June 01, 2006

Hot list for cool summer reading

Jen Robinson at her Book Page the other day started a nifty list of "Cool Girls from Kid Lit".

So far, the list has 92 girls -- it would be fun to make it an even 100, wouldn't it?* -- from old favorites such as Caddie Woodlawn, Pippi Longstocking, Laura Ingalls, Anne Shirley, and Harriet M. Welch, to new favorites such as Hermione and Lyra.

My top pick? Much as I love Laura and Anne, I choose my dear old friend Arabella from The Windmill Summer, who runs away to live by herself in a windmill shaped like a ship with a large wire whisk, olives, coffee ice cream, Yahoo, Mallomars, and copies of Elizabeth David's French Provincial Cooking, Swallows and Amazons, and The Hobbit, among (many) other things. A book that doesn't deserve to be out of print. And for the past 20 years or so I've harbored the thought that maybe Arabella grew up to be another of my dear book friends, Laurie Colwin...

A terrific list, for boys as well as girls, for a summer full of reading. Thanks, Jen.

*Give Jen your suggestions in her comment section.

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