I don’t usually do this, but I agree with Rivka so much that I am actually linking a thread to the Well-Trained Mind Forums. It asks the questions, “Is ‘quality literature’ necessarily old? Is old literature necessarily ‘quality’?”
I love children’s books. We read a lot of older books here. We’re currently still working our way through Moomins and Edward Eager, both of which the kids adore. However, I think you all know that I love new books as well. New books are constantly coming out that are just as good as older books. I cannot say how many times I have popped into a thread on that forum to recommend a book and found I was the only one making suggestions for books written in my own lifetime.
Two books we read not too long ago, highlight for me how children’s literature has changed. In Half-Magic by Edward Eager, written more than 50 years ago, the children reference children’s books of before their era with disdain. They’d all rather not read the dreadful Five Little Peppers and How They Grew. I can’t say I much blame them. But in The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall, written just a few years ago, Jane references Magic by the Lake by Edward Eager with joy. As children’s books have matured over the last century, there have been more and more of them. Within that, more and more books worthy of the title of “classic” have emerged and are still coming out so that Jane can think of an older book as good, yet also be a character in a wonderful contemporary book herself.
Too many thoughts to finish on this topic. Maybe I’ll think of more later when I don’t need to go make dinner and the kids aren’t literally wrestling on the bed.