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Category: Fiction for kids
JUNE 4, 2011
For about a year, the Harry Potter series has been taking a rest on the shelves of the library. Pretty much everybody that wanted to read it had done so, and even last year's Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 film hadn't generated much interest. However, in the last couple of months, a whole new generation of readers seems to have rediscovered the wizardly tale, and many of the volumes are now on reserve. Of course, there is a lot more hype recently with the upcoming release of the last film coming in July, but I think it's more significant than that. The series is a classic, and in many years to come, as young children reach the right age to begin, they will find it. If you are an adult, and you haven't read it, you might want to give it a try as well. It contains many of the elements that avid readers look for in a good novel-compelling characters, ingenius plot, and the ability to carry us away to another place.
I've just been having a look at a new fantasy series we received call The 13th Reality by James Dashner. The first volume is called The Journal of Curious Letters and it's all about a 13 year-old boy named Tick. Tick gets good grades, likes to read, and gets along with his parents. But when Tick opens a strange letter with an Alaska postmark, he finds hinmself right in the middle of an adventure that even his Dad can appreciate. Dashner writes with confidence and knows how to keep your interest right to the last page. And he has created one of the most original villains yet, the very 'yellow' Mistress Jane. Try this one, all you fantasy lovers out there, and if you like it, we have the second book of the series as well! Good for young teens and anyone who likes Harry Potter, Lemony Snicket, or Spiderwick.
A few new picture books have arrived recently. Beth Cadena's Supersister helps introduced kids to the idea of having a sibling. In The Middle Child Blues by Kristyn Crow, middle-child Lee learns that there are plenty of others who feel just like him, and our old friend, Fancy Nancy returns in Fancy Nancy Splendiferous Christmas by Jane O'Connor. And if your into scary, a recent offering by the popular Eve Bunting, The Banshee should be just right. Check out these new books on your next visit.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman. Nobody Owens lives in a graveyard. How he got there in the first place, and how he managed to grow up in such an unusual environment is the subject of this Newberry Award winning novel. Gaiman has created an intriguing world, inhabited by ghosts, ghouls, night-gaunts, and a chilling phenomenon known as the Sleer. Young readers who enjoyed the Harry Potter series or Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials will certainly relish this book as well. And it just might appeal to some adults too!
I just took a peak into the first volume of Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls by Meg Cabot. Cabot is best known for her books for older teens, especially The Mediator series. The Allie Finkle series is written for younger girls in grades 4-6. Allie is a nine year-old who likes math and science, collecting rocks, and making rules. She has a notebook to write them all down. But things get confused when her parents tell her and her brothers that the family is moving to another part of town. The new house is old and scary, and so is the prospect of a new school and new friends. Allie is determined to stay right where she is! This first volume of the series, Moving Day, is available at the library, along with volumes 2 and 3, just out this spring.
The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry. Lowry is best known for her Newberry Award winning novels Number the Stars and The Giver, both of which deal with serious subjects. In The Willoughbys, she does a complete turnaround and writes a book that is both outrageous and funny. Using just about every convention that appears in children's literature from orphans to nannies to reclusive candy makers, Lowry creates a family and a world that is all too real-or maybe not! Accompanied by Lowry's own whimsical drawings, The Willoughbys offers a light summer treat for kids ages 9-12.
In putting together our latest library newsletter, which is devoted to local history, I found several interesting books for kids. They all relate to the coal industry and present a fictional view of life in early Pennsylvania mining communities. The Breaker Boys by Pat Hughes tells the story of a friendship between a mine owner's son and a miner's son from the "patch." Together in Pinecone Patch by Thomas Yeserski is a picture book that chronicles the romance between an Irish girl and a Polish boy in a small mining town. A CoalMiner's Bride: The Diary of Anetka Kaminska by Susan A. Bartoletti takes place in the real town of Lattimer, PA. where a young Polish girl arrives to marry a miner. These books are available for loan at your library.
Who's Mo Willems, you ask? In the world of picture books, he's quite a celebrity. Willems began his writing career on Sesame Street, and won several Emmy Awards for his efforts. In libraries, he is best known for two series of easy picture books which have become great favorites with young readers. The Pigeon, a hot dog loving bird with lots of attitude, won Willems a Caldecott Honor for Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus! Then there's Knuffle Bunny, the favorite stuffed toy of young Trixie, a little girl living in New York City. The delightful drawings of Trixie and her family coupled with real photographs makes for an interesting and unusual approach in Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale and Knuffle Bunny Too. Check out the work of Mo Willems at your library.
