Over at the Semicolon blog, Sherry offers up a diverse and deep list for Summer Reading. In her words, “52 Picks for the Hols.”
As Sherry explains:
I used to love to read the British slang in books by C.S. Lewis, E. Nesbit, P.G. Wodehouse, and others. It took me a long time to figure out that those kids weren’t carrying actual torches in their pockets (how?), but rather normal old flashlights. And “hols” were holidays, any break from school.
Typical, Standard Englishman.
As for the point above, I believe that English charm was an aspect — just a small part overall, of course — of the appeal of Harry Potter to American readers. The unfamiliar words and expressions helped give the books an otherness that fit seamlessly with the content. I recall that when it came time for Scholastic to publish the American edition, there was some brief conversation about those nettlesome English words and phrases, concern that they might slow down (and thus, turn off) American children. The decision, correctly, was to keep the manuscript as it was on the page. I may have that wrong, and it could well be that Ms. Rowling would have insisted upon it, but there was a least a passing thought about Americanizing the manuscript, which often happens when books are taken across the pond.
It is hard to recall today, but there was a brief flickering moment when Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone was simply a good book, not a publishing sensation. I remember Barbara Marcus confessing to me, “We originally hoped we could sell 20,000 in the library market.”
Anyway, Sherry selects books from these categories: Picture Books, Younger Readers, Middle Grade Readers, Young Adult, Young Adult, and Adult Fiction and Nonfiction.
I was glad to see Six Innings make the list, along with these books in the Middle Grade Readers category:
The Penderwicks: A Summer Tale of Four Sisters, Two Rabbits, and A Very Interesting Boy by Jeanne Birdsall
Six Innings by James Preller
Leepike Ridge by N.D. Wilson
The Girl Who Threw Butterflies by Mich Cochrane
The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis
Henry Reed, Inc. by Keith Robertson
Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff
Spiderweb for Two: A Melendy Maze by Elizabeth Enright
Galveston’s Summer of the Storm by Julie Lake
It is always a happy surprise and a great tribute to be included in these recommended lists, along with such respected company. I’ll have to go wash up, put on something nice. Maybe a sweater vest or something. Thank you, Sherry, whoever you are!