Okay, I'm throwing this one directly to the teachers in the audience (which, I have already demonstrated, make up a large percentage of my readership) and the theorists who specialise in children's literature (Ky, I'm looking directly at you).
This week, a bunch of the academic blogs are discussing the US National Education Association's Top 100 Book lists. Mostly, they are discussing the Top 100 Teachers' Books, and have turned that list into a meme (how many of these have you read?). When I went to read that list myself, I discovered that the NEA also has a list of Kids' Top 100 Books, which has some revealing similarities and differences.
I discovered that many of the commenters on the Little Professor's blog were asking the question "Where is Harry Potter?" Those asking the question were under the understanding that this list of "the top 100 kids' books" was the top all-around. In fact, Harry Potter tops the list of books that kids love, and does not make it into the top 100 for teachers. The kids list also has a bunch of series that I understand teachers not using in classes -- Babysitters' Club, Goosebumps, Mary-Kate and Ashley, Captain Underpants and Sweet Valley High. What first struck me was the fact that nearly every book listed by teachers was published well before I was born. Most of the teachers would have read these books as children. In reality, only M-K and A, and the Captain Underpants books weren't around when I was a kid.
Can someone make something of these lists? One thing that I've noticed is that teachers favour Dr. Seuss's social issues books (such as The Lorax), while children pick the "I can read this myself" books (Hop on Pop, The Foot Book, One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish). I think this means that Dr. Seuss is mainly popular with very young children in the US. I hope that's what it means, and not that Horton Hears a Who is too advanced.