best book ever

For a few months, I’ve been guest blogging over at Short and Sweet Reviews on the weekly “Best Book Ever” series, where authors and bloggers offer their recommendations for the best book on any given topic, such as Dragons (my pick: The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien), Indies (Freedom Maze by Delia Sherman, published by Small Beer Press), and Strong Female Leads (Flora Segunda by Ysabeau Wilce). To help Amanda celebrate the one year blogaversary of Short and Sweet Reviews, this week we’re hosting some giveaways and featuring a Best Book Ever free-for-all. My choice this week is “Best Childhood Book Ever,” one which I’ve been meaning to blog about for a while:


You’ve probably heard of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH by Robert C. O’Brien or seen the animated film adapted as The Secret of NIMH. You may even have read his post-apocalyptic young adult novel, Z for Zachariah. But have you read O’Brien’s middle grade fantasy The Silver Crown? Maybe not, since it was out of print for quite some time; but a new edition was published in 2001, and it’s well worth grabbing a copy. I own three, including one from the UK — I wasn’t taking any chances on it going out of print again.

The Silver Crown was O’Brien’s first published book. It appeared in 1968, and I first read it twenty-one years later, when I was in the 6th grade. It stuck with me for a long time; this book has probably informed my taste in fiction and tendencies in writing more than most others I’ve encountered. The story is about a ten-year-old girl named Ellen who wakes up on her birthday to discover a silver crown on her pillow. She slips out with it for an early morning walk, and when she returns she finds her house has burned down with her family inside. That’s pretty dark stuff for a children’s book, and it impressed me even then. Someone is following her, clearly after the crown, and she runs away to look for her aunt. Eventually she meets up with a boy named Otto and they have some trippy adventures as they delve deeper into the dangerous plot she’s mixed up in. Ellen learns that the situation — and the crown itself — are not at all what they seem. It all comes to a satisfactory end, though the U.S. edition features two final chapters: the original ending, which was published in the U.K., and a slightly expanded version that explains events even further.

I reread this book periodically and it still holds up very well for me as an adult, though nostalgia may be working some of its own insidious magic. It’s still refreshing to read a book with such a strong and sympathetic female protagonist, which is common to at least three of O’Brien’s books, that doesn’t talk down to its audience and isn’t afraid to get a little creepy. I’ve just been reminded that I haven’t yet read O’Brien’s fourth book, A Report from Group 17, since it remains out of print. I’ll track it down though, and perhaps it will make an appearance in a future Best Book Ever post.

In addition to Amanda’s giveaway at Short and Sweet Reviews, I’m offering a Fair Coin prize pack that includes a free copy of my novel, bookmarks, a signed postcard, a custom coin case, and a bag of chocolate silver coins.

All you have to do to enter for a chance to win is leave a comment in this post naming one of your favorite childhood books.

For an additional entry, Like my Facebook page at http://facebook.com/flipthecoin or, if you don’t do Facebook, link to this contest on your blog.

For two extra entries, follow me on Twitter (@ecmyers) and tweet about this contest, mentioning me and using the hashtag #faircoin.

You can also add Fair Coin on Goodreads and get an extra entry that way.

Make sure you mention which of the above you do for extra points in your comments so I can count up the entries! I’ll use some randomizer-thingey to select the winner.

The contest will be open until next Thursday, April 5 at 8:00 a.m. EST.

26 Comments

  1. Breila McValan

    Jane Yolen’s Dragon Pit Trilogy will always hold a special place in my heart.

  2. Amy S.

    I loved many books, but one of the earliest I remember just loving so much was Bunnicula. I was probably in 2nd or 3rd grade and read it many many times! Thanks for the chance to win your book. I added to my good-reads list. I also am a twitter follower: @kalbde. And I liked you on facebook. Your book sounds really intersting too. I’m looking forward to reading it.

  3. Christina (A Reader of Fictions)

    One of my favorite books from my childhood, which I continue to reread and adore is The Witch of Blackbird Pond. Love it! Also The Phantom Tollbooth and Johnny Tremain!

    Added on Goodreads (same name as comment) and tweeted (Reader_Fictions).

  4. Aurora Celeste

    My fave is probably Alanna: The First Adventure :D

    I tweeted (yasffblog) and facebook liked!

  5. Christina Kit.

    I loved Nancy Drew books:)

    Fair Coin sounds awesome! Congrats:))

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  6. Carrie A

    My fave book was CHarlotte’s Web.

    Liked on FB as Carrie Ardoin.

    Following on Twitter @celjla212, and tweeted:
    https://twitter.com/#!/celjla212/status/185413058733154304

    Added to my Goodreads TBR, Carrie Ardoin.

  7. Christina Kit.

    I liked you on facebook Christina Rita Condomaros

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  8. Candy M

    My favorite childhood books were/are The Little House on the Prairie Series.

  9. Christina Kit.

    I followed you on twitter @christinafiorio

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  10. Christina Kit.
  11. Christina Kit.

    I added your book to my Goodreads list Christina Kitroeff

    ccfioriole at gmail dot com

  12. Lisa Fisher Walker

    My favorite book as a child was The Little Prince.
    I am following you on FB
    I am following you on twitter as @LIese2
    I added Fair Coin to my Goodreads shelf as Lisa Walker
    I tweeted:
    Win Fair Coin from @ecmyers! http://ecmyers.net/2012/03/best-book-ever/#comment-3604 #faircoin
    Thanks so much for the chance to win!

  13. Ren @ Ren's Rambles

    Hmm… My favorite childhood book(series) was probably The Chronicles of Narnia. I just remember loving those books so much! I could spend all day getting lost in them. Thanks for the giveaway! =)

  14. Mandy R

    My favorite book from when I was a kid was Bridge to Terabithia. Loved that book!

    Facebook: msteffenriddell

    Twitter: https://mobile.twitter.com/#!/pandalovesyou/status/185490665017323521

    Added to goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10151730-fair-coin

  15. Megan

    One of my favourite books has always been a Wrinkle in Time by Madelaine L’Engle.

  16. Doodle

    One of my favorite books was One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish.

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  17. Doodle

    I liked your facebook page: Emily Rencich

  18. Doodle

    Following you on twitter @erencich

    thanks for the giveaway!

  19. Doodle

    Fair Coin is on my “to-read” list on Goodreads: Emily AKA Doodle

    Thanks!

  20. leannessf

    I loved Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery – still one of my favorites!

    Thanks for the giveaway!
    Leanne

  21. Julie Witt

    I loved the Little House on the Prairie books when I was young! I enjoy reading them to my kids now at bedtime:)

    FB: Julie Witt
    Twitter: @jwitt33
    Added to Goodreads: Julie Witt
    jwitt33 at live dot com

  22. BookAttict

    When I was really little (2 or 3) I loved Peter Pan — I knew the whole book by heart, since I insisted on having it read to me every night…(I STILL have the book – printed in the 1950’s).

    elizabeth @ bookattict . com
    Twitter: @BookAttict
    Facebook: Elizabeth Kotkiewicz Hyatt
    Goodreads (added): Elizabeth Hyatt (Book_Attict)

  23. Sarah

    I really loved reading the Nancy Drew and Goosebump series when I was young. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

    I liked the FB page: Sarah Palo
    I followed you on Twitter: @Sarahbotbonkers
    I added your book on GR: Sarah

  24. Tiffany Drew

    My first favorite book was The BFG by Roald Dahl, and it is still one of my favorites to this day. I was also quite obsessed with the Fear Street books by R. L. Stine. I think I read at least one a day. Thank you for the opportunity to win a copy of your book, I’ve been eyeing it for a while and am so glad to finally have the chance to read it :)

    Facebook fan Tiffany Drew
    Added to Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/3813245-tiffany

    jaidahsmommy(at)comcast(dot)net

  25. ecmyers (Post author)

    Thanks for all the comments, everyone! I see we love a lot of the same books.

    I’ll tally all the entries this weekend and use randomizer.org to randomly select a winner. I’ll contact the winner for an address and make the announcement by Monday at the latest.

    Many thanks to Amanda at Short and Sweet for putting all this together.

  26. Pingback: a winner is… | e.c. myers

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