Category Archives: Book Lists

Bargain Ebooks

‘Tis the season to unwrap new Kindles!  For all those newbies who might be looking for inexpensive children’s ebooks, I’m starting a new category on my blog:  Bargain Ebooks.  I hope to contribute to it regularly during the next year, but to start off right, I’m going to list my favorites from 2011 in no particular order.  All of them are 3.99 or under!

Oscar’s Gift, by Lisa Rivero - a beautifully-written story about homesteading in South Dakota.  8-12  (my review)

Here Comes Mr. Trouble, by Brett Battles - fast-paced fun sure to please adventure lovers.  8-12  (my review)

Seranfyll, by Christina Daley - a fantastic world with lots of interesting characters.  12+  (my review)

Cassidy Jones and the Secret Formula (book 1), by Elise Stokes - adventure series with a kid superhero.  10+  (my review)

Sea Cutter, by Timothy C. Davis - a high seas adventure with non-stop action.  8-12  (my review)

The Prize, by Lars D. Hedbor – a story within the American Revolution.  14+  (my review)

And of course my own books:

The Quill Pen - a fun fantasy.  8-12  (watch the trailer)

The Candle Star (Divided Decade Trilogy, 1)- Civil War historical fiction.  10+  (watch the trailer)

Broken Ladders (Divided Decade Trilogy, 2) - Civil War historical fiction.  10+ 

The Color of Freedom - Revolutionary War historical fiction.  12+  (watch the trailer)

Newbery Honor Books, 1990-1999, Book List – Where to find print editions and Kindle downloads

In a continuing effort to highlight excellence, here is a list of books that won high honors in the annual contest for the Newbery Medal, the greatest award given for children’s literature.  Title links connect to mostly paperback editions.  Kindle editions are available where noted.  If the Kindle notation is not a hyperlink, downloads are available through the title link.  As I read them, I’ll also link to my reviews.

1999

1998

1997

1996

1995

1994

1993

1992

1991

1990

In Honor of Beverly Cleary

Today I’d like to pay tribute to one of the most accomplished, most celebrated, most beloved children’s authors in history.  Growing up, the name Beverly Cleary rolled off my tongue as easily as “Ronald Reagan” or “Michael Jackson”.  Everyone knew who she was.  And her characters – Ramona Quimby, Henry Huggins, Ribsy, Beezus and Ralph – sometimes I considered them better friends than my neighbors.

Born during the First World War, Mrs. Cleary has impacted children’s literature for decades.  Her rise to prominence began in the 1950’s; her last work was publish in 1999.  Currently, Mrs. Cleary is 95 years old and still writing.

What is it about her books that makes them as special today as they were half a century ago?  I’d answer, in part, that it’s her immaculate writing – smooth prose, a perfect sense of timing and vivid details that bring her stories to life.  Also, she writes about things important to kids: family, sibling rivalry, summer camp, school, dreams of growing up and neighborhood friends.  Timeless subjects that still speak to the heart of a child.  But it’s Mrs. Cleary’s cast of characters that make her work so unforgettable.  They’re real.  Flawed, impatient, scared, precocious.  We see ourselves in them.  We’re entertained by their outlandish actions.  The scene in the lunchroom where Ramona slams the raw egg against her forehead is still one of my favorites in all of literature.

Mrs. Cleary’s books deserve a place of prominence even after sixty years on the shelf.  And in my opinion, they’re badly needed.  Kids today seem to grow up way too fast.  They’re bombarded with wizards and vampires and horrible family situations.  A bit more time among the innocence and fun found in Beverly Cleary’s pages is just what the librarian ordered.

Beverly Cleary has written over forty books for children.  Click on the links to read my reviews:

