Mid-grade: That difficult age

I was looking at the Telegam’s 100 books every kid should read list (some of which I agreed with and some of which made me roll my eyes) when I came across this unusual back-to-back pairing in the “Middle Years” category:

The Wave, by Morton Rhue
(Penguin, £5·99)

Teacher Ben Ross doesn’t think his students understand what it was like to live in Nazi Germany, so he devises an experiment. A powerful story about the risks of conformism.

Pippi Longstocking, by Astrid Lindgren
(Oxford, £14·99)

Pippi is impulsive, irrepressible, red-haired and so strong you won’t believe it. Her bizzare adventures delight children and confound health and safety.

At least the child won’t get the two stories mixed up.

There are a surprising number of books on the list that I tried and failed to read as a kid or which, as an adult, I wouldn’t want to make a kid read. I’m not sure if that shows a problem with me or the list.

But I do know that as a kid the books I thought I “should” be reading weighed on me like guilt. Meanwhile the books that were actually great got read before I knew it.

Notably absent from the list were just about all the books that made me an obsessive reader, including the UK’s own Bagthorpe Saga. C’mon, Telegram, where’s Helen Cresswell?





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