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Marker
5th March 2006, 08:19 AM
I am interested in finding out what books children actually like.

You may think this is info that could be easily gleaned from the Internet - but not so. Tables of children's books are generally based on sales or votes from adults working in the children's literature field.

Sales tables (Amazon, Publisher's weekly) tell you what books adults are buying for their children - it doesnt follow that the children actually read them or like them if they do. The more "educationally oriented" tables generally list books that educationalists think are good and think children should be reading but experience shows that this rarely aligns with children's own views or even the bestseller lists. There are also tables recording what adults remember as being their favorite book when they were children. Unfortunately these list works going back 100 years and rarely equate with what contemporary children like.

So, if you have children, please ask them what was their favorite book of all time and post it here. It would be helpful if you could include the children's ages, genders and roughly where in the world you are.

It has just occurred to me that I might get endless votes for "Harry Potter" . So perhaps you could list anything other than that particular series

Marquis de Carabas
5th March 2006, 08:42 AM
When I was a child, my favourite books were the Narnia series, The Hobbit, and The Scarlet Letter.

TragicMonkey
5th March 2006, 10:15 AM
When I was a kid, my favorite books were John Bellairs's Gothic horror stories for kids: A House With A Clock In Its Walls; The Figure In The Shadows; The Letter, The Witch, And The Ring; The Treasure Of Alpheus Winterborn, et al. They were well written, and I learned a lot from them, everything from smatterings of Latin to bits of medieval history to what things were like in the 1940's and 50's, which is when they were all set. I was probably the only kid in my third grade class who knew what a Hand of Glory was, or the Blood of Hailes.

eri
5th March 2006, 03:28 PM
I loved Robin McKinley and Tamora Pierce - great inspiring novels for girls. Pierce's books are good for the 10+ age range, McKinley often goes into topics not really suited for those under 14ish, I would think. Not that I didn't read them younger than that, I probably just didn't get it.

William Sleator writes fun science fiction for teens and preteens. Exactly how young are you thinking? Pre-novel young?

Marker
5th March 2006, 03:48 PM
I am thinking of under ten year olds. Once you get past that age it becomes more blurry as children start reading stuff that some would class as adult or young adult. I think by the time I was 11, I was deliberately avoiding anything that could be called "children's fiction".

bruto
5th March 2006, 10:19 PM
Looking at the pre-reading age, or early reading and being read to also, when I was a kid I loved the Beatrix Potter books, and so did my kids when they were little. The stories are at a child's level but the language is not condescending, and I think smart kids appreciate that. Classic illustration too. Great for reading aloud. So is good old Winnie the Pooh, but skip the books of verse. There was a point when my daughter was about 3 that I think I could have recited most of Winnie the Pooh, The Pie and the Patty Pan, or The Tale of Tom Kitten from memory. "I really think that the string would have proved indigestible...."

My kids also loved Italo Calvino's Italian Folk Tales, both as a pre-reading book and a book to read. A cheerier set of tales than Grimm's, although my daughter couldn't get enough of Grimm, either.

Here's one I got from my father, that he loved, and I loved, and I gave it to my son, who is now 25 and still has it on the shelf:

http://books.google.com/books?ie=UTF-8&id=7A1NoAZERMgC&dq=indian+tales+for+little+folks&psp=wp&lpg=PA4&pg=PA2&printsec=3&sig=S3gGw4IDbEEBIyioVSkNAYRlHxU

Just in case that link is too long and doesn't work, it's Indian Tales for Little folks, by W.S. Phillips. The sample pages don't show just how great the illustrations, especially the little decorative friezes on many of the pages, are.

At the age of big format illustrated books, all my kids liked Stephen Kellogg. In nursery school my daughter did her first demonstration of reading aloud with one of Kellogg's Pinkerton books (Pinkerton is a dog, by the way).

I was going to mention Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs , which all the kids liked, but find to my horror when I googled it that it is now a standard item in a bunch of curricula! So don't bother to buy it, because it's out in a Scholastic paperback and the poor kids are probably going to have to study it.

Once they started reading, all my kids just seemed to read whatever they could get their hands on, and I can't recall many things I could list as favorites, though I'm sure they had a few. They'd often get going on some book or series of books, and swap it around. I just can't remember particular authors or series now, though I do remember that Brian Jacques' Redwall series went the rounds pretty thoroughly, as did The Indian in the Cupboard and its sequels. My sons went through a Stephen King phase, but that was a little later.

Just for reference, the kids in question are 3 of my own plus one step, now aged 21 to 28. Born in the USA.

TragicMonkey
5th March 2006, 10:48 PM
I was going to mention Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs , which all the kids liked, but find to my horror when I googled it that it is now a standard item in a bunch of curricula!

Oh! I loved that book! I can still recall the illustrations very clearly, decades later.

I'm going to have to get that out of the library this week.

grunion
6th March 2006, 08:58 AM
Both of my children (ages seven and four) absolutely love My Father's Dragon by Ruth Stiles Gannett. The follow-ups to it were rather weak though. My daughter rips through the A to Z Mysteries by Ron Roy, and the Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osborne. My son's tastes tend towards the silly - I think anything by David Shannon is a sure fire way to cheer him up.

