On July 4th, New York Times Op-Ed columnist Nicholas Kristof wrote about his favorite children's books and invited readers to do the same. He also interviewed his three children to learn what their all-time favorites are.
Kristof received over 2,000 responses; apparently thousands more than he typically receives for his political columns. On his blog, he wrote about the overwhelming number of replies as well as how passionate people clearly are about the stories which helped form them into the readers they have become. Check out his columns and blogs.
Many responses reminded me of the healthy helpings of Roald Dahl, Ellen Raskin, Katherine Paterson, Madeline L'Engle, Beverly Cleary, and Laura Ingalls Wilder that nourished my childhood. Turned me into the book nerd that I am. I was struck, however, by the seeming lack of familiarity with more recent works and treasures. Aside from frequent references to Phillip Pullman's works, award winning authors and some of my personal favorites like Cynthia Rylant, Richard Peck, Jen Bryant, Rosemary Wells and Kevin Henkes were overlooked. Most surprising was that there was eerily no mention of this year's Newbery Award winning The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman, an author who has attained rock star status (and for good reason.)
While his selections are interesting, Kristof seeming lack of knowledge of current authors in the field of middle grade and young adult literature seems strange. Tell me what you think of his choices, his children's choices, and those of his readers. What are your most treasured childhood books and why? Have you read any recently published books for children and young adults? If not, why?