Tomorrow, Penny Dreadful enters the world. Hoorah!
To celebrate, I’ve been wanting to publish a book list. A list of extra-awesome books for non-reluctant-readerly kids. The sort of kids who like Penny. The sort of kids like Penny. I’d like to offer free skype visits to any group of five or more readers who gather to read five or more titles from this list (details on the PENNY DREADFUL BOOK CLUB to come).
I hesitated slightly in doing this, because–you know–when I say “kids” I mostly mean “girls. And it sounds lame to say these aren‘t good books for boys. And I mean, I hope they are books for boys. Certainly, I’ll introduce my boys to many of them. But honestly, I don’t want to try and balance this list. It has dresses in it, yes, and flowers, and baking, and dancing, and fairies, and all manner of girlish things. Because– those things are awesome. Still, the girlishness of it made me nervy. In an age when we’re talking so much about how boys don’t read enough…
But then, yesterday, I read this awesome essay by Maureen Johnson, and decided to own this project, this list. These are, for the most part, girlie books. I’m, for the most part, a girlie writer. I admit it. I think that’s a fine thing to be!
So here you go. The first draft of a work-in-progress. The Penny Dreadful Reading List! These are “Penny’s Picks” though I hope you’ll leave comments below, help me add to the list. They’re from all eras, and I’m trying to arrange them in some kind of vague order, so that the top books are the youngest books, and the bottom books are the oldest.
I should explain that I only selected one title from any individual author. I want to believe that a kid will still, after reading a great book, go out and dig up everythng else by that author. I certainly did that myself, and so does Penny.
I should also explain that I am only including books I’ve actually read. So if you really think I should add a specific title, let me know, but it may take me awhile to add it because I’ll need to read it first.
I assume you’ll all take issue with some of my choices. I welcome that. Go! We can make this list as long as we want.
Hello, Mrs Piggle Wiggle, McDonald
Mary Poppins, Travers
The Penderwicks , Birdsall
Bedknob and Broomstick, Norton
The Bad Beginning, Snicket
Pippi Longstocking, Lindgren
Olivia Kidney, Potter
Seven Day Magic, Eager
Five Children and It, Nesbit
Because of Winn Dixie, DiCamillo
The Phantom Tollbooth, Juster
Gone Away Lake, Enright
Ballet Shoes, Streatfield
The Thirteen Clocks, Thurber
The Anybodies, Bode
Savvy , Law
Jennifer, Hecate, MacBeth, William McKinley, and Me, Elizabeth, Konigsberg
The Egypt Game, Snyder
The Girl Who Could Fly, Forrester
Island of the Aunts, Ibbotson
Harry Potter and the Sorceror’s Stone, Rowling
My One Hundred Adventures, Horvath
Over Sea, Under Stone, Cooper
The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe, Lewis
Bridge to Terebithia, Patterson
Tuck Everlasting, Babbitt
Island of the Blue Dolphins, O’Dell
A Wrinkle in Time, L’Engle
Emily of New Moon, Montgomery
Princess Academy, Hale
Dicey’s Song, Voight
The Witch of Blackbird Pond, Speare
Little Women, Alcott
A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, White