TimmyBerry
6th March 2006, 06:06 PM
... Narnia's readable by 10 and under, methinks.
When I was a kid, I used to love those illustrated encuclopedias for kids. (They came in a variety of themes: different history periods, dinosaurs, plants, etc.). There should be something like that in English. (Also good for getting them to use reference materials at an early age.)

Piscivore
6th March 2006, 06:13 PM
When I was five-ish my two favourite books were "Andrew Henry's Meadow" and "Petunia." Later it was "Danny Dunn" and Choose Your Own Adventure. I swear I wore out two copies of "Cave of Time."

My kids loved "Magic Treehouse" as well as the Droon series.

kittynh
6th March 2006, 06:27 PM
the whole "Cat Wings" series. About cats with wings. Very touching.

Hey, I loved Nancy Drew. So did my mom and my daughters. Trixie Belden was very good also.

Chris Haynes
7th March 2006, 10:07 PM
My favorite book as a tiny kid was Go Dog, Go!. I loved that book!

My kids' favorite books change as they change.

As a preschooler my oldest (who is now 17) had to be read The Diggingest Dog over, and over and over and over. Then he liked the Magic Treehouse series.

My second child (now 15) liked the Time Warp Trio books when he was in 3rd grade. When he was older he read all of the Piers Anthony Xanth books... now he reads the "DragonLance" books (he also reads World of Warcract forums).

When third child (now almost 12) was younger she read lots of animal type books. She really liked the Poppy and Rye and its sequels by Avi. With this in mind I gave her Watership Down when she started 6th grade last fall... she loved it. She used to love Harry Potter books, but now decided she like Martha Wells as a writer more. Now she is reading Anime/Manga graphic novels.

Angus McPresley
8th March 2006, 03:55 AM
Well, I don't have or even know any kids, so I can't comment on the original poster's question.

But like everyone else on this thread, I'll take this opportunity to mention some of my favorite early reads.

I don't remember much of what I read as a pre-teen at all, besides Frog And Toad (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440430712/102-2219027-2101735?v=glance&n=283155). But John Fitzgerald's Great Brain (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0440430712/102-2219027-2101735?v=glance&n=283155) series was a definite early favorite. As was Madeleine L'Engel's "A Wrinkle In Time".

Oleron
8th March 2006, 04:55 AM
Any of the 'Asterix the Gaul' series by Goscinny and Uderzo. Or 'TinTin' by Herge. Those books were what gave me my lifelong love of reading. I think I was about 7 or 8 years old when I first discovered them.

Dcdrac
8th March 2006, 05:40 AM
The Snow Goose - Paul Gallico

The Childrens Crusade - Henry Treece
The Road to Miklagard - Henry Treece

Dcdrac
8th March 2006, 05:42 AM
I do recall a clever book i read as a child in which the west had developed some pastic eating chemical that ran out of control, and all the civillians were sent as refugees to camps in North Africa, and all their subsequent adventures and living conditions.

I cannot remeber what it was called but it was an eye opener for a 1970's 10 year old.

Chaos
8th March 2006, 11:35 AM
Any of the 'Asterix the Gaul' series by Goscinny and Uderzo. Or 'TinTin' by Herge. Those books were what gave me my lifelong love of reading. I think I was about 7 or 8 years old when I first discovered them.

Strongly seconded. These books are GREAT!

(Well, except for the latest one...)

pgwenthold
8th March 2006, 11:40 AM
When I was young, I read things like

Encyclopedia Brown
Charlotte's Web (still love that one)
Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Little House books
Where the Red Fern Grows
Winnie ther Pooh

but my all time favorite book as a tyke was Who Stole the Silver Spoons. Must have read it 436 times in 3 - 5th grade.

Jon.
8th March 2006, 02:18 PM
When I was a kid, I devoured Asterix and Tintin, so I'll make another vote for those. Also Hardy Boys and their ilk. When there weren't any HB books in the library that I hadn't read, I even read some of the "girl" versions: Nancy Drew, and the Bobbsey Twins. Other series I remember off the top of my head were The Great Brain and Encyclopedia Brown. I also loved Enid Blyton's books, but then I was an Anglophile even as a nipper.

A few words about a couple of individual books I liked.

One was The Pushcart War. I don't remember the author, but it was a rousing little tale of social rebellion by the "little guys": pushcarts in New York (I think, although the setting may have been non-specific) fighting back against the cars and trucks. Lots of fun, and rather seditious too.

Another was I Am David. I still have this one at home, though I don't remember the author. It's the story of a boy who escapes from a concentration camp and travels through Europe. It's all told from his point of view, and he has been in the camp since he was a baby, so he knows nothing of the outside world. A really sad book in many ways, but an eye-opener for sure.

My son, who is nearly 3, likes construction equipment and dinosaurs, so anything with pictures of those are big with him. He also likes Dr. Seuss (of course), Where The Wild Things Are, Are You My Mother?, etc.

Spindrift
15th March 2006, 10:11 AM
One book I really like was The Ghost of Dibble Hollow.

I was into the Rick Brant books. They sort of like the Tom Swift books, but the science was plausible.

Dcdrac
15th March 2006, 10:22 AM
I am David still pulls my heart strings to this day.

