Monday, February 4, 2013

1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up

1001 Children's Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up, by Julia Eccleshare
Source: Borrowed from the library
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

OK I know I'm already "grown-up" and anyone reading this blog probably is too, but hear me out before you skip over this post. I was looking for some inspiration for my Classics Club list, so I went to the library to borrow 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die. While I was there, I spotted this children's version I didn't even know existed. I decided to check them both out, figuring it would also be fun to flip through and revisit my childhood a bit. Little did I know just how much of a gem it would turn out to be!

There are people all over the place blogging about the adult version and I was so eager to check it out. But as I started browsing through it, I just wasn't feeling most of the selections. To me, there seemed to be a bias toward certain authors whose books earned multiple spots at the expense of others I expected to see, but weren't listed at all. There were plenty of well-known, excellent books, but overall it wasn't what I was hoping for. I guess I wanted to be excited or inspired by (nearly) every book, and I just wasn't. I'd still be curious to see how many I read over time, but I have zero interest in actually trying to read them all.

But then I cracked open this kids' version and was delighted to find such a wide-ranging and truly fantastic selection. THIS is the book I'd really like to read may way through. Forget the grown-up list, they're letting the kids have all the fun! It's split up by age group, so anything in the 0-3, 3+, and 5+ categories I'm more likely to read with my (as yet non-existent) kids someday, but the 8+ and 12+ sections are filled with really great books that my "grown-up" self would love to read. I do think some of them are a little above the age range they're listed for, but if you're using this as a book guide for an actual child, use your best judgement of their maturity and reading level.

The other interesting thing I discovered was almost every book I was already considering for the Classics Club is listed in this volume! I was well aware several of them fell into the genre of "children's literature," but there are many others I wouldn't necessarily have categorized that way. No matter what your age, the books on this list will make you a more well-rounded reader. You'll find a lot of "typical" classics in addition to more "modern classics" that have already proven they themselves worthy, despite the fact they haven't been around for decades (or centuries). I'll be interested to see if this volume gets updated and reprinted over the years like the adult book has and what new titles might earn a spot in the future.

So, what to do with all this information? I'm going to post the list and keep track of what I've read, of course! (You can find it here, or on the tab up top.) I highly recommend getting your hands on the actual book though, since browsing through the list is way more fun when you can look at the book covers and have additional information at your fingertips. But be warned, there do seem to be spoilers in some of the reviews/blurbs -- they're not giving everything away, but the descriptions are pretty detailed. So if you don't want to know anything about a certain story beforehand, you may want to proceed with caution!
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Coming soon: my Classics Club sign-up post and list -- can you tell I like lists?!


  1. I have yet to get my hands on a copy of the 1000 books you must read before you die, although I hope to at some point. I too have never heard of this children's version. I went over to your page that has the list and it is very interesting with some great books on there, some I have and some I haven't read. What a great idea to keep track! I may have to do this. I will see if my library has it.

    P.S. I love lists too...nothing wrong with that! :)

    1. I do think I need to give the adult book another try, it was just so much fun looking through the kids version!

      Lists are fun and kind of addicting. Looking forward to seeing which ones you've read if you decided to do a list too :)

  2. Oh, I need to check that book out! It'll be nice to browse through and see some faves and books that I loved in the past but have forgotten about.

    1. You definitely should! It has such a great selection, even if you are not interested in all the different age categories.

  3. Hi Christine, I just found your blog from the Books about Books challenge. I gasped when I saw that you had read the 1001 Children's Books book. I love this book so much. I found out about it when it came out in 2009, and got it for Christmas that year. A few days after Christmas I'd decided that I was going to read through the books (I've got the adult 1001 book too, but haven't started anything so audacious- maybe when I've finished the kids 1001?). I even started a yahoo group to see if there were any other like minded individuals- and there were! I've read 200+ books now, and it's an amazing ride. I love your idea of creating a 1001 page on your blog, I must do that too. Soon. I hope you get to reading some more of the books- I'm reading a rather stunning one right now called The Fire-Eaters by David Almond.

    1. Thanks so much Louise! I'm glad you found me :)

      I probably should take a closer look at the adult book sometime, but I'm enjoying the choices in the children's version so much better! I will definitely have to check out The Fire Eaters at some point.


I'd love to hear what you think :)