The Book List That Matters Most

Here’s a post for children’s authors, first shared on Twitter, where it went a wee bit viral (for me), about the “Best Book” lists that are ubiquitous on social media this time of year. (As you might guess, “Best Book” can be hard for the many, many children’s authors who don’t see their works upon them.)

All these “Best Book” lists are lovely, and congrats to the authors whose wonderful books are on them! But if you’re not on on those lists, you’re on *this list*. Ahem:

1. A kid rushes home from school, dumps their homework in a heap on the kitchen floor, and picks up your book, retreating to the quietest corner of the house to read. And keeps reading. Up to dinner, after, past their bedtime. Repeat: your book.

2. A kid brings your book to school, sandwiched between folders and binders in the crush of their backpack. This kid is shy, and lonely. Your book is their friend at lunch time, at recess in the cold, after school on a 40-min bus ride. Your book comforts as little else does.

3. A kid who lives in a group home. Another kid with tons of siblings and a house of noise. A kid who hunkers down in their room when their parents fight, your book before their face. These kids need a book that will love them back, that will help them escape. That’s your book.

4. A kid who loves to read, and swallows two books each week, but regularly returns to your book on the weekend, or in the middle of one of the others, because it’s the book that makes them feel the best about themselves and the world around them. Your book is a constant friend.

5. A kid who hates to read—except your book. Yes, your book, which touches them in the right way, drawing them in, entertaining, engaging, delightful in ways people may not understand. Your book shows them that they’re truly a reader, no matter what anyone else says.

Your book may not appear on any of the formal lists. Your book may be called not serious enough, or too niche, or vague insults that make you feel small and meaningless. But know your book is loved. It’s part of a huge library of books that are needed. Always remember that.

2 Responses to “The Book List That Matters Most”

    • Diane

      Thank you. I’d been thinking about this a lot from all my experiences volunteering in an elementary school library. I saw every one of these examples, or have heard them from teachers, or have been there myself as a kid. And while the lists are great, it’s the kids who matter most of all, especially these kids, who are often the ones not noticed. Thanks for reading and commenting!


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