Jorghnassen
15th March 2006, 11:21 AM
Since some have already mentioned Asterix and Tintin, I guess I should add Peyo's Schtroumpfs. And Spirou had his moments too. But enough Franco-belgian BDs (though older kids can appreciate Thorgal or Rubriques-a-Brac). Another collection of books I still have from my childhood is, of course, the complete Mafalda comics by Quino.

chris epic
16th March 2006, 02:41 AM
When I was 8 or 9 I read "The Boxcar Children" I enjoyed that. When I was thirteen I read a book by Clive Barker (believe it or not) called "The Thief of Always" Clive Barker did the crazy Hellraiser books- but "The Thief of Always" is totally appropriate for kids. Its a great book.

dogjones
20th March 2006, 04:31 PM
Hate to admit it but I loved Enid Blyton (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/ref=br_ss_hs/104-6827383-0737508?platform=gurupa&url=index%3Dstripbooks%3Arelevance-above%26dispatch%3Dsearch%26results-process%3Dbin&field-keywords=enid+blyton) at 7 or 8. The Faraway Tree series, Famous Five, Secret Seven, etc etc. The Harry Potter books are actually very Blytonic in style. However some of them may not be very pc now as she was old school british (I definitely remember nasty dirty stealing gypsies!)

I'll definitely vote for the entire Asterix series - absolutely wonderful. Funny, clever and human. (In fact my avatar is a character in the series - Dogmatix, who howls when trees are uprooted.)

Alan Garner (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/203-8069979-6387953) is very good (Elidor, The Weirdstone of Brigansamen) but quite scary and maybe for 10 and over rather than 10 and under - a sort of cure for Enid Blyton.

Narnia series is always a winner.

For the younger ones:

Maurice Sendak - In the Night Kitchen (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060266686/104-6827383-0737508?v=glance&n=283155) and Where the Wild Things Are. (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0060254920/qid=1142897738/sr=2-1/ref=pd_bbs_b_2_1/104-6827383-0737508?s=books&v=glance&n=283155) Amazing.

Babette Cole also writes some GREAT ones for younger kids - her books "Mummy Laid an Egg (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/tg/stores/detail/-/books/0099299119/customer-reviews/qid%3D1142899038/sr%3D8-1/ref%3Dsr%5F8%5Fxs%5Fap%5Fi1%5Fxgl/203-8069979-6387953)" (the kids give their parents a sex ed lesson) and "Doctor Dog (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/ASIN/0099650819/qid=1142899135/sr=1-1/ref=sr_1_2_1/203-8069979-6387953)" are hysterically (and faintly viscerally) funny.

And finally the granddaddy of all children's authors: ROALD DAHL (http://www.amazon.co.uk/exec/obidos/search-handle-form/203-8069979-6387953)!! Every kid I know adores anything he writes. The Witches, The Twits, Revolting Rhymes, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory / Great Glass Elevator, the list goes on and on.

dogjones
20th March 2006, 05:10 PM
Oh, just had another thought - Gordon Korman's Bruno and Boots (http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=nb_ss_gw/104-6827383-0737508?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=gordon+korman+bruno+boots) series is really enjoyable; I loved it at around 8 or 9.

TragicMonkey
20th March 2006, 06:52 PM
Oh, just had another thought - Gordon Korman's Bruno and Boots (http://www.amazon.com/gp/search/ref=nb_ss_gw/104-6827383-0737508?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=gordon+korman+bruno+boots) series is really enjoyable; I loved it at around 8 or 9.

Whoo-hoo! Someone else who's even heard of Bruno and Boots! I loved those books as a kid. I actually still have them. Beware The Fish is my favorite. That Miss Scrimmage...

My older sister discovered Gordon Korman's work when we lived in Canada. We never met any other kids who had read, or heard of, him.

Son of Interflux is his best, I think.

alfaniner
21st March 2006, 12:46 PM
Another vote for Encyclopedia Brown -- the first one I always think of when this subject comes up.

Other series' I liked -- the "Trick" series, the only title of which I could remember is The Limerick Trick, and two characters, Mrs. Graymalkin and the main character's buddy, Fenton Claypool. A boy rescues an old lady in the park and in return she gives him a chemistry set, of which the labels are faded. She gives him directions for mixtures to help him in various ways which inevitably go wrong.

The Danny Dunn series, a scientifically oriented adventure series.

whitefork
21st March 2006, 01:51 PM
The Phantom Toolbooth (Norton Juster)

The 13 Clocks (James Thurber)


Yeah, Danny Dunn and the Homework Machine and Danny Dunn and the Anti-Gravity Paint.

Oliver Sounds Off

The Enormous Egg (Oliver Butterworth) - quite outstanding.

BlitzerInTheSun
7th April 2006, 06:24 PM
I read to my daughter all the time, usually whichever book I am reading... She's heard Dickens, Austen, Hugo, Swift, the Brontes', Eliot, but she's only about 21 months old so she doesn't really listen when I'm reading. I think it's good for her have it in the background while she plays anyway, and she's already developing a love of books. I've read The Hobbit and the LOTR trilogy to her, the only time she paid attention was when I attempted to do the Gollum voice. Someone mentioned Robin McKinley, I really enjoy reading her revised versions of fairy tales to my daughter also.

To answer the question though... I think my daughters favorite book right now is "The Little Red Hen".:)

Piggy
7th April 2006, 09:25 PM
As it happens, I just brought home a few of the books I read (or was read to) as a little boy from my mother's house. The jackets are frail and torn, and the pages smell old-fashioned. I loved them. I still do.

