I meant to avoid lists or anything like them, but I did intend to mention in the last post that while I read many great books for young readers this decade, two really stuck it to me, made me feel like I needed to be a better writer and (I hope) nudged me in that direction. You’d like to think at the age of 40 and being a published author, you’ve pretty much shaped yourself as a writer and are beyond the realm of influence, but I am not. The two books were The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing by M.T. Anderson and When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead. Besides originality and cleverness and good storytelling, what both books impressed me with was the courage of the authors to do something weird and difficult and trust young readers to keep up. They raised the bar for all of us.
And while I’m at it, I might as well say that Jeff Kinney’s books make me laugh and that Mo Willems’ books just make me happy.