Sunday, February 14, 2010

Notes on Novels 100-71

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.



14 comments:

Betsy said...

Ye gods! This is fantastic, amazing, and engrossing. That the 1990s are doing so well shocks me. I hadn't noticed that before, and now I wonder if it will continue, or dip down considerably. Thanks again for doing all of this!

Monica Edinger said...

When making up my list to send to Betsy I tried to think of a non-English title that might have a chance and came up with Pippi. Was so thrilled when she made the cut. However, given the likely demographics of the voters I'd guess it unlikely that something like The Magic Pudding would have a shot --- unless, of course, a whole lotta Aussies heard about this and weighed in. Be cool if it did though!

bibliophile30 said...

It would be interesting to poll the age of the voters and see if there is any correlation between that and the decades most represented. I also wonder if the dip of 1960-1980 for the children's novels says anything about the type of books published in that period? Thanks for compiling and sharing these statistics.

SchrefflerFamily said...

1812. Swiss Family Robinson

Fleurdesel said...

I voted for one of the Moomin books by Tove Jansson, but I am afraid that it is too obscure. I expected it to show in the bottom 25 if at all. So there is a very slim chance we will get a title from Finland.

Clarissa

Mrs. F-B's Books Blog said...

I never think I'm a numbers gal until someone does some statistical analysis like this. I'ts SO interesting. Thanks for sharing - I'd love to see updates later on in the reveal.

Jen Robinson said...

This is very cool. Thanks for doing this analysis. I look forward to seeing more!

Chorkie said...

I started teaching in 1971. Therfore, many teachers my age are probably not as involved in these surveys as those of us who still enjoy reading C/YA literature. There is possibly less participation with less books nominated in that decade. Just thinking outloud...

ChrisinNY said...

Thanks for doing this. I agree that it is too bad you can't do some correlation with the age and gender of voters. Thanks.

thebooleyhouse said...

Fleurdesel, I also voted for a Moomin book (Finn Family Moomintroll), so maybe there are enough of us to still get the delightful Finns on the list? Though I agree, it's one of my votes I expected to appear late in the list, if at all.

Sondy said...

Hi Eric, I love this! I have two master's degrees -- one in Library Science and one in Math, so this stuff is right up my alley!
What I'd like to see is how the votes would go if the points were credited to the author, not the title. Would the top ten change much?

Eric Carpenter said...

Sondy- yeah for two master's degrees (mine in are education and film history, maybe someday i'll add a third with library science). I'll defiently show the author break down by points, votes and 1st place votes once there are more authors with multiple titles on the list. As of today Creech, Cleary and Alexander each have two titles but i expect series writers like Rowlings, Cooper and Wilder will jump to the front when their books start appearing en masse.

ChrisinNY - don't think voter demographics can happen, but author demographics will appear in the next post when I break down books 100-51. If I can hunt down all of the author birthdates i'll even include age of author at publication. Right now I can tell you that the female authors are running away with thing at 70%.

My Boaz's Ruth said...

It seems to me more fiction is written by female authors to begin with.

RM1(SS) (ret) said...

I love the Moomintroll books, but not many people seem to be familiar with them.

Voter demographics: I'm 55, and my list included 1 book from the 1900s, 2 from the '30s, 1 from the '40s, 4 from the '50s, 1 from the '60s and 1 from the 2000s. I think the one from the '40s was the only one of these that I read before my 13th birthday.