No one loves lists like readers, and NPR’s Ultimate Backseat Bookshelf—a listener-nominated list of Top 100 titles for children aged 9-14—caters to young bookworms and budding list-makers alike. Backseat Book Club, a series of monthly book picks, read-alongs, and author interviews featured on NPR’s All Things Considered, asked listeners and online visitors to submit their favorite books for kids in this age group. A six-person panel - four writers, a bookseller, and a librarian - combed through the submissions to produce the list of “must-reads.”
The list is organized by category, 14 in all, including American Stories, Good For A Laugh, and Everyday Magic. The Hundred Dresses (Harcourt, Brace, 1944), recently recognized for its social-emotional lessons, appears under Friendships And Finding Your Place. Many of the titles could easily cross categories, including two graphic novels—The Arrival (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2007) and American Born Chinese (First Second Books, 2006)—and a book in verse—Inside Out & Back Again (HarperCollins, 2011)—that also tell stories relevant to American identity.
Imagining and visiting alternate worlds appears to be popular with Backseat Book Clubbers – selections in the Fantasy Worlds, Science Fiction, and Myths And Fairy Tales categories invite readers to visit Arthurian England, a dystopian future state sandwiched between Mexico and the United States, and Asteroid B-612. Maria Tatar’s The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales (W. W. Norton & Company, 2002) also appears here; BookMarks reviewed her extended translation and annotation of the Brothers Grimm last year.
An informal poll of BookMarks bloggers reveals that we have each read 52 of these titles and spotted some favorites on the list. How many have you read? Feel free to brag about it in the comments, then make tracks to the library to check out the rest.
A version of this news article first appeared in the BookMarks blog.