Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dead Mom Books

When I got elected to the Newbery, someone cracked a joke about all the "dead mom" books. They weren't joking. I've started to think of this as the "dead mom year" though it is really dead parents of both genders. Below are the ones I've noticed (not at all a complete list just a quick glance through my notes) that have a dead parent before the book begins. Not included are missing parents, divorced or run off parents, or parents who die during the book. Included are a few books where the parentage is a bit of confusion, but they're dead. At least two of these the dead part could be considered a spoiler so consider yourself warned. Also two of these might be more properly considered teens.
  • Laugh with the Moon by Burg (dead mom)
  • Letters to Leo by Hest (dead mom)
  • What the Dog Said by Reisfeld (dead dad)
  • Fourmile by Key (dead dad)
  • Sinister Sweetness of Splendid Academy by Loftin (dead mom)
  • The Great Unexpected by Creech (about half the town are orphans)
  • Tracks by Wilson (dead dad)
  • Child of the Mountains by Shank (dead dad)
  • The Wicked and the Just by Coats (dead mom)
  • Summer of the Wolves by Carlson-Voiles (both parents dead, mom most recently)
  • The Unfortunate Son by Leeds (there is confusion here)
  • Irises by Stork (dead father, comatose mother)
  • Starters by Price (both parents dead)
  • The False Prince by Nielsen (confusion about who his parents are)
  • The Book of Wonders by Richards (dead mom)
  • If Only by Geithner (dead mom)
  • Winterling by Prineas (dead mom and dad)
  • The Boy on Cinnamon Street by Stone (dead mom)
  • The Humming Room by Potter (dead mom and dad)
  • Oddfellow's Orphanage by Martin (everyone's an orphan give or take)
  • Glory Be by Scattergood (dead mom)
  • Five Lives of Our Cat Zook by Rocklin (dead dad)
This is probably not an unusually large number of books; it's probably that high every year. I just don't look at every single book published on a normal year. Still I don't think I knew a single kid with a deceased parent when I was a child. Of course in my children's lit class they taught us that the first problem of children's lit was to get rid of the parents, freeing up the kids for adventures.

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