The Paddington books, by Michael Bond

The Animal Family, by Randall Jerrell, illustrated by Maurice Sendak

Dominic, by William Steig

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer

Just So Stories, by Rudyard Kipling, illustrated by Etienne Delessert

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Danny Champion of the World, and James and the Giant Peach, by Roald Dahl

The Pooh books, by A.A. Milne

The Borrowers, by Mary Norton

And of course so many books by Dr. Seuss

The stories of Uncle Remus, by Joel Chandler Harris, is another I grew up with and recently brought home, but one that is not so commonly found these days, and which most folks probably would not care to read to their kids anymore

aerosolben
7th April 2006, 10:15 PM
When I was a kid, my favorite books were John Bellairs's Gothic horror stories for kids: ..The Treasure Of Alpheus Winterborn, et al.
I had completely forgotten about these until I read this, and it all came rushing back. Thanks.

Beyond what's been mentioned:

Lloyd Alexander. Notably the Prydain Chronicles, but don't ignore the rest of what he's written - he's very good.

Brian Jaques' Redwall series.

Joe Dever's Lone Wolf adventure books. Choose your own adventure with RPG elements. Lots of fun, but child must be at least a little nerdy.

Angus McPresley
7th April 2006, 10:53 PM
One of my favorites for young, young kids is called "The Piggy In The Puddle". It should be a classic, but has somehow been overlooked. It starts like this:


See the piggy
See the puddle
See the muddy little puddle.
See the piggy in the middle of the muddy little puddle.
See her dawdle, see her diddle in the muddy, muddy middle.
See her waddle, plump and little, in the very merry middle

Piggy
7th April 2006, 10:58 PM
When the tweedle beetles battle with their paddles in a bottle full of water on a noodle-eating poodle, it's a tweedle beetle noodle poodle water bottle paddle battle.

Piggy
7th April 2006, 11:03 PM
For contemporary authors of books for very young kids, I recommend Mo Willems, author of Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/078681988X/002-3035088-7972813?v=glance&n=283155), and Kuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale (http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0786818700/ref=pd_sim_b_2/002-3035088-7972813?%5Fencoding=UTF8&v=glance&n=283155), among others.

Godmode
17th April 2006, 01:26 AM
I loved the Narnia series, the Oz series, and Lewis carroll's stuff growing up. I was a big reader though. I also loved Trixie Beldon, the Bobbsey Twins, and Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farms (Thanks to Grandma for that last one, it was her favourite!)

Forty-Two
18th April 2006, 05:35 PM
Whoo-hoo! Someone else who's even heard of Bruno and Boots! I loved those books as a kid. I actually still have them. Beware The Fish is my favorite. That Miss Scrimmage...

My older sister discovered Gordon Korman's work when we lived in Canada. We never met any other kids who had read, or heard of, him.

Son of Interflux is his best, I think.
w00t! More Gordon Korman fans! I thought I was the only one!

I liked Son of Interflux, but Semester in the Life of a Garbage Bag is my favorite. You can't beat the poetry of G. Gavin Gunhold.

slingblade
18th April 2006, 07:16 PM
"Anne of Green Gables,"
"The Boxcar Children,"
the "Bambi" books.

HENRY HUGGINS!

"Misty of Chincoteague," and all the other horse/animal books by Marguerite Henry.

Anything (everything) by Ray Bradbury.
Ogden Nash.
James Thurber.

slabsides
19th April 2006, 06:31 AM
The OP seems to ask "What are kids reading NOW?" but most posters are listing their own childhood favorites...and so will I:
Still in my library, more or less in the order read by age, beginning at about six: Howard Garis (Uncle Wiggily stories,) Burgess' Mother West Wind series. George MacDonald's Curdie books, Anderson and Grimm's Fairy Tales. The Freddy the Pig series. The Silver Skates, The Black Stallion Series, Mark Twain's boys, The Arabian Nights Tales, Miss Mulock's Brownie, Robin Hood, King Arthur, Kipling, Howard Pyle, Harold Lamb, the Robinsons (Swiss Family and Crusoe,) T. H. White, Edgar Rice Burroughs. Then a long string of Golden and Silver Age Science Fiction and Fantasy, too numerous to mention, from Heinlein to Howard to Lovecraft. Guilty pleasure: Thorne Smith. Only read C. S. Lewis and A. A. Milne as an adult, when I was looking for things to read aloud to my children. Read Tolkein in college, waiting eagerly as each volume was published over a three year period. I still re-read childhood favorites regularly. Recent authors I've recommended to friends include L'Engle, Robin McKinley, Kids are all grown now, and no grands to read to. :(
addendum: forgot to add Felix Salten's Bambi, Bambi's Children, Fifteen Rabbits and A Forest World. I spit on the Disney versions, but the books are wonderful.

Sandy M
19th April 2006, 03:07 PM
Well, as the typical "little girl in love with horses" - I devoured EVERY single one of Walter Farley's "Black Stallion" books. LOL

And of course all of Marguerite Henry's oevre: Misty of Chincoteague, Seastar of Chincoteague, Born to Trot (which I re-read some years ago and found still interesting as an adult- a dose of history served up in a horse story.), Album of Horses, etc.

My tastes are more eclectic now (thank whatever!), but I still see those books and C. W. Anderson's "Blaze and Billy" series (Blaze is, of course, a horse) still being read by the horsey little girls I know, along with Dorothy Lyons' old series of horsey books, Silver Birch, Golden Sovreign, Midnight Moon, et al.

