2017 Close Reads Literature Bracket

Determing the Best of the Best
Mar 6, 2017

It's March, which means it's time for March Madness, which means it's time for a new CiRCE literature bracket! This year, we've pitted some of the greatest examples of children's literature up against each other. Thirty-two great children's books, five rounds, all leading to one champion. Or at least one most-favorite book? Either way, there's some hard choices ahead. Best to gear up. 

You can vote here. 

As it is every year, this project was really difficult to put together. There are so many great children's books to consider and so many factors that go into narrowing what could be a very long list. But, ultimately, we decided on a few rules: 

1) No series or collections. That leaves out, say, the stories of Hans Christian Anderson or Andrew Lang's (colorful) books of fairy tales. Also Beatrix Potter. 

2) No picture books. That will have to be its own bracket. Really, a picture book should be judged according to a different set of standards. Again, this ruins it for Beatrix Potter. Sorry, Peter Rabbit. 

3) Nothing written in the last twenty years. Yeah, it's a random cut off, but it's a nice round number. This means no Harry Potter, among others. Sure, it's chronological snobbery of sorts. 

4) All books should be appropriate read-alouds for kids ages five to eight and independent reads for kids aged nine to twelve. 

These rules helped us narrow the list, clarify the choices we were making, and give us some good excuses to leave out books we weren't sure about. *cough* Harry Potter *cough*

We hope you enjoy this project. And don't forget to listen to the Close Reads podcast!

David Kern

David Kern

David is director of our multimedia initiatives (podcast host, web-content manager, magazine editor, etc). He often writes about film, television, books, and other culture-related topics, and has been published by Christ and Pop Culture, Think Christian, Relevant, and elsewhere.  David and his wife, Bethany, have three young boys and they live in Concord, NC. 

The opinions and arguments of our contributing writers do not necessarily reflect those of the Institute or its leadership.

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