Henry Huggins – (1950)
Ellen Tebbits – (1951)
Henry and Beezus – (1952)
Otis Spofford – (1953)
Henry and Ribsy – (1954)
Beezus and Ramona – (1955)
Fifteen – (1956)
Henry and the Paper Route – (1957)
The Luckiest Girl – (1958)
Jean and Johnny – (1959)
The Hullabaloo ABC – (1960)
The Real Hole – (1960)
Beaver and Wally – (1960)
Here’s Beaver! – (1961)
Two Dog Biscuits – (1961)
Emily’s Runaway Imagination – (1961)
Henry and the Clubhouse – (1962)
Sister of the Bride – (1963)
Ribsy – (1964)
The Mouse and the Motorcycle – (1965)
The Growing-Up Feet – (1967)
Mitch and Amy – (1967)
Ramona the Pest – (1968)
Runaway Ralph – (1970)
Socks – (1973)
Ramona the Brave – (1975)
Ramona and Her Father – (1977)
Ramona and Her Mother – (1979)
Ramona Quimby, Age 8 – (1981)
Ralph S. Mouse – (1982)
Dear Mr. Henshaw – (1983)
Ramona Forever – (1984)
The Ramona Quimby Diary – (1984)
Lucky Chuck – (1984)
Janet’s Thingamajigs – (1987)
A Girl from Yamhill – (1988)
Muggie Maggie – (1990)
Strider – (1991)
Petey’s Bedtime Story – (1993)
My Own Two Feet – (1995)
Ramona’s World – (1999)

Why Read the Classics?

I love to see what’s new in the world of children’s literature, and I’m so excited about the new ebook revolution with its possibilities and opportunities for new authors.  But I am and always will be a great proponent of the classics.  These are stories that have stood the test of time.  They became classics because they had something fresh or valuable to say, something worthy of remembering and passing on.  Because they’ve been told over and over – some to generations of children – they have entwined themselves with the definition of our culture.   Becoming familiar with such works is part of becoming educated in one’s own heritage.

Drawing on several sources, I’ve created a list of classic children’s stories.  I cut off my list at 1977, but we must remember, children will define their own classics.  Stories that are being written now will long hold a place in their hearts.  They will be passed down from our children to our grandchildren with fond memories.  This list could be added to every year.

Earlier than 1900 – These are what experts tend to agree on as the most noteworthy in history, those we should be familiar with on an academic basis. They are included on high school and college reading lists. They have become stories for adults more than for children, due to the challenges of passing time and changing language. Yet they are still a valuable source of adventure and imagination and history. I’d recommend them as read-alouds, so parent and children might enjoy them together.

  • Arabian Nights
  • Aesop’s Fables
  • Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe – 1719
  • Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift – 1726
  • Tales of Mother Goose – Charles Perrault – 1729 (English)
  • The Swiss Family Robinson – Johann Rudolf Wyss – 1812-3
  • The Nutcracker and the Mouse King – E. T. A. Hoffman – 1816
  • Ivanhoe – Walter Scott – 1819
  • The Legend of Sleepy Hollow – Washington Irving – 1819  Review
  • Rip Van Winkle – Washington Irving – 1820
  • Grimm’s Fairy Tales – Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm – 1823 (English)
  • The Night Before Christmas - Clement Clarke Moore - 1823
  • The Hunchback of Notre Dame – Victor Hugo – 1831
  • A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens – 1843
  • The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas, père – 1844
  • Fairy Tales – Hans Christian Andersen – 1846 (English)
  • A Journey to the Center of the Earth – Jules Verne – 1864
  • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll – 1865
  • Little Women – Louisa May Alcott – 1868
  • Lorna Doone – R. D. Blackmore – 1869
  • Twenty Thousand Leagues under the Sea – Jules Verne – 1870  Review
  • At the Back of the North Wind – George MacDonald – 1871
  • The Princess and the Goblin – George MacDonald – 1871
  • Through the Looking-Glass – Lewis Carroll – 1871
  • Around the World in Eighty Days – Jules Verne – 1873  Review
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer – Mark Twain – 1876
  • Black Beauty – Anna Sewell – 1877
  • The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood – Howard Pyle – 1883
  • Treasure Island – Robert Louis Stevenson – 1883
  • Adventures of Huckleberry Finn – Mark Twain – 1884
  • Heidi – Johanna Spyri – 1884 (English)
  • The Adventures of Pinocchio – Carlo Collodi – 1891 (English)
  • The Jungle Book – Rudyard Kipling - 1894

After 1900 – These are stories more dear to a modern reader’s heart. They are the tales today’s adults grew up reading, which haven’t passed quite so far into memory. These also make wonderful read-alouds, but they are much easier for a child to pick up and read alone. And for a child, they are still historical.

