Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 (5)

By: Joshua Glenn
January 7, 2018

For several years now, I’ve argued — here at HILOBROW, as well as in the UNBORED books I’ve co-authored — that the Sixties (1964–1973) were a golden age for YA and YYA adventures. This post is one in a series of 10 identifying my favorites from 1968. Happy 50th anniversary!

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Ted Hughes‘s The Iron Man: A Children’s Story in Five Nights (US: The Iron Giant).

When a farmer’s son named Hogarth discovers that a mysterious man of iron has appeared in his rural English village, and is destroying crops, he alerts the townspeople — then helps them trap and bury the monster alive. Later, repenting of the role that he’d played in this action, Hogarth leads the iron man to a junkyard, where he can leave peacefully. Then, when an immense “space-bat-angel-dragon” arrives, demanding to be fed living creatures, Hogarth turns to the iron man for help. Will he save the planet that had rejected him? The author, considered one of the twentieth century’s greatest poets, wrote the book after his children’s mother, Sylvia Plath, committed suicide; he wanted to tell them a story in which a child can master the horrors of the adult world.

Fun fact: Adapted in 1999 as a now-classic animated movie, directed by Brad Bird. PS: Was Black Sabbath’s “Iron Man” inspired by Hughes’s book? Writing for The Boston Globe in 2008, I persuasively argued that the answer is: probably, yes.

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Let me know if I’ve missed any adventures from this year that you particularly admire. Also, please check out these additional lists.

BEST SIXTIES YA & YYA SERIES: Best YA & YYA Lit 1963 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1964 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1965 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1966 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1967 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1968 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1969 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1970 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1971 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1972 | Best YA & YYA Lit 1973. ALSO: Best YA Sci-Fi.

The 200 Greatest Adventure Novels of All Time. THE OUGHTS (1904–13): 1905 | 1906 | 1907 | 1908 | 1910 | 1911 | 1912 | 1913. THE TEENS (1914–23): 1915 | 1916 | 1917 | 1918 | 1920 | 1921 | 1922 | 1923. THE TWENTIES (1924–33): 1925 | 1926 | 1927 | 1928 | 1930 | 1931 | 1932 | 1933. THE THIRTIES (1934–43): 1935 | 1936 | 1937 | 1938 | 1940 | 1941 | 1942 | 1943. THE FORTIES (1944–53): 1945 | 1946 | 1947 | 1948 | 1950 | 1951 | 1952 | 1953. THE FIFTIES (1954–63): 1955 | 1956 | 1957 | 1958 | 1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963. THE SIXTIES (1964–73): 1964 | 1965 | 1966 | 1967 | 1968 | 1970 | 1971 | 1972 | 1973. THE SEVENTIES (1974–83): 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1980 | 1981 | 1982 | 1983. The goal, eventually, is to publish a Top 10 Adventures list for every year of the 20th century.

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Adventure, Lit Lists

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