Friday, April 23, 2010

A step in the right direction

I have not read a new children's book in some time, and this afternoon had the dreaded question put forth by one of the resource center frequent patrons. "What's the best new book you've read that would be appropriate for sixth graders?" We talked for a few minutes, I copped to my reading transgressions, and I sent her to the collection blog to peruse new titles. Neither of us fully satisfied, but understanding that was the best option available.

Chagrined, this afternoon I quickly and quietly pilfered four titles from the cart of children's books awaiting delivery to the new book shelf; two graphic novels and two general fiction:
  • Bird House, by Vernon White
    The King has grown old and lonely and is ferociously hated in his Kingdom. When a servant attempts to poison him, an all-out search begins for those who resist his rule. Meanwhile, the King's only daughter despises her life in the castle. She dreams of returning to a town she once visited, but is forbidden to take one step outside of the castle walls. Her plans to escape strain her relationship with her fiance who has sworn to protect the King. Her only hope falls on an absent-minded servant hired within the castle to do construction. With his help, she hopes to recapture the freedom she so briefly felt. With a fairy-tale-like setting, combined with modern themes of isolation, obligation, and longing, Birdhouse is a magical debut graphic novel from new talent Vernon White. -- Amazon product description

  • Booth, by C.C. Colbert
    In a time when brother was pitted against brother, no family was more divided than the Booths.The United States has become violently polarized. Political fanaticism divides an embittered populace. A recently elected President—an energizing symbol of change for some, and a harbinger of the downfall of America for others—stands at the center of the turmoil. It is 1865, and John Wilkes Booth is about to assassinate the President of the United States. From the pen of American historian C.C. Colbert and the brush of French comics master Tanitoc comes a thought-provoking perspective on one of the greatest villains of U.S. History: a killer who was also an actor, a lover, a doubter, and, in his own mind, a patriot. -- Amazon product description

  • Once, by Morris Gleitzman
    Felix, a Jewish boy in Poland in 1942, is hiding from the Nazis in a Catholic orphanage. The only problem is that he doesn't know anything about the war, and thinks he's only in the orphanage while his parents travel and try to salvage their bookselling business. And when he thinks his parents are in danger, Felix sets off to warn them--straight into the heart of Nazi-occupied Poland. To Felix, everything is a story: Why did he get a whole carrot in his soup? It must be sign that his parents are coming to get him. Why are the Nazis burning books? They must be foreign librarians sent to clean out the orphanage's outdated library. But as Felix's journey gets increasingly dangerous, he begins to see horrors that not even stories can explain. -- Amazon product description

  • Alchemy and Meggy Swann, by Karen Cushman
    "Fans of Karen Cushman's witty, satisfying novels will welcome Meggy Swann,newly come to London with her only friend, a goose named Louise. Meggy's mother was glad to be rid of her; her father, who sent for her, doesn't want her after all. Meggy is appalled by London,dirty and noisy, full of rogues and thieves, and difficult to get around in--not that getting around is ever easy for someone who walks with the help of two sticks.Just as her alchemist father pursues his Great Work of transforming base metal into gold, Meggy finds herself pursuing her own transformation. Earthy and colorful, Elizabethan London has its dark side, but it also has gifts in store for Meggy Swann." - Amazon product description

Out of curiosity I checked; I haven't posted a juvenile book review here since early October, Angry Management. I hope one of these four books changes that sad, sorry, state of affairs.

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