Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Which Twelve Would You Pick???

Via Jen Robinson's Book Page's weekly children's literacy round-up, I read an interesting article in The Guardian about every eleven-year-old child (in England) being given one free book. The child would get to choose his/her free book from a list of twelve books chosen by the experts. Why the free books? Experts realized this was the age when most give up reading books for pleasure.

    Here are the books they have to choose from:

  • Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (Macmillan Children's Books)
  • Cloud Busting by Malorie Blackman (Doubleday)
  • A Dog Called Grk by Joshua Doder (Andersen Press)
  • Saffy's Angel by Hilary McKay (Hodder Children's Books)
  • Mortal Engines by Philip Reeve (Scholastic Children's Books)
  • I, Coriander by Sally Gardner (Orion Children's Books)
  • Dream On by Bali Rai (Barrington Stoke)
  • Framed by Frank Cottrell Boyce (Macmillan Children's Books)
  • Evil Inventions - Horrible Science by Nick Arnold, illustrated by Tony De Saulles (Scholastic Children's Books)
  • Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick (Usborne)
  • The Ring of Words by An Anthology of Poetry for Children selected by Roger McGough, illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura (Faber and Faber)
  • Unbelievable! by Paul Jennings (Puffin Books)
I don't know about you, but I certainly haven't heard of many of those titles. But the article goes on to say, "The omission of the current crop of big name children's writers such as JK Rowling, Philip Pullman and Jacqueline Wilson is a deliberate attempt to encourage the year seven readers to try something new."

Which leads me to think about this....if this program were adopted here (in the US) what books would I choose...in order to promote/encourage a lifelong love of reading...

I think the list should be very diverse and have something that would appeal to as many different kinds of kids as possible...

The Voice That Challenged A Nation by Russell Freedman (nonfiction)
The Life and Death of Adolf Hitler by James Cross Giblin (nonfiction)
The Cage by Ruth Minsky Sender (nonfiction)
Day of Tears: A Novel in Dialogue by Julius Lester (historical fiction)
Crooked River by Shelley Pearsall (historical fiction/poetry)
Holes by Louis Sachar (realistic fiction with some fantasy elements)
The Schwa Was Here by Neal Shusterman (realistic fiction)
Drums, Girls, & Dangerous Pie by Jordan Sonnenblick (realistic fiction)
Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (historical fiction/romance)
What My Mother Doesn't Know by Sonya Sones (realistic fiction/romance/poetry)
The Giver by Lois Lowry (science fiction/dystopia)
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (fantasy)

Others that I would strongly consider:

Invisible Allies by Jeanette Farrell (nonfiction)
Shipwreck at the Bottom of the World by Jennifer Armstrong (nonfiction)
When My Name Was Keoko by Linda Sue Park (historical fiction)
Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine (historical fiction/romance)
Teacher's Funeral by Richard Peck (historical fiction)
Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (fantasy)
Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud (fantasy)
Among the Hidden by Margaret Peterson Haddix (science fiction/dystopia)
City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau (science fiction/dystopia)

What books do you think are essential for that age group? What books do you think best reflects their needs, interests, curiousities?


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I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

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I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

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