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The Good Old (& New) Books

As classes wrapped up for the spring 2022 semester and students hit the books, class notes, and computers in the library for their home stretch through final exams, Mann’s spring 2022 stressbuster raffle challenged them to name three books or book series they loved reading as children. Over three hundred responses later, we have a sweet view of both the common threads and special experiences that made up the literary landscape of childhood for the 2021/2022 crop of Cornell students who’ve spent time in our library spaces this year. Below we’ve put together a little summary to describe some of the fun features of this wonderfully lettered terrain—a nice insight into some of the important influences shaping the minds of our rising generation of engaged thinkers, impassioned doers, wickedly good-humored adventure lovers, and future leaders of the world. Thanks for participating, students–we love what you shared with us!

 

Five most cited books:

  • The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein (1964)
  • Winnie the Pooh, by A. A. Milne; illustrated by E. H. Shepard (1926)
  • Good Night Moon, by Margaret Wise Brown; illustrated by Clement Hurd (1947)
  • The Very Hungry Caterpillar, by Eric Carle (1969)
  • Where the Wild Things Are, by Maurice Sendak (1963)

Five most cited series:

  • The Magic Treehouse, by Mary Pope Osborne
  • Harry Potter, by J. K. Rowling
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians, by Rick Riordan
  • Junie B. Jones, by Barbara Park
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket (pen name of Daniel Handler)

Most common author cited:

  • Dr. Seuss (pen name of Theodore Seuss Geisel)

International titles:

  • Swami and Friends, by R.K. Narayan (author of Indian literature in English, 1906-2001)
  • The Story of the Root Children, by Sybille von Olfers (German language author, 1881-1916)
  • The Adventures of Tintin, by Belgian cartoonist Hergé Georges Remi (1907-1983)
  • Rodhatten og ulven (Red Hat and the Wolf), by Fam Ekman (Norwegian, 1946-)

Honorable mention: Rin Rin the tripping Tadpole, aka Rin Rin Renacuajo, a well-known character appearing in Colombian children’s stories and nursery rhymes created by poet Rafael Pombo (1833-1912).

 

Books of poetry:

  • Light in the Attic, by Shel Silverstein
  • Where the Sidewalk Ends, also by Shel Silverstein

Five oldest books cited:

  • Alice in Wonderland, by Lewis Carol; illustrated by John Tenniel (1865)
  • Heidi, by Johanna Spyri (1880)
  • Peter Pan; or, the Boy Who Wouldn’t Grow Up (also known as Peter and Wendy), by J. M. Barrie; illustrated by Francis Donkin Bedford (1911)
  • The Velveteen Rabbit, or, How Toys Became Real., by Margery Williams; illustrated by William Nicholson (1922)
  • Blueberries for Sal, by Robert McCloskey (1948)

Other frequently cited popular classics (cited multiple times):

  • Curious George series, by Hans Augusto (H. A.) Rey and Margret Rey (launched 1941)
  • The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry (1943)
  • The Snow Day, by Ezra Jack Keats (1962)
  • Berenstain Bears series, by Stan, Jan, and Mike Berenstain (launched 1962)
  • Frog and Toad series, by Arnold Lobel (launched 1970)

Five newest books/series cited:

  • The Day the Crayons Quit, by Drew Daywalt; illustrated by Oliver Jeffers (picture book, 2013)
  • Shadow and Bone, by Leigh Bardugo (teen/young adult fantasy/fairy tale series launched 2012)
  • The Familiars, by Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson (children’s fantasy & magic chapter book series launched 2010)
  • Jane in Bloom, by Deborah Lytton (teen/young adult fiction, 2009)
  • Dork Diaries, by Rachel Renée Russell (illustrated children’s chapter book series launched 2009)

Other cited new books that Mann staff members wish had been around when they were young:

  • Chasing Vermeer, by Blue Balliett and illustrated by Brett Helquist (children’s art mystery novel, 2004)
  • Mysterious Benedict Society series (children’s mystery/detective series launched 2007)
  • Sheep, by Valerie Hobbs (children’s book about a dog, 2006)
  • The Sisters Grimm series, by Michael Buckley; illustrated by Peter Ferguson (children’s fantasy series launched 2005)
  • The Miraculous Journal of Eduard Tulane, by Kate DiCamillo (2006)