slightly OT: Children's and YA Lit

Gili Bar-Hillel gbhillel at
Thu Sep 18 02:39:20 EDT 2003

Ooh, please don't limit us to email, I'd like to read other people's
responses as well, and yes, if you would be so kind as to compile a list as
we go along...

Here are some of the books and authors that I remember most from the piles
and piles I've read for Israeli publishers. AFAIK all these books are from
the last five years:

Jaqueline Wilson is a big name in the UK, though relatively unknown in the
US. While I don't tend to like the type of books she writes (girls with
problems in modern setting), I think she pulls it off particularly well.
"The Illustrated Mum" was the one that bowled me over, I also recommend "The
Suitcase Kid" and "Double Act" of the ones I've read

Morris Gleitzman is big in Australia right now, and I liked his books
"Sticky Beak" and "Blabbermouth". Haven't read any of the others.

The only David Almond I read was "Skellig", which I found hauntingly
beautiful but very grim

"Pobby and Dingam" by Ben Rice (Australia), I'm not sure is classified a
children's book, I would actually call it a short story, but I recommend it.

Tim Wynne-Jones is Canadian, his "The Maestro" was masterful, "The Boy in
the Burning House" I did not like that much but those are the only two I've

"Witch Child" by Celia Rees, mock historical diary of a young girl who flees
England because of a witch hunt and ends up in Massachusets... the first in
a series, haven't read the next book, "Sorceress"

You've probably come across Jerry Spinelli, the only book of his I read was
"Loser" which I thought was wonderful but couldn't understand why it would
be classified a children's book.

"The Exiles" don't remember by whom. Starts slow but grows on you like a
fungus. The family in this book reminds me a bit of "Time of the Ghost" sans
creepiness. I think there's a whole series of these.

"Angus, Thongs and Full Frontal Snogging" I found entertaining, though some
of the jokes are a little offensive to homosexuals and even Jews... it's the
first in a series, I didn't have the patience to read much further. Author
is Louise Rennison

"Frindle" was a lot of fun, as was "School Story" to a lesser degree. Don't
remember the author, American.

Then, some of the better in-your-face reality books I read were "Speak"
(about rape), "Stick Figure" (about Anorexia), "Bad Girl" (about juvenile
delinquency). Can't remember the names of any of these authors, all were
women, all American. "Yellow Blue Bus Means I Love You" about a Russian
immigrant in an American prep school was pretty good, dont' remember the
author of that either.

I did not like the latest E.L. Konigsburg, "Sticks and Stones" or something
along those lines, can't remember why, just that I didn't

However, I liked very much "The Midwife's Apprentice" and I know the same
author has written newer books, I'd look for them.

If you'd like to read a good Israeli book that's been translated into
English, look for "The Island on Bird Street" by Uri Orlev. This is the only
older book on this list, probably first published around when "Charmed Life"
came out, but it's the only Israeli book that I know has been translated and
that I've read and can absolutely recommend.

-----Original Message-----
From: owner-dwj at [mailto:owner-dwj at]On Behalf Of
Laurie Puszczewicz
Sent: Thursday, September 18, 2003 3:02 AM
To: dwj at
Subject: Re: slightly OT: Children's and YA Lit

Hi everyone
A brief de-lurk to ask for some advice.  I am taking a children's and YA
lit class this seemster, and one of our semester-long assignments is an
ideal yet daunting one: read as many children's and YA lit books as we can
(focusing primarily on those published in the last 5 years).  There are no
other restrictions.  Wonderful, yet overwhelming.  Just from being on the
list, I have a long list of sci-fi/fantasy books to choose from, but I am
a little less sure about what to choose from other genres.  Since we are
such a well-read bunch, I thought I would solicit some subjective
opinions.  I am looking both for books you find worthy of reading and
those you might have found problemtaic in some way, since those are often
interesting too for their own reasons.  I also know we have several people
on the list who teach children's and YA literature who have mentioned rom
time to time books they have taught.  Additionally, there are so
many people on the list who are not from the US, and I would be
really interested in suggestions of  authors from your countries (if of
course I can get their books in the US).  Please feel free to email
me directly, so that the list doesn't get clogged, although if there is
interest, I would be happy to compile a list of the responses I get and
post them in one email to the list.
Thanks in advance.
lpuszcze at

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