Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Classic YA and Childrens Books of All Time?

What are the books you prized most highly growing up? Who were/are your beloved authors? How about your children's favorites? You have a chance to share them with others, by participating in a poll.

Hi, everyone! I’m on a “Best Ever Young Adult Book” crusade.

I don’t know if anyone here frequents Pred and Edit or Critters, but “Preditors and Editors” and the writers workshop group, “Critters”, have combined resources for a “Best Ever” poll. The poll has subcategories for virtually every kind of book, story and poem ever written. That includes both Young Adult and Children’s books, stories, poems, poets and authors. The poll has been open for submissions since sometime in January. Any one can nominate a title or an author in any category. According to the site, the poll never closes—they hope to create a resource for potential readers for the future, actually a kind of shopping list for parents and children.

It’s not going well.

The problem is that very few people know about this poll or alternatively people are glancing at the interim results but no one is taking the time to vote for their favorites. I can think of any number of YA books and authors alone that deserve nomination at least. Here’s a few of my favorite authors from either my teen or childhood years: Walter Farley, Madeline L'Engle, Alan Garner, Susan Cooper, Jane Louise Curry, Diana Wynne Jones, C. S. Lewis, George MacDonald, J. R. R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Lloyd Alexander, and of course Grimm, Lang, and Anderson when it comes to fairy tales. (Some of these have been entered in the poll already) With all due respect, I’m not a fan of Rowling, but I was surprised to not find her name.

In spite of Rowling’s absence and probably the absence of every member of YAAYNHO, right now the list is slanted toward books written in the last decade or so. There’s lots of votes for Stephenie Meyer for instance. May I suggest that you visit the site, and contribute your favorites? Perhaps, you could also tell friends, parents and fellow authors about the poll as well. How can there be only 13 favorite YA books and only 11 favorite Children’s books on these lists? Seven YA authors? Six Children’s authors? The poll has been open for weeks.

The website is: Links to various categories are listed in the table at the bottom of the page.

Below is a rather crowded list of the Young Adult and Children’s Entries to date. Sorry for the mess! I’m trying to keep the blog entry from running to pages and pages.

p.s. There's lots of other categories too.

Sherry Thompson, author of Seabird ( ) and Earthbow ( )

Young Adult:


His Dark Materials Philip Pullman

The Book Thief Markus Zusak

Leviathan Scott Westerfeld

Lioness Rampant Tamora Pierce

Howl's Moving Castle Diana Wynne Jones

The Old Kingdom Series Garth Nix

Beauty Robin McKinley

The Neverending Story Michael Ende

Twilight Stephenie Meyer

A Series of Unfortunate Events Lemony Snicket

The Chronicles of Prydain Lloyd Alexander

The Last Unicorn Peter S. Beagle

The Westmark Trilogy Lloyd Alexander

Short Story--- (no entries)

Poem--- (no entries)

Poet--- (no entries)


Diana Wynne Jones

Garth Nix

Melina Marchetta

Jane Yolen

Madeline L'Engle

L. M. Montgomery

Andrew Clements



Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH Robert C. O'Brien

Marianne Dreams Catherine Storr

arabatt clive barker

Spellhorn Berlie Doherty

The Silver Brumby Elyne Mitchell

A Friend is Someone Who Likes You Joan Walsh Anglund

The Chronicles of Narnia C.S. Lewis

Anne of Green Gables L.M. Montgomery

My Side of the Mountain Jean Craighead George

Shadow Castle Marian Cockrell

Short Story---

Unicorns on Octavion O'Neil De Noux

Poem--- (no entries)


Walter de la Mare

Lewis Carroll

Shel Silverstein


Dr. Suess

Neil Gaiman

Roald Dahl

J.M. Barrie

Brian Jacques

Andrew Clements


  1. I did not know about this poll. Thank you for bringing it to our attention. Now I'm thinking, deciding what my favorite books and authors are. Will try to stop over this week and add to the poll. You'd think it would have lots of titles and names. I guess most everyone is like me. They just haven't heard of it.

  2. I thought it was about time I put my m/o/n/e/y typing fingers where my mouth is, and go vote myself.
    A friend tried a little bit before me & had trouble, but I think he forgot that you have to insert a numerical rating for each category entry.
    Anyway, once it verified my email address, it went very smoothly--aside from trying to decide in a couple of categories.
    I sent out emails about the poll to friends and to two mailing lists I'm on. I hope some of those guys vote too. It seems like such a great idea--I'd hate to see it come to nothing.

  3. Do they have to be spec-fic? My two favorites--and you'll spot a theme here--were THE BLACK STALLION and NATIONAL VELVET. Several things that they have in common, besides being about racehorses...the horses are actually heroic, and neither gets sick or dies in the course of the book! (I did hate those books where the animal only existed to suffer and die and teach the child a lesson about "growing up"!)
    Also, the child heroes--a boy in TBS, a girl in NV--have strong personalities and great values, sometimes in contrast to the grownups around them. They respect and love their horses as friends (not to mention, as phenomenal athletes) and won't allow them to be abused or exploited. The horse in TBS also has such a strong character that he becomes mythical, a force of nature to be appeased rather than tamed. And NV is an early feminist book, in which the plainest, smallest and youngest of three daughters lives up to the legacy of her big, athletic mother, who as a girl swam the English Channel. And of course, Velvet secretly rides in the Grand National steeplechase at a time when women jockeys were not allowed in any races. If all you know about NATIONAL VELVET is the Elizabeth Taylor movie, do read the book--it's much different and written on an adult level.

  4. The Little House on The Prairie books were among my favorites,

  5. Epona,
    No, they don't have to be any genre in particular for the Children and YA categories.
    I loved the Black Stallion & all the rest of the Farley books. Someday, I'll blog about Farley et al on here. I know I read and saw National Velvet but I only dimly remember it. Now Black Beauty was another story--so heart-wrenchingly sad in place but then she had a particular point to make.

    Back to the Poll: Aside from YA & Children, there are many adult categories divided by genre into everything from literary to erotica.

    Sherry Thompson

  6. Sorry to say, JL, I never did Little House on the Prairie. I bow my head in abject embarrassment.