I’m making another book list again! I’d like to know what books you think are the most important (and give me a good reason) middle grade and YA fantasy books of all time/their time. What changed things? Which were important signifiers of culture at that time? Which were the most important in literary merit? What books had little literary merit—according to some—but changed the way things were done in that genre, or started a huge trend?
I’ll break it down for you and start off with a few obvious ones. What I’d like to know is who you feel fits some of the later categories. I have my own list of titles/authors, but I’m wondering who you’d pick.
Edwardian/American of the same era
L. Frank Baum
Following in their footsteps (60s-80s?)–these categories are nebulous because these authors’ works span decades; I’ll narrow it down later, as this is just a starting point.
Ursula K. Le Guin
Real world: fantastic elements
Epic fantasy/sword and sorcery
Fairy tale retellings/related to fairy tales
Shannon Hale (among others, who overlap with 80s-90s fantasists)
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
Real world traveling to alternate fantastic world
Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
Pulp “Golden Age” SF (***NOTE: I’m only looking for stuff published FOR CHILDREN, which might make this category hard to pin down)
Dystopia (not always SF)
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Feed by M.T. Anderson
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
The Giver by Lois Lowry
The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer
How could I forget this category? And zombie plagues also fall under this—some books will fall in more than one category. Such as the dystopias—some dystopias are post-apocalyptic, and some post-apocalyptics are dystopian.
I have several titles in mind, but what are the BIG standouts in this genre, gamechangers, for you?
Zombies and other plagues
The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (are there any predecessors I’m forgetting within children’s lit—not adult?)
Futuristic/techy, not fitting in above categories
The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm by Nancy Farmer (or would this be dystopia?)
AGAIN, please note that I am ONLY looking for titles and authors who were published FOR CHILDREN AND YOUNG ADULTS. Please don’t go starting a whole new thread of adult titles that I can’t use in this list. This happens all the time when I’m doing book lists, and when I’m working on it for recommendations to parents or whatever that’s fine, but in this case I’m looking for touchstones that changed the genre and/or have great literary merit.
So, what do you think are the most important, most controversial, most talked-about, most meritorious fantasy and science fiction titles over the years for young people? My categories are vague, and will probably change, but I’m looking at overall eras (and those “eras” I just defined are vague too and will change, but let’s just use them as general outlines that get us from the Victorian era to today).
I’d like, in particular, to know about early women writers we might have previously overlooked, and important multicultural contributions. Surely our list of multicultural fantasy—heavy on the more recent years, and more sparse as we go backward—includes books that should be considered touchstones, such as Wizard of Earthsea, several “juveniles” by Heinlein, The Ear, the Eye, and the Arm and House of the Scorpion.