Thursday, June 27, 2013

Best Children's Books

Several different media sources have released their lists of best children's books, especially because it's summer reading season.  I was shocked when I looked at the list of assigned summer reading books from the school where the kids I babysit go.  I didn't recognize a single title!  I know I'm a generation ahead of them, but when I was in elementary school, we still read classics like "Stuart Little" and "The Borrowers," neither of which were published within 20 years of my elementary school years.  I'm also surprised to see so few of these lists honoring books with main characters who are not white boys.  To be fair, my own list is pretty biased toward characters with whom I can identify, but I think they are such classics that all kids should get to read them, not just girls.  If you have kids, don't let them read Twilight until they've first read these books:

1. Harriet the Spy - Louise Fitzhugh - This book is pretty much the reason I started writing

2. A Wrinkle in Time - Madeleine L'Engle - This book made me feel like I was in my own secret world that no one else could be a part of.  I think I need to read this one again.

3. Matilda, The BFG, and The Witches - Roald Dahl - How could I pick just one Roald Dahl book?  They're all so brilliantly weird and touching, but these are my three favorites.

4. Walk Two Moons - Sharon Creech - It's since been criticized for romanticizing and oversimplifying American Indian cultures, but I still found this a much deeper coming-of-age story than a lot of the others I read at the time.  It felt darker and more grown up.  Creech is a beautiful story-teller and I remember not being able to put it down.

5. Blubber - Judy Blume - A classic.  Apparently it's on the banned books list.  Do I need to say more?

6. Catherine, Called Birdy - Karen Cushman - Gives insight into a girl's perspective of the Medieval period, with some cool/disturbing information about Saints and their deaths.

Each of these books had me reading all night long under my covers with a flashlight.  Being a nanny myself, I'm a little worried that most kids don't lose themselves in books anymore.  But even the kids I work with (who are literally obsessed with and addicted to electronics) get really excited about Roald Dahl.  


  1. A Wrinkle in Time blew my 4th grade mind. One of my favorite books!