The one non-horsey book I read and re-read was Lassie Come Home. Imagine my delight when besides the actual Roddy MacDowell movie, they made a movie called Gypsy Colt which was "Lassie Come Home" with a girl and a horse. They even credited the story to Eric Knight, author of "Lassie Come Home" - it was that direct a "steal."

pgwenthold
20th April 2006, 05:28 AM
"HENRY HUGGINS!



I always loved Ramona. She was a riot.

And Beezus was cool.

Chris Haynes
20th April 2006, 09:16 AM
The OP seems to ask "What are kids reading NOW?" but most posters are listing their own childhood favorites.......

But my favorite book as a kid is still popular today. Go Dog Go! is being brought to kids today on stage:
http://www.alliancetheatre.org/family2.asp

http://www.childrenstheatre.org/2005/godoggo.html

http://www.childrenstheatremaine.org/dog.html

Piscivore
20th April 2006, 10:05 AM
We went to Half-Price books last weekend and the boy, all on his own, got his own copy of "20k Leagues Under the Sea."

And he actually turned off the TV and the playstation to read it!

I'm so proud. :D

Deus Ex Machina
20th April 2006, 11:37 AM
Hate to admit it but I loved Enid Blyton (http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/search-handle-url/ref=br_ss_hs/104-6827383-0737508?platform=gurupa&url=index%3Dstripbooks%3Arelevance-above%26dispatch%3Dsearch%26results-process%3Dbin&field-keywords=enid+blyton) at 7 or 8. The Faraway Tree series, Famous Five, Secret Seven, etc etc. The Harry Potter books are actually very Blytonic in style. However some of them may not be very pc now as she was old school british (I definitely remember nasty dirty stealing gypsies!)

I'll definitely vote for the entire Asterix series - absolutely wonderful. Funny, clever and human. (In fact my avatar is a character in the series - Dogmatix, who howls when trees are uprooted.)

I will definitely add my vote for both Enid and for Asterix.

In my Latin class we used an asterix book or two that had been rendered into Latin as the text - it was great (Asterix and Cleopatra was one of them - it was at that time that i came to realize that puns worked really well in latin..)

My other favorite line of books when I was a nipper were the Jennings series.

grunion
20th April 2006, 11:59 AM
My daughter and I just got through the absolutely hysterical "Sideways Stories From Wayside School" by Louis Sachar. She couldn't wait until bedtime every night while we were reading this. Also she really liked the Fudge series of books by Judy Blume.

meg
20th April 2006, 12:35 PM
My kid and her cousin (both girls) favs:

Under 8:
All Madeline
All Dr Seuss
Winnie the Pooh
All Arthur
Any joke book - the dumber the better :)
A Light In the Attic
All Curious George
Where the Wild Things Are

8+ :
Charlotte's Web
Stuart Little
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The Babysitter's Club series
Goosebumps series (my kid hated them, her cousin LOVED them and read every one)
Anything by Judy Blume
James and the Giant Peach
Mr Popper's Penguins
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH
Ramona series

10+:
Sweet Valley High series
Island of the Blue Dolphins
Anne of Green Gables (the whole series)
Diary of Anne Frank
Hatchet
Little Women
To Kill a Mockingbird
Call of the Wild
Tuck Everlasting
Chronicles of Narnia

I'm sure there are a lot more, but these are the ones that come to mind quickly.

Meffy
21st April 2006, 02:13 PM
In my Latin class we used an asterix book or two that had been rendered into Latin as the text - it was great (Asterix and Cleopatra was one of them - it was at that time that i came to realize that puns worked really well in latin..)
I've heard that the ancient Romans groaned and protested at "bad" puns in just the way we do nowadays. Dunno if it's so but am inclined to think it would fit in well with the Roman style of wit.

There's also "Winnie Ille Pu." :-)

Here's a book that might not appeal to modern children, but it had a profound impact on me when I was very young. I've not read one like it before nor since.

The Cat That Jumped Out of the Story by award-winning novelist and screenwriter Ben Hecht, known mostly for his hard-hitting work for adults. Not only did I identify with the protagonist, Katrinka the cat (who really isn't very nice, a crummy role model), but I was fascinated with the existential story line and absolutely terrifying ending.

It doesn't talk down to young readers. There's sweetness, but to reach it requires running a dangerous gantlet. Both visually and atmospherically this is a dark story, stylized, populated with strange iconic creatures, illustrated in smudgy grays and blacks. Katrinka is something of an anti-hero. Her Moon-Mother is distant and aloof, enigmatic, sometimes absent from the sky, sometimes close and warm. Katrinka's enemy is cruel, physically and psychologically violent, and inescapable. The denouement is a concrete demonstration of the philosophy of beings who live inside a story... at least one of whom is aware of it.

I loved this book so much that over four decades after first reading it (that would've been around 1960), I found and bought a copy in nearly perfect condition. Reading it still makes the fur bristle on the back of my neck and all down my spine. It's true. (Really.)

Orphia Nay
22nd April 2006, 04:14 AM
Another was I Am David. I still have this one at home, though I don't remember the author. It's the story of a boy who escapes from a concentration camp and travels through Europe. It's all told from his point of view, and he has been in the camp since he was a baby, so he knows nothing of the outside world. A really sad book in many ways, but an eye-opener for sure.


