Friday, July 31, 2009

Lists, Lists and More Lists!

Librarians love lists. Summer reading lists, Notable this, Top Ten that ... nothing makes a librarian more blissful than putting together a list that convinces a reader, "Yeah, I want to read THAT!"

So when I saw floating around Facebook a list that was reputedly put together by the BBC, with the dictum that people generally would have read no more than 6 titles, I had to have a look. Well, I had my doubts about the provenance of the list when both "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare" and "Hamlet" appeared.

Literary sleuth that I am, I found the real list at the BBC's The Big List. The goal of the BBC was to conduct a poll to find the nation's most beloved books. The large number of children's titles on the list goes to show what an impact children's literature has. The books we read in our youth are more likely to be remembered and loved than the more high-falutin' literature of our adulthood.

All this got me thinking about my 8 year old nephew, Tony. He's at the point where he's becoming a more independent reader, although he still loves to be read to. The books he'll read for the next 4 years (before the teenage years) will most likely be the books he'll treasure for the rest of his life. So what should these books be?

"Aha!" I thought. I'm a librarian. I'll put together a list. The 101 Books Children Should Read Before They Become Teenagers. I'm open to classics, contemporary, graphic novels, wordless books, and picture books for older readers. (I'll save the easy readers and picture books for younger children for my 4 year old niece Alyssa's list.)

Care to help me out? What's your favorite book for ages 8-12?

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