Tuesday, 6 March 2012


I’m enjoying Suzanne Collins’s The Hunger Games. A lot. Furthermore, I was correct in anticipating what it would remind me of—that is to say, which books of my acquaintance from years past.
            And here’s the thing. Worthy books reach an enormous audience these days—and rightly so. Sadly, many equally worthy books published pre-Internet will never receive the same attention. That goes double, I suspect, for works for children and young adults. And that’s a shame.
            Classics like Charlotte’s Web, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Alice in Wonderland won’t be quickly forgotten. Nor (I sincerely hope) will Goodnight Moon or Where the Wild Things Are.* But what about the books that haven’t ingrained themselves as classics in the popular consciousness? Who will speak for them?
            I will.
            If when reading a popular present-day book, I am reminded of one I read in a time before it might have gotten a boost from the Internet, I will write about it. This being a blog, I of course invite you to help me by adding your suggestions. I’m thinking of an approach like: “If you liked The Hunger Games, you might be interested in Alexei Panshin’s Rite of Passage.” Because that’s where we’ll start.  

*And wouldn’t you know, the very day after I wrote these sentences in my first draft of this post, Parent & Child released its “100 Greatest Books for Kids” list. Charlotte’s Web, Goodnight Moon, and Where the Wild Things Are are numbers 1, 2 ,and 5. Prescience! But where are the other two?

Alice is arguably not a children’s book (let’s talk later on about what is and is not!). But then, A Wrinkle in Time placed as number 3—which I applaud—even though the factors that rule out Alice might equally apply.

But not to list Charlie & the Chocolate Family? Were these guys never kids?


  1. Rachel, my Grandson was NOT a reader. In fact, he managed to squeak through High School having skimmed over only a small handful of the mandatory reading material. He really never gave books a chance but I do not know if it was all his fault (it mostly was:) or if the curriculum reading choices all through his School years played some, even small, part in it. When his mother gave him a book for his 17th Christmas (yes, you can imagine the JOY on his face Christmas morning opening up a book:) It was "Twilight" and, roll our eyes or not, the kid FINALLY read his first book, from cover to cover! He loved it, finally understood WHY people would ever read one, and then ASKED for books for his Birthday. A year or so ago he read "The Hunger Games" and has driven me nuts since, telling me plot, begging me to read it. I was sure I wouldn't like it, now, reading your take on it, I just may borrow it from him:)
    He's dying to see the movie, hope it's one of those that does some justice to the book.

  2. And that's exactly the kind of thing that keeps us at this game, isn't it, Chris? Thanks for the story! and yes, yes, yes, READ The Hunger Games. It's excellent!