Neil Gaiman on Reading Books You Love

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Unfortunately, in the world of books as well as the larger world, human beings often create artificial divisions. Sometimes, even in the academic world of which I am a part and which I love, there are those who would try to dictate what the best books are and what you should read. Sometimes books that come from genres are considered less than so-called literary books, and I completely disagree with that assessment.

In his “Newberry Medal Acceptance Speech,” following the text of his wonderful novel The Graveyard Book, Mr. Gaiman speaks to the question of what books to read.

He says, “It was as if some people believed there was a divide between the books that you were permitted to enjoy and the books that were good for you, and I was expected to choose sides. We were all expected to choose sides. And I didn’t believe it, and I still don’t.

I was, and still am, on the side of books you love.” (Gaiman 320)

I agree with this brilliant writer completely: read and cherish the books you love. Don’t let others tell you what you can and cannot read.

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What Are Some Of Your Favorite Children’s Books?

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Continuing this series on favorites authors and books, I thought it would be fun to compile a list of beloved children’s books.

Without further ado (with apologies to Shakespeare), here are my three offerings:

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Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson. Published in 1883, this tale of adventure and pirates is not only a wonderful read, but also it is an excellent book to draw in reluctant readers.

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Next on my list is The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien. Unlike his adult British mythology–The Lord Of The Rings, The Hobbit is a lovely adventure story that was aimed at children. It is an excellent introduction to the world of fantasy.

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Last on my list, which I am sure is highly incomplete, is The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Winner of the Newberry Medal for best children’s books, this tale deals with a young orphaned boy who is raised by the ghosts and other otherworldly creatures in a cemetery. It is delightful!

So, I ask all of you: what are some of your favorite children’s books?