Books and Reading
Some books seem to fly under the radar. They don’t garner the big awards or make the bestseller lists, they’re just quietly checked out of libraries over and over again. One of my new favorites in this category is “The Thumb in the Box” by Ken Roberts.
It begins, “This is a story about a fire truck being driven into the ocean and two people taking off their thumbs. Don’t worry, though. Nobody gets hurt.” No self-respecting third grade audience will let you stop reading after that!
The gold medals get all the attention at the Olympics, but winners of the silver and bronze medals are proud, too. So it goes with children’s book awards as well. Anyone would be thrilled to win the Newbery or Caldecott Medals, but earning an Honor (as the runners-up are called) is nothing to sneeze at.
This year’s honor books – and yes, they earn a silver medal – include one of those fascinating true stories that makes readers say, “how come I never knew that?”
No discussion of twentieth-century science fiction writing can be complete without mention of Isaac Asimov, the biochemistry professor and visionary writer who was responsible for creating the popular characterization of robots and incorporating themes of social science into “hard” science fiction. His most popular works, the Foundation trilogy and the Robot series, are considered landmarks of science fiction to this day.
What did you read during the Snownami/Snowpalooza/Snowmageddon? Judging by the armloads of books people were checking out from the library before each of the storms, the most popular items were picture books, mysteries, best sellers, historical fiction, biographies… in fact, people were, as usual, reading everything!
Among those armloads were plenty of graphic novels for young readers. Defined as novels with complex storylines told in the form of a comic book, these books are finding increasing recognition in the form of awards.
"We are not impotent- we pallid stones.
Not all our power is gone- not all our fame-
Not all the magic of our high renown-
Not all the wonder that encircles us-
Not all the mysteries that in us lie-
Not all the memories that hang upon
And cling around about us as a garment,
Clothing us in a robe of more than glory."
---From "The Coliseum" by Edgar Allan Poe
The period of time from the late 1930s to the end of the 1950s is commonly known as the "Golden Age" of science fiction. The Golden Age was noted for the volume of science fiction produced due to the large number of science fiction-oriented pulp magazines and the depth of the creative talent involved. Many of the writers working in this period established concepts that would have a tremendous cultural impact on their readers.
The African-American dolls on display at the Headquarters Library in Fredericksburg include a ballerina, Raggedy Ann and Andy, and an African queen. Collector Myra Dicks even has a Jackie Robinson action figure in its original box. Kids who are fascinated by the dolls will enjoy meeting Miss Hickory, Tottie, Traction Man and other great doll characters from children’s books.
Drew Cafe Book had one of their best year's ever! Sixty students voted on their favorites of the year. Here are the books they feel every seventh and eighth grader should read.
Eon: Dragoneye Reborn by Alison Goodman
Sixteen-year-old Eon hopes to become an apprentice to one of the twelve energy dragons of good fortune and learn to be its main interpreter, but to do so will require much, including keeping secret that she is a girl.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
In a future North America, where the rulers of Panem maintain control through an annual televised survival competition pitting young people from each of the twelve districts against one another, sixteen-year-old Katniss's skills are put to the test when she voluntarily takes her younger sister's place.
The Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski
The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
The Tomorrow Code by Brian Falkner
This Saturday's author program for kids with Michael Hemphill and Sam Riddleburger has been postponed due to the impending snow. Our co-sponsor, Jabberwocky Children's Books, is working on a new date in May. Stay tuned for the announcement of their rescheduled visit!
Stonewall Hinkleman is a typical twelve-year-old boy whose parents are ardent Civil War re-enactors. This means that every weekend he’s dragged (his word) to another Civil War battle site. His father reveres an ancestor, Cyrus Hinkleman, who fought and died in the war, despite the fact that, as Stonewall puts it, “He was shot in the butt… Which can only mean one thing. He was running away when he was shot.” Dressed in a scratchy wool uniform and dragging a bugle that he barely knows how to play, Stonewall sulks around wishing he could play his Game Boy.