Center for Children’s Literature

Children’s Book Committee

CBC LogoThe Children’s Book Committee (CBC) was founded more than 100 years ago to help parents, teachers, and librarians choose the books that children will find captivating and transforming. Every year it produces comprehensive annotated book lists for children aged infant through 18.

Our Mission

The CBC reviews over 6000 titles each year for accuracy and literary quality and considers their emotional impact on children. It chooses the best 600 books, both fiction and nonfiction, which it lists with annotations according to age and category.

The Children’s Book Committee strives to guide librarians, educators, parents, grandparents, and other interested adults to the best books for children published each year. The list includes more than 600 titles chosen by reviewers for literary quality and excellence of presentation as well as the potential emotional impact of the books on young readers. Other criteria include credibility of characterization and plot, authenticity of time and place, age suitability, positive treatment of ethnic and religious differences, and the absence of stereotypes.

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Children's Book Committee November Pick

I Must Betray You
Author: Ruta Sepetys

The extreme deprivations of Romania’s authoritarian Ceaușescu regime drive Cristian, 17, to spy on an American diplomat to secure medicine for his grandfather. Historical notes, lengthy bibliography.

Our Young Reviewer Says:

“One of my favorite books of the year. The Cold War story exposes the tribulations of living under the Ceaușescu dictatorship in Romania. The historical fiction is relevant in exposing this past history that still plays a part in current global conflict. I studied the Cold War for the USAD Academic Pentathlon in 2021. This book lays a foundation of inquiry for Middle Grade and YA readers. It was exceptional.

The story arc of the main character, Cristian, is masterful. The mistrust and spy elements of the book kept me guessing and rooting for different characters at different parts of the story. All of the characters grow together as they respond to the political unrest of their country, community and families. This was historical fiction but was well researched and accurate. It helped me to think critically about the current Russian/Ukrainian war in Europe.”

–Quade, age 13, Encinitas, CA.

Past Monthly Picks