Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Children's Books, Lost and Found

Joseph Bottum, editor of First Things, has a long and interesting article suggesting that we are now living in the golden age of children's literature. Here's a relevant paragraph (links added) for those who want some suggestions:
Want some Christmas presents to give this year, books you may not know well, drawn from our new canon of children’s literature? Start with the Victoriana of Charlotte Yonge’s serious The Heir of Redclyffe and Lucretia Peabody Hale’s comic Peterkin Papers. Then move to Gerald Durrell’s My Family and Other Animals and the poems in X.J. Kennedy’s Brats. And end with some of the great newer stories: Diana Wynne Jones’ The Lives of Christopher Chant, for instance, and Neil Gaiman’s Coraline.

Any of them can sit unembarrassed beside The Wind in the Willows and The Just So Stories and Treasure Island and The Tailor of Gloucester—all the books we’ve somehow always known.
Read the whole thing (and you can also listen to an interview about the article below).