unRequired Reading

Our unRequired Reading Blog features the latest picks for teens selected by library staff and volunteers.
03/23/2010 - 4:00am

 “He was not sure exactly when he became a child of the forest,” but 13 year-old Samuel, the hero of Gary Paulsen’s new book Woods Runner,  has a profound gift for hunting and understanding “sign” in the wild. Not only does Samuel supply meat for his parents, but he is the main hunter for the frontier community in which he lives.

Samuel is part of two worlds – the green world of the forest, “unimaginably vast, impenetrable, mysterious and dark,” and the world of civilization, of shelter and books and contemplation. On the frontier of western Pennsylvania, life is rigorous, brutal, and often violent.  Samuel’s life as hunter and provider seems peaceful, until the fateful day when he is out hunting and smells “wrong” smoke on the wind from the direction of his home. He fears that something has happened to his parents, and runs the eight miles home in a panic.
03/22/2010 - 11:29am

We seek heat in the dark cold winter night. Sleeping, we dream of warm air, beaches, and jungles. Imagine growing up in such a place, an island: not wearing shoes until the 6th grade; not seeing snow until you were 19, (and away from home). Some people call Hawaii paradise; Graham Salisbury called Hawaii home. The islands and surrounding waters are the locale for his compelling stories and novels.
 

10/06/2010 - 2:15pm

Here are some books I hope you will like, based on your interest in Go Ask Alice.

Someday This Pain Will Be Useful to You by Peter Cameron.
Eighteen-year-old James living in New York City with his older sister and divorced mother struggles to find a direction for his life.

 

03/11/2010 - 12:24pm

If you like The Pale Assassin and historical fiction, you might like these:

The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner
In the late eighteenth-century, Sido, the twelve-year-old daughter of a self-indulgent marquis, and Yann, a fourteen-year-old Gypsy orphan raised to perform in a magic show, face a common enemy at the start of the French Revolution.

The Stolen One by Suzanne Crowley
After the death of her foster mother, sixteen-year-old Kat goes to London to seek the answers to her parentage, and surprisingly finds herself invited into Queen Elizabeth's court.

The Luxe by Anna Gobseren
In Manhattan in 1899, five teens of different social classes lead dangerously scandalous lives, despite the strict rules of society and the best-laid plans of parents and others.

03/10/2010 - 11:56am

Block was born in Los Angeles, sometimes known as "Shangri-L.A.", other times "Hell-A", depending on how the day is going. The daughter of a poet and painter, she attended the University of California at Berkeley. Francesca was a riot grrl before the term had even been invented. She read the novels of Gabriel Garcia Marquez while at college; his magical realism became a major influence. Block's work is grounded in urban realities, though she sees pixies and genies in that "jasmine-scented, jacaranda-purple, neon sparked city". She missed Los Angeles, and wrote her first novel to cure homesickness. That novel was Weetzie Bat, and it made a big wet splash in Young Adult literature.
 

03/03/2010 - 11:51am

Walter Dean Myers started school, looking to conquer the world. He could read well; he had discovered the powers of the written word. Words failed him, though, when it came time to speak. He had a speech impediment, one that caused him immense frustration: some words he couldn't pronounce. His frustration soon turned to anger. Luckily, a teacher recognized his problem. She told him to write words he could pronounce, and he began to write. He created poems at first, then short stories, full of words that he did not fear reading aloud. He was soon being praised for his writing: it was just a preview of the praise he would receive when he embarked on his life of writing.