Pam Webb

a writer's journey as a reader

Archive for the tag “classics”

Children’s Books for Forever

I don’t think I will ever outgrow my liking of children’s books. At one point I began collecting them as I came across them in yard sales, thrift stores, and the cast offs from the public library. I probably would have done better to start my collection after I had done my college moving days. Carting crates of books during a year of several moves created in me to appreciate children’s books in a different fashion. I no longer have my collection, and I don’t terribly regret the decision to dissemble it. I still am a confirmed reader, promoter, and writer of children’s stories. They remain my fave.  Here’s a hint–if you are feeling somewhat blue about the edges, go grab a kid’s book and read it. Better yet, grab a kid and a book and read the book to the kid. No more blues.

With all that being said it gives me great smiles to present the New York Public Libraries first ever 100 Top Children’s Books of the Last 100 Years. First posted on School Library Journal’s site September 30, 2013 (I am a bit behind in my inbox readings).


100YearsChildBks strip1 NYPL Unveils 100 Top Children’s Books of the Last 100 YearsIn alphabetical order by title, this list is as follows:

Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day. Judith Viorst. Illus. by Ray Cruz. (1972)
All-of-a-Kind Family. Sydney Taylor, illustrated by Helen John. (1951)
Amelia Bedelia. Peggy Parish, illustrated by Fritz Siebel. (1963)
The Arrival. Shaun Tan. (2007) Bark, George. Jules Feiffer. (1999)
Because of Winn-Dixie. Kate DiCamillo. (2000)
Ben’s Trumpet. Rachel Isadora. (1979)
Big Red Lollipop. Rukhsana Khan. Illus. by Sophie Blackall. (2010)
The Birchbark House. Louise Erdrich. (1999)
The Book of Three. Lloyd Alexander. (1964)
The Borrowers. Mary Norton. Illus. by Beth Krush and Joe Krush. (1953)
El Gallo De Bodas: A Traditional Cuban Folktale. Lucía M. González. Illus. by Lulu Delacre. (1994)
Bread and Jam for Frances.
Russell Hoban. illustrated by Lillian Hoban. (1964)
Bridge to Terabithia. Katherine Paterson. (1977)
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? Bill Martin, Jr. Illus. by Eric Carle. (1967)
Caps for Sale. Esphyr Slobodkina. (1938)
The Cat in the Hat. Dr. Seuss. (1957)
Chains. Laurie Halse Anderson. (2008)
A Chair For My Mother. Vera B. Williams. (1982)
Charlotte’s Web. E.B. White. Illus. by Garth Williams. (1952)
Chato’s Kitchen. Gary Soto. Illus. by Susan Guevara. (1995)
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. Bill Martin, Jr. and John Archambault. Illus. by Lois Ehlert. (1989)
Corduroy. Don Freeman. (1976) Curious George. H.A. Rey. (1941)
D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths. Ingri D’Aulaire and Edgar Parin D’Aulaire. (1962)
Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Mo Willems. (2003)
Esperanza Rising. Pam Muñoz Ryan. (2000)
Freight Train. Donald Crews. (1978)
Frog and Toad Are Friends. Arnold Lobel. (1970)
From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. E.L. Konigsburg. (1967)
George and Martha. James Marshall. (1972)
The Giver. Lois Lowry. (1993)
Go, Dog. Go! P.D. Eastman. (1961)
Goodnight Moon. Margaret Wise Brown. Illus. by Clement Hurd. (1947)
Grandfather’s Journey. Allen Say. (1993)
The Graveyard Book. Neil Gaiman. Illus. by Dave McKean. (2008)
Green Eggs and Ham. Dr. Seuss. (1960)
Harold and the Purple Crayon. Crockett Johnson. (1955)
Harriet the Spy. Louise Fitzhugh. (1964)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. J.K. Rowling. (1998)
Hatchet. Gary Paulsen. (1989)
The Hobbit. J.R.R. Tolkien. (1937)
Holes. Louis Sachar. (1998)
The Invention of Hugo Cabret. Brian Selznick. (2007)
Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. Simms Taback. (1999)
 Chris Van Allsburg. (1981)
Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. Yuyi Morales. (2003)
Lilly’s Purple Plastic Purse. Kevin Henkes. (1996)
The Lion and the Mouse.
Jerry Pinkney. (2009)
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. C.S. Lewis. (1950)
The Little House. Virginia Lee Burton. (1942)
The Little Prince. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. (1943)
Locomotion. Jacqueline Woodson. (2003)
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story From China. Ed Young. (1989) 100YearsChildBks strip2 NYPL Unveils 100 Top Children’s Books of the Last 100 YearsMadeline. Ludwig Bemelmans. (1939)
Make Way for Ducklings. Robert McCloskey. (1941)
Matilda. Roald Dahl. Illus. by Quentin Blake. (1988)
Meet Danitra Brown. Nikki Grimes. Illus. by Floyd Cooper. (1994)
Millions of Cats. Wanda Gág. (1928)
Miss Nelson is Missing!
Harry Allard. Illus. by James Marshall. (1977)
Mr. Popper’s Penguins.
Richard and Florence Atwater. Illus. by Robert Lawson. (1938)
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.
Robert C. O’Brien. (1971)
Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters: An African Tale.
John Steptoe. (1987)
My Father’s Dragon.
 Ruth Stiles Gannett. Illus. by Ruth Chrisman Gannett (1948)
My Name is Yoon.
 Helen Recorvits. Illus. by Gabi Swiatkowska. (2003)
Ian Falconer. (2000)
One Crazy Summer
. Rita Williams-Garcia. (2010)
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales.
Virginia Hamilton. Illus. by Leo/Diane Dillon. (1985)
The Phantom Tollbooth. Norton Juster. Illus. by Jules Feiffer. (1961)
Pierre: A Cautionary Tale in Five Chapters and a Prologue. Maurice Sendak. (1962)
Pink and Say. Patricia Polacco.  (1994)
Pippi Longstocking. Astrid Lindgren. (1950)
Ramona the Pest. Beverly Cleary. (1968)
Rickshaw Girl. Mitali Perkins. Illus. by Jamie Hogan. (2007)
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. Mildred D. Taylor. (1976)
Rumpelstiltskin. Paul O. Zelinsky. (1986)
A Sick Day for Amos MCGee. Philip Stead. Illus. by Erin E. Stead. (2010)
The Snowy Day. Ezra Jack Keats. (1962)
Starry River of the Sky. Grace Lin. (2012)
The Stories Julian Tells. Ann Cameron. Illus. by Ann Strugnell. (1981)
The Story of Ferdinand. Munro Leaf. Illus. by Robert Lawson. (1936)
Strega Nona. Tomie dePaola. (1975)
Swimmy. Leo Lionni. (1963)
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble.
William Steig. (1969)
Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing. Judy Blume. (1972)
The Tales of Uncle Remus: The Adventures of Brer Rabbit. Julius Lester. Illus. by Jerry Pinkney. (1987)
Tar Beach. Faith Ringgold. (1991)
Ten, Nine, Eight. Molly Bang. (1983)
Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose. Tomie dePaola. (1985)
The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. Jon Scieszka. Illus. by Lane Smith. (1989)
Tuesday. David Wiesner. (1991)
The Very Hungry Caterpillar. Eric Carle. (1969)
The Watsons Go to Birmingham—1963. Christopher Paul Curtis. (1995)
The Westing Game. Ellen Raskin. (1978)
When You Reach Me. Rebecca Stead. (2009)
Where Is the Green Sheep? Mem Fox. Illus. by Judy Horacek. (2004)
Where the Wild Things Are. Maurice Sendak. (1963)
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. Verna Aardema. Illus. by Leo/Diane Dillon. (1975)
Winnie-the-Pooh. A.A. Milne. Illus. by Ernest H. Shepard. (1926)
A Wrinkle in Time. Madeleine L’Engle. (1962)

