The Westing Game: Ellen Raskin
Death in the Garden: Elizabeth Ironside

What Books You Would Like to Live In?

I ran across a neat idea this week in Blog from the Windowsill, a blog for the staff of "Notes from the Windowsill" to talk about children's books. Notes from the Windowsill is an electronic publication celebrating children's books loved by adult readers.

Anyway, in a recent post, Wendy Betts asked "is there a book you would like to live in? Or at least visit?". She was inspired to this question by her son, who would like to live in A Cricket in Times Square. Wendy's own choice would be to live with the Melendy family (The Four Story Mistake, etc.). My responses are below, with some related lists that I thought of myself.

3 Children's Books that I Would Like to Live in:

  • Gone-Away Lake by Elizabeth Enright (because there's a whole semi-abandoned town that the kids get to play in).
  • The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall (because exploring Arundel Hall and the gardens would be very cool).
  • The Diamond in the Window by Jane Langton (because there's a really cool secret room).

3 Schools from Children's Books that would have been Cool to Attend:

  • Hogwarts (not an original choice on my part, but way cool).
  • St. Clare's or Malory Towers, both created by Enid Blyton.
  • The village schoolhouse in Avonlea, but only when Anne Shirley was the teacher there.

3 Books that I Like, but would NOT Want to Live in:

  • Holes by Louis Sachar (slave labor digging holes in the hot sun? No thanks!).
  • The Giver by Lois Lowry (a town with no colors? Surely not. But it would be pretty easy to make a list in this category by just considering Newberry winners. What are we to make of that?).
  • The City of Ember by Jeanne Duprau (living underground with no light? Not so fun).

3 Schools from Children's Books that would NOT have been Cool to Attend

  • Crunchem Hall from Matilda by Roald Dahl.
  • Bloor's Academy from The Children of the Red King series by Jenny Nimmo (a very creepy school, without the moments of joyfulness of Hogwarts).
  • Lowood Academy from Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (not strictly speaking a children's book, but I read this when I was pretty young, and it gave me nightmares).

How would you respond to these questions? If you have a minute, and have thoughts on any or all of the four categories above, please enter them in the comments of this post. Or enter them on your own blog if you like. I had fun thinking about these questions, and I hope that you do, too. It's the ultimate fantasy for children's book readers, getting to live inside a beloved book.

I guess an honorable mention should go to Inkheart and Inkspell, in which people do go to live inside a book. But that's another story... Happy Reading!

© 2009 by Jennifer Robinson of Jen Robinson's Book Page. All rights reserved.