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December 19, 2014

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One Hundred Books that Shaped the Century

Aardema, Verna. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale. illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. Dial, 1975.
While not their first book, this felicitous collaboration with the gifted storyteller established these brilliant illustrators, who were the first to win two consecutive Caldecott Medals.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyAlexander, Lloyd. The High King. Holt, 1968.
The Newbery-winning novel that concludes the Chronicles of Prydain showcases the work of an author whose name is synonymous with high fantasy writing for children.

Avi. The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle. illus. by Ruth E. Murray. Orchard, 1990.
This Newbery Honor adventure about one of the most courageous heroines in children’s literature grips readers from the opening sentence to the exhilarating final scene.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyBabbitt, Natalie. Tuck Everlasting. Farrar, 1975.
In a complex, yet simply written, story taught in many elementary school classrooms, young readers ponder issues of immortality and personal choice.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyBemelmans, Ludwig. Madeline. Viking, 1939.
This all-time favorite introduces one of the best-loved, best-known, and most enduring characters in children’s books. Fearless and intrepid, Madeline will live on forever.

Bishop, Claire Huchet. The Five Chinese Brothers. illus. by Kurt Wiese. Coward, 1938.
While some adults have decried the violence and stereotypical characters in this tale of five brothers who use their extraordinary physical traits to outwit an executioner, children embrace the book’s economical storytelling and humorous illustrations.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyBlume, Judy. Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. Bradbury, 1970.
Blume broke new ground and won the hearts of children by addressing their concerns about menstruation and growing up in this controversial but highly popular book.

Bond, Michael. A Bear Called Paddington. illus. by Peggy Fortnum. Houghton, 1958.
An English-speaking bear from ‘darkest Peru’ finds himself caught in a variety of preposterous situations. The book’s success, and that of its eight sequels, rests on its gently humorous tone and its respect for the child reader.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyBrown, Margaret Wise. Goodnight Moon. illus. by Clement Hurd. Harper, 1947.
This classic bedtime book is a masterwork of language, story, art, and design that pioneered the movement toward understanding and reflecting on how a child views the world.

Bunting, Eve. Smoky Night. illus. by David Diaz. Harcourt, 1994.
This controversial Caldecott Medal winner about riots in Los Angeles brought to the public’s attention the trend toward serious picture-story books aimed at upper-elementary and middle-school readers.

Burnett, Frances Hodgson. The Secret Garden. Stokes, 1911.
An enduring British classic, this story about two children struggling with loss and pain is a tribute to the healing powers of friendship and nature.

Burnford, Sheila. The Incredible Journey: A Tale of Three Animals. illus. by Carl Burger. Bantam, 1961.
Three domesticated animals–a bull terrier, a Siamese cat, and a Labrador retriever–survive in the wild in this unparalleled example of realistic animal fiction.

Burton, Virginia Lee. Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel. Houghton, 1939.
A book that exhibits all the elements of a classic picture book: a warm relationship between the two main characters, thoughtful integration of text and pictures, sprightly storytelling, and a child-pleasing, triumphant resolution.

Byars, Betsy. Summer of the Swans. illus. by Ted Coconis. Viking, 1970.
When Sara sets out to find her mentally disabled younger brother, she discovers her own strengths in the author’s signature work. A Newbery Medal winner.

Carle, Eric. The Very Hungry Caterpillar. World, 1969.
In this well-loved picture-story book, delightful collage illustrations with die-cut holes introduce numbers, days of the week, and the concept of metamorphosis.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyCleary, Beverly. Ramona the Pest. illus. by Louis Darling. Morrow, 1968.
Ramona Quimby’s entrance into kindergarten begins her own series by the author, whose ability to find gentle humor in the ordinary lives of children is unmatched in this century.

Cole, Brock. The Goats. Farrar, 1987.
Labeled as misfits, a boy and girl are left without clothing by their summer campmates to survive on a small island. The novel has sparked discussions about the role of adults in children’s lives, and the power of seeing through deceptive appearances to what is really true about another person.

Cole, Joanna. The Magic School Bus at the Waterworks. illus. by Bruce Degen. Scholastic, 1986.
Imaginative design fills the pages with information as Ms. Frizzle teaches science on a magical fieldtrip, in this first book in an innovative series that broke the mold for nonfiction for young people.

Cooper, Susan. The Dark Is Rising. illus. by Alan Cober. Macmillan, 1973.
On his 11th birthday, Will Stanton discovers that he is one of the ‘Old Ones,’ empowered to seek the lights that can turn back the forces of darkness. This second book in a quintet gave its name to the series, which is magnificently written and rich with themes of legend and myth. A Newbery Honor book.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyCormier, Robert. The Chocolate War. Pantheon, 1974.
The author’s commitment to portraying his characters realistically, even if that involves violence and despair, blazed a trail for other writers. This was Cormier’s first novel, and it remains controversial more than a quarter of a century later.

Cresswell, Helen. Ordinary Jack. Macmillan, 1977. Out of print.
Jack is the only ‘normal’ member of the Bagthorpe clan, easily the most hilarious family in children’s literature. These are the best of the author’s always wonderful and usually offbeat characters.

Crews, Donald. Freight Train. Greenwillow, 1978.
Crews skillfully applied graphic arts techniques to children’s book illustration with striking, colorful results. His train chugs, then zooms, through this book for young children. A Caldecott Honor book.

Dahl, Roald. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. illus. by Joseph Schindelman. Knopf, 1964.
Controversial for its racism and violence, this wildly popular story established Dahl as the preeminent defender of children’s good over adult evil.

DePaola, Tomie. Strega Nona. Prentice, 1975.
In a retelling of the old story about a magical cooking pot, Strega Nona became nearly as well-loved as her creator, whose extensive body of work includes folktales, religious stories, anthologies, and autobiographical picture books. A Caldecott Honor book.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyFitzhugh, Louise. Harriet the Spy. Harper, 1964.
Harriet, precocious and self-absorbed, burst on the scene in the mid-’60s and changed children’s literature forever. A truly original character, Harriet marked for many the beginning of modern realistic fiction for children.

Fleischman, Paul. Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices. illus. by Eric Beddows. Harper, 1988.
A Newbery Medal winner, this elegant volume makes the sounds of insects come alive in intricate poems meant to be read by pairs of children.

Fox, Paula. The One-Eyed Cat. illus. by Irene Trivas. S & S, 1984.
When Ned shoots the gun he’s been forbidden to touch, he sets off an emotional struggle that exemplifies all that is the finest in writing for children. A Newbery Honor book.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyFrank, Anne. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Doubleday, 1952.
Compelling and candid, this diary introduced the world to a girl filled with the emotional concerns of a typical teenager, but living in stifling and terrifying circumstances.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyFreedman, Russell. Lincoln: A Photobiography. Clarion, 1987.
The Newbery-winning biography was the forerunner for the many visually enticing informational books that are being published today.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyFritz, Jean. And Then What Happened, Paul Revere? illus. by Margot Tomes. Putnam, 1973.
Starting with this book, Fritz enlivened the field of biography with short illustrated books that use well-chosen details and humor to attract young readers to the genre.

Gag, Wanda. Millions of Cats. Coward, 1928.
Considered by many to have ushered in the age of the modern picture book, this Newbery Honor winner is characterized by innovative design and a strong storyteller’s cadence.

Garden, Nancy. Annie on My Mind. Farrar, 1982.
In a tender, sweet novel that was one of the first to deal honestly with girls discovering their interest in a same-sex relationship, two 14-year-olds explore what it feels like to be in love.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyGeorge, Jean Craighead. Julie of the Wolves. Harper, 1972.
The Newbery Awardwinning novel stands out for its heartfelt depiction of an Eskimo girl, seeking to avoid an arranged marriage, and her relationship with the wolves who help her survive a trek across the barren Alaskan tundra.

Grahame, Kenneth. The Wind in the Willows. illus. by Ernest H. Shepard. Scribner, 1933.
Humor and hijinks, warmth and friendship are the keys to the enduring strength of this classic, which has been loved by readers for nearly a century.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyHamilton, Virginia. M. C. Higgins, the Great. Macmillan, 1974.
For this complex and multi-themed story set on an Ohio coal-mining mountain, the author won a Newbery Medal and a National Book Award.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyHamilton, Virginia. The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales. illus. by Leo and Diane Dillon. Knopf, 1985.
The MacArthur Award winner’s well-researched collection of folktales explores the theme of freedom through the use of slave tales, animal stories, supernatural tales, and cautionary stories. A Coretta Scott King Author Award winner.

Henkes, Kevin. Chester’s Way. Greenwillow, 1988.
Chester and Wilson have their routines turned upside down when they (and we) meet Lilly–feisty, opinionated, fearless, and like no other mouse in picture books.

Hesse, Karen. Out of the Dust. Scholastic, 1997.
Billie Jo’s life is as spare as the prose poetry that she uses to relate her struggles and small triumphs in this elegantly crafted story set in the Oklahoma Dust Bowl. Winner of the Newbery Medal.

Hinton, S. E. The Outsiders. Viking, 1967.
This compelling tale of alienated teenage boys, written by a 16-year-old, pioneered a new realism and helped establish a literature aimed specifically at young adults.

Hoban, Tana. Shapes and Things. Macmillan, 1970.
This title began a career that shaped the field of photographic illustration and transformed the ways in which children view ordinary objects and understand concepts, such as shapes, colors, and opposites.

Holling, Holling C. Paddle-to-the-Sea. Houghton, 1941.
A small, wooden Native American figure is put into a canoe that journeys from the Canadian shores of Lake Superior to the Atlantic Ocean in this ecology-geography adventure, which was the first of its kind. A Caldecott Honor winner.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyKeats, Ezra Jack. The Snowy Day. Viking, 1962.
This is the first picture book in which the protagonist was a black child, who was drawn instead of being photographed, and whose race was incidental to the story. A Caldecott Medal winner.

Kerr, M. E. Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack. Harper, 1972. Out of print in hardcover.
This book about an overweight, smart-aleck 14-year-old girl established Kerr’s reputation as a young adult novelist; it features the author’s trademark wit, penchant for realism, and ability to create authentic and honest characters.

Kipling, Rudyard. Just So Stories. Doubleday, 1902.
These dozen stories, styled like those of the Jataka how-and-why tales, have humorously explained the elephant’s trunk, the camel’s hump, and the leopard’s spots for nearly 100 years.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyKonigsburg, E. L. From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. Atheneum, 1967.
With this book and Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, William McKinley and Me, Elizabeth, the author made publishing history, winning a Newbery Medal (for the former) and a Newbery Honor (for the latter) in the same year. Inventive plots and memorable characters remain Konigsburg’s trademarks.

Lauber, Patricia. Volcano: The Eruption and Healing of Mt. St. Helens. Macmillan, 1986.
Written by one of the pioneers of nonfiction for young readers that is both informative and fascinating to read, this photo-essay was the first of its kind to win a Newbery Honor award.

Lawson, Robert. Rabbit Hill. Viking, 1944.
Having won a Caldecott Medal for illustrating They Were Strong and Good, Lawson went on to win a Newbery Medal for this fantasy about the arrival of ‘new’ folks, who are sympathetic to their animal neighbors.

LeGuin, Ursula. A Wizard of Earthsea. illus. by Ruth Robbins. Parnassus, 1968.
Among the most powerful fantasies for children, this creates the world of Earthsea, where a wizard’s struggles with his dark side take on epic proportions.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyL’Engle, Madeleine. A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, 1962.
This Newbery-winning coming-of-age novel explores the power of love and family in battling evil in the universe. Wrinkle also lent legitimacy to writing and reading science fiction.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyLewis, C. S. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Macmillan, 1950.
Filled with magic, exquisite language, inventive characters, and the strength of good over evil, the Chronicles of Narnia have sent children poking into closets since this first one was published.

Lindgren, Astrid. Pippi Longstocking. illus. by Louis S. Glanzman. Viking, 1950.
A high-spirited heroine with bright red pigtails, unusual physical strength, no parents, and the ability to choose how to lead her life makes this Swedish import a cherished favorite of children seeking a funny story.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyLobel, Arnold. Frog and Toad Are Friends. Harper, 1970.
One is green, one is brown. Two of the best friends in the world prove that ‘easy readers’ can be medal contenders. A Caldecott Honor winner and a National Book Award finalist.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyLowry, Lois. Anastasia Krupnik. Houghton, 1979.
The first volume in an outstanding series that combines humor with a solid understanding of children, the novel describes the everyday ups and downs of a 10-year-old girl.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyLowry, Lois. The Giver. Houghton, 1993.
In her most provocative work, Lowry constructs a futuristic world, where people have given up on human nature in order to build a ‘perfect’ world. The ambiguous ending created quite a buzz. This was the author’s second Newbery Medal winner.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyMacaulay, David. Cathedral. Houghton, 1973.
In the forefront of improving the quality of children’s nonfiction, Macaulay turned to architecture in creating this first of a number of beautifully illustrated books that describe not only the science of building, but the societal framework in which it takes place. A Caldecott Honor book.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyMacaulay, David. The Way Things Work. Houghton, 1988.
The author brought great clarity, precision, and great chunks of humor to this book. The Way Things Work, which is Macaulay’s most ambitous work, set the standard for information books and was a bestseller for nearly a year.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyMacLachlan, Patricia. Sarah, Plain and Tall. Harper, 1985.
A perfect book of only 64 pages, this exquisitely told story captured the hearts of everyone who read it, and went on to win the Newbery Medal.

Marshall, James. George and Martha. Houghton, 1972.
The collection of five stories about two of the most endearing friends in literature launched a career filled with energy, fun, spontaneity, and a wonderful cast of characters.

Martin, Bill, Jr. and John Archimbault. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom. illus. by Lois Ehlert. S & S, 1989.
This outstanding combination of clever, colorful pictures and words bounces along irresistibly, to the delight of millions of young listeners.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyMcCloskey, Robert. Make Way for Ducklings. Viking, 1941.
A Caldecott Medal winner that also won a place in generations of children’s hearts for its sense of place, humorous illustrations, and the way the author describes the ducks’ street-crossing adventure.

McCord, David. Far and Few. illus. by Henry B. Kane. Little, 1962. Out of print.
With this first book of poetry, children were introduced to one of the masters of words and wordplay. Considered by some to be the children’s poet laureate, McCord can be subtle or fanciful, but he’s always in tune with his
audience.

McKinley, Robin. The Hero and the Crown. Greenwillow, 1984.
In this Newbery Medal winner, McKinley established a central place for brave young women in children’s fantasy novels, with a sword-wielding heroine who slays dragons.

McKissack, Patricia. Mirandy and Brother Wind. illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Knopf, 1988.
Jerry Pinkney’s vibrant illustrations bring to life the historic cakewalk dance in a story inspired by an old photograph of the author’s African-American grandparents. A Caldecott Honor book and a Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner.

Merrill, Jean. The Pushcart War. illus. by Ronni Solbert. Scott, 1964. Out of print in hardcover.
Unusual in its format (pretending to be an historical document, replete with footnotes and transcribed conversations), with a cast featuring adult characters, this unconventional novel is social satire for children in its finest form.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyMilne, A. A. Winnie-the-Pooh. illus. by Ernest H. Shepard. Dutton, 1926.
Christopher Robin’s toy animals have come to life for millions of readers, who continue to love the adventures and silliness long after childhood–and, in many cases, now have children of their own to read the stories to.

Minarik, Else. Little Bear. illus. by Maurice Sendak. Harper, 1957.
The charming stories in this first ‘I Can Read’ book gave children a chance to read chapter books and proved that ‘easy readers’ can also be great literature.

Montgomery, L. M. Anne of Green Gables. L. C. Page, 1908.
The book that launched the series that stars Canada’s most well-known fictional heroine remains popular today. And its energetic storytelling and unusual setting–Prince Edward Island–have inspired many film versions.

Myers, Walter Dean. Fallen Angels. Scholastic, 1988.
With characteristic insight into the lives of young African-American men, Myers paints an unforgettable picture of tragedy and intense friendships during the Vietnam War.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyO’Dell, Scott. Island of the Blue Dolphins. Houghton, 1960.
In a gripping novel based on a true survival story, O’Dell gives us one of literature’s most heroic female protagonists, a Native American girl who lives alone on an island for 18 years. A Newbery Medal winner.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyPaterson, Katherine. Bridge to Terabithia. illus. by Donna Diamond. Crowell, 1977.
Jess’s life is turned right-side up by his new friend, the indomitable Leslie, a girl who can outrun every boy in school. After her death, Jess comes to understand just how much she has taught him. A Newbery Medal winner. Paterson, one of the finest novelists for young people, has won dozens of awards.

Paulsen, Gary. Hatchet. Bradbury, 1987.
Paulsen’s paramount skill in gripping even reluctant readers is nowhere more evident than in this suspenseful story of a boy surviving the Canadian wilderness. A Newbery Honor book.

Pearce, Philippa. Tom’s Midnight Garden. illus. by Susan Einzig. Harper, 1959.
Tom’s friendship with Hattie, the Victorian child who inhabits his garden in the middle of the night, is the quintessential time-slip fantasy, full of impossible possibilities brought on by the needs of two children of different decades. A Carnegie Medal winner.

Piper, Watty. The Little Engine That Could. illus. by George and Doris Hauman. Platt, 1930.
When facing life’s obstacles, generations of children have grown up chanting, ‘I think I can. I think I can’–thanks to the Little Blue Engine, who manages to get that train full of toys over the hump.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyPotter, Beatrix. The Tale of Peter Rabbit. Warne, 1902.
For many children, this story is the first adventure tale that is read to them. The book’s compact size and the author/illustrator’s detailed depiction of the natural world give the book near-universal appeal. Not surprisingly, Peter Rabbit has been translated into 30 languages.

Raschka, Chris. Yo! Yes? Orchard, 1993.
This brilliant picture-story book tells a universal story of friendship in deceptively simple pictures and a spare text that invites listeners’ participation. A Caldecott Honor book.

Raskin, Ellen. The Westing Game. Dutton, 1978.
With enormous respect for her audience, Raskin wrote amazing mysteries, filled with subterfuge, word games, and clues. In this game, 16 people set out to discover who killed Samuel W. Westing–in order to inherit his millions. A Newbery Medal book.

Rey, H. A. Curious George. Houghton, 1941.
The adventures of a monkey who acts just like an energetic, irrepressible child has been translated into more than a dozen languages. The first in a series, Curious George showcases the author/illustrator’s ability to combine an exciting and humorous plot with bold illustrations.

Rowling, J. K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Scholastic, 1998.
The success of this best-selling British fantasy about a likable young wizard has generated an unprecedented level of excitement in both children and adults.

Scieszka, John. The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales. illus. by Lane Smith. Viking, 1992.
The team that burst on the scene with their hilarious True Story of the Three Little Pigs went over the top in this hysterical spoof of fairytales and the deconstruction of the ‘art’ of bookmaking. A Caldecott Honor book.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturySendak, Maurice. Where the Wild Things Are. Harper, 1963.
Extremely controversial in its debut, Max and his ‘scary’ monsters proved that Sendak knew more about children’s fears and their need for reassurance than most adults. Wild Things is revered by some as the picture book of the century. A Caldecott Medal winner.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturySeuss, Dr. The Cat in the Hat. Random, 1957.
Complete acceptance of the wildly misbehaving cat and his accomplices made this the most subversive book for children the world had ever seen. Naturally, children immediately loved it, loved to try to read it, and have loved it ever since.

Silverstein, Shel. Where the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and Drawings. Harper, 1974.
Silverstein’s hilarious verses, matched with his witty drawings, continue to be enormously popular with readers of all ages.

Singer, Isaac Bashevis. Zlateh the Goat. illus. by Maurice Sendak. Harper, 1966.
Singer’s first book for children features tales of magic, fools, and saints–as well as the very realistic story of a boy’s love for his goat. This gifted storyteller is able to mix the fantastic with the ordinary, raising our spirits and making us smile.

Slepian, Jan. The Alfred Summer. Macmillan, 1980. Out of print in hardcover.
Real children with disabilities are the protagonists in this groundbreaking novel featuring Lester, a 14-year-old with cerebral palsy, and his friend Alfred, who is younger and mentally retarded. Slepian portrayed these two–and their need to prove themselves–with sensitivity and a good dose of humor.

Slobodkina, Esphyr. Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business. Scott, 1940.
The book’s simply drawn illustrations and succinct, funny story have made it one of the best-selling picture books of all time. It’s now published in nine languages.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturySteig, William. Sylvester and the Magic Pebble. Windmill, 1969.
Droll and whimsical, poignant and silly, Steig made quite a splash when this touching story of a donkey, whose wish seems to doom him to be a rock forever, won a Caldecott Medal. Steig, who is clearly a winner with both children and adults, has gone on to write and illustrate a Caldecott Honor book, as well as two Newbery Honor books.

Steptoe, John. Stevie. Harper, 1969.
In his first major picture book, Steptoe, a black artist who was then only 19 years old, uses heavily outlined, thickly painted illustrations, and black dialogue to tell a realistic story about an inner-city child. The time was right, and Steptoe knocked the book world off its feet.

Sutcliff, Rosemary. The Lantern Bearers. illus. by Charles Keeping. Walck, 1959.
Challenging readers with mature, complex writing and painstakingly researched facts, Sutcliff is considered by most to be the finest writer of historical novels for young adults. This, her first book, won a Carnegie Medal.

Taylor

, Mildred. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry. illus. by Jerry Pinkney. Dial, 1976.
Taylor’s first book, based on her own childhood, was published thanks to the author winning a writing contest. This sequel continued the story of the Logan family and won a Newbery Medal. Roll of Thunder also signaled the beginning of a new awareness of what it was like to grow up black in the rural South.

Tolkien, J. R. R. The Hobbit. Houghton, 1938.
It’s safe to say that no other fantasy has appealed to as broad an age range of readers as has The Hobbit. Exciting adventures, distinctive characters, the creation of a whole new world, and great, good humor are discovered again and again by each generation that claims this story for its own.

Travers, P. L. Mary Poppins. illus. by Mary Shepard. Harcourt, 1934.
Blown in on a gust of wind, Mary Poppins was a very different nanny from the ones that Jane and Michael Banks (and the rest of the world) were used to. By turns stern and crotchety, adventuresome and magical, she was always unpredictable and completely denied that anything strange had ever taken place. There’s never been another character like her.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyVan Allsburg, Chris. The Polar Express. Houghton, 1985.
A standout among holiday books, this magical story with glorious paintings and a new vision of the North Pole has become a favorite in many families. A Caldecott Medal winner.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyRedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyVoigt, Cynthia. Homecoming. Atheneum, 1981.
The age-old theme of setting out on a journey takes on modern meaning in this memorable novel about four siblings left to fend for themselves in a harsh world.

Wells, Rosemary. Max’s First Word. Dial, 1979.
Wells is credited with inventing the modern, high-quality board book with the publication of this first story about Max and his sister, Ruby.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyWhite, E. B. Charlotte’s Web. illus. by Garth Wiliams. Harper, 1952.
Writing with grace and lyricism, White created a story both real and fantastical that has been universally celebrated by adults and loved by readers of all ages. It is difficult to imagine another book so profound yet so humorous, so serious yet so filled with silliness. A true masterpiece, and a Newbery Honor book.

RedReviewStar One Hundred Books that Shaped the CenturyWilder, Laura Ingalls. Little House in the Big Woods. illus. by Garth Williams. Harper, 1932.
Ongoing controversy about how Wilder portrayed Native Americans has not dulled children’s ardor for the Little House books, which are based on the author’s pioneer adventures. This book is the first in the series and features illustrations depicting the warm life of the Ingalls family. It remains one of its publisher’s best-selling titles.

Young, Ed. Seven Blind Mice. Philomel, 1992.
Brilliantly elegant in design and artwork, this perfect picture book retells an old fable, while subtly conveying the concepts of color, numbers, and days of the week. A Caldecott Honor book.

Zelinsky, Paul O. Rumpelstiltskin. Dutton, 1986.
Painstaking research and thoughtful choice of medium are the hallmarks of this Caldecott Medal winner’s work. In his stunningly beautiful retelling of the Grimm tale, Zelinsky’s words shine as gloriously as his golden paintings. A Caldecott Honor book.

Zindel, Paul. The Pigman. Harper, 1968.
The author’s first novel is considered a classic in the young adult genre, and established his reputation as a writer for young people. The book explores classic themes of alienation and friendship.

Zolotow, Charlotte. William’s Doll. illus. by William Pene du Bois. Harper, 1972.
In the forefront of writing about personal relationships for the very young, Zolotow struck a blow for ending the stereotypes assigned to the sexes in this ground-breaking book about a boy who wants a doll so he can practice being a father.


Karen Breen is a library consultant in New York City. Ellen Fader is youth services coordinator at Multnomah County Library in Portland, OR. Kathleen Odean is a writer; her most recent book is Great Books for Boys (Ballantine, 1998). Zena Sutherland is author of Children & Books (Addison-Wesley, 1996), now in its ninth edition.

 

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