Scroll to the bottom of the page for a complete list of My Favorite Book titles.
For many children, few recommendations carry more weight than those that come from other kids. What better way, then, for children to find great books than to hear some of their peers wax enthusiastically about them? Thus is the thinking behind a new short-form series on HBO Family called My Favorite Book, which launches August 26. Each three-minute episode features two young readers speaking extemporaneously about a book they love and will run as an interstitial between the shows in HBO Family's morning preschool programming block and also during family viewing time (considered to be after 7 p.m.). Plans are to run one episode per week, with 52-plus episodes already ready to roll.
"We were all aware of Reading Rainbow[the PBS children's book-based series], but we wanted to do something that was kids on kids and books," explained Dolores Morris, v-p of HBO Family. "Many of our series are already based on book properties—such as Paddington, George and Marthaand the forthcoming Harold and the Purple Crayon—and we thought this new show could also promote reading."
Morris oversaw the project via weekly meetings and screenings as it was being produced by Diane Kolyer and her coproducer Ilana Trachtman. Kolyer estimates that she and Trachtman visited more than 30 schools throughout New York, New Jersey and Connecticut and spoke to more than 750 children in grades K-2 to get footage for the show. "Kids really love the books they chose to talk about," Kolyer commented, "and sometimes they would just let out some gem about how a book related to their life."
Trachtman was impressed by her subjects' enthusiasm and input as well. "I was a bit surprised at the significance books have in these children's imaginations," she said. "Many of their thoughts were sparked by what they read and saw in those titles." As a result, Trachtman noted that the kids' responses on-camera were genuinely "sweet, heartwarming and really funny." Morris likened the episodes to "kids having a great time playing Siskel and Ebert."
As My Favorite Book first took shape, Kolyer (who has young children of her own) and Trachtman knew of some books to start with, planning to focus on both classics and recent favorites. But they also "wanted the advice of experts," said Trachtman, "and the American Library Association was a natural choice." The ALA became an advisory partner in the show, proposing titles and making suggestions about the producers' choices. "Their support helped us round things out," Kolyer said. "They said we needed more books with strong girl characters, for example."
In addition, Kolyer mentioned that in finalizing the titles "we were striving for ethnic diversity among authors and characters and didn't want to have more than three books by any one author on the list." Children were a factor in book selection as well. If the school children Kolyer and Trachtman visited did not have strong feelings about a book, it didn't make the cut. "It was interesting to see the books that all the kids seemed to know and love," Trachtman added, citing the picture book No, David!by David Shannon as an example. "I hadn't known about that book before, but I found out that David is like a rock star," she said with a laugh.
According to Morris, My Favorite Booktitles will be routinely listed on HBOFamily.com so that parents can easily reference them. Among the books to be featured on the program are Olivia, Are You My Mother?, Eloise, Swimmy, The Rainbow Fish, Mama, Do You Love Me?, Danny and the Dinosaur and Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.
| MY FAVORITE BOOK TITLES |
|Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman (Random House), airs week of 8/27/01 |
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom by John Archamboult and Bill Martin, Jr., illus. by Lois Ehlert (S&S), airs week of 9/3/01
Eloise by Kay Thompson, illus. by Hilary Knight (S&S), airs week of 9/10/01
Strega Nona by Tomie dePaola (S&S), airs week of 9/17/01
Swimmy by Leo Lionni (Random House), airs week of 9/24/01
Whistle for Willie by Ezra Jack Keats (Penguin Putnam), airs week of 10/1/01
The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister (North-South), airs week of 10/8/01
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs by Judi Barrett, illus. by Ron Barrett (S&S), airs week of 10/15/01
Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst, illus. by Ray Cruz (S&S), airs week of 10/22/01
Abuela by Arthur Dorros, illus. by Elisa Kleven (Penguin Putnam), airs week of 10/29/01
Dog Breath: The Horrible Trouble with Hally Tosis by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic), airs week of 11/5/01
Frederick by Leo Lionni (Random House), airs week of 11/12/01
Mama, Do You Love Me? by Barbara M. Joosse, illus. by Barbara Lavallee (Chronicle), airs week of 11/19/01
No, David! by David Shannon (Scholastic/Blue Sky), airs week of 11/26/01
Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, illus. by Julie Vivas (Kane/Miller), airs week of 12/3/01
Click, Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin, illus. by Betsy Lewin (S&S), airs week of 12/10/01
The Seven Chinese Brothers by Margaret Mahy, illus. by Jean and Mou-sien Teng (Scholastic), airs week of 12/17/01
There Was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Simms Taback (Penguin Putnam), airs week of 12/24/01
Danny and the Dinosaur by Syd Hoff (HarperCollins), airs week of 12/31/01
Yoko by Rosemary Wells (Hyperion), airs week of 1/7/02
The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle (Penguin Putnam), airs week of 1/14/02
Stone Soup by Marcia Brown (S&S), airs week of 1/21/02
Anansi and the Moss Covered Rock by Eric A. Kimmel, illus. by Janet Stevens (Holiday House), airs week of 1/28/02
Noisy Nora by Rosemary Wells (Penguin Putnam), airs week of 2/4/02
|Go, Dog, Go! by P.D. Eastman (Random House), airs week of 2/11/02 |
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig (S&S), airs week of 2/18/02
The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch, illus. by Michael Martchenko (Annick Press), airs week of 2/25/02
A Fish Out of Water by Helen Palmer, illus. by P.D. Eastman (Random House), airs week of 3/4/02
Guess How Much I Love You by Sam McBratney, illus. by Anita Jeram (Candlewick), airs week of 3/11/02
Peter's Chair by Ezra Jack Keats (Penguin Putnam), airs week of 3/18/02
The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas, illus. by Helen Oxenbury (S&S), airs week of 3/25/02
A Bad Case of Stripes by David Shannon (Scholastic/Blue Sky), airs week of 4/1/02
A Letter to Amy by Ezra Jack Keats (Penguin Putnam), airs week of 4/8/02
The Dumb Bunnies by Sue Denim, illus. by Dav Pilkey (Scholastic/Blue Sky), airs week of 4/15/02
Rumpelstilstskin by Christopher Noël, illus. by Peter Sís (S&S), airs week of 4/22/02
Go Away, Big Green Monster! by Ed Emberley (Little, Brown), airs week of 4/29/02
The Paperboy by Dav Pilkey (Orchard), airs week of 5/6/02
Walter the Baker by Eric Carle (S&S), airs week of 5/13/02
Horace and Morris But Mostly Dolores by James Howe, illus. by Lou Fancher (Atheneum), airs week of 5/20/02
Olivia by Ian Falconer (S&S/Schwartz), airs wee of 5/27/02
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss (Random House), airs week of 6/3/02
Tikki Tikki Tembo by Arlene Mosel, illus. by Blair Lent (Henry Holt), airs week of 6/10/02
Ira Sleeps Over by Bernard Waber (Houghton Miffin), airs week of 6/17/02
Martha Speaks by Susan Meddaugh (Houghton Mifflin), airs week of 6/23/02
The Gingerbread Boy by Paul Galdone (Houghton Mifflin), airs week of 6/30/02
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton (Houghton Mifflin), airs week of 7/15/02
A Porcupine Named Fluffy by Helen Lester, illus. by Lynn Munsinger (Houghton Mifflin), airs week of 7/22/02
The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Paul Galdone (Houghton Mifflin), airs week of 8/5/02
Horton Hears a Who by Dr. Seuss (Random House), airs week of 8/12/02
The House on East 88th Street by Bernard Waber (Houghton Mifflin), airs week of 8/19/02
When I Was Little: A Four-Year-Old's Memoir of Her Youth by Jamie Lee Curtis, illus. by Laura Cornell (HarperCollins), airs week of 8/26/02