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School of the Air

I totally wanted to go to one of those. But here’s your chance, if you feel like playing along with the class I’m teaching at the Simmons College Center for the Study of Children’s Literature. The class begins today and is called Crimes and Misdemeanors, and it is something of a lead up to the Center’s biannual Institute, which you can attend, and which will take place at Simmons July 24-26.

But if you’re lonely in the outback, here’s the reading list to keep you warm. Asterisks by the title indicate that the author will be appearing at the Institute.

Anderson, Laurie Halse, Chains, Simon and Schuster, 2008
*Anderson, M.T. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume I: The Pox Party
*Avi, Nothing but the Truth, pub? 1991
*Babbitt, Natalie, The Devil’s Storybook, Farrar, 1974`
*Balliett, Blue, Chasing Vermeer, Scholastic, 2004
Bannerman, Helen, The Story of Little Black Sambo, HarperCollins
*Brooks, Martha, Mistik Lake, Kroupa/FSG, 2007
*Cashore, Kristin, Graceling, Houghton, 2008
Cormier, Robert, The Chocolate War, Pantheon, 1974
Forbes, Esther, Johnny Tremain, Houghton, 1943
*Gantos, Jack, Hole in My Life, Farrar, 2002
*Gantos, Jack, Rotten Ralph books, Houghton and Farrar, various (read a few)
Harris, Robie, It’s Perfectly Normal, Candlewick, 19994, 2004
*Henkes, Kevin, Lilly’s Big Day, Greenwillow, 2006
*Henkes, Kevin, Olive’s Ocean, Greenwillow, 2003
*Hinds, Gareth, The Merchant of Venice, Candlewick, 2008
Lamb, Charles and Mary, “The Merchant of Venice” in Tales from Shakespeare
*Lawson, JonArno, Black Stars in a White Night Sky, Boyds Mills, 2008
*Levine, Ellen, Freedom’s Children: Young Civil Rights Activists Tell Their Own Stories, Putnam, 2000
*Look, Lenore, Ruby Lu, Empress of Everything, Atheneum/Schwartz, 2006
Myers, Walter Dean, Monster, HarperCollins, 1999
*Nelson, Marilyn, The Freedom Business, Boyds Mills, 2008
Parnall, Peter, And Tango Makes Three, Simon and Schuster, 2005
Rowling, J.K. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, Levine/Scholastic, 1998
*Silvey, Anita. “Has the Newbery Lost Its Way?” School Library Journal, October, 2008
Von Ziegesar, Cecily, Gossip Girl, Little, Brown, 2002

Can I borrow your notes?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. Ceane Willis says:

    >This sounds like the best course ever! Love this reading list. Will the class have any kind of online presence so one could experience it vicariously?

  2. >If Charles and Mary Lamb were going to be there, I'd try to come. Maybe another year.

  3. Anonymous says:

    >It's biennial(once every two years)…not biannual(twice a year).

    I have trouble getting them straight myself 🙂

  4. >For all those who are as curious as me about how these books are connected:

    I am very pleased by the juxtaposition of "What prisons do child characters construct to relieve their burdens? What cages of betrayal and forgiveness do authors create?" with the picture of Lilly in the uncooperative chair.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >Apropos of lists: who has seen N. Kristof's list of BEST KIDS' BOOKS EVER in today's NYT? (7-5-09)One of the few such lists that does not seem to have been cribbed from an "approved" source but may actually represents the writer's own experience. It will be insteresting to see what responses turn ou==up on his blog.

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