The November 14, 1960 edition* of Publishers Weekly contained the article Children’s Books of 1930-1960 That Have Become Modern Classics. Acknowledging that those three decades were particularly good to the world of children’s lit they sent an informal survey to the children’s librarians of New York, Chicago and San Francisco to determine “which books of the post-Winnie-the-Pooh era . . . have proved to be so popular with children that they deserve to be called classics.” The librarians, for the record, were remarkably good at their predictions though they did have the odd misfire (Joan Walsh Anglund’s Love Is a Special Way of Feeling, anyone?).
Our polls of the Top 100 Picture Books and Top 100 Children’s Novels looked for different results. Perhaps in the future I will indulge in a Best of the Last 30 Years Poll, but for now this is a poll that determines what folks right here, right now, as of 2012 believe are the best books for kids out there. Oh, they’re doozies.
I’ve looked at the results, cleaned up the documents, and with the help of my incredible team of tally monkeys, with Eric Carpenter and Sondra Eklund going particularly above and beyond the call of duty, this is one heckuva new list. Things have changed. Things have stayed the same. And books are shifting like never before. All things being equal and the creek don’t rise, here’s the schedule for the coming month:
May 15th (Tue) – #100-91 Children’s Novels
May 16th (Wed) – #100-91 Picture Books
May 17th (Thur) – #90-81 Children’s Novels
May 18th (Fri) – #90-81 Picture Books
May 19th (Sat) – #80-71 Children’s Novels
May 20th (Sun) – #80-71 Picture Books
May 21st (Mon) – #70-61 Children’s Novels
May 22nd (Tue) – #70-61 Picture Books
May 23rd (Wed) – #60-51 Children’s Novels
May 24th (Thur) – #60-51 Picture Books
May 25th (Fri) – #50-41 Children’s Novels
May 26th (Sat) – #50-41 Picture Books
May 27th (Sun) – #40-31 Children’s Novels
May 28th (Mon) – #40-31 Picture Books
May 29th (Tue) – #30-21 Children’s Novels
May 30th (Wed) – #30-21 Picture Books
May 31th (Thur) – #20-11 Children’s Novels
June 1st(Fri) – #20-11 Picture Books
June 2nd (Sat) – #10 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 3rd (Sun) #9 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 4th (Mon) #8 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 5th (Tue) #7 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 6th (Wed) #6 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 7th (Thur) #5 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 8th (Fri) #4 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 9th (Sat) #3 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 10th (Sun) #2 – Both Picture Books and Chapter Books
June 11th (Mon) #1 – Chapter Book
June 12th (Tue) #1 – Picture Book
June 13th (Wed) – Children’s Poll Results
All this is done secure in the knowledge that at any point I may have to tweak this schedule and skip a day. However, I think that for the most part this is something we can do. Call me cautiously optimistic.
A couple notes about the results themselves. When I asked for the children’s novels results I requested but did not demand that folks list the first book in a series when they loved a series. However, I stipulated that in the event that the book was particularly good they should feel free to vote for it, whether or not it was the first. You will see that folks took me at my word on that one.
Also, you will some repeated background information if the books were on the polls before. That’s just for my own sanity’s sake. These things will be difficult to do, ten at a time. I’m also giving each book its own post with a final list with links at the end. I will also not list the ranking of the votes for each book within their posts. At the end of the release I will post the spreadsheet with all the vote rankings and you can assess for yourself whether or not one book or another should have actually have been on the list. I will, however, include the point spread.
In any case, my other blogging may be put on the backburner while I finish this but rest assured that it will resume full throttle when all is said and done.
See you tomorrow!
*Thanks to Eric Carpenter for informing me about the PW article.