With the release of the new Bluebonnet and Lonestar Lists, I’ve been contemplating lists of my own. For those of you who don’t live in Texas, or do live here and don’t have school age children, the Bluebonnet is a student voted award given out every year by the Texas Library Assoc. It’s aimed at kids in 2-5 grade. The Lonestar is a list of reccommended reading for grades 6-8. Although not required, most Texas libraries buy all the Bluebonnet books and most of the Lonestars. It’s great for the authors (and their publishers).
But I digress. Looking at these lists and all of the others that are created, I decided to make some of my own. It’s not a particularly original thing to do, but it was still fun. I also decided not to gear the list to children or readers but to writers. These are my YA books I think all children’s wrters (even those who don’t write YA) should read. I’ve listed them by skill.
The Buried Editor’s Writerly Works (YA):
By Stephanie Meyer
Your opinion of vampires aside, this book has one of the best pacing of any book I have ever read. It breaks all the rules, but it still manages to pull it off. I highly reccommend.
- Secondary Worlds
By Orson Scott Card
Orson Scott Card does some of the best science fiction worlds in the kid’s world. His world in this book, although based on our own, is complete and total.
The Dalemark Quartet (or anything else)
By Diana Wynne Jones
Jones is the queen of children’s fantasy and science fantasy. All of her worlds are meticulously constructed and complete. There are never any slips. These four books show the same world at 3 different periods. Although the 4th book is by far my favorite, they all have wonderful fictional worlds.
- Retold Fairy Tales
By Shannon Hale
They say that there are no new plots only new stories. But sometimes you can make a new story out of an old. Hale makes the goose girl fairy tale lyrical and new. Another author that does an excellent job of this is Cameron Dokey.
The Chocolate War
By Robert Cormier
The book doesn’t so much as have an anti-hero as no hero at all. None of the characters are appealing or likeable or even sympathetic. And yet, the book works. Although it is unpleasant to read, the book offers all authors instruction.
What Happened to Lani Garver
By Carol Plum-Ucci
Potenial murder, homosexuality, eating disorders, leukemia — it doesn’t get much edgier than that. In truth, there are edgier books out there, but this one manages to tackle all of these issues tastefully and tactfully. It does a good job of being good literature while tackling difficult subjects.
The Body of Christopher Creed
By Carol Plum-Ucci
I tried not to include an author twice, but this is an excellent non-traditional mystery in that it’s not really, truly solved. Ordinarily this would annoy me to no end, but Plum-Ucci manages to pull it off. It’s why everyone should read it.
As you may have noticed, the reason I think these books should be read is because by and large they break the conventions of the genres they are a part of. And they do it successfully. If any of you have read the books I’ve reccommended, I would love to hear your opinion of them too. Otherwise, happy reading.
May be excerpted and duplicated for educational purposes.