Of course I would write about books, I am a librarian after all. Seriously though, there are not enough words (hah) to describe how much I love books. All genres, but right now I’m most enamored with picture books and books for elementary school kids. To be fair to all the “grownup” (I used to say “adult”, but that has it’s own connotation) books that I occasionally get to read… these are the books that consume my days. I thought I would talk a little bit about some of my old favorites and some “sure to be” new favorites.
I can’t really put these books in any order of preference because they are all my favorites so I’m just jumping in with titles. Let me throw out a caveat here. Even though I read a lot of books and make many recommendations, I am not into reviewing books; maybe it’s because I like to read so much that it didn’t matter to me what other people thought about the books I was reading. Even today when I book talk to my students, I stick to talking about the genre or the general plot or character info. I make sure that even when kids ask me about genres I don’t particularly like (sci fi — ugh!) I find something positive to say about their choice. I don’t think it’s necessary to enjoy every book you read as long as you can identify and explain what you didn’t like about it. So there will be no deep, analytical reviews here, just my thoughts on books you already know I love. So, yes I guess this will be biased 🙂
Trumpet of the Swan – E.B. White
This is a toss up between Trumpet and Charlotte’s Web, but I feel more people are familiar with Charlotte so this would be something new to experience. This is the story of Louis, a trumpeter swan who is born mute. Since he can’t communicate with his swan family the natural way, he learns to read and write and play a real trumpet. He goes on lots of adventures and has a great time with his human friend, Sam.
Definitely on my Top 10 list of all time. I can’t say too much about this book without ruining the story, but it’s so worth a read. I’ve given it to countless people (family and co-workers) and 99% of the time people love it. It’s about a teenage girl who goes on a cross country adventure with her grandparents to find her mother. I love every single book Sharon Creech writes and consider her one of my favorite authors.
Love that Dog Hate that Cat – Sharon Creech
These are two books told from the POV of a boy in elementary school. He is learning about poetry in school and this is his poetry journal. Jack hates poetry so he starts using his dog, Sky as his inspiration. This is an excellent tool for teaching poetry and using student journals. The sequel (Hate that Cat) JUST came out and it’s also superb. I read it today (It’s told in poem format so it’s super fast to read) and it was funny, sweet and touching.
Sisters Grimm: Fairy Tale Detectives – Michael Buckley
This series is incredible! Even as much as I read, I am sometimes blown away at the creativity of authors. You’d think that the topic of fairy tales has been done and done again and then a series like this comes along and suddenly that old topic is fresh and exciting. This six (soon to be SEVEN) book series is about two orphaned sisters who discover they are the last descendants of the Brothers Grimm. They also find out that those same brothers were actually fairytale detectives who lived among the fairy tale characters. Many years have passed since the Brothers Grimm convinced the fairy tale folk to move from Germany to Ferry Port Landing, NY where they have lived in an enchanted village setting for hundreds of years. These books are FUN. You’ll be impressed with the girls as they adjust to their new, dangerously exciting lives and root for them as they search for their kidnapped parents. These books are a real treat.
LIghtning Thief – Rick Riordan (Percy Jackson and the Olympians)
This is my other new favorite series. I LOVED Greek Mythology when I was growing up. I even wanted to be a professor of mythology at one time. I still have my Edith Hamilton mythology book from seventh grade. It’s in pretty good shape…considering :). Amazon has a new cover on their listing, so I’ll have to find a photo since I’m sure many of you will recognize it. Back to Percy. This is another series book, four currently published and I hear #5 is on the way. It’s about a teenage boy who finds out that he is a son of one of the three big greek gods. (Zeus, Hades, Posiden) and his learns that there are demi-gods like him all over the country. Oh yeah, Mt. Olympus has gradually moved as time passed and is now located above the Empire State Building. Percy attends Camp HalfBlood with other demi-gods and soon is sent on adventure after adventure starting with a search for Zeus’ lightning rod (which he has been wrongfully accused of stealing). These books are heavily filled with mythology and can be difficult if the reader doesn’t have the background, but they are terrific.
Ghost Soldier – Elaine Marie Alphin
Alexander has always been able to see ghosts, but no one believes him. He travels with his father to North Carolina and meets the ghost of a Confederate soldier who is trying to track down what happened to his family after he left to fight in the war. The soldier can’t move on until he knows what happened. Alexander is dealing with his own issues (mother left and father is dating someone else) and reluctantly helps the soldier find closure. I really enjoyed this story especially because of the historical details.
I should stop there because I could go on forever and ever. Next time I’ll talk about the picture books I love. There are many. I can’t count the number of books I’ve sent to friends’ children. The sad part is that I always buy a copy for myself too. My bookshelves are packed yet I can’t stop buying books. I’ll take a photo this weekend. If you want a sneak peek at a picture book recommendations check the links below.
More to come 🙂