Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A long way from decoder rings and baseball cards...

Dahl's resourceful heroine Matilda
As a longtime "Constant Reader" (to borrow Dorothy Parker's moniker), I spent many a childhood hour poring over the ads for sea monkeys in the back of comic books and reading the fine print on cereal boxes. So I was psyched to see that excerpts from Roald Dahl's books were slated appear on millions of cereal boxes during a promotion by a supermarket chain to encourage British children to read. Instead of nutritional hype, they'll be treated to excerpts from The Witches, The Twits, The BFG, Danny: The Champion of the World, and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Sweet! Can anyone remember this happening in the US?

Despite the hegemony of other media, books can still be prized possessions for kids when the right chord is struck. The huge popularity of Stine, Snicket, Rowling, and series such as Jeff Kinney's Diary of a Wimpy Kid all attest to that. Librarian Nancy Pearl has a growth industry of books recommending books, and her latest, Book Crush, will swiftly steer you to tomes that will gratify the youthful readers in your life. I personally recommend the classic Wrinkle in Time Quartet (which we have in a boxed set) and The Austin Family Chronicles, both by acclaimed YA author Madeleine L'Engle. Anyone want to recommend some books that kids in your life go gaga over?



  1. I ordered sea monkeys. They never came.

  2. you poor sad thing! Actually I think you would have been sadder if they and some of the other junk they advertised had come....

  3. i don't have any kids, but i'm a huge fan of young adult books. some of my favorites (not already mentioned above) are "the last apprentice" series by joseph delaney, "coraline" by neil gaimon, and "the book thief" by markus zusak. they're all a bit dark, but definitely not too scary for anyone over 8.