I ran across a list of the Top 10 Children's Books of 2008 at the Time/CNN website. It was compiled by Amy Lennard Goehner and is made up entirely of picture books. (That fact is a reminder that when civilians hear the term "children's books," they automatically think picture books, which is probably why Goehner limited her list to picture books. A quick Google search found that Goehner actually edited several sports-themed books for middle graders for Bantam Doubleday Dell Books for Young Readers, so she is very much aware that children's literature isn't confined to picture books. Which is neither here nor there. Unless you, as a writer, think only picture books when you think children's books. If that's the case, you might still be a civilian.)
Anyway, I thought you could add these books to the reading lists you're compiling. Not because I necessarily think they're the best books of 2008, but because these books make a good starting point for your list of books to read with a hypercritical eye. Goehner does a good job defending her choices, and it will be interesting to see if you agree with her after reading the books for yourself.
- The Pencil by Allan Ahlberg and Bruce Ingman
- Big Words for Little People by Jamie Lee Curtis and Laura Cornell
- Bats at the Library by Brian Lies
- Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton
- Oodles of Animals by Lois Ehlert
- Too Many Toys by David Shannon
- The Pout-Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen and Dan Hanna
- Alphabet by Matthew Van Fleet
- Help Me. Mr. Mutt by Janet Stevens and Susan Stevens Crummel
- The Umbrella Queen by Shirin Yim Bridges and Taeeun Yoo
If you're looking for more lists, you'll find a Top 100 Picture Book list at the School Library Journal website. You can also check these out from the National Education Association: Teachers' Top 100 Books for Children compiled in 2007 and Kids' Top 100 Books for Children compiled in 1999. The teachers' list would make for a great discussion (or argument) starter at your next critique group meeting!