Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Location: Books & Such Central Valley Office
Last time I blogged I promised you, dear readers, that for just this once I would refrain from blogging about gruesome realities like Career Killers, Kisses of Death, QueryFails or Worst Case Scenarios. I asked for your suggestions of happy things I could blog about. I considered puppies and babies but I finally settled on one of our favorite things: books.
I love books. Had I lived in Victorian times I’d have been considered a bluestocking for my devotion to books. Happily, we can now indulge in books without society’s censure.
So for this week, we’re going to attempt the near-impossible task of coming up with our Favorite Fives in five different categories. I had to make one ground rule for me– it can’t be a book by one of my clients or one of my friends. So today let’s share our favorite five children’s books. This includes picture books, middle grade and young adult– both current and classic. Yep. Only five.
This may be the most difficult category of all for me because though I don’t represent children’s books, I’m a dedicated fan. I’ve long collected antiquarian illustrated picture books. I love the work of Henriette Willebeek LeMair, Jessie Willcox Smith, Ethel Franklin Betts, Mabel Lucie Atwell, Johnny Gruelle, and many others. And I’m a fan of many of the contemporary illustrator/ authors like Patricia Polacco, Tasha Tudor, Michael Hague, Susan Jeffers, Trina Scart Hyman, Jan Brett, my own client Andy McGuire and too many others to list.
I’m a fan of middle grade, too, especially the classics. I have shelves of series books— the twins book (like Dutch Twins, African Twins, etc.), the Little House books, Anne of Green Gables, Betsy-Tacy, Honey Bunch, The Bobbsey Twins, The Chronicles of Narnia and Nancy Drew. I love contemporary middle grades as well, like everything by Madeleine L’Engle. A few years back I made it a point to read all the past Newbery winners and honors. So many treasures. . .
All this to say, how does one pick a favorite five?
This could change in the next hour, but for right now here’s what I’d pick and why:
- Picture Book: All the Places to Love by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Mike Wimmer. The most beautiful picture book ever. I experience deep sehnsucht every time I read this.
- Classic YA: Little Women by Louisa Mae Alcott— need I explain why? This classic has it all— unforgettable characters, a company of strong women loving each other and growing together. It’s a story that still makes me laugh and cry.
- Classic Middle Grade: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. My very first gothic mystery. I can still recite parts of this book: “Please, sir, may I have a bit of earth?”
- Adventure: Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C. S. Lewis— Reep-i-cheep is one of the most memorable heroes of all literature
- Middle Grade: Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech. A story of love and loss– powerful.
Okay, those are my five. Now it’s your turn. Tell us your favorite five children’s books.