Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Best Children's Books Ever?

I think it's no surprise that as soon as that final bell rings on the last day of school, the last thing any kid wants to do is do anything school-like for the next two months until they're forced to all over again. Of course, that's not true of all kids and teens but it's true for enough that parents really should get involved in keeping their kids' brains active. That's one of the reasons why I read. Constantly. It's scientifically proven to keep your brain active and alert. Just like when you don't exercise your body gets flabby and out of shape, well so does your brain. The thing is, you won't be getting Alzheimer's of the ass if you sit on it too much. Granted there are books that'll make you dumber as you read them but that's besides the point.

Enter the summer reading programs. While even I pissed and moaned about this one, and while Farenheit 451 made me want to slit my wrists, with hindsight, I'm thankful for it because it forced me to keep reading when all I wanted to do was drool on myself in front of the TV with the air conditioner on. Every year I troll the summer reading list shelves at book stores just to see how the list has evolved from when I was in school. Thank god educators got wise and started adding in more contemporary YA and middle grade into the mix. I had none of that. Hence Farenheit 451.

All of this babbling is spurned from this op-ed piece from The New York Times about this guy's personal tops list for kidlit. Now don't get me wrong. While Charlotte's Web and Anne of Green Gables are considered classics, I think overall, the guy's list is a little out of date. Sure he has Harry Potter on there but there are more books on that list whose original print had to be hand set.

What would you consider to the top 10 , or even top 5, kids lit books (think middle grade and YA)? Nevermind how old they actually are. If they're still on the shelves and kids are picking them up voluntarily, count 'em.

We'll need to keep Harry Potter on there (the first book just hit the tne year mark) but I think we can throw in some Goosebumps as well. That series was around when I was in elementary school and kids still love it. You can't go wrong there. I'd have to skim the shelves to see if anything jumps out at me but the books I read when I was younger aren't around anymore. The Babysitters' Club, Sweet Valley High, Fear Street. Although it looks like Christopher Pike is getting a resurgence, I can't rightly count his most of his books anymore because they aren't shelved. Scary Stories should be in there too. Those are also books that have stood the test of time, and are still standing up against it. There are many, many kids who will always seek out to sate that spookier side of their hearts.

So what do you think? What books are still around now that you read when you were younger that kids are still loving and will continue to love well into the future? Or if you're still in the age bracket, what books are you reading or have read that have been around for a while but you still love?


Shalonda said...

Good list! With the exception of Sweet Valley High (which I love and have over 100 books), my students can't get enough of the books on the list.

It's nice to see that over time, they are still being read.

Donna said...

I didn't know you were a teacher, Shalonda! That's awesome! And that's a mighty SVH collection! I need to get all of my old books back

Em said...

Goosebumps and Baby Sitters Club, totally! And I'd add some American Girls, Christopher Pike, and maybe some sci-fi/fantasy classics.

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