Top 12 BEST-Selling books from 1972, NOVA RIF's Founding Year
On this page, please find our 12-month "calendar" of the top-selling children's books published in 1972, RIF of NOVA's founding year. Some on the list have stood the test of 50 years and are still widely read. Others are less well known. Our countdown starts with book #12 and will culminate with the top-selling 1972 children's book in December 2022.
Number 8 on the list is: In a People House. When a spunky mouse invites a passing bird to see what's inside a "people house," chaos ensues. Along with the silly fun, beginning readers can learn the names of 65 common household items -- and that people are generally not pleased to find mice and birds in their houses! Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, this book was illustrated by Roy McKié and written by none other than Dr. Seuss, a.k.a. Theodor Seuss Geisel. He authored this book as Theo. LeSieg -- LeSieg being Geisel spelled backward!
Book # 9
Number 9 on the list is: The Upstairs Room, a 1972 Holocaust survivor autobiography by Johanna Reiss documenting her childhood in occupied Holland during the Nazi invasion. The book, published by the Thomas Y. Crowell Co., won many awards, including a 1973 Newbery Honor and the 1973 National Jewish Book Award for best children's book.
Three Traits of a Good Children's Book
Children’s books quite literally come in all shapes and sizes, as well as all tones of voice, types of plots, and levels of vocabulary. The questions of what makes one book more important, popular, or simply better than another is widely debated—but here are three characteristics that many good children’s books possess.
1. An Interesting, Relatable Story
The story in a good children’s book will be engaging and captivating. Whether it is a realistic story about a family pet or a surreal story about a castle on Mars, some aspect of the story or character will usually be relatable to children. Even on Mars, the protagonist could be a child or could be a slimy monster who learns about sharing. When children can relate to a story, they can connect with it deeply and remember it more clearly. In You’re Only Young Twice: Children’s Literature and Film, Professor Tim Morris says that, “a book that children will like typically has a central character who is a believable child, and shows that child confronting the world with energy and imagination.” Books that skillfully take on universally relatable topics such as fear, love, and adventure tend to stay relevant. As Education.com tells us, “books stand the test of time because their authors write about topics that matter.”
2. Engaging Language
A good children’s book will typically have interesting language. The rhythm of the language will be pleasing and the words in the story will flow naturally from page to page. Rhyming is a popular and powerful way to involve children in developing active listening skills and phonemic awareness when they are being read to and early phonics skills when they are learning to read. The vocabulary in the book should be relatable but somewhat challenging at times to the age group of readers it is intended for. Learning a few new words from a book makes reading it a more valuable learning experience. If the student audience is bilingual, as is increasingly the case in the U.S., it is ideal for the book to be bilingual as well.
Many good children’s books are inclusive and informative about the many cultures of our world. They may include diverse characters, stories, songs and traditions from around the globe, or even be written in a bilingual format. Children’s books that honor various cultures can affirm students’ identities, teach them about their fellow classmates and community members, and begin to increase understanding between cultures at an early age.
A good children’s book also draws children into the story, asks them questions, and lends itself to discussion. A good children’s book is one that children genuinely enjoy while they are gaining some understanding of the world. The Children’s Book Council says that, “it is essential that they enjoy their reading experiences so that they will nurture those skills for the rest of their lives.” You will know a child has found a good book that resonates with them when they want to hear or read it more than once, and when they remember the story and even re-tell it to you. High quality children’s books teach children to think and wonder about their world and about themselves.
(Blog courtesy Lectura Books; To see its collection of bilingual children's books, please click here.)
Number 10 on the 1972 list is: Nate the Great by Marjorie Weinman Sharmat, now an imprint of the Penguin Group. Originally published in 1972, the book became a series of 26 chapter books, geared to emerging readers. Nate is a boy detective who wears a Sherlock Holmes-style deerstalker hat, loves pancakes, and always catches his culprit, usually with the help of his dog Sludge. Illustrator Marc Simont drew the first 20 “Nate” books, and at one time, Nate's image adorned millions of boxes of Cheerios!
Freaky Friday is a comedic children's novel written by Mary Rodgers. It was first published by Harper & Row in 1972 with cover art by Edward Gorey. The book has had many different covers over the years and has been adapted for the stage and for several films, including versions in 1976, 1995, 2003, and 2018. It was also reinterpreted as a horror film. The story features a day when 13-year-old Annabel Andrews and her mother switch bodies and, in the process, learn to appreciate each other's lives and perspectives.
This children's novel about baseball was the first in a series of four novels featuring a young man who is trained to play baseball by supernatural visitations from former Major League players.