Offer awesome books to older readers
Unlock the power of their imagination
In the July/August 2012 issue of Society of Children's Book Writers and Illustrators magazine, author Tim Myers wrote a fascinating article, "Picture Book Apps: Let's Pause and Reflect." Myers presents a thought-provoking article, and of the many profound ideas he sets forth, here is the one that really struck me:
"No matter how interactivity stimulates our imaginations, the deepest imaginative response will still come out of our own heads, in response to language charged with nothing but its own power."
The books reviewed below provide just that. I say, who needs more?
Books to Borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
"Crispin: The End of Time" by Avi, Balzer + Bray/HarperCollins, 223 pages
Read aloud: age 9 — 10 and older
Read yourself: 10 — 11 and older
Beloved friend, teacher and surrogate parent Bear has died, leaving Crispin and Troth to fend for themselves as best they can, which, given the time of the early Middle Ages, is anything but easy.
They are lost in the dangerous countryside of France, with no food or knowledge of how to reach the land where Bear had said they would be free of kings and lords and oppression. Their destination is Iceland, but the few people they meet have never heard of such a place.
Hunger and loneliness push Crispin to join a small band of what seems to be roving minstrels. But he soon learns the truth of who these people really are and the danger they represent — both to him and to others. He must formulate a plan of escape before it's too late.
In his usual signature style, Avi has crafted a story that is certain to have readers spellbound from start to finish. The final book in the Newberry Award-winning trilogy that began with "Crispin: The Cross of Lead," this third installment is wholly satisfying.
Library: Gridley Branch, Butte County Library, 299 Spruce St., Gridley
Library Director: Linda Mielke
Choices this week: "Redwall" series by Brian Jacques; "Book of Ember" series by Jeanne Du Prau; "Inkheart" series by Cornelia Funke
Books to Buy
The following books are available at your favorite bookstores.
"Ghost Knight" by Cornelia Funke, illustrated by Andrea Offermann, English translation by Oliver Latsch, Little Brown, 2012, 344 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 8 and older
Read yourself: age 9 — 10 and older
Eleven-year-old Jon is facing big changes in his life, the most recent of which is being shipped off to boarding school, which he is certain he will hate.
Shortly after his arrival, Jon is confronted by three very angry and very dead ghosts. The next evening, the ghosts reappear, chasing after Jon and threatening him with revenge, yet Jon hasn't a clue what "revenge" the ghosts are talking about.
Fortunately, Jon's new friend Ella believes his story and wants to get to the bottom of it all. Little do either of them realize they'll soon be faced with trying to discover the secrets of a murder that took place hundreds of years ago while never knowing when the ghosts will try to kill them.
With a little help from Ella's quirky grandmother and a lot of help from the ghost of the late knight Longspee, they just might stand a chance.
Interspersed with black-and-white illustrations, this exciting new novel delivers everything you'd expect from bestselling author Cornelia Funke.
"Lost Girls" by Ann Kelley, Little Brown, 2012, 319 pages, $17.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 12 and older
Read yourself: age 12 — 13 and older
Fourteen-year-old Bonnie is excited about her upcoming camping adventure on an island with her fellow Amelia Earhart cadets. But strong currents cause the small boat and its occupants to travel far past the island they are supposed to go to. Despite the wrong island, everyone is grateful to be on land, and the boatman departs, saying he'll be back in three days.
But their first day of paradise turns into terror when cyclone-like winds batter the small group that night. Much is lost, including the first life. Their adult guide, Mrs. Campbell, is virtually a worthless leader, leaving the girls to fend for themselves. And when the boatman's body is later discovered, it is apparent that no one knows where the girls are.
With clashing personalities and provisions running out, the ability to stay alive will require courage and ingenuity — far more than any of the stranded have ever thought possible.
An incredible story that explores multiple layers of what it means to survive, "Lost Girls" is a breathless page-turner that guarantees to keep readers hooked.
Kendal A. Rautzhan writes and lectures about children's literature. She can be reached at her website: greatestbooksforkids.com.