WHAT'S ONE OF YOUR ALL TIME FAVORITE CHILDREN'S BOOKS AND WHY?

After receiving the first few responses to my question "What is your favorite children's book of all time and why?" I discovered that the most important children's books are ones which are directly tied to childhood memories. I myself have many favorites, both old and new, but my favorite children's book of all time is WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE. I know it's almost a cliché, but perhaps it has become a cliché for a reason. This book was something my parents read to me repeatedly and of course, I could identify with Max. Many times I'd been sent to my bedroom and out of stubbornness, had not wanted to come down EVER again. I would have much rather sailed away in a ship, like Max. Sendak has a great talent for using poetic, sparse prose, interspersed beautifully with his fantastic illustrations, creating a feast for the eyes and ears that is still a favorite of mine today.

The runner up would have to be Roald Dahl's THE WITCHES. I always had a hard time paying attention in school and even more so when assigned a book report, but this book kept my attention from start to finish. It's one of the most imaginative, humorous books I can recall reading, and Dahl did away with the witch stereotype (Long hair, pointy hat and broom riding) and invented an original bald, toeless brand. - Meghan

 

Dan Yaccarino

Author/illustrator of UNLOVABLE, GOOD NIGHT, MR. NIGHT, BLAST OFF BOY AND BLORP, to name a few. He's the creator/producer of OSWALD, the animation TV series on Nickelodeon

www.danyaccarino.com

"I would have to say that my favorite book is Ruth Kraus and Mary Blair's book, I Can Fly (Little Golden Books). The text fits together perfectly with Blair's exquisite illustrations. Each of my children have their very own copy (as do I!)."

 

Chris Crutcher

Author of KING OF THE MILD FRONTIER (autobiography), WHALE TALK, IRON MAN, to name a few.

www.chriscrutcher.com

"I can't say a book I read in the first grade compares with one I read in the fifth grade or in high school. The best book I read at a mature level is the same best book millions of people in this country read: TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD. The best picture book, or the one I remember most was a Dr. Suess book called SCRAMBLED EGGS SUPER. I went back and went back and went back to all the exotic places Peter T. Hooper went to find eggs."

 

Erin Clarke

Editor at Knopf and Crown books for young readers.

"I guess I'd have to say A TREE GROWS IN BROOKLYN. I remember my mother, who had read it when she was a child, giving it to my sister, who eventually passed it along to me. My mother's upbringing was very similar to Francie's-Irish immigrant parents living in the inner-city (Boston) and I remember it opening my eyes to what her childhood must have been like. It has always held a very special place in my heart and I love re-reading it every few years."

 

Todd Parr

Author/illustrator of THE DADDY BOOK, IT'S OKAY TO BE DIFFERENT, AND OTTO GOES TO BED, to name a few.

www.toddparr.com

"My favorite book- Was Green Eggs and Ham, My Grandma read it to me almost every night and said she would make me green eggs and ham for breakfast. To this day it make me feel warm inside."

 

Victoria Wells Arms

Editorial Director at Bloomsbury USA Children's Books

"I can't think of just one favorite book, but I'd have to say that the Beast of Monsieur Racine by Tomi Ungerer must be a top ten at least. I love how ridiculous it is, how funny, yet gentle and sweet too."

 

Jane Yolen

Author of HOW DO DINOSAURS SAY GOOD NIGHT?, THE DEVIL'S ARITHMETIC, and the Caldecott winning OWL MOON, plus many more.

www.janeyolen.com

"One of my all time favorite books is THE SECRET GARDEN, partially because its main characters are unlikeable at first and, like the garden itself, grow more beautiful in spirit. Partially because the setting is so fully realized and is truly a character as well."

Betsy Lewin

Illustrator of many books including the Caldecott honor CLICK CLACK MOO COWS THAT TYPE.

www.betsylewin.com

"WINNIE THE POOH. Because it's the first book I can remember my mother reading to me, the first book I was able to read myself, and the most compelling illustrations, that made me wish I had drawn them myself."

Harold Underdown

Former editor at Charlesbridge, co-author of THE COMPLETE IDIOT'S GUIDE TO PUBLISHING CHILDREN'S BOOKS, and owner of a great site for writers and illustrators called The Purple Crayon - www.underdown.com

"Crockett Johnson's Harold and the Purple Crayon, and not just because, when I was five, I believed that it was a story about ME. It's a story that truly works on two levels, telling an exciting and imaginative adventure to children, and suggesting to adults that we can make the world be more like we want it to be--if we just use our purple crayons. I use it at conferences as an inspirational close to otherwise downbeat "state of the industry" talks and it never fails to get a strong reaction."

Tony DiTerlizzi

Author/ illustrator ofJIMMY ZANGWOW'S OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD MOON PIE ADVENTURE, TED, and Caldecott honor THE SPIDER AND THE FLY, to name a few.

www.tonyditerlizzi.com

"Lewis Carroll's ALICES ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND is full of fun, whimsy, nonsense, and a card-deck of great characters. I read it many times as a kid and still enjoy it to this day. Carroll's text and John Tenniel's illustrations inspired me into doing what I now do for a living."

 

Karen Riskin

Editor at Dial Books for young readers

"My favorite book from childhood is one that many readers today aren't familiar with. It's called REALLY SPRING, and it was written by Gene Zion and illustrated by Margaret Bloy Graham (the team who created the HARRY THE DIRTY DOG books). It's a story about that gloomy time of year when winter is technically over but it's not quite spring, when everything is gray. A little boy suggests to his town that they paint their neighborhood to look like spring. They paint trees and flowers on everything from buildings to lamp posts to mail boxes to train cars, and everything looks bright and cheerful. One night, a terrible rainstorm washes the paint away. Everyone is disappointed -- until they notice that real trees and flowers and grass has begun to grow because of the rain. I loved this story when I was young. Mostly because my birthday was (and still is) March 22 -- right in that gray, gloomy time before spring arrives. I loved the book because even though it rained almost every year on my birthday, I knew that "real spring" was just around the corner. One of my all-time favorite novels is THE WESTING GAME by Ellen Raskin. It's hand-down the best mystery I have ever read."

 

Kate Harrison

Associate Editor at Gulliver Books

"I'm sure that one of my all-time favorite children's books is one that no one today has heard of, since it's been out of print for quite some time. It was this little book called New Blue Shoes by Eve Rice, about a little girl who goes shopping with her mother and tries on every single shoe in the store, refusing to compromise on a less-than-perfect pair...until the shop owner finally finds her perfect blue shoes in the very last box on the very last shelf in the store. At one point in the story, she throws a fit, and I absolutely loved to read that part out loud. I have tried and tried to analyze why this is the book I associate with my childhood, rather than, say...the classic Goodnight Moon, and I think it's because it was the first book I read in which the main character had some attitude. She had an opinion, she had spunk...and she wasn't going to let anyone change her mind. I've always thought that children's books should be true to how kids really are and not to some idealistic vision of them."

 

Tamora Pierce

Author of many bestselling fantasy books for teens including THE CIRCLE OF MAGIC series and the series that takes place in the realm of Tortall.

www.tamora-pierce.com

HAROLD AND THE PURPLE CRAYON, because it shows, in a simple yet elegant way, the promise and reach of the human imagination.