Armchair BEA 2013: Children’s Literature

June 1, 2013

Ah, here we go. Children’s literature is kind of my jam. I’ve always, always read it and when I figured out I could study it in college and grad school, well.

So, basically, I love children’s literature is what I’m saying. My favorite thing about children’s literature is that most of it lacks the pretentiousness of adult literature. That doesn’t mean it can’t be serious or deal with serious issues, but just that, usually, I’m getting a good story without that air of trying too hard.

I have so much to say about this topic, but I’m going to try to keep it simple. Please keep in mind that these lists are by no means comprehensive. My daughter is 14, so I’m going to draw on what she used to read for the bulk of this list, except for the YA. Also, I want to apologize in advance to any books I may have unintentionally left out.

Picture Books My Daughter Loved

  • Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
  • I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont
  • Don’t Forget to Come Back! by Robie H. Harris
  • But No Elephants by Jerry Smath
  • The Magic School Bus series by Joanna Cole

Question: I asked her about her favorite books, and we cannot remember the name of this picture book series that starred animals that all lived in the same neighborhood, and their names started with the letter of their species (e.g., Alan the Alligator, Ziggy the Zebra, etc.) (Of course, we can’t remember any of the characters’ names, sigh.) We remember two storylines clearly: one was about this dirty cat who wanted to throw a party so her friends came and cleaned up for her. Another was about the zebra or alligator whose bathroom tub overflowed. Then there was one about an animal who was trying to build a shed or something. Does anyone have ANY idea what I’m talking about? We read the entire series A-Z, and now I can’t remember them! Ugh.

Picture Books I Loved as a Child that I Shared with My Daughter

  • Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel
  • The Snowy Day by Jack Ezra Keats
  • The Great Big Elephant and the Very Small Elephant by Barbara Seuling
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel
  • Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff

Chapter/Middle Grade Books My Daughter Loved

  • Junie B. Jones series by Barbara Park
  • Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
  • The Wedding Planner’s Daughter series by Coleen Murtagh Paratore
  • Eleven (and the rest of the books about Winnie) by Lauren Myracle
  • The Frog Princess series by E. D. Baker
  • The Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan
  • The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin

Ok, now when it comes to Young Adult Lit, there are TOO MANY to list. So just a handful of my favorites that I have reviewed here:

I left so many books off. It kind of hurts.

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  1. Crystal

    I had the same problem. There were so many books that I wanted to include that I felt bad for leaving them out.

    Also, I think I wrote earlier today that children’s and young adult authors just put it out there. It’s not that the stories don’t deal with complicated ideas or concerns, but they don’t add superfluous layers of meaning on there just to sound super “literary.”

    I’m so glad to have found your blog. 🙂

  2. melissa @ 1lbr

    That’s a lot of great book suggestions! I love, love, love Frog and Toad and I can’t wait to share it with my baby. This post made me think of lots of early reader books that I just adored as a kid. Thanks for sharing!

    • Akilah

      Frog and Toad actually showed up in her Scholastic order form, and I was like “!!!!!!” Because everyone should read that book, clearly.


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