  • The Wonderful Wizard of Oz – L. Frank Baum – 1900
  • The Tale of Peter Rabbit – Beatrix Potter – 1902
  • The Call of the Wild – Jack London – 1903  Review
  • Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm – Kate Douglas Wiggin – 1903
  • Peter Pan – J. M. Barrie – 1904
  • A Little Princess – Frances Hodgson Burnett – 1905
  • White Fang – Jack London – 1906
  • Anne of Green Gables – Lucy Maud Montgomery – 1908
  • The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame – 1908
  • The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett – 1909/1911
  • The Lost World – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle – 1912
  • Pollyanna – Eleanor H. Porter – 1913
  • The Story of Doctor Dolittle – Hugh Lofting – 1920
  • The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams
  • Winnie-the-Pooh – A. A. Milne – 1926
  • Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder – 1935
  • The Hobbit – J. R. R. Tolkien – 1937
  • Mr. Popper’s Penguins - Richard and Florence Atwater - 1938
  • Curious George – H. A. Rey – 1941
  • The Black Stallion - Walter Farley - 1941
  • The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry – 1943
  • Homer Price - McCloskey, Robert – 1943
  • Johnny Tremain - By Esther Forbes - 1943
  • Pippi Longstocking – Astrid Lindgren – 1945
  • Big Red - Jim Kjelgaard - 1945
  • The Little White Horse – Elizabeth Goudge – 1946
  • Goodnight Moon – Margaret Wise Brown – 1947
  • Misty of Chincoteague - Marguerite Henry - 1947
  • King of the Wind - Henry, Marguerite – 1948
  • The Door in the Wall - de Angeli, Marguerite – 1949
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe – C.S. Lewis - 1950
  • Pippi Longstocking - Lindgren, Astrid – 1950
  • Charlotte’s Web - E. B. White - 1952
  • The Borrowers - By Mary Norton - 1953
  • Old Yeller - Fred Gipson - 1956
  • The Witch of Blackbird Pond - Speare, Elizabeth George – 1958
  • Island of the Blue Dolphins - O’Dell, Scott – 1960
  • The Cricket in Times Square - Selden, George – 1960
  • Where the Red Fern Grows - Rawls, Wilson – 1961
  • James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl - 1961
  • A Wrinkle in Time - L’Engle, Madeleine – 1962
  • The Book of Three - By Lloyd Alexander Holt - 1964
  • Harriet the Spy - Fitzhugh, Louise – 1964
  • The Black Cauldron - Alexander, Lloyd – 1965
  • Anne Frank: the Diary of a Young Girl - Frank, Anne – 1967
  • From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler - Konigsburg, E. L. – 1967
  • Ramona the Pest - Cleary, Beverly – 1968
  • Sounder - Armstrong, William – 1969  Review
  • Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH - By Robert C. O’Brien - 1971
  • The Best Christmas Pageant Ever - Robinson, Barbara – 1972
  • Caddie Woodlawn - Brink, Carol Ryrie – 1973
  • Tuck Everlasting - By Natalie Babbitt. Farrar - 1975
  • Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry - Taylor, Mildred – 1976
  • The Incredible Journey - Burnford, Sheila – 1977
  • Bridge to Terabithia - Katherine Paterson - 1977  Review

Newbery Honor Books, 2000-2010, Book List – Where to find print editions and Kindle downloads

In a continuing effort to highlight excellence, here is a list of books that won high honors in the annual contest for the Newbery Medal, the greatest award given for children’s literature.  Title links connect to paperback editions (some hardcover).  Kindle editions are available where noted.  If the Kindle notation is not a hyperlink, downloads are available through the title link.  As I read them, I’ll also link to book reviews on this blog.

2010

2009

2008

2007

2006

2005

2004

2003

2002

2001

2000

Newbery Award Winners, Book List – where to find print editions and ebook downloads

The Newbery Medal is the highest honor given to an American children’s novel.  It is awarded yearly by the Association for Library Services to Children, a division of the American Library Association (ALA).  In other words, any book stamped with this medallion would be an excellent choice, as would with the yearly runners-up marked with a Newbery Honor medal.  The first award dates back to 1922.

I have read widely among the Newbery winners and honor books, and I highly recommend them as examples of the highest quality children’s literature.  If you are searching for a great story for yourself or your child, this is an easy place to start.  For the convenience of my readers, I have compiled a list of the winners, starting with the most recent, and linked them to print editions on Amazon.  I’ve noted when a title is available on Kindle.  (If the Kindle notation isn’t a hyperlink, you can access the Kindle version from the book title hyperlink.)  And if a review of the book exists on this blog, I have linked to that also.  Slowly, I will be adding more reviews.

My favorites from earlier years: