When it comes to children’s books, there are a few elements that I absolutely love to have included. These are not always true with YA books, just mostly with children’s books. First, I love a family story. Families, though most of the time seemingly crazy and intolerable, are so important in our lives. I am lucky to have an amazingly wonderful immediate and extended family and, though they do make me want to pull out my hair sometimes, I love them. Others may not be as blessed to have such a wonderful family and look to close friends for their familial relationships. Whether you are the former or the latter, I simply mean to emphasize that I love a story that has family or family-like relationships involved in the story.
Second, I love me some humor. Though I don’t normally review books that are based on a humorous main character, irony or any type of satire, I have to say that I do appreciate that a lot in books. An author that can poke fun at the happenings of the world, while maintaining control in their writing is a total turn-on (in a non-sexual way).
Lastly, as most of you know, I am a fanatic for historical fiction, or period fiction, as I like to call it. Reading about events in the past that I did not experience makes me feel more enlightened about the world that I live in. I can hardly resist a historical fiction novel, especially when it has to do with race relations and the civil rights movement. Why am I telling you all these factors that I appreciate in fiction novels? Mostly because #34 on our Top 100 Children’s books list contains all of these.
The numerous awards that this novel won (Newbery honor, Coretta Scott King, etc.) speaks for the greatness of the novel in the literary world. Now you know why I appreciate the book. Now go read it!
The Watsons Go To Birmingham — 1963
by Christopher Paul Curtis
Originally published in 1995