August 13th, 2007


Books I Wish I'd Written

I don't know about you, but it's almost impossible for me to create a manageable list of favorite books. 
There are just way too many to choose from.

So sometimes I break them into bite-sized categories:
 -- poetic picture books
 -- beach books
 -- middle-grade novels that are good teaching examples
 -- books I read to my kids when they were 3 (or 4 or 6-and-a-half)
 -- YA novels that make me cry
 -- rainy day books for when I'm tired and a little grumpy (best with chocolate)

But my bottom-line category is Books I Wish I'd Written, 'cause that subsumes all the other groups and it's the best way I can think of to bow down in adoration and gratitude. Well, okay, and some envy, too, but y'know -- the good, butt-kicking kind.

So here's the first little sampling from that list which, admittedly, exists only in my head. And it's not in any sort of order because really, every book on there is one I wish I'd written. Except that I'd be really big-headed and braggy if I had.

All of Beverly Cleary's Ramona books 
Was Cleary born with that perfect alchemy of empathy and humour and an intuitive understanding of the cowlicks of life? Lucky duck.

All of Kevin Henkes mouse books
And I'm not saying this just 'cause he's from Madison -- that would be like nepotism. Really, it's just that Owen and Lilly and Sheila Rae and the rest are so vivid, sympathetic and familiar -- id, ego and super-ego all rolled up in rodent-hood. And although I adore nasty adults in children's books, Henkes' grown-up champions (Ms. Twinkle, Mr. Slinger, Owen's creative mom) are really true blue. 

Cynthia Rylant's Mr. Putter and Tabby books
Who says all main characters have to be 10 and under. Right?

Louise Fitzhugh's Harriet the Spy
I'm pretty sure I'm not exaggerating here. Harriet saves lives, even if she is in a foul mood. I mean, so were we when we met her. Oh, and she also says it's okay to be a writer. It may even be a really, really good idea. A powerful idea. That's something. 

The list goes on. Stay tuned...