No Rosemary Sutcliff not good enough for top 100 children’s book of last 100 years say Booktrust | Outrageous and wrong!

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So, the Booktrust (“inspiring a love of good books”) uses  “a group of children’s book experts drawn from across Booktrust”  to create their list of the “100 best books for children” of the last 100 years. There is  not one by Rosemary Sutcliff ! I was intrigued to search out the criteria they used. The blog post Selecting Booktrust’s 100 Best Books reveals them.

  • Great story
  • ‘Highest quality’ of writing and illustration
  • The most popular with children and their families
  • Engaged children and children loved best
  • Offering young readers the chance to learn about the world and to broaden their horizons
  • Most innovative and original titles (not made clear if they mean the title itself or the whole book)
  • Iconic books that have proved they could stand the test of time

Using these how on earth is there not one Rosemary Sutcliff title – The Eagle of the Ninth for one of course (well over 1 million copies sold …second criterion ), but others too? One of the few British writers to be runner-up or winner of the international Hans Christian Anderson prize….. Carnegie Medal winner and runner-up….

Truly iconic titles, great stories, the highest quality of writing (The Guardian obituary -” a writer of genius”), popular since the 1950s, broadens young people’s moral and historical horizons, original. All of those.

So, I assert Rosemary Sutcliff should be there! Can you help my peace of mind with some evidence for a reasoned broadside I shall send to the Booktrust?

One comment

  1. Hi, Anthony,Thanks for the e-mail. When I first read the title (or greeting), I thought, “Wonderful, I totally agree that there’s not one of Ms. Sutcliff’s books that is not as good as any other book written.But as I continued reading, I realized that you didn’t mean that all the books had been chosen, but just the opposite: none of her books has been chosen. Somehow your and my understanding of what you wrote is totally different. There is a double negative in the title sentence: “No R S” “not good enough”. And English (and probably no other language, can have a double negative sentence. Now that’s a kind of sentence that I would not see in any of her books. I suppose you’ve sent off all your e-mail. I’m definitely with you on your sentiment, but it did get a little “mis-said.”Thanks for keeping me on your list. I’m still trying to get and read the rest of her books, and I’m sure I won’t find any that are not worthy of the “Best in the last 100 years.”All the best,Sigrun.The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have enough; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little. – Franklin Delano Roosevelt

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