Would my list be different? It is. My list is designed for a graduate course for school librarians. I change books each semester, letting one go (with regret) and adding something new. Here is the list for the Spring 2014 semester in YA literature:
Alexie, S. (2007). The absolutely true diary of a part-time Indian. NY: Little Brown.
Anderson, L. H. (1999). Speak. NY: Penguin
Angel, A. (2010). Janis Joplin: Rise up singing. NY: Amulet.
Angleberger, T. (2010). The strange case of Origami Yoda. NY: Amulet (any book in this series is fine as well)
Booth, C. (2007). Tyrell. NY: Push/Scholastic.
Bray, L. (2009). Going bovine. NY: Delacorte.
Canales, V. (2005). The tequila worm. NY: Wendy Lamb Books/Random House
Cormier, R. (1974). The chocolate war. NY: Delacorte.
Crutcher, C. (1991). Athletic shorts. NY: Greenwillow
Deutsch, B. (2010. Hereville. NY: Amulet.
Engle, M. (2008). The surrender tree. NY: Holt
Garden, N. (1982). Annie on my mind. NY: FSG.
Gidwitz, A. (2011). A tale dark and Grimm.
Green, J. (2005). Looking for Alaska. NY: Dutton
Harris, R. (2009). It’s perfectly normal. Boston, MA: Candlewick Press.
Heiligman, D. (2009). Charles and Emma: The Darwin’s leap of faith. NY: Holt.
Korman, G. (2002). No more dead dogs. NY: Hyperion
L'engle, M. (2012). Wrinkle in time, graphic novel. (Hope Larson edition). NY: Harper.
Myers, W. D. (1999). Monster. NY: Harper.
Ness, P. (2008). The knife of never letting go. Boston, MA: Candlewick Press
Sartrapi, M. (2004). Persepolis. NY: Pantheon.
Scieszka, J. (ed.). (2010). Guys read: Funny business. NY: Walden Pond Press
Trueman, T. (2000). Stuck in neutral. NY: Harper
Westerfeld, S. (2009). Leviathan. NY: Simon Pulse.
Yong-bin, K. (2010). Twilight, the graphic novel. NY: Yen Press.
One of the screen casts for the course discusses each book and why it is included on my list of essential books. Some are here because school librarians need to know the history of YA, to read from the beginning decades to contemporary selections, to understand the appeal of popular, to comprehend the worthiness of award winners, and more. It is not a perfect list; I doubt I will ever be satisfied with the list. I would also note that I am limited by the 15 week semester and, thus, require only 30 books (ONLY, you say? To know only 30 books and work in a school library is insufficient. I would require more, but this is a good place to begin).
So, here are two lists of essentials. I wonder, what would your essential list look like? Right now, committee members are re-reading over and over again, the books they believe are worthy of Newbery and Printz and other awards. They have their essential lists, lists that have to be narrowed even further before the January announcements. What would be in those essential stacks, I wonder? I will find out, along with the rest of you, in January. Then, I suspect, I might be revising my lists for children's and YA literature for the next semester.