It was by Ann Holm. I also loved it when I was about ten, and re-read it many times, even recently.

My son is now 12, and his favourite book would have to be his 2-in-1 edition of the Horrible Histories books "The Frightful First World War" and "The Woeful Second World War" which he has read numerous times.
We've been getting the Horrible Histories magazine series for a few years, which I used to read to him, but he now reads for himself. He's also got heaps of the Horrible Histories books, a couple of Horrible Geography books, and has started getting the Horrible Science magazines. He reads them all (so do I - they're great) and remembers lots of interesting facts and funny stories.

Before he was 10, he read a number of books from "A Series of Unfortunate Events" by Lemony Snicket, and similarly most of the "Deltora Quest" books by Emily Rodda. He also loved "The Phantom Tollbooth", and has re-read "When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit" a few times.

Now he's into the Alex Rider spy series by Anthony Horowitz, having read "Stormbreaker" and "Point Blanc" so far.

pgwenthold
22nd April 2006, 10:43 AM
Mr Popper's Penguins


Wow, that's one I haven't thought of for a long time. I remember it, vaguely.


Ramona series


Beverly Cleary rocks!

Forty-Two
22nd April 2006, 10:54 AM
My daughter and I just got through the absolutely hysterical "Sideways Stories From Wayside School" by Louis Sachar. She couldn't wait until bedtime every night while we were reading this. Also she really liked the Fudge series of books by Judy Blume.
I am a huge Louis Sachar fan. When I was a kid I wrote him a fan letter, and he wrote a very thoughtful letter back. I'd provided a solution to one of the problems in "Sideways Math from Wayside School," and he wrote that he couldn't believe that he hadn't thought of it. That made my nine-year-old self beam with pride. His books are wonderful, and he seems like a genuinely nice person -- the ideal children's author.

I think Dogs Don't Tell Jokes is his best work, though. It's got his wackiness, but with an emotional core. He writes smart kids very well, complete with social insecurities and vivid imaginations.

Orphia Nay
24th April 2006, 02:15 AM
Here in the state of Victoria, Australia, we have the Victorian Premier's Reading Challenge which first happened last year. Children are encouraged to read a certain number of books over a number of months, with most of the books to be from a set list. The lists are extensive, a great selection of excellent books and are set for several age groups from beginners at school to the 3rd year of high school. You can find the lists here:
http://www.sofweb.vic.edu.au/vicprc/booklists.htm
Children receive a completion certificate, and their names can be published in one of the nation's top newspapers. My son enjoyed doing the challenge last year, and is undertaking it again this year. I also enjoy reading some of the books he reads as they are often classics, and modern classics.

Lothian
24th April 2006, 03:00 AM
I am interested in finding out what books children actually like.

You may think this is info that could be easily gleaned from the Internet - but not so. Tables of children's books are generally based on sales or votes from adults working in the children's literature field.

Sales tables (Amazon, Publisher's weekly) tell you what books adults are buying for their children - it doesnt follow that the children actually read them or like them if they do. The more "educationally oriented" tables generally list books that educationalists think are good and think children should be reading but experience shows that this rarely aligns with children's own views or even the bestseller lists. There are also tables recording what adults remember as being their favorite book when they were children. Unfortunately these list works going back 100 years and rarely equate with what contemporary children like.
My 7 year old daughter reads the same Jacqueline Wilson books over and over again. (be careful some are aimed at older kids). As for enjoying she also has really enjoyed the Enid Blyton books, (secret 7 famous 5).

ShowMe
24th April 2006, 11:29 AM
One was The Pushcart War. I don't remember the author, but it was a rousing little tale of social rebellion by the "little guys": pushcarts in New York (I think, although the setting may have been non-specific) fighting back against the cars and trucks.

It's weird, I remember reading that book when I was in the 3rd or 4th grade. That would make it...oh...35 odd years ago. And the one thing I remeber from reading it is that one of the characters was flattening tires by using a pin and her hands instead of...well, whatever they were using. Blowguns perhaps?

Later on in the book the police discover a book where the ringleader was keeping track of who flattened what. He had this womans name along with "by hand". He explained it to the cops by saying he was a pushcart repairman and that this woman insisted he only use hand tools on hers. Lying, of course.

But a little while later in the story he needs to fix everyones cart and it states something to the effect of "and he got her permission to use power tools". I couldn't reconcile the fact that she had never said that, but that he still needed to get her permission. The fact that a writer could actually make a mistake in a book didn't occur to me until long afterwards.

Someone has a sig on this board that says "Be very, very careful what you put into that head of yours. Because it will never, ever come back out." I guess I'm living proof of that.

Almo
24th April 2006, 01:36 PM
Dr. Seuss books. My faves were The Fox in Socks and On Beyond Zebra.
Arm in Arm. That was a weird one.
I was in third grade when I checked out Black Holes, White Dwarfs and Superstars (Franklin M Branley) for 16 weeks and memorized it. I was in grad school studying physics when I finally covered everything that was in that book. Brilliantly written for younger scientists. Actually, it was an accident. I thought it was about movie stars. That book is why I ended up in physics, because it was the most interesting thing I had ever read, and I didn't find anything more interesting all through high school.

The Giving Tree. I still like that one, and I don't think I quite understand it, either.

