My world as a bookworm was shaken to the core by a simple discovery: children’s literature.
For a couple of months, I helped at an English Cafe that had a small library of children’s books. From an impressive collection of The Diary of a Wimpy Kid, to The Magic Tree House or Level 1 Scholastic books with 3 words on a page, there were books for all levels of readers.
I made my way through the few books we had for “grown-ups”, while browsing through the kids’ titles for research purposes. I even took a picture for hubby: he was reading a book on Ruby on Rails programming, and I was reading Ruby Booker, the story of the 4th grader who became the school superstar.
Probably the first book that got me hooked was Frindle, by Andrew Clements. It was funny, yet deep and the ending surprised me in the best possible of ways. I immediately decided to hunt for more books like this one in our small library.
That’s how I stumbled onto my greatest discovery: the Newbery Medal and Honor books.
The Newbery Medal is an award given to the best titles in Children’s literature every year since 1922. Honor Seals are given to the runners-up, or books worthy of attention. You can scroll down over the winners from 1922 to present and you’re bound to find one or two familiar names or titles:
The Newbery medal is not a comprehensive list of the best in children’s literature, because only books published in the US are eligible. It did prove a great starting point for me, as I began exploring this new-found world of books.
The subjects range from an African-American family in the 60’s, to a friendship between a Danish and Jewish girl in the Nazi-occupied Denmark, from a boy who adopted a raccoon to an Eskimo girl who was adopted by a pack of wolves. The tone and the writing styles of the books differ greatly, too. Much like any kind of books, there’s some I like better than others. When the sarcasm is too sharp or the tone of the book too negative, I just put it down, wondering why would someone write that way for children.
There are plenty of books that build character and teach about life in a hopeful and healthy way, so those are the ones I read now and intend to read to my own children one day.
I haven’t told you yet, have I? I’m reading these books for my own benefit as well as for the benefit of my future children. Because they will be readers, I tell ya!
Technical side-note. Because most kids’ books are fairly easy reads – with many an exception – I have not put them in my regular READ list on Goodreads, that goes towards my 2015 Reading Challenge Goal. I have once been told that I read easy books, that’s why I read so many a year. I do enjoy easy-reads, for children or adults, and I see no reason why I shouldn’t. But to eliminate any such comments in the future, I have made a special list for my kiddie titles: children’s literature list.
I have chosen a few of my favorite kids’ books and will write more about them in my next post.
I can’t wait to hear some more opinions on children’s literature – so go ahead and comment!