Monday, December 13, 2010

Ahem. And what about the kids' books?

I have noticed quite a few bloggers are listing their favourite YA books for 2010, or the ones they are looking forward to reading this summer (for southern-hemisphere dwellers)*

So, I thought I'd put a good word in for the kids' books - as I do think they get a little overlooked in blogsphere. (Which might have something to do with the fact that 8 year olds aren't all that big into blogging. Yet.)

Here are some of the fabulous children's books I read in 2010:
- 'When You Reach Me' by Rebecca Stead (I know some people are claiming this as YA - but I'm sorry, I'm going to shelve this in the kids' section - so there!)
- 'People Might Hear You' by Robyn Klein (Not a new book, I know, but wow! Thanks Kim Kane for insisting I read it.)
- 'James and the Giant Peach', 'The Magic Finger', 'The Witches' - basically anything by Roald Dahl. (What a joy to read them to my seven year old this year and be reminded what an incredible storyteller RD is - and how it's OK to be scary and subversive when you're writing for kids. The illustration above is by one of my favourite illustrators, Quentin Blake. He and Roald Dahl go together like pudding and custard.)
- 'Diary of a Wimpy Kid' series, by Jeff Kinney - I was so prepared not to be impressed by these. How much do I love to be proven wrong! I defy anyone of any age not to laugh when they read these books.
- Anything by AA Milne - I read these regularly to remind me how beautiful language can be.
- 'The Naming of Tishkin Silk' by Glenda Millard. What a gorgeous family - I can't wait to read the rest.

Some great Australian children's books by on my bedside table that I am looking forward to reading over summer:
- 'The Museum of Mary Child', by Cassandra Golds
- 'Teensy Farlow and the Home For Mislaid Children', Jen Storer
- 'Star Jumps' by Lorraine Marwood

And some classics I have recently bought that unbelievably I STILL haven't read:
- 'A Wrinkle in Time', Madeleine L'Engle
- 'Bridge To Terabithia', by Katherine Paterson
- 'The Wolves of Willoughby Chase', by Joan Aiken
- 'The Moomintroll' series, by Tove Jansson

That's all I can think of for now - though I'm sure I've missed dozens. Any good kids' books I've overlooked? Old or new? I'd love some suggestions. What were your favourite books as a kid? Or now?

Also, I was most thrilled to see my book 'Angel Creek' on a couple of bloggers lists for most anticipated YA read for 2011. For all those lovely people: I have a small confession to make. While of course I would love you to read my book, I have to warn you it is absolutely NOT YA. Very squarely children's, I'm afraid. I know it is confusing because the last book I published with Text is YA, but this one is not. Not one bit. All the same, I'm very touched that someone is/was looking forward to reading it!

And anyway - YA, kids, chick-lit, sci-fi, fantasy: they're only labels so that publishers and booksellers know how to market a book. A good story is a good story, I say.

*For any northern-hemisphere readers of this blog: yes, sadly, many of us do spray fake snow on our windows and eat a full roast dinner in 35+ degree heat, down here in 'upside-down land'. Guess you can take the girl out of England but not England out of the girl, hey?


  1. Because of Winn Dixie, Bridge to Terabithia, Nim's Island by Wendy Orr and Nim at Sea (the sequel) spring to mind - all are absolutely irresistable. Then there's the Samurai Kids series and Polar Boy by Sandy Fussell. Goodness! Don't get me started. I'll be here all day : D

  2. Thanks for the suggestions. Yes, I've been meaning to read Because of Winn Dixie, and I already have Nim's Island but haven't got around to reading it yet. I'll have to check out the Sandy Fussel books too. Great!

  3. Favourite chapter books for kids: Anything by Susan Cooper; the Arabel & Mortimer series by Joan Aiken, also all her short stories for children; The Great Piratical Rumbustification by Margaret Mahy, also The Downhill Crocodile Race and The Chewing-Gum Rescue; The Hollow Land by Jane Gardam; Elizabeth Honey's poems; anything by Alan Garner; Hating Alison Ashley by Robin Klein... On my blog ( I chat about lots of favourite picture story books in amongst the books for adults!

  4. Hi Alison,
    Thanks for all these suggestions - you reminded me of a lot of great books I read as a kid. I loved Joan Aiken's short stories. I had a collection called 'A Necklace of Raindrops' that I read again and again. She has definitely been an inspiration to me.

  5. The three Aiken/Pienkowski collections (Raindrops, Past Eight O'Clock and Tale of a One Way Street) are all absolutely wonderful. I also just found all Aiken's Armitage family stories put together in one volume for the first time - hooray. Hope you get to Wolves soon - the dreadful Miss Slighcarp awaits... and then there's the utterly delightful Dido Twite in book two (Blackhearts in Battersea) - I almost envy you, about to read the series for the first time. Clearly, I am an Aiken / Junior Fiction nut... so I'll stop now.

  6. No, no don't stop! It's great to meet another person as crazy about junior fiction as I am. Thanks! I've just added a link to your fabulous blog so I can keep in touch. I've just noticed you write a couple of foodie blogs too - definitely my kind of gal. Around our place food + books = happy.