TjW
24th April 2006, 10:11 PM
My eight-year-old son just finished "Treasure Island". There's a reason why that book is a classic.

tomgv15
8th May 2006, 02:07 PM
Black and Blue Magic by Zilpha Keatley Snyder (1966) Twelve year old Harry Houdini Marco meets a curious old man renting a room in his mother's boarding house. He turns out to be a peddlar of magical items. harry receives a gift - a potion that creates wings.

Regnad Kcin
8th May 2006, 11:20 PM
Dickens.

Katana
1st June 2006, 06:49 PM
Don't know if anyone mentioned the Dorie the Little Witch books. I loved them, but they're hard to find now given the fact that some don't approve of her witchly lifestyle.

Piscivore
2nd June 2006, 06:15 PM
My eight-year-old son just finished "Treasure Island". There's a reason why that book is a classic.

Yarr!

Meffy
6th June 2006, 12:28 PM
Follow-up: I just re-read the first two of Ursula LeGuin's "Catwings" books, and they're very short. I misremembered them as being two, three times as long. But they're still charmy as all get out, and have great illustrations too.

antihippy
7th June 2006, 02:48 AM
As as kid I thoroughly enjoyed The Hobbit and The Animals of Farthing Wood (!), but the book I remember with the most fondnes was The Phantom Toolbooth. A great book - very witty if I remember right. One of the books that left a lasting impression was the Complete Robot. I still read Asimov's short stories occasionally today.

It'd be great to be a kid again and re-discover all of those books I read. I wonder if I would even end up with the same tastes again.

epepke
7th June 2006, 10:03 PM
When I was young, I liked To Kill a Mockingbird, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court, and just about anything by Ray Bradbury that I could get my hands on. I also liked books about whales.

Tony
8th June 2006, 07:51 PM
I always loved Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0689707495/102-2446954-3649763?v=glance&n=283155

Miss Whiplash
8th June 2006, 08:17 PM
The Cat from Telegraph Hill

buffalocust
8th June 2006, 09:20 PM
The Gypsy Bears by Louis A. Meyer (sadly out of print)
Trouble At Timpetill by Henry Winterfeld
The Incredible Hulk comic books (Marvel Comics)

fuelair
9th June 2006, 07:28 AM
It's weird, I remember reading that book when I was in the Someone has a sig on this board that says "Be very, very careful what you put into that head of yours. Because it will never, ever come back out." I guess I'm living proof of that.
Be very, very careful what you put into that head,
because you will never, ever get it out.
Cardinal Wolsey (1475?-1530)

Pushcart War starred General Anna, it was blowguns (drawn as essentially peashooters) firing pins - which clearly could not have penetrated and quickly blown the gigantic truck tires they were fired at.

Meanwhile, my favorite book (first) was Tales about Timothy by Gertrude Blumenthal - the triplets, Automat, Land of Hard Play and more - what's not to like!!?? Later, David and the Phoenix, anything of myths and/or legends, Heinlein juveniles and so forth and so on Rockets, Missiles and Outer Space (and any similar). That was 1946-middish 50's.:) :) :)


Edit: restored first line above - of quote.

alfaniner
9th June 2006, 09:41 AM
But my favorite book as a kid is still popular today. Go Dog Go!...

Believe it or not, I just got that one on Amazon for one penny! (plus shipping).

It's not in perfect condition but I only wanted it for the design I'm going to put on my next Marathon running shirt. Until I actually saw the book, I assumed it had been written by Dr. Seuss, but no. It was P.D. Eastman, who wrote some other memorable books as well (Are You My Mother? among them).

I did read it completely, though...

Thanz
9th June 2006, 10:26 AM
My kids are 3 and 16 months, so the books we have are aimed at that level. Sandra Boynton has some fabulous books for little ones (Hippos Go Berserk! is a favourite). I would also recommend pretty much anything by Robert Munsch. The Paperbag Princess in particular.

Kiwiwriter
9th June 2006, 10:31 AM
I liked "Encyclopedia Brown" and "Two-Minute Mysteries," by the same guy, Donald Sobol. They often ha the same plots, with the former being kid stuff, and the latter involving murders. I rarely solved the mysteries ahead of the sleuths.

Wallis loves Harry Potter, and is fascinated with science books...she's reading a book about rat biology now, as she has had pet rats for several years. She used to read the Powerpuff Girls books.

She and her friends are great...we had Wallis and two pals at dinner the other Saturday night. The three 10-year-old kids sat around talking about quantum mechanics and string theory, having devoured the "Elegant Universe" DVD. Much better than Wallis's schoolmates, who are fascinated with Britney Spears.

Chris Haynes
9th June 2006, 08:20 PM
Believe it or not, I just got that one on Amazon for one penny! (plus shipping).

It's not in perfect condition but I only wanted it for the design I'm going to put on my next Marathon running shirt. Until I actually saw the book, I assumed it had been written by Dr. Seuss, but no. It was P.D. Eastman, who wrote some other memorable books as well (Are You My Mother? among them).

I did read it completely, though...

:D Go Dog Go!

Meffy
14th June 2006, 05:26 PM
For younger grade schoolers and their parents, weird verses about science, with uber-nerdly drawings of a young scientist: "Science Verse" by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, creators of "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales."

