Here’s My Book List – What’s Yours?

In August I took a sailing cruise on a refurbished fishing schooner in Maine. Hannah, one of the crew members and a fellow aspiring author, took the time to ask me who my favorite authors and books are. We traded names of books for awhile, getting excited when we hit on one we both liked. I told her I needed to make a list. Here it is, September, and I’m just getting to it. Actually, my timing is perfect.

September is Literacy Month - Here's my booklist -

September is literacy month. Here are some quick facts about literacy before we get to the list (source: Reading is Fundamental,

Thirty-three percent of 4th grade public school students are at or below the “Basic” level on the 2009 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) reading tests.

Fifty-three percent of 4th graders report that they read for fun on their own “Almost Every Day.” Among 8th graders, only 20 percent report reading for fun on their own “Almost Every Day” (NCES, 2009).

Fourth graders who reported having 25 books or more at home had higher scores on reading tests than children who reported they didn’t have that many books.

Forty-three percent of adults read at or below the “Basic” level. This accounts for roughly 93 million individuals.

In Northwest Arkansas, where I live, the National Center for Education Statistics estimated that 13% of the adult population of Washington County was lacking in basic prose literacy skills.  They found 12% of the population similarly affected in Benton County, 14% in Sebastian County and 15% in Madison County (2003) .

I started reading in pre-school after memorizing the words to my favorite picture book. My parents read to me and my sisters nearly every night for years. I also grew up on Reading Rainbow and looked forward to seeing what LeVar Burton would recommend next.

Levar & me - Here's my booklist -

I got to meet LeVar Burton last year.

It’s hard to imagine something I take for granted and that brings me so much joy is a struggle for many. The ability to read matters, and so does encouraging others to pursue reading, no matter what age or reading level.

So here’s my book list. These are the books I’ve read over and over, that I’ve loved since childhood or discovered as an adult. Many are children’s books. There’s a reason I write for kids. I’ve found many through the recommendations of others. This is by no means a complete list.

Picture Books and Read Alouds

The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats

Owl Moon – Jane Yolen

The Berenstain Bears – Stan and Jan Berenstain

The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses – Paul Goble

Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale – Mo Willems

Where the Sidewalk Ends – Shel Silverstein

Middle Grade and Young Adult

Little House on the Prairie – Laura Ingalls Wilder

Anne of Green Gables – L.M. Montgomery

The Giver – Lois Lowry

The Bronze Bow – Elizabeth George Speare

“Take a look, it's in a book.” - Here's my booklist -

Harry Potter Series – J.K. Rowling

The Best Christmas Pageant Ever – Barbara Robinson

The Dark is Rising Series – Susan Cooper

A Wrinkle in Time – Madeleine L’Engle

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian – Sherman Alexie

Habibi – Naomi Shihab Nye

The Golden Compass – Phillip Pullman

Chronicles of Narnia – C.S. Lewis

The Watsons Go to Birmingham 1963 – Christopher Paul Curtis

Brown Girl Dreaming – Jacqueline Woodson

Kira Kira – Cynthia Kadohata

Persepolis – Marjane Satrapi

Adult books

In the Time of the Butterflies – Julia Alvarez

Baby of the Family- Tina McElroy Ansa

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam – Omar Khayyam

A Year in Provence – Peter Mayle

Motherless Brooklyn – Jonathan Letham

The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien

Authors I love

Beverly Cleary

Madeleine L’Engle

Elizabeth George Speare

Julia Alvarez

Katherine Paterson

That’s my list. As a personal challenge this year, I’m trying to read more diverse authors. What’s on your list?

If you’re in Northwest Arkansas and you want more information on helping others learn to read, check out these great organizations.

Literacy Council of Benton County:
Ozark Literacy Council:
Northwest Arkansas Reading Council:

If you’re outside the area, look for a literacy council in your town. You can also contact your local library and ask about ways to volunteer.

Also, check out to see how Levar Burton is helping a new generation of kids learn to love reading.

For more posts on literacy in Northwest Arkansas, follow #NWarkCares on social media.


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5 Responses to Here’s My Book List – What’s Yours?

  1. Thanks for sharing this great list! We are reading rainbow fans in our homeschool family. I was so happy to find they have been newly added to Netflix! 😀

  2. Jennifer says:

    Interesting list /– and I share some favorites with you. We will have to formulate my own list.

  3. Hi there! Visiting via Project STIR 🙂 Love this list – there are a number of my favourites here too & I look forward to discovering some of yours!

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