One of the most popular genres among teens right now is vampire romance, and near the top of the heap lies Stephanie Meyer's Twilight Saga. This includes three volumes to date, Twilight, New Moon, and Eclipse, with the fourth, Breaking Dawn due to arrive in August. This series tells the story of Bella, a 17 year-old who arrives in a new town, only to discover her true love, Edward, a pale, mysterious fellow student. But Edward has a secret life-he's a vampire, and not just any vampire. He and several others have formed a clan which has given up human prey, providing the possibility of a relationship between he and Bella. Meyer has been praised by critics and fans for her sensitive writing style and her unique twist to this type of novel. Recommended for teens ages 12 and up, this series also appeals to many adults. Check it out at your library.
We've just received the 2007 John Newberry Medal winner, Good Masters!Sweet Ladies! Voices from a Medieval Village by Laura Amy Schlitz. This unique work is written as a series of monologues, spoken by the residents of a medieval manor in 13th century England. Everyone is represented, from the lord's daughter to the sniggler, a catcher of eels. This was originally written as a piece to be performed by students studying the Middle Ages, so it is definitely meant for reading aloud. Colorful, detailed illustrations by Robert Byrd make for a delightful and unusual volume.
If you're looking for something new to read for that book report that's due soon, here's a suggestion. The Unmaking of Duncan Veerick by Betty Levin is the story of a quiet 8th grader who finds himself stuck with helping to take care of a neighbor's dog. As he gets to know the dog's owner, Mrs. Valentine, he begins to take the job more seriously, and finds that he really likes the elderly woman. But when her nephew comes to try and help her, Astrid Valentine starts to act strangely and Duncan finds himself in over his head. This book is recommended for ages 9-12 and is available at the library.
On February 14, The Spiderwick Chronicles, the film based on the popular fantasy series by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black opens in theaters. Chances are if you are waiting impatiently for this film, then you probably are already a fan of these exciting and imaginative books. But in case you haven't read them, you can catch a sneak peak at your library. Not only do we have the 5 volumes of the original series, but we also have a great interactive book which tours the fabulous world of dwarves, sprites, and other assorted fantastic creatures that the Grace kids discover in their own backyard! In addition, we also have Book 1 of the new series by DiTerlizzi and Black, Beyond the Spiderwick Chronicles. Once you've seen the film, you may want to get started on the next adventure!
The Sally Lockhart Trilogy by Philip Pullman. In this collection of Victorian mysteries, Pullman has created another unforgettable character. Sally Lockhart knows all about accounting, stocks and bonds, and firearms-not the usual talents of young ladies in the 19th century when sewing or drawing was more the norm. Sally's three adventures, The Ruby in the Smoke, The Shadow in the North, and The Tiger in the Well paint a vivid picture of life in London at a time when the changes brought on by the Industrial Revolution were creating a new modern society. Although these books are to be found in our Junior collection, they can be enjoyed by adults as well.
Girl Sleuth:Nancy Drew and the Women Who Created Her by Melanie Rehak. The story of the creation of Nancy Drew, one of our most famous American literary icons, is almost as exciting as Nancy's adventures themselves. Originally the germ of an idea of Henry Stratemeyer, the creator of other long-lived characters like the Bobbsey Twins and Tom Swift, Nancy was actually developed through the collaborative effort of several individuals-Stratemeyer himself, his daughters Harriet and Edna, who took over his company after his death, and a hard-working Midwestern journalist by the name of Mildred Wirt Benson. In Ms. Rehak's book the real Nancy Drew mystery is revealed! The library has thirty volumes of the series as well as many Hardy Boys, Dana Girls, and Bobbsey Twins editions.
the Chicago and the Cat series by Robin Michal Koontz. If your kids are at the stage of learning to read where the 'easy reader' chapter books are becoming a staple, they really might enjoy this series. Chicago, a thoughtful, clever, and hard-working rabbit is tricked into inviting a nameless cat into her orderly house. The adventures of the pair, who are total opposites, make for some amusing reading by kids and adults alike.