Blogger Betsy Bird is running a poll: What are the top 100 middle grade novels of all time?
Readers are invited to submit their top ten, ranked. There are some limitations and suggestions for determining age level; read the post, vote.
I've been working on my list all month. Well, not really. On the first day I brainstormed titles; on the second day I ranked and revised. I haven't looked at my list in weeks, and am amused to see how my list that I thought was totally objective was influenced by what I was reading and what people were talking about on Goodreads. I made some last minute changes.
My biggest problem was in sorting out what was young adult and what was middle grade. My standards for this are stricter than Betsy's, but I'm going to go by them, anyway. I went back and forth on The Witch of Blackbird Pond--then glanced at the comments just now and saw that others have the same question. Ultimately, I decided it was a young adult book and didn't include it. I disagree with a commenter who says it's not YA just because the characters are older and it really has a middle grade treatment; that's probably the kind of person who thinks there wasn't any YA until the 1970s. Or the 1990s.
I'm not going to tell you my list, but I'll tell you the following things:
1. One author is male, and nine are female.
2. All of the authors are white, which is sad, but reflects my childhood reading (that will come in a new post soon)
3. Two of the authors are Jewish; the rest are Protestants.
4. Bizarrely, eight of the ten are part of a series. I wonder what this says about me and my reading? I selected the books individually, not as "I love this series and I'm going to pick a book to represent it".
5. The oldest book was published in 1940. (Actually, two of them were.)
6. The newest book was published in 1978. Despite all the great books published during my lifetime, I believe in this list and would like to think nostalgia is only a small part of it. That was a Golden Age.
7. Three of the books won the Newbery Medal.
8. Eight of them should have. (Two of my choices I acknowledge as being not quite right for the Newbery.)
9. One of the books won a Newbery Honor.
10. The one book that is possibly, POSSIBLY a pure nostalgia pick is All-of-a-Kind Family.
Now, submit your own lists! Or just tell me in the comments what a couple of your choices would have been. Or both. Or speculate on what my list includes. (I think the clues above could make it pretty easy to figure out at least six, if you were dedicated.)