It reminded me of a great 1950s book, "The Space Child's Mother Goose." Sample verses, with apologies for the political incorrectness in the second; if it helps, I'm part Welsh. ;-)

Probable/Possible,
My black hen,
She lays eggs
In the Relative-When.
She doesn't lay eggs
In the Positive-Now
Because she's unable to
Postulate how.

Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy was a thief;
Taffy's little grandson
Tele-plunders beef.
Taffy's little grandson
Never leaves the village,
Stays at home in comfort
Committing tele-pillage.
Taffy's little grandson
Practising psionics,
Quite surpasses Grandpa's
Obsolete kleptonics.

fuelair
14th June 2006, 06:04 PM
For younger grade schoolers and their parents, weird verses about science, with uber-nerdly drawings of a young scientist: "Science Verse" by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith, creators of "The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales."

It reminded me of a great 1950s book, "The Space Child's Mother Goose." Sample verses, with apologies for the political incorrectness in the second; if it helps, I'm part Welsh. ;-)

Probable/Possible,
My black hen,
She lays eggs
In the Relative-When.
She doesn't lay eggs
In the Positive-Now
Because she's unable to
Postulate how.

Taffy was a Welshman,
Taffy was a thief;
Taffy's little grandson
Tele-plunders beef.
Taffy's little grandson
Never leaves the village,
Stays at home in comfort
Committing tele-pillage.
Taffy's little grandson
Practising psionics,
Quite surpasses Grandpa's
Obsolete kleptonics.

Go Meffy!! and (info, not ad) if you are really interested, dogpile the title and it will take you (among other things) to a company that is reissuing a number of older childrens books- including Space Child's - they have a limited edition signed by the artist (I got one!!Wheee!!:D :D :D )

Meffy
15th June 2006, 11:03 AM
Cooool! Ours is original but minus the dust jacket, what a shame. I think it got damaged. :-(

grunion
15th June 2006, 12:51 PM
Just wanted to mention a great book that my 5-year-old son begs for - "The Robots Are Coming" by Andy Rash. It's a collection of clever poems on mildly scary topics with some very funny drawings. My favorite is "Werewolf":

The moon comes out
And the werewolf shouts,
"TIME TO BE A WOLF AND ROAM THE FOREST!"

The moon is gone
And the werewolf yawns,
"Time to be a man and see the florist."

The victim lies
in the bed and sighs,
"I'll never go out on another full moon."

The bouquet has
A card that says,
"Sorry I attacked you. Get well soon."

Meffy
16th June 2006, 05:57 AM
Two words. Daniel Pinkwater. He writes and illustrates little books for little children, bigger ones for older ones and their parents. I heartily recommend "Borgel" for everyone, despite the shameful profession of most residents of "the Old Country." Borgel's classic '37 Dorbzeldge (a car made in an East European nation that's not there any more, and which can drive around in time-space-and-the-other) takes young Melvin and his dog Fafner on a very funny trip around the universe. Nonstop weirdness right from the beginning, when 111-year-old Borgel (whom nobody in Melvin's family recalls ever hearing of before) shows up on the doorstep with several dozen valises, the claim that he's Melvin's uncle, and the declaration "You are being allowed to take in an old man. God will like you for this."

If you liked the werewolf verse in grunion's post, you might like Pinkwater's "Wempires" too. Oy, such a great Yiddish accent these books are written in! Anne Rice wishes she could write like Pinkwater. F'geddaboudit.

Any self-respecting public librarys' children's and young adults sections will have several, ideally all, of Pinkwater's books. Look for them. Rejoice.

P.S.: You don't have to be Jewish to enjoy his books. But (*shrug*) it couldn't hurt.

orpheus
10th July 2006, 12:15 AM
The works of Russell Hoban. He wrote about 60 or so childrens' books - the most famous being the series about Frances the badger (e.g., Bedtime for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances). Most of that series were illustrated by his first wife - beautifully, too.

A bit off topic, but I'll just put in a quick plug here for his adult novels as well. Hard to find in the U.S., except online and occasionally in secondhand shops. But they are worth seeking out: some of the most enjoyable and effortlessly, profoundly poetic books I've read in a long time. (In fact, I was so moved by his books, I did something I very rarely do - I wrote him a fan letter. To my surprise and delight, he answered it. Since then we've corresponded occasionally, and I must say, I now count Russ as one of the big inspirations in my life.) Okay, end of plug for Russ.

bruto
10th July 2006, 06:33 PM
The works of Russell Hoban. He wrote about 60 or so childrens' books - the most famous being the series about Frances the badger (e.g., Bedtime for Frances, Bread and Jam for Frances). Most of that series were illustrated by his first wife - beautifully, too.

A bit off topic, but I'll just put in a quick plug here for his adult novels as well. Hard to find in the U.S., except online and occasionally in secondhand shops. But they are worth seeking out: some of the most enjoyable and effortlessly, profoundly poetic books I've read in a long time. (In fact, I was so moved by his books, I did something I very rarely do - I wrote him a fan letter. To my surprise and delight, he answered it. Since then we've corresponded occasionally, and I must say, I now count Russ as one of the big inspirations in my life.) Okay, end of plug for Russ.

Riddley Walker remains one of my favorite books. I already plugged it in the "Real Da Vinci type codes" thread, since I think it fits that category rather well. Might as well plug it here too. In the area between adult and kids' books, you can't much beat The Mouse and his Child.