So many wonderful friends. I love a great list filled with great books. I hope you found some good old friends as well.

The Guilt-Free Read

One of the first items of my “I’m-finally-on-summer-vacation” list is to trot down to the local library and leisurely select a few novels to enjoy without guilt. During the year I am either guilty of sneaking my reading in between grading essays or I feel guilt because I am not reading.  With no papers in sight for the next couple of months I shall enjoy reading at all hours of the day guilt free.

I tend to mix up my reading,  and although I don’t like to make lists, here are a few goals I plan on to accomplish while lounging in the hammock this summer:

1. Room with a View (a reread, the first time I read it too fast determining if I would teach it for AP–the verdict? A resounding “Yes!” The subtle humor and digs at Brits and their habits are delightful–the film caught the spirit well, also.)

2. A really good mystery series–I haven’t found one since I finished my Inspector Evans series by Rhys Bowens.  I’m picky though–no bedding, no swearing, no gratuitous violence–limiting, isn’t it?  Take it up as a challenge 🙂

3. Classics yet to read:  The Sound and the Fury; Middlemarch; Faust (really, I never have); some Dickens, more Shakespeare, and perhaps a Hemingway, and of course a revisit with Austen.

4. Look up current YA–I discovered Hunger Games before the masses did, and hope to find a new trend-setter.

5. Kid Lit: what’s going on in picture books these days, and it never hurts to look up old friends for an afternoon of revisiting.

I’m open to suggestions. Got a good read to recommend? My schedule is wide open until end of August.

image from

Billy Collins captures the guilt-free read so very well in his poem “Reading in a Hammock”. An excerpt:

Around the edges of the book
is the larger sky,
dotted with clouds,
and some overhanging branches
that appear to be slowly swaying
back and forth,
as if I were the one lying motionless…

Those Tough Lit Chicks

I can’t resist those tough chicks of our favorite classic lit reads.

What are the qualifications for a tough chick of lit? Well, how about capable, quick of wit, common sense, a set of skills, determination, fudging the lines of feminine acceptability for the time period, and not necessarily physically a beauty contestant in looks but going for lots of personality?

Here is a grocery list of chicks of lit likables: (all images from GoodReads)

Pippi Longstocking

Scout Finch

To Kill a Mockingbird

Jo March

Little Women

Laura Ingalls

Little House on the Prairie (Little House, #2)

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre

Elizabeth Bennett

Pride and Prejudice

Janie Crawford

Their Eyes Were Watching God

Shakespeare’s Beatrice and Kate

Much Ado About NothingThe Taming of the Shrew

Lucy Honeychurch

A Room with a View / Howards End

Thursday Next

The Eyre Affair (Thursday Next #1)

Katniss Everdeen

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1)

The Heart is a Lonely Hunter

Mick Kelly

Francie Nolan

A Tree Grows in Brooklyn

That’s just a start. I’m working on round two. Any nominations? Who is on your list for literature’s tough chicks?

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