Let’s get this party started!

This is going to be fun!  If you are very clever, you may have deduced from the name of this blog that my daughter and I plan to read and review 100 books, using the list of top children’s novels listed on the School Library Journal website.  (You can check out the entire list on our “About the books” page.)

First, some introductions:  my name is Patti – I’m the Mother half of the team.  My daughter is Katie; she is 12 years old and in the 7th grade.  We love to read and talk about books (not unlike most of you who have stopped by here, I’ll wager).  Over the past year, I’ve been following 101 Books, written by a blogger who is reading his way through many of the great 20th-century novels.  He’s working from one of those lists full of books that you think that maybe you should read someday – but you hesitate – just because a book is considered a “classic” doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll enjoy reading it.  Well, this former English major has plunged in ahead of us and as he reads, he provides background info, stuff about the authors and concise, thoughtful book reviews  – the type you might receive from a well-read friend rather than from the “Books” section of a newspaper or magazine.

Anyway, I’ve been thinking that I’d like to do the same thing for children’s novels.  As a parent, I’m happy if my daughter wants to read pretty much non-stop, but I like to know that she’s working in some quality material in among the lighter stuff.  I also want to know that it’s age appropriate – not only to keep her away from stuff that she shouldn’t be reading, but also so her thoughts and vocabulary will be challenged and stretched.

I didn’t discover a lot of children’s classics till I was a parent (and a few I did read as a child hadn’t been around long enough yet to become classics :-)).  In reading many of these books as an adult, I have discovered that a great book is simply a great book – you can’t really “outgrow” it.  If anything, it will just keep getting better and reveal new depths, new insights when you re-read it.  When I found this list of Top 100 children’s novels, I thought it would be fun to read through it with my daughter, and hoped it would be helpful to others to offer reviews for each book from two perspectives – the Mom and the Kid (and the Kid graciously agreed to help me out).

We’ve read many of the books on the list already (Patti: 47; Katie: 39), and we own 36 of them.  But for each review, we will read the books anew.  As we’re reading, we’ll offer information about the authors and any little tidbits we learn along the way.  We will also include any fun activities inspired by what we’re reading – like cooking some of the foods that might be included in a story.  If there’s a movie based on the story, we’ll review that as well after reading the book.

We will be choosing numbers out of a hat to determine the order, though we have rigged it so that we will read books from the same series in the proper order.

Okay then – here’s the hat.

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And here are the first five books we’ll be reading:

#1 Little House in the Big Woods, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#2 Little House on the Prairie, by Laura Ingalls Wilder

#3 Half Magic, by Edward Eager

#4 My Father’s Dragon, by Ruth Stiles Gannett

#5 The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman

We’ve drawn a fresh batch of stories that are new for both of us.  I’ve read The Graveyard Book, but other than that, it’s all new exploring for both of us.  A fantastic beginning!

We still have some settling in to do here in this blogspace – we need to move some of the furniture and hang some pictures, but we’ll get started reading right away and let you know all about Little House in the Big Woods.

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22 responses to “Let’s get this party started!

  1. You can do it! I’d love to follow 101 books in children’s novels. Look at the BBC list.

  2. Hi Katie and welcome to the world of blogging – I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.
    I’m looking forward to your reviews – I often read books after my kids have read them (and after all, if I hadn’t I’d never have read Harry Potter) and I agree totally, great books are great books, no matter what age you are.
    Enjoy reading them and enjoy writing about them, and enjoy doing something really fun with your mum.
    Hi Patti too, by the way.

  3. Very cool project, and a great list of books! I’m staying tuned :)

  4. I am so excited about this blog. My son would absolutely love this and you’ve just helped me out in a big way as far as keeping him going with good reading material. Like you said, it’s hard sometimes to keep up with a voracious reader. My son is only 8 but is reading middle school books at insane speeds. This is so great for us!

    • I’m glad to have you both on board! I know that as a kid, I read all the time, and my mom encouraged it, but wasn’t really up on kids’ lit, so I read a bunch of stuff that was not really that appropriate for me, and I missed a lot of stuff that I should have read.

  5. Pingback: Fusenews: When “going green” is a bad thing « A Fuse #8 Production

  6. Very cool. How long do you think it will take you?

    • My ambitious estimate is 2 years – but that’s assuming we read and review a book every week. So realistically, even though a lot of kids’ books tend to be shortish, three years is probably more likely. I haven’t discussed the probable length of this project with my daughter yet – I’ll wait till we get caught up in it. But she’s a cross country runner – I’m sure she can handle the long haul :-)

  7. Love this! Can’t wait to follow along with your journey. :)

  8. Very cool! I voted on my favorites when that list was created! It’s a fabulous list! How fun to read them with your daughter/Mom!

    • We’re excited about it. Thanks for stopping by – I checked out your blog and plan to check out some of the books you reviewed! I’m very interested in The Mislaid Magician!

  9. I love the idea of reading along with you!
    * heads off to dust down Little House in the BIg Woods*

  10. I love Half Magic, but can’t believe that you weren’t conned into reading LHOTP when you were younger. I thought there was a law or something that you couldn’t watch the show until you had read the books. Maybe that was just MY mother. What a fun project! Enjoy!

    • I’m excited to read Half Magic! It does seem odd that I never read the books as a kid – I read a lot and I guess none of the adults I knew felt I needed encouragement or recommendations – as a result, I didn’t discover a lot of children’s lit till I was an adult! It should be a fun project – thanks for stopping by!

  11. Adriana @ Classical Quest

    Hello Ladies,
    I don’t like to stop by without leaving a comment. I just want you to know that I am following your blog closely. I hope, I REALLY hope that at least one of my five children will embark on this kind of adventure with me in the future.

    I’ve read your first post and I’m going to read each of them in order until I get caught up to where you are now. I’m very familiar with the entire Little House series, so I’m looking forward to reading those posts tomorrow.

    I’m so excited for you:)

    Happy Reading!!

    • So glad to hear it! We’re still working on the best way to coordinate our reading and blogging, but we’re excited about going through the list.

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