Thursday, January 14, 2010

What Are Your Numbers?

In a post with the label, "I'm So Going to Hell", Editorial Anonymous a year ago (December 2008, actually) outlined a number of must-reads for each category of children's writing. I'm reprinting the list, because I'm curious how my numbers stack up. Each line is worth one book (sometimes she mentions a series). Here's the list:


1. All the fairy tales (Grimm, Anderson, etc),
2. and you wouldn't go wrong reading the works of the Opies.
3. Alexander and the Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day
4. Amelia Bedelia
5. The Big Orange Splot
6. Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See
7. The Cat in the Hat
8. Click Clack Moo
9. Curious George
10. Dr. De Soto
11. Fancy Nancy (Ed. Anon. says: I choke on this book, but you must know about it)
12. Frederick (or possibly Swimmy; something by Lionni)
13. Frog and Toad (Lobel)
14. The Giving Tree
15. Love You Forever
16. Good Night Gorilla
17. Goodnight Moon
18. Harold and the Purple Crayon
19. If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
20. Knuffle Bunny (and frankly you wouldn't go wrong reading the whole Willems oeuvre)
21. Lilly's Purple Plastic Purse
22. Little Bear (Minarik)
23. The Little Engine That Could
24. Madeline
25. Make Way for Ducklings
26. Miss Nelson Is Missing
27. No, David!
28. The Polar Express (and maybe some more Van Allsburg)
29. The Seven Silly Eaters
30. Show Way
31. The Stinky Cheese Man (and Other Fairly Stupid Tales)
32. The Story of Babar
33. Strega Nona
34. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble
35. The Tale of Peter Rabbit
36. The Three Pigs
37. The Very Hungry Caterpillar
38. We're Going on a Bear Hunt
39. Where the Wild Things Are
40. William's Doll
41. Winnie the Pooh


1. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
2. Alabama Moon
3. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland
4. Anne of Green Gables
5. Are You There God It's Me Margaret
6. The Bad Beginning
7. The Black Cauldron
8. The Bridge to Terabithia
9. Catherine Called Birdy
10. Charlotte's Web
11. (and probably also The Trumpet of the Swan
12. and Stuart Little)
13. Coraline
14. Danny Champion of the World (or maybe The Witches-- at least something by Dahl)
15. Ender's Game
16. From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler
17. The Giver
18. Harry Potter
19. Hatchet
20. Holes
21. The Invention of Hugo Cabret
22. Island of the Blue Dolphins
23. Julie of the Wolves
24. The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe
25. Little House in the Big Woods
26. A Long Way From Chicago
27. Ordinary Jack
28. Out of the Dust
29. Over Sea, Under Stone
30. Penderwicks
31. The Phantom Tollbooth
32. Ramona Quimby, Age 8
33. Saffy's Angel (or something by McKay, dammit)
34. The Search for Delicious (or maybe Tuck Everlasting)
35. The Tale of Despereaux
36. The Toys Go Out
37. The Watsons Go to Birmingham
38. The Wee Free Men
39. The White Mountains
40. The Witch of Blackbird Pond
41. The Westing Game


1. Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
2. American Born Chinese
3. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing
4. The Book Thief
5. Catcher in the Rye
6. The Diary of Anne Frank
7. The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks
8. Dreamhunter
9. The Ear The Eye and the Arm
10. The Golden Compass
11. The Hero and the Crown
12. Homecoming
13. I Am the Cheese
14. King Dork
15. The King of Attolia
16. Looking for Alaska
17. Lord of the Flies
18. The Lord of the Rings
19. Monster
20. A Northern Light
21. The Outsiders
22. The Rules of Survival
23. Sold
24. Speak
25. To Kill a Mockingbird
26. Ok, Twilight, but for reference purposes. Feel free to read half of it.
27. Watership Down
28. A Wrinkle in Time

My numbers?

Picture Books: 30 out of 41
Middle Grade: a sad 15 out of 41
Young Adult: 9 1/2 out of 28 (I'm halfway through The Book Thief)

And, my must-read list grows and grows...

