Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
First on my list is a book I will love as much as Uprooted, The Sorcerer and the Crown, and Ancillary Justice. They’re all fantasy/sci-fi but otherwise fairly different books. They’re alike, however, in being books that I never wanted to end. (At least with Ancillary Justice, I didn’t have to leave for awhile, since it’s the first in a trilogy.)
My Lady Jane, a collaboration among Brodi Ashton, Cynthia Hand, and Jodi Meadows, came very close to hitting that fiction sweet spot for me, so while I’m at it, I’d like another book by those three.
One of my big reading pet peeves is cursive font in picture books. Sure, many picture books are read by adults to children. But picture books should be for all readers. Cursive fonts exclude many newly independent readers as well as readers with processing challenges like dyslexia. I am frustrated on their behalf when I come across cursive in picture books, so if I had a reading magic wand, I’d just eliminate cursive font.
I also want to see more diverse families and children in picture book illustrations. Readers need and deserve books that look like the world we live in.
I wish for more children’s and young adult literature written by Native Americans and telling stories of contemporary Native American experiences. Pickings are especially slim for non-historical picture books.
I’d like to see more and better parents in young adult fiction. An anthropologist from the future who was reading contemporary YA to understand our society would have to wonder if some plague killed off all the parents. I get that it’s convenient for plot to have absentee parents, but not every teen has a dead mom or dad. And even when parents are present in YA lit, they’re usually insufficient. Sucky parents provide instant plot obstacles, but many teens do have pretty decent relationships with their parents, and it would be nice to see that represented more in fiction.
I wish for more middle-grade and young adult books featuring complex contemporary African-American characters. The representation of African-American youth in juvenile fiction (and pop culture generally) is so limited and limiting. I want more literary mirrors to hold up to my son.
I’d like to have access to more European picture book translations. There is something different about the European sensibility in picture books, which tend to be quirky and unresolved in interesting ways. The Europeans are also not scared to tackle the tough stuff—death, the meaning of life—in ways that honor children’s capacity to think, feel, understand.
This is kind of trivial, but I’d like to have better bindings on paperback graphic novels. These are always the most popular books in my little lending library, and they always need replacing after a few reads because the pages begin to fall out. It’s often hard to justify the expense of graphic novels in a classroom library (especially one where the teacher is footing the bill, as so often happens) when they don’t hold up to repeat readings.
Finally, a book wish that’s been dear to my heart since I was 16 or so: I wish there could be just one more novel by Jane Austen.