Monday, June 22, 2009

Books that Belong in the Treehouse.

Something About Books

Yes, I am immersed once again in the amazing world of children’s and young adult literature. I am of the generation that began to read in the decade of the 1970’s and it seems that when I was done with picture books and fairy tales and all things Beverly Cleary that, with the exception of Nancy Drew, I jumped straight into adult literature.

Granted, there wasn’t the wealth of YA material then as there is now, so I am grateful that over the past several years I have been given the opportunity to have a “purposeful” reason to read “Peter and the Star Catchers”, “each little bird that sings”, “Stop Pretending” and of course Harry Potter all over again and, yes, The Twilight series among many, many others. And now I know that the only reason one needs to read these book is to simply enjoy them.

Here is my question. What was your favorite book as a child or during your tween or teen years? Did you even LIKE to read? So many of my current students have NEVER read for just the pleasure of it and that really distresses me. The NEA commissioned a study in 2004 that states “Literary reading is in dramatic decline with fewer than half of American adults now reading literature, according to a National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) survey released today.
Reading at Risk: A Survey of Literary Reading in America reports drops in all groups studied, with the steepest rate of decline - 28 percent - occurring in the youngest age groups.” There are some flaws in the study, in my opinion, but it does a good job tying literacy to many important aspects of our culture and puts a magnifying lens up to what we are potentially losing as a society by not reading.

So share your favs with me and I’ll share them with my summer students, who always need suggestions as to which books to read. Who knows, your idea just might be THE book that hooks that reluctant reader.

New York Times Children’s Book List


Mel said...

This is a comment from my friend Lark, left on my FB page.

My favorite little kid book (which I still pull out when I feel down) is Springtime in the Meadow. It's about cousins who live in a house in the forest and play dressup, rescue baby bunnies, cook, and take care of each other. As I got older I read, reread, and REREAD anything I could get my ... Read Morehands on by Ursula Leguin, Avi as well as the Wrinkle In Time Books, A Little Princess, and Girl of the Limberlost. I also dug the Boxcar Children and Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I was an avid reader before kindergarten, and the rule was that I couldn't take more books from the library than I could carry by myself to the car. Wish I had more time to read now!!!

Dennis said...

I am one of two children, and my sister and I were generally able to entertain ourselves as kids. My very favorite thing was reading, and at eight or nine, I had two faves: the World Book Encyclopedia, and UP FRONT, a collection of WW II-era editorial cartoons by the Pulitzer Prize-winner Bill Mauldin. While reading a lot of the encyclopedia, and having a close to photographic memory at a youngster, got me very much ahead in school, reading Mauldin's cartoons of the average dogface "up front" gave me my somewhat mordant sense of humor, a sense of humor based on the reality--and the insanity--of a situation. It's kept me on my feet for many years...

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

"A Tree Grows In Brooklyn" -- the story takes place at the beginning of last century in Brooklyn NY, but it is timeless and appealing no matter where you live, especially to young girls in their early teens. The protagonist, Francie Nolan, has to deal with an overworked mother and alcoholic father, feeling isolated and teased because they are poor and somewhat exploited.Her favorite escape was reading and writing. All adult themes but sensitively handled and the language is beautiful and descriptive.

I think many young teens these days are also into "Twilight" --the teen vampire book series.

bookseedstudio said...

Treehouses & summer... thanks for the invitation to climb up & read.

At my treeseat in the dogwood I hauled up -

ALL ABOUT CATS by Gladys Emerson
& Little Golden Book I managed to buy with saved allowance, from the grocery store

For kid readers without treehouses, I'm sure they read on the fire escape,
on the front steps, on the subway, etc etc.

Happy summer