So, what are your numbers, and what books would you add/remove to/from her list?


  1. WOW! Great list. I've read a few of these.

  2. I think I have read all the picture books (I should review a few.) The MG I have read 20 of the 41. (A bunch that I haven't read I have right here at my house, so I better get on it.) And the YA, 11. I am the most educated about the YA I'd say, and there are many on that list I think I should read but some perhaps that I think are missing.(Mostly more recent titles like I think I have read all the picture books (I should review them.) The MG I have read 20 of the 41. (A bunch that I haven't read I have right here at my house, so I better get on it. And the YA 11. I am the most educated about the YA I'd say, and there are many on that list I think I should read but some perhaps that I think are missing.(Mostly more recent titles like the Hunger Games series) And I guess that goes for MG as well(Maybe more so, like where is Whimpy Kid and Percy Jackson? Those books that have connected particularly well with a boy population).

  3. Interesting thoughts here:
    Picture Books - 28/41
    Middle Grade - 23/41
    Young Adult - 6, ugh. 6?

    I suppose if this is from 12-08, then I can understand why The Hunger Games is missing, but I'll add that for another point. What troubles me is that I have abandoned four of the books on the list and Percy Jackson is missing, too.

  4. 29/41 Picture books
    22/41 Middle Grade (I started Out of the Dust, Books in verse just don't do it for me.)
    16/28 And I object to King Dork being on the list.

  5. Picture books: 7/41
    Middle grade: 9/41
    Young Adult: 11/41

    The Little Prince is sadly missing, but it's an interesting list. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. 32/41 Picture Books
    22/41 Middle Grade
    10/28 YA

    The YA books surprise me but I think it's because I prefer fantasy of some ilk and many of these aren't. I have read a little of Part Time Indian (the author was mentioned in an article in Cowboys and Indians magazine) but I didn't count that.

  7. PB 38/41,
    MG 20/41
    YA 9/28

    There's too much new stuff out there!!

  8. The list is life! Thanks for reposting this... I guess this week is all about numbers - comment challenge and reading lists. I've gotta lots of catching up to do.

  9. Thanks everyone, for the comments. I agree, the list is dated, and there are a bunch of books missing. I bet we could compile a pretty great list ourselves. I feel a little bit better that everyone didn't say, "Heather, of course we've read all these books, what rock have you been living under?"

    I think that Editorial Anon. also said to read one new book for each that you read from this list--since there are a ton of new ones, and the newest ones are the ones that probably give you a feel for the direction of the industry. But still, a solid start.

  10. Great lists!
    My count is PB 30/41, MG 12/41, YA 7/28. Looks like I had better get to reading!
    I wonder if any of these books I did read in school, but forgot...My memory is horrible.

  11. I can't say I'ver read all of them. But in the mg and YA depart. I don't agree with all of them. It really is a matter of personal taste.

    What do you think of the Book Thief? I abandoned it after 20 pages because I just couldn't get into it. It started with just these bits and pieces - I just got frustrated. But maybe my expectations were so built up. Is it worth finishing?

  12. Kelly--There were a few that I thought maybe I had read, but I figured if I couldn't remember, then it just didn't count ;)

  13. Laura--what books would you include in the MG/YA sections?

    I'm still in the middle (I've been tired, so not reading as much), but I really like it, although I could see how the format would bother someone who wanted a smooth read.

  14. Ack! Here are my numbers:


    Apparently I have some reading to do!

  15. Casey--I know, huh? I'm pretty sheepish about my own numbers.

  16. I'll have to think about what to include. I agree with a lot of them. But there are so many good ones out there. I think it's really hard to make a must-read list and only include so many. But I guess we'd all draw the line somewhere. How's that for a definitive answer? :)

  17. Picture book: 27/41
    Middle Grade: 16/41
    Young Adult: 12/28

    And I think of myself as well read. I guess I need to work on that a bit more.