#1 Chapter Book Author – J. K. Rowling

#1 Chapter Book Author: J. K. Rowling
445 points.

Tonight I’m beginning my posts of the Top 100 Chapter Book Authors from Betsy Bird’s Top 100 Chapter Books Poll with something of an upset. I hadn’t looked at the totals in awhile, and in the back of my mind, I simply thought that of course E. B. White, having won the top slot so decisively with Charlotte’s Web, would naturally be on top.

But I shouldn’t have been surprised. We all know how much the books by relative newcomer are beloved. Though this time most of us simply voted for the first book in her beloved series, not only was that book #3 in the Chapter Book Rankings, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was #12, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was #98, and yes, every single other book got at least one vote.

Just a little background. Betsy Bird did a poll on her Fuse #8 blog asking people to write in with their Top 10 Chapter Books of all time, ranked in order from 1 to 10. Each book was given 10 points for first place, 9 for second place, and so on. Then she gave us a ranking of the top 100 point-getters. I helped tally up the points, and I was interested in what authors would be on top, since with some it was so hard to choose just one book to vote for. Hence this series of posts.

Here are Betsy’s posts about J. K. Rowling’s three books in the Top 100:

#3. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

#12. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

#98. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

And here are my own reviews of all the books:

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

I am very proud that I gave the first book to my son Josh on his eleventh birthday, and just as soon as he finished reading it, he urged us to read it as a family at bedtimes. (His little brother was five years old, and we’d started reading them books together, when we could find a book both would like.) The next year, before the book was famous, we gave the book to several other people. One of those was Josh’s fifth grade teacher, and he said it was the best present he’d ever received. When controversy began breaking out over the book the following year, his class put up big “We Love Harry Potter” signs on the classroom windows.

I confess, when my husband told me he wanted a “trial separation” a few months before Harry Potter #6 was due out, I said, “But then you won’t be there to read Harry Potter!” and burst into tears. (He did stay through the purchase of that book, but it was clear his heart wasn’t in it.) He had been the principal reader for all the earlier books, and I had treasured that family time. By #7, my son Josh was away at college, and my ex-husband was in Japan, but I talked my young teenage son who remained to let me read it aloud to him. Sigh. Now I just have to read them on my own. But I will always ALWAYS treasure those memories of reading Harry Potter together, at home and on vacation in England (one year we got the book earlier than everyone else by going to England) and in Germany (we spent a whole day of our vacation in Bavaria reading the end of The Goblet of Fire rather than going sight-seeing).

We also have a collection of Harry Potter books: American, British and German editions of all the books except the last (In case you’re wondering, that’s my childhood collection of Black Stallion books next to the British editions of Harry Potter.)

And we have copies of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone in many different languages: Hebrew, Chinese, Czech, Bulgarian, Japanese, and French. As well as, of course, American, British, and German. (I’ve read the American, British, German and French ones. Not the others.)

Yes, I must admit I’m pleased that J. K. Rowling has the Number One Chapter Book Author spot. She deserves it!

Another Blog Series! Top 100 Authors, Illustrators, and Picture Book Authors, Oh My!

Yes, I’m going to start another blog series.

I know, I know, you are right to be skeptical. Let’s see, besides 54 reviews I want to post, the blog series I currently have going are:

Sonderling Sunday
Conference Corner
Sondy’s Selections
Librarians Help

And, yes, I intended for most of those to be weekly series….

So now I want to start a series that will have 300 entries! Will it ever end? Will it even get off the ground?

Here’s the deal. When Betsy Bird of School Library Journal’s Fuse #8 blog decided to run another Top 100 Chapter Books and Top 100 Picture Books Poll, she put out a call for volunteers to help tally the results. Since I love spreadsheets and counting things and detail work, I quickly sent a “Pick Me! Pick Me!” e-mail. Now, mind you, I wasn’t content to only total the results of the top 100 books. It struck me as unfair that certain authors like Dr. Seuss with a wide body of work and no clear favorite would suffer in the standings. So I also tallied up the top chapter books authors, picture book authors, and picture book illustrators.

Betsy has graciously told me I can post this data on my own blog. I was thinking I’d just blast the info out there this weekend.

But then I got to thinking. Perhaps it’s because I’m feeling dead tired, still jetlagged from my trip to California less than a week ago. The thought of posting 300 names is simply daunting.

And, after all… why should I post all of them at once? Between you and me, the ONLY thing I didn’t like about Betsy’s posts was I couldn’t keep up. I was at ALA Annual Conference and on vacation when the big dramatic reveal of the highest numbers happened. I still haven’t read all the posts. (Though I assure you, I will.)

Personally, I’m not in a hurry to post about them. It would actually be quite fun to focus on one name at a time. I can link to all of Betsy’s posts about books by each person, link to my own reviews of any books by each person, throw in some of my own anecdotes, and end up with a very very long-running blog series out of it. Since it may be years before I get to the end, I will also start at the top with the Number One names, and then just go as long as I feel like it.

So — keep watching and I will post about the #1 Chapter Book Author very soon!