Start 'em Young

We've turned this week's Kid Lit Tuesday over to the experts: three tweens and a teen.


10-year-old Abbie loves books so much she takes them to bed with her. I can’t think of better bedfellows. She’s also a listener, which regular readers will know moves her up yet another notch in my book. Not that she needed any moving up; I’m already a huge fan. Abbie is a re-rereader; as in she's been known to read her favorites 10-20 times. According to her mom, “She’d rather read an old faithful than something new any day of the week.” Were there possibly another notch for her to climb, that would do it.

Trying to name her favorite reads of the year produced some anxiety, as it does with any true lover of the page, but Abbie persevered and came up with four she loves most:


Out of My Mind


While these are her top four right now, she wanted to make it absolutely clear she has a much longer list of favorites. I have no doubt these, like her, are winners: The Candymakers; Harriet the Spy; Harriet Spies Again; The Ramona Series; Bud, Not Buddy, The Clementine Series; anything by Roald Dahl; Ivy & Bean Series; Mr. and Mrs. Bunny—Detectives Extraordinaire; Agatha: Girl of Mystery Series.

Topping her Christmas wishlist are two recommends by one of her favorite teachers: The Holocaust Chronicle and Night.


Harry and Ben are 12-year-old identical twins with an identical love of lacrosse, swimming, basketball, fishing, skiing, and four-wheeling. And singing. In the shower, at breakfast, while doing homework, at bedtime. All the time. Be still my love-of-singing heart. No matter the activity, what they love most is doing it together. There is one thing, that until recently, they didn’t share: a love for reading. You see, while Harry has been a lifelong bibliophile, Ben is new to the sport. And it was never for lack of trying. He ached to be a reader but had yet to find the book to make him one.

Then came The Maze Runner. He devoured it. He couldn’t get his hands on its follow-up, The Scorch Trials, fast enough. As soon as he finished that series he jumped right into The Hunger Games Trilogy, and is now reading Harry Potter with his favorite reader-in-crime, Harry. All is right in their twin world again.

So it's safe to say, The Maze Runner is Ben's favorite read this year. Do we ever forget our first book love? I know I remember mine: Little Women. Our first loves are slightly different in tone.

A series Harry loves:



The Mysterious Benedict Society


On their Christmas wishlist: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. They initially hesitated to pick up the Harry Potter series, having already seen the movies. After reading the first book, they instantly sounded the rallying cry of book lovers everywhere: "The book was way better than the movie!"


This story, years later, is still famous in the halls of our neighborhood elementary school. Mrs. Cole, beloved by students and parents alike, was at her post as sentinel of the 4th grade playground when her trained eye spied something disconcerting: an SUV with tinted windows had driven past, turned back, and was inching along next to the fence. Thinking she had a creeper on her hands, she set off at a brisk pace toward the vehicle. About half-way there, the window slowly began to roll down revealing Sheridan's mom, Tamara, who proceeded to yell across the playground at 10-year-old Sheridan, who was sitting alone on a bench reading, "Put your book down and go play! If I catch you reading at recess again you'll be grounded." Mrs. Cole stopped dead in her tracks and doubled over with laughter. Never in all her years of teaching had a child been threatened with punishment for reading at recess.

Sheridan kept right on reading, probably even that very day...once her mom pulled away. For her, reading trumped running around the playground, play dates, television, just about anything, really. At eighteen, she's still a consummate reader. When I asked her for some of her favorite recent reads, hoping to beef up our teen section, she sent a list that didn't include one young adult book. The recent stress of college application deadlines did remind her of a favorite childhood read, however: Julie of the Wolves. Something to do with wanting to escape to the wild where no one has even heard of college essays.

Here's a sampling of her non-kid lit recent favorites:

The Night Circus


Pride and Prejudice and 1984 made her list as well. Her Christmas wishlist includes The Complete Sherlock Holmes and Elegance of the Hedgehog.

P.S. Her mother would probably want me to add that it's not that she's adverse to reading, she just wanted Sheridan to make friends, get exercise, and enjoy the great outdoors for at least ten minutes a day.

Posted by Rachel