Well, the year keeps plugging along and so do the wonderful new children's book releases! There are still a few I can't wait to get my hands on ... but all in good time.
This week I am going a little highbrow with some books that are potential award contenders, and while they may not be the ones kids immediately gravitate to, they are at the top of their field.
The three books you must know about this week are really as different as it gets. Ivan and Me is another Newbery front-runner about a silverback gorilla stuck in a zoo at the mall. Lions of Little Rock is a historical novel that just knocked me off my feet. It is probably the best written book of the year with shades of To Kill a Mockingbird lurking throughout. Finally, Three Times Lucky is one of the most clever books I read, and I hope that it is able to find an audience. I worry that it may not have the kid appeal it needs to really take off.
So if you are looking for a great kid book - that is also at the top of its field - check out this week's post as well as my first post: Favorite Books of 2012 ... So Far. I sense what you're thinking, it won't be too long until Favorite Books of 2012 ... The End.
I know, I can't wait either.
Title: The Lions of Little Rock
Author: Kristin Levine
Target: Grades 5 and up
What this book is about:
Marlee is a 12-year-old girl growing up in Little Rock, Arkansas in 1958. She is white and attends a segregated middle school. She is so shy that she finds it difficult to say the things that go on in her head, but when she befriends Liz, a new girl in the class, Liz helps her find her voice. Liz disappears from school one day and the rumors are that she is a colored girl who has been masquerading as white. Marlee has to decide how far she is willing to go in using her voice to maintain her friendship with Liz.
Why I love this book:
This is a beautifully written historical novel that looks at the year after the "Little Rock Nine," when the high schools were shut down in an attempt to stop integration. It is told through the eyes of Marlee, who is such a sensitive girl, trying to understand and find her voice, while the adults around her are doing the same. She is a character whom I immediately liked, despite her challenges.
I love one quote from the book that says “(adults) pretend the world is straightforward, simple, easy... You’re a good person and try your best and nothing bad will happen. But the truth is, the world (is filled) with variables and changes (it) is complicated and messy.”
This book had me questioning what I would have done, how much I would have acted or stayed silent. And it was all done with a wonderful story that had me bought in from the first chapter.
Who this book is for:
I have targeted this book older because I think children need a certain amount of emotional maturity and empathy to truly get all the wonderful messages and nuances contained in this book. Also, don’t be scared off by the subject matter. I was initially hesitant, but the story is so well done that kids will be caught up immediately.
One of my favorite books of the year, however the cover is just terrible. I don’t know a single child or adult who will be drawn to this book based on the cover. Now that I have read the book I get it, but ... I hope the paperback cover is more compelling because this is such a book worth picking up.
To see my full selection of potential award winners, visit my website at: www.onegreatbook.com