Oh, the joy of a good book! I mean a really good book, the kind that makes you grin from ear to ear, the kind that makes you want to drop everything just so that you can get back to it, the kind that you want to press on dear friends so that they, too, can have a taste of the bliss between its pages.
The kids and I have found lots of that kind of book through this one: 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. Julia Eccleshare, who is currently the children’s book editor at The Guardian, is the general editor of this doorstop of a resource, which clocks in at nearly 1000 pages, with dozens of contributors. The biggest surprise about this book is how uniformly well-written the entries for each recommended book are. From picture books to young adult, from classic to contemproary, this resource spans centuries and continents. It includes a few classics from outside of the western tradition, like Momotaro from Japan, and in many cases, the editors have taken the care to find the original cover art for each book, in its language of publication. Organized by age group, the recommendations appear in order of the date of publication, and so you can see, even at a glance, how the tradition unfolds. (It was published in 2009, and contains many suggestions from the 21st century!)
This book was a gift from my sons (and their dear father) last Christmas, and it is one of those gifts that keep on giving. I keep dipping into it, looking for the next great read, and I am never disappointed. I recommend it highly, for yourselves or for your kids’ teachers, it is a wonderful resource.