF of the list and more information, including its history, visit Betsy Bird’s blog.

The committee strives to provide the best possible selection of materials for children ages 2-12 that encompasses the widest possible range of experiences. On this year’s list you’ll find books featuring, and from, the differently abled, Indigenous, Black, Asian and Asian-American, Latinx, and LGBTQIA+ communities, to name a few. Additionally, three Evanston residents are featured as authors and illustrators on this list.

Though the committee process was challenged by restrictions of the pandemic, Library employees from across departments were hard at work safely delivering books to one another and reviewing them, many more than could fit on this list, in their own homes. The goal of the committee is to improve the access to high-quality, diverse kids books for all children, parents, guardians, and teachers in Evanston. And in an age of socially distanced learning, kids need great books like never before. 

Books can be reserved at the Library, or added to a holiday shopping list. And look out for the upcoming 2020 Best Picture Books Discussion, to be hosted at 10 a.m. on Dec. 5 at 10 am by Mr. Wilson and Ms. Bird. Be advised that the presentation is geared toward adults and parents, not children. Registration is available at or by calling 847-448-8630.