28.12.2014

Best book to read now 2015

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BEST YOUNG ADULT FICTION OF 2014 THE GHOSTS OF HEAVEN BY MARCUS SEDGWICK (INDIGO) Marcus Sedgwick's beguiling novel about human longing, The Ghosts of Heaven, contains four separate stories.
It is worth noting that Grace loves a particular series of fairy books, but I hate them. Hate them.
Just like I limit the junk food in Grace’s belly, I limit the junk books in her brain.
If I am going to take the time to read to Gracie (and I do, every single day), I want to hear her a book that is stimulating. Meet Kirsten and other American Girl books – Grace and I read Meet Kirsten because Kirsten is very similar to the people who lived in Walnut Grove, Minnesota (where Mary and Laura lived for a few years).
The Adventures of Robin Hood by Roger Lancelyn Green – Stealing from the rich, giving to the poor, you know the story.
Amos Fortune, Free Man by Elizabeth Yates – This is a book for older kids, about Amos Fortune, the son of an Africa king, and his journey through slavery and out the other side.
Black Beauty by Anna Sewell – Black Beauty is a horse in turn of the century England.
The Borrowers by Mary Norton – My boss told me that this was one of her favorite books when she was a kid, and she read it to her kids.
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson -“This was the first book to ever make me cry. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl – This was the very first chapter book I read aloud to Gracie.
The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop – A 10-year-old boy finds a magical castle in the attic. Cheaper by the Dozen by Frank Gilbreth and Elizabeth Gilbreth Carey – I bet you know the Steve Martin and Bonnie Hunt move based on this book. The Cricket in Times Square by George Selden – This is a really nice story about a little boy and a handful of animals (including a cricket, obviously). The Complete Tales of Winnie-The-Pooh by AA Milne – I read this to Grace when I was pregnant with Allie, so I guess I read it to both of them.
Encyclopedia Brown, Boy Detective by Donald Sobol – This was my first mystery book experience. Frog and Toad Are Friends by Arnold Lobel – This book is required reading for every single early reader ever. Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes – This is a book about a little boy and his very smart dog. Gooney Bird Greene by Lois Lowry – Gooney Bird Greene is the new girl in school (as I was over and over and over again), and she loves to tell stories. Hatchet by Gary Paulsen – I thought I would hate this book, but I had to read it for a literacy festival when I was in the seventh grade.
Heidi by Johanna Sypri – Heidi is a 5-year-old orphan sent to live with her grandpa in the mountains. Holes by Lois Sachar – A teenage boy gets sent to a detention camp (through no fault of his own, of course), and he discovers mystery and intrigue. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell – As the title might suggest, this is about a boy who eats worms (on a bet). The Hundred Dresses by Elenor Estes – This story was written in the forties, but it is as true for today as ever.
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks – My grandpa died when I was 12, and this was one of the last stories I shared with him. The Jesus Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd-Jones – This is a shorter version of the Bible. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George – My mom loved this story, me not so much.
King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table by Roger Lancelyn Greene – You know this story already. The Littles by John Peterson – A family of tiny people lives in the walls of a regular family. Matilda by Roald Dahl – Matilda is a five and a half year old genius whose parents are idiots and whose school principal is a bully. The Mouse and the Motorcycle by Beverly Cleary – Every single human being in America should have read this story as a kid. Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene – This is actually a series of books written over almost 100 years.
Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper – The main character of this story has cerebral palsy.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster – When I read this in the fifth grade, I really appreciated the main character who was bored, bored, bored with life. Poppy (Tales from Dimwood Forest) by Avi – The last time I looked for Poppy, it had gone out of print, but it’s back!
The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald – Princess, castle, pauper boy, evil goblins who try to take over everything.
Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary – Ramona Quimby was my character of choice for almost all of second grade. Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlin – I remember devouring this book as a kid, maybe fourth or fifth grade?
Sideways Stories from Wayside School by Louis Sachar – This is a strange book about a strange school full of strange kids who do strange things. Strawberry Girl by Lois Lenski – I read this story about a little girl whose family moves to Florida to start a strawberry plantation as a kid. Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls – In Oklahoma at the turn of the century, a 14-year-old boy and his grandpa try again and again to trap a bunch of monkeys that have escaped from a carnival, to earn the reