Lloyd Alexander

10 of the Greatest Underdogs in Literature

This weekend, we were saddened to hear of the death of Jean Merrill, one of our all-time favorite children’s book authors, whose 1964 novel The Pushcart War still informs our thinking today. The literary queen of the underdogs, Merrill’s books nearly all concern the disadvantaged, the weak, the outcasts rising up against their oppressors (be it Corporate Toothpaste or trucking companies) and, of course, winning the day. To celebrate her life and her body of work, we’ve put together a list of our all-time favorite underdogs in literature. Read through our selections below, and let us know which characters you’d add in the comments. … Read More

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Open Thread: What Is The All-Time Best Book for Young Girls?

Last month, we read a great article by Deborah Weisgall entitled The Mother of All Girls’ Books, which extolled the virtues (and “secret subversiveness” of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel Little Women. “It was Alcott’s genius,” Weisgall writes, “to fill the didactic frame of a girls’ book with her ambition — with disturbing ideas, anger, and frustration as well as her father’s inspiring and impossible striving for moral perfection, to which her mother provided a humane antidote.” Though she makes no overt claim in the article, it’s clear that for Weisgall, Little Women is the epitome of what a book for girls should be: vivid and captivating, intense but relatable, full of wisdom, and just good literature. Of course, we agree. … Read More

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The 10 Best Authors of Children's Literature

Today, we’re wishing the legendary children’s book author Lois Lowry a very happy 75th birthday! One of our all-time favorite authors of children’s literature, Lowry published her first kids book in 1977, and has since penned over 30 more. To celebrate Lowry’s birthday, we’ve put together a list of the all-time best authors of children’s literature written in English, from the contemporary to the classic, from the wildly magical to the wittily familiar. Here, we’re defining “children’s literature” as being novels aimed at the 9 to 13 set, a little bit young for YA proper, but well into the chapter book stage and getting ready for more meaty fare. After all, there’s no better way to prepare a child for a life of creativity and curiosity than to give them a bunch of great books during their formative years. Or at least we think so. Click through to read our list — and since we wanted to make this list three times over (but you’ve gotta stop somewhere), be sure to chime in with your own favorites in the comments! … Read More

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10 Best Books for Girls and Young Women

One of our favorite gentlemanly blogs, The Art of Manliness, recently posted a list of their picks for the 50 best books for boys (specifically for ages 9 to 12, but really for boys of all ages). We liked it, but then we thought — what about the girls? Are we going to let our young girls be relegated to Mormon propaganda like Twilight and stories about simpering princesses? We think not! Here are our top ten choices of books for girls and young women — we have some overlap with TAOM’s list (because why should girls only read books about girls?) but we’ve also picked out some spectacular novels particularly for the young ladies. Our claim: boys will like them too. Let us know what we’ve missed — we limited ourselves to ten and we know there are lots more out there — and tell us about your personal childhood… Read More

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