Sun 26 Feb 2012
It’s almost time for Battle of the Books again at my daughter’s school, and the requisite reading list has come home.
I always like seeing it. For as much as I like to think that I’m on top of kids books and have read what’s worth reading, there are always a few titles on the list that are either entirely new to me or that are classics I shamefully realize I’ve never read before.
This year, entries in the “I’ve never heard of it before” category were:
I’m normally not a mystery fan, but I really enjoyed Scared Stiff. It’s more a family drama about love and loss than it is a traditional who-dunnit mystery. I read it in one sitting, and I think most middle-grade kids could do the same.
Castle in the Attic is next on my to-read list, but based on a quick scan, my guess is I’ll like it too.
On the “I can’t believe I never read this before” list are:
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle (I know, I know. I feel terrible admitting I didn’t read this earlier. In my defense, I remember looking briefly at it in middle school and then putting it down.) Also on my never-before-read list was Meet Addy: An American Girl. I know the American Girl books are very popular, but I’d sort of avoided them on principle.
Well, I adored A Wrinkle in Time. Adored it. Probably more than I would have had I read it in middle school. Now, it makes me want to reread Rebecca Stead’s Newbery winner When You Reach Me, which refers to Wrinkle a lot.
And, I liked Addy more than I had expected to. It’s a good, historical fiction book that is not just a vehicle for doll sales. For what it’s worth, my daughter read Addy first of all the books on the list and then went for Love, Ruby Lavender.
Long-time favorites that I was happy to see on the list included:
Gilbert Blythe! Melba Jean! India Opal Buloni! Sugar, soap and tulip bulbs! And the beautiful scene in Clementine where she realizes her parents really aren’t planning on giving her away! It still makes me tear up every time.
With the help of a very friendly and patient youth librarian, my daughter and I requested all the titles we didn’t already have and now every day a few more arrive. Which means we’ll have plenty of reading material for the forseeable future.
Here’s the complete list in case your to-be-read list needs a few more titles.
- The Wish Giver: Three Tales of Coven Tree by Bill Brittain.
- The White Mountains by John Christopher.
- Ice Magic by Matt Christopher.
- Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo
- Phineas L. MacGuire … Erupts! by Frances Dowell
- By The Great Horn Spoon by Sid Fleischman.
- Boxes for Katje by Candace Fleming.
- The Patchwork Quilt by Valerie Flournoy.
- What’s the Big Idea Ben Franklin by Jean Fritz.
- My Side of the Mountain by Jean George.
- Old Yeller by Fred Gipson
- Time for Andrew: A Ghost Story by Mary Downing Hahn
- Sheep by Valerie Hobbs.
- Redwall by Brian Jacques
- Harry’s Mad by Dick King-Smith
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle.
- Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine.
- Number the Stars by Lois Lowry.
- Be a Perfect Person in Just Three Days by Stephen Manes.
- Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
- Hatchet by Gary Paulsen.
- Clementine by Sara Pennypacker.
- My Rotten, Redheaded Older Brother by Patricia Polacco.
- Meet Addy: An American Girl by Connie Rose Porter.
- Scared Stiff by Willo Davis Roberts.
- Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan.
- There’s a Boy in the Girls’ Bathroom by Louis Sachar.
- Knights of the Kitchen Table by Jon Scieszka.
- Love, Ruby Lavender by Deborah Wiles.
- Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop.
What are your favorites? What haven’t you read yet?