With the 2013 Newbery Award winner soon to be announced (on January 28), author Clare Vanderpool has released her first book since her debut novel Moon Over Manifest won the 2011 Newbery Medal. No small amount of expectation accompanies the follow-up to an award winner and with Navigating Early Vanderpool rose to the occasion with two endearing characters, Early and Jack, and a novel of journeys, memories, and the power of a story to hold us captive or set us free. Navigating Early is our spotlight Best of the Month pick for middle grade readers this month and I'm still hearing Early's voice in my head and thinking about the magical properties of pi.
I always want to hear what authors (especially award-winning authors) recommend as their favorite kids' books and on Vanderpool's roster she includes some of the greats.
Clare Vanderpool’s Favorite Children’s Books
- A Long Way from Chicago and A Year Down Yonder by Richard Peck: I read both of these as an adult and really appreciated the Midwestern feel of the stories – funny, genuine, and full of great characters.
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell: I loved this story of a young girl’s sacrifice and resilience. I had about ten pages left and wouldn’t leave the bathroom until I’d finished the book.
- A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle: Who doesn’t love the Wrinkle in Time books? These books instilled a love of all things time travel. If it ever becomes a reality, I’ll be the first to sign up.
- Half Magic by Edward Eager: I still have the original hardback that I read years ago. The pages are yellow but that only adds to the charm of the story. I’d wish that I could read Half Magic again for the first time, but we all know that wishes, especially ones that only come true by half, can lead to trouble!
- The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis: I read the first chapter of this wonderful story in our 4th grade reader in school and I was hooked. I got the whole set of the Chronicles of Narnia for Christmas and loved all of them. They forever changed a good game of hide and seek.
- Treasure Island and Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson: They’re called classics for a reason! These swashbuckling tales have held up through the years and are a must read for any adventurous boy or girl. Plus there are some kind of scary parts that are fun to read with a flashlight, under the covers, late at night.
- The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy: Another great story that I read as an adult. I started it on a day off from work and couldn’t put it down. A real page-turner with lots of twists and turns.
- Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White: This one takes me back to first grade when our teacher read it to us. We all wanted to know where Papa was going with that ax. And we all fell in love with a pig and a spider.
- The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster: Crazy, wonderful book! This is the kind of book that has so many interesting and clever things in it that it should be read at least once as a kid and then again as an adult.
- Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery: Anne Shirley is a once in a lifetime character. She’s an orphan who gets adopted by a brother and sister who really wanted a boy. But they fall in love with her humor and her spirit just like the rest of us.
- Little House on the Prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder: Required reading for any Kansas girl – and anyone else who loves stories about place, and family, and home.