I’ve written many times about my love for children’s and young-adult literature, and my three kidlit reading groups. A source of great happiness for me! Be Gretchen.
For some reason, in the last few weeks, I’ve seen a spike in requests for suggestions about how to start a group or about what books to read.
As for starting a group, you can adapt the suggestions from the starter kit for starting Happiness Project groups. The specific model followed by my three kidlit groups is: we take turns meeting for dinner at each other’s apartments; we meet every six weeks; we read one or two books for discussion; people can attend even if they haven’t read the book; we choose books by group enthusiasm. In one group, we alternate among classic (Peter Pan), modern (A Wrinkle in Time), and contemporary (The Hunger Games). In the other groups, we just pick what we want.
If you want some ideas of books to read, here are some reading suggestions in children’s and young-adult literature for a group or just for yourself. It pains me to list so few! But this is a good start.
Because they’re already so widely known, I’m not going to list some very obvious ones, like the Harry Potter books, the Narnia books, the The Lord of the Rings books, or my beloved Little House books.
The Golden Compass, Philip Pullman
The Silver Crown, Robert O’Brien
The Secret Garden, Frances Hodgson Burnett
Half Magic, Edward Eager
The Second Mrs. Gioconda, E. L. Konigsberg
Black and Blue Magic, Zilpha Keatley Snyder
Gone-Away Lake, Elizabeth Enright
Graceling, Kristin Cashore
Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You, Peter Cameron
Greengage Summer, Rumer Godden
This list represents a big range — some are meant for ten-year-olds, some for seventeen-year-olds. But they are all so good that they can be enjoyed by an adult.
I could go on, and on…
What books would you add to this list? So many books, so little time.
* A thoughtful reader sent me the link to a terrific site, How to Be a Retronaut — “a guide to retronautics, going back in time, time-travel, charting history, and living in the past.” There’s so much great material there; for instance, I loved this post on The evolution of brand logos. An even more wonderful post is about The Grenata Street Army, 1915. A photographer befriended a group of children and took photos of them fighting their army “battles.” It reminds me a lot of what my friend and I did with Four to Llewelyn’s Edge.
Need a good book for August? Please consider The Happiness Project (can’t resist mentioning: #1 New York Times bestseller).
Order your copy.
Read sample chapters.
Watch the one-minute book video.
Listen to a sample of the audiobook.