Last year while the wonderful Elizabeth (Fuse #8) Bird counted down the results from her top 100 picture books poll, I followed along and analyzed different aspects of the results with an elaborate spreadsheet, occasionally sharing some of the interesting data points in the comment section of the Fuse #8 blog. This year I will make use of this new space to share data from the Top 100 Children's Novels poll.
Now that titles 100-71 have been announced there is enough data to see some interesting trends. Below are some of the observations (and questions) as well as some charts to visually represent said trends.
All but one of the novels on the list have come from the United States or United Kingdom. So far 73% (22) of the novels were originally published in the United States. 33% (7) novels were published first in the UK. Currently Pippi Longstocking (#95) is the only novel on the list not originally published in the English language. The Little Prince is surely a lock for the top 100, but what other non English language titles might we see? Will any Australian books make the cut? (Magic Pudding maybe?)
Before the results of the poll began to appear, I suspected a large showing from series books, but I did not suspect that 21 of the first 30 titles announced would be part of a series. Will this trend continue? Magnify? So far the Prydain series is the only one with multiple appearances so far but we can certainly count on see more from some of the series which have appeared (Potter, Little House) as well as multiple titles for series yet to appear such as the Dark Rising Sequence.
Of the 30 novels, 22 where eligible for Newbery Medal. Seven won the medal and 8 more received the Honor. That's a whopping 68%. Two more titles won the Boston Globe/Horn Book Award. This is a trend I see continuing unless the second half of the list becomes entirely overrun with series books.
So far the title with the most votes is Sydney Taylor's All-of-a-Kind Family which has 14 votes but no first place votes. With an average ranking of 7.5 we can see that while lots of voters loved this title few loved it enough to make the top half of their own top tens (it did receive one 3rd place and one 4th place vote).
Four titles received 2 1st place votes (both Prydain books as well as Swallows and Amazons and The City of Ember). Below is a chart showing all the votes cast so far.
As you can see its a pretty even distribution. So far 30 titles into the top 100, there have been 260 votes accounted for and a total of 1389 points accounted for. We know there were over 250 ballots submitted, so we can assume there are at least 14000 points in all. Last year approximately 60% of the possible points were accounted for in the top 100. If the same percentage holds this year we can expect ~8400 points in the top 100 so like last year this poll appears to be heading to a very top heavy finish (though I doubt the level of consensus will be as high as there is probably not a Where the Wild Things Are type title in this poll, last year WWTA received 1/6th of the first place votes!).
The above chart shows that the 1990s currently have the most titles in the top 100 with 6 titles, followed closely by the 2000s and the 1950s with 5 titles apiece. The 1970s has only 2 titles at present, but I'm guessing many 1970s titles show up in the top 25 and balance it out. I choose 1860 as the earliest decade since I'm assuming Alice in Wonderland and Little Women both make the list. Is there anything older that stands a chance? For comparison, in last year's picture book poll the 1980s ended up with the most representation with 19 titles (see below).
Once there are more titles on announced breakdowns by author gender, publisher and series placement will become worthwhile but for now this is what I see. If you have any other questions or wonder about some other stat such as % titles written by authors with 7 letters in their middle name, or anything else note it in the comment section and I will do my best to pull the data out. If you would like a copy of my spreadsheet send me an email and I can send it to you. Unfortunately GoogleDocs isn't very good at the more complex crtl-shift-enter formulas that are used so I can't share a working copy in that way.