David’s List

This is a booklist for my grandson, David Weldon Nix. It is sprinkled with occasional comments. It is more extensive than it looks, because almost all of the books by the listed authors are appropriate. Having happily worked with children and their books all of my sixty years of adult life, including extensive work in Kenya, this list is very idiosyncratic. Due to my advanced age, some of these books are probably out of print. Starred books are the ones I consider “Must Reads.” They are also good “Read Alouds.” Not only are the age suggestions extremely porous, this list is not set in stone, and suggestions are welcome. Also, my advice is to let David and all children read what they want to read – series, etc. Every book helps in some manner.

All Ages

*Ashley Bryan books
(Ashley is a dear friend of us all, traveled with us several times to Africa, twice with your mother and once with your father, spoke at your parents’ wedding, wrote the foreword to my book, A Book Teacher for Every School.)
*D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths, Norse Gods and Giants
Nikki Giovanni books – especially Spin A Soft Black Song
Honey I Love by Eloise Greenfield
Hans Christian Andersen: The Complete Fairy Tales and Stories by Erik Christian Haugaard
Poems to Learn by Heart by Caroline Kennedy
*Psalm Twenty-Three illustrated by Tim Ladwig
The Lord’s Prayer illustrated by Tim Ladwig
The Red Fairy Book by Andrew Lang (also Blue, etc.)
The New Way Things Work by David Macaulay
The McElderry *Book of Aesop’s Fables, Book of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Book of Greek Myths
Jack Prelutsky books of poetry – especially The New Kid on the Block, For Laughing Out Loud
Random House Book of Poetry for Children by Jack Prelutsky and Arnold Lobel
*Marian’s Big Book of Bible Stories by Marian Schoolland
Shel Silverstein books – especially *Where the Sidewalk Ends
*Room for a Little One by Martin Wardell
(The large hardback version is my favorite Christmas Book)

Ages: 0-2

Here are recommended Mother Goose books:
Marguerite de Angeli’s Book of Nursery and Mother Goose Rhymes
Mother Goose Treasury by Raymond Briggs
Tomie dePaola’s Mother Goose
The Arnold Lobel Book of Mother Goose by Arnold Lobel
*My Very First Mother Goose by Iona Opie, illustrated by Rosemary Wells

*Ten, Nine, Eight by Molly Bang
Sandra Boynton books – especially Bath Time
Jan Brett books – especially The Mitten
Margaret Wise Brown books –especially *Goodnight Moon, The Runaway Bunny
Eric Carle books – especially *The Very Hungry Caterpillar
Kay Chorao books – especially The Baby’s Lap Book
Donald Crews books – especially Freight Train
Candace Fleming books – especially Bulldozer Helps Out
Denise Fleming books – especially 5 Little Ducks
Charles Ghigna books – especially I See Fall
*A Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
Helen Oxenbury books – especially It’s My Birthday
*The Little Engine That Could by Walter Pitty
Beatrice Potter books – especially *Peter Rabbit
Chris Raschka books – especially *A Ball for Daisy
Sherri Rinker Books – especially Goodnight, Godnight Construction Site

Richard Scarry books – especially *The Best Word Book Ever
I Love Tools by Philemon Sturges
Nancy Tafuri books – especially Have You Seen My Duckling?
Mo Willems books – especially *Knuffle Bunny
*More, More, More Said the Baby by Vera Williams

Ages: 2 – 6

*The Fortune Tellers by Lloyd Alexander, also The King’s Fountain
(Your father visited Lloyd and Janine in their home.)
Harry Allard books – especially Miss Nelson is Missing
*The Very Last First Time by Jan Andrews
The Ugly Duckling by H.C, Andersen, Illustrated by Jerry Pinkney
Shark vs. Train by Chris Barton
Ludwig Bemelmans books – especially *Madeline
Felicia Bond books – especially *If You Give a Mouse a Cookie
Eve Bunting books – especially Fly Away Home
*Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
Miriam Cohen books – especially Will I Have A Friend?
Barbara Cooney books – especially Little Brother and Little Sister, Roxaboxen
Niki Daly books – especially Not So Fast Songololo
Carmen Deedy books – especially * 14 Cows for America
Anna Dewdney books – especially Llama, Llama, Mad at Mama
Tomie DePaola books – especially Strega Nona
Leo and Diane Dillon books – especially Mama Says: A Book of Love for Mothers and
Ed Emberley books – especially Ed Emberley’s Big Purple Drawing Book (also Red, etc.)
*The Snow Queen by Amy Ehrlich, illustrated by Susan Jeffers
Olivia by Ian Faconer
Mem Fox books – especially Koala Lou
Paul Galdone books –especially The Little Red Hen
Jack Gantos books – especially Rotten Ralph
Gail Gibbons books – especially Elephants of Africa, The Seasons of Arnold’s Apple Tree
(Your mother’s grandfather had an apple orchard.)
Nikki Grimes books – especially When Daddy Prays
Kevin Henkes books – especially * Lily’s Purple Plastic Purse, Wimberly Worried
Russell Hoban books – especially *Bedtime for Frances
Shirley Hughes books – especially *Alfie Gets In, Dogger
Trina Schart Hyman books – especially *Little Red Riding Hood
(Trina was a close friend of Lloyd Alexander’s and painted his portrait, which now hangs in the children’s section of Brigham Young University’s library.)
Rachael Isadora books – especially *I Just Want to Say Goodnight
(There is an inside joke for children who know Goodnight Moon well.)
The Hello, Goodbye Window by Norton Juster
(I served on the Caldecott Committee that chose this book.)
Steven Kellogg books – especially Pinkerton Behave!
Karla Kuskin books – especially The Philharmonic Gets Dressed
*Ferdinand by Munro Leaf
Hansel and Gretel by Rika Lesser, illustrated by Paul Zelinsky
Betsy Lewin books – especially Click, Clack, Moo: Cows That Type
Ted Lewin books – especially Horse Song: The Naadam of Mongolia
Arnold Lobel books – especially *Frog and Toad are Friends
Otters love to Play by Jonathan London
James Marshall books _ especially The Three Little Pigs
(I knew and loved James. He visited Westminster.)
Bill Martin Jr. books – especially Knots on a Counting Rope
Patricia MacLachlan books – especially My Moon, Your Moon
*Make Way for Ducklings, Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey
(I heard McCloskey speak at Simmons – enjoyed him immensely as he was very laconic and just answered “Yes” or “No” to questions from Ethel Heins who was trying to draw him out.)
David McPhail books – especially Lost
Elsa Holmelund Minarik books – especially *A Kiss for Little Bear
Bill Peet books – especially *Big Bad Bruce
Jerry Pinkney books – especially *The Lion and the Mouse, Noah’s Ark
Patricia Polacco books – especially Thank You, Mr. Falker
H.A. Rey books – especially Curious George
Jon Scieszka books – especially The Stinky Cheese Man
*Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Dr. Seuss books – especially *The Cat in the Hat
Marc Simont books – especially *The Stray Dog, *A Tree is Nice
The Day That Gogo Went to Vote by Elinor Batezat Sisulu
Peter Spier books – especially Oh, Were They Ever Happy!
*Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters by John Steptoe
William Still and his Freedom Stories: the Father of the Underground Railroad – and other books by Don Tate
James Stevenson books – especially Could be Worse!
*The Terrible, Horrible, No-Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst
Rosemary Wells books – especially Max and Ruby, Read to Your Bunny, Hand in Hand, Timothy Goes to School, *MacDuff Moves In
*Can’t you Sleep, Little Bear by Martin Wardell
Mo Willems books – especially Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus
Vera Williams books – especially A Chair for My Mother
(I met Vera at IBBY Congress in South Africa.)
Lon Po Po: A Red-Riding Hood Story from China by Ed Young

Ages: 6 – 10

Katherine Applegate books – especially Pax
Preaching to the Chickens: the Story of Young John Lewis by Jabari Asim
King and Kayla series by Dori Butler
Atinuke books – especially *Anna Hibiscus
Avi books – especially Crispin: the Cross of Lead
*The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Judy Blume books – especially Superfudge
Lucy Boston books – especially The Children of Green Knowe
(Our dear friend, Moira Small, visits Green Knowe regularly, because Lucy’s
daughter-in-law, who is now living there, is her good friend.)
Bodil Bredsdorff books – especially The Crow Girl
Through My Eyes by Ruby Bridges
Ann Cameron books – especially *The Stories Julian Tells
Matt Christopher books – especially Soccer Duel
Beverly Cleary books – especially *Ramona the Pest
Floyd Cooper books – especially Mandela:from the life of the South African Statesman
Roald Dahl books – especially Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Edward Eager books – especially Half Magic
Louise Erdrich books – especially The Birchbark House
How Does it Feel to be Old? by Norma Farber
(I heard her speak at Simmons and watched her illustrator, Trina Schart Hyman, listen to her with great respect. They both had on purple and were in my line of vision.)
*A Couple of Boys Have the Best Week Ever by Maria Frazee
Paul Fleischman books – especially The Whipping Boy
Patricia Giff books – especially Until I Find Julian
Rosa by Nikki Giovanni
(I was on the Caldecott Committee which chose this as an Honor Book.)
Through the Mickle Woods by Valiska Gregory
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Janice Harrington
Johanna Hurwitz books – especially The Rabbi’s Girls
Eva Ibbotson books – especially One Dog and His Boy
*The Animal Family by Randall Jarrell
Susan Jeffers books – especially Brother Eagle, Sister Sky
*The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis (Read aloud after the seventh birthday.)
Astrid Lindgren books – especially * Pippi Longstockings , and Ronia the Robber’s Daughter
George MacDonald books – especially * The Princess and the Goblin
(Read aloud between 6 – 8. I like the unabridged version despite some archaic language.)
Hilary McKay books – especially Indigo’s Star
Christmas in the Trenches by John McCutcheon, also Flowers for Sarajevo
Patricia McKissack books – especially Flossie and the Fox
Phyllis Naylor books – especially Shiloh
The Emperor’s Silent Army: Terra-cotta Warriors of Ancient China by Jane O’Conner
Barbara O’Conner books – especially How to Steal a Dog
A Long Walk to Water by Linda Sue Park
Peggy Parish books – especially Amelie Bedelia
(Peggy was a close friend who started me reviewing books by sending me to The Atlanta Journal/Constitution where I started reviewing children’s books in 1976. I have continued reviewing for other publications for the rest of my life – at least, so far.)
Ruth and the Green Book by Calvin Ramsey
(Calvin is a friend, and he spoke at one of my schools.)
Susan Roth books – especially Parrots Over Puerto Rico
Cynthia Rylant books – especially Henry and Mudge
Louis Sachar books – especially *Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Brenda Seabrooke books – especially The Boy Who Saved the Town
When I Left My Village by Marine Ross Schut
Peter Sis books – especially Tibet through the Red Box
Cecilia and the Blue Mountain Boy by Ellen Showell
Untamed: The Wild Life of Jane Goodall by Anita Silvey
Heidi by Johanna Spyri
William Steig books – especially Doctor DeSoto
The Heaven of Animals by Nancy Tillman
Gertrude Warner books – especially The Boxcar Children
Jeanette Winter books – especially Nasreen’s Secret School
Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson
Jane Yolen books – especially How Do Dinosaurs Say Good

Ages: 10+

Watership Down by Richard Adams
Kwame Alexander books – especially Booked
Lloyd Alexander books – especially *The Prydain Chronicles (Read aloud after the eighth birthday. Lloyd was a dear personal friend.)
Natalie Babbitt books – especially Tuck Everlasting
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks
Susan Campbell Bartoletti books – especially Hitler Youth: Growing up in Hitler’s Shadow

Nina Bawden books – especially Carrie’s War, The Peppermint Pig
(Nina was a close friend. She stayed with us for a week once.)
The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley
Frances Hodgson Burnett books – especially *The Secret Garden
The Incredible Journey by Sheila Burnford
Eleanor Cameron books – especially The Court of the Stone Children
(Your father met Eleanor once on a family trip to California. Eleanor was a good friend.)
Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Susan Cooper books – especially *The Dark is Rising
Christopher Paul Curtis books – especially *Bud, Not Buddy
(I was on the Newbery Committee that chose this book as the winner. I invited him to go to Africa with Ashley, and he accepted.)
Karen Cushman books – especially Will Sparrow’s Road
Kate DiCamillo books – especially Because of Winn Dixie
Peter Dickinson books – especially The Blue Hawk, Eva
Sharon Draper books – especially Out of My Mind
Nancy Farmer books – especially A Girl Named Disaster
John Fitzgerald books – especially The Great Brain
Enchantress from the Stars by Sylvia Engdahl
Eleanor Estes books – especially *Rufus M.
Russell Freedman books – especially Lincoln: a Photobiography
Leon Garfield books – especially *Shakespeare Stories,
The God Beneath the Sea
(I met Leon Garfield at Nina Bawden’s London house when she invited us both to dinner.)
Jean George books – especially *My Side of the Mountain, Julie of the Wolves
Roger Lancelyn Green books – especially Myths of the Norsemen
Ursula Le Guin books – especially *The Wizard of Earthsea
Virginia Hamilton books – especially The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales
*The Endless Steppe by Esther Hautzig
(Esther was a cherished friend. She was on the board of Children’s Literature for Children until her death. I once got to give her wonderful father a kiss.)
Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill
Jennifer Holm books – especially Our Own May Amelia
Mollie Hunter books – especially A Stranger Came Ashore
Paul Janeczko books – especially A Kick in the Head: An Everyday Guide to Poetic Forms
The Honorable Prison by Lyll Becerra de Jenkins
(Lyll was a good friend who stayed here from Columbia for a few days.)
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Watt Key books – especially Hideout
Madeline L’Engle books – especially *A Wrinkle in Time
Cynthia Levenson books – especially We’ve Got a Job: The 1963 Birmingham Children’s March
Ellen Levine books – especially Darkness Over Denmark: The Danish Resistance and the Rescue of the Jews
March: Book Three by John Lewis
Grace Lin books – especially Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
Maude Hart Lovelace books – especially Betsy-Tacy
Lois Lowry books – especially The Giver
(I was on the Newbery Committee that chose this book as the winner.)
Gregory Maguire books – especially Egg & Spoon
Chinese Cinderella by Adeline Yen Mah
Robin McKinley books – especially The Hero and the Crown
Walter Dean Myers books – especially *Fallen Angels, Tarik
We Are the Ship: the Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir Nelson
Beverly Naidoo books – especially Journey to Jo’Burg
E. Nesbit books – especially *Five Children and It
Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh by Robert O’Brien
Scott O’Dell books – especially *The Island of the Blue Dolphins
Wonder by R. J. Palacio
Katherine Paterson books – especially *Bridge to Terabithia
(Katherine is a good friend who is on the board of Children’s Literature for Children.)
Gary Paulsen books – especially *Hatchet, Harris and Me
The Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Pavner
Richard Peck books – especially The Best Man
Tom’s Midnight Garden by Phillipa Pearce
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman
*Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls
(I heard him speak once about his very harsh childhood.)
Jason Reynolds books – especially As Brave as You
The Harry Potter series by J. K. Rowling
Rooftoppers by Katherine Rundell
Pam Munoz Ryan books – especially Esperanza Rising
Suzanne Staples books – -especially *Shabanu, Daughter of the Wind
(Suzanne is a good friend who is on the board of Children’s Literature for Children.)
Rosemary Sutcliffe books – especially *Warrior Scarlet
(I once went to a conference in Cambridge especially to hear her. She was wheelchair-bound because she was terribly crippled by rheumatoid arthritis. I got to hold her little
crippled hand during the closing circle.)
Mildred Taylor books – especially *Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry
J.R.R.Tolkien books – especially *The Hobbit, *The Lord of the Rings
Cynthia Voigt books – especially A Solitary Blue
So Far From the Bamboo Grove by Yoko Watkins
Elizabeth Wein books – especially Black Dove, White Raven
Laura Ingalls Wilder books – especially *The Little House in
the Big Woods
Rita Williams-Garcia books – especially One Crazy Summer
Virginia Wolff books – especially Make Lemonaid
Lauren Wolk books – especially Wolf Hollow
Jacqueline Woodson books – especially Brown Girl Dreaming
Jane Yolen books – especially The Devil’s Arithmetic

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