I'm an ENGLISH teacher. This is an entirely impossible task for me.
Ergo, I will be picking ten.
1. Katy No Pockets by Emmy Payne.
I loved this book because my name was in the title. I didn't really get much more sophisticated than that as a three year old. MY NAME IN A BOOK!? COOL! But really, it's a pretty cute story about a kangaroo who has no pockets, but needs a pocket for her baby. So she gets an apron with a ton of pockets and becomes everyone's mom!
2. The Story of Ping by Marjorie Flack
I just have incredibly strong memories of my mom reading this story to us at bedtime. I love the illustrations and the cute little duck.
3. The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
If you don't love this book, you don't have a heart. The end.
4. Chasing Vermeer by Blue Baillet
This one is for a slightly older crowd; I first learned of it from a sixth grade teacher I was working with early in my career. It's sorta like pre-teenager's first mystery novel. And the illustrations are beautiful and actually part of the story. It's delightful.
5. Corduroy by Don Freeman
I just find this book so delightfully lovely. The pictures are adorable and I feel warm and fuzzy inside even when I just see the cover.
6. The Little Prince by Antoine de Ste Exupery
We had to read this as core lit in fifth grade, and though I don't think I fully and completely grasped the whole idea of the book then, I knew it was something special.
7. Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
This makes my top list because I remember reading it for the first time: in my first grade teacher Mrs Iler's trailer classroom at Sunset Hills. I still picture the inside of that room whenever I see this book on a shelf.
This is a link to the iPhone app I discovered that is based on a book and cassette set I had as a kid. It's the story of the Steadfast Tin Soldier read by Jeremy Irons. I repeat: JEREMY IRONS. When I discovered the existence of this app, I downloaded it in a heartbeat. I LOVED listening to this story as a kid, and I loved the pictures in this version. Plus, Jeremy Irons's voice adds such a creep factor to the story.
10. The Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder
This is one of the few books I have memories of my mom reading us faithfully several times through, and then as an older child, reading them on my own. Last year, in the spring, one of my students organized a used book drive to benefit a local children's hospital and one of the students donated the entire set of Little House books. The book drive went for a few weeks, so I actually ended up reading the entire series again from the donated books -- I borrowed them over a weekend and inhaled them and then put them back in the pile. Loved them even more than I had as a kid.
As a sidenote, as a teacher of English, I was curious what the interwebs has to say about "good" children's books and came across this list of the NEA's top 100. SO MANY GOOD BOOKS ON THIS LIST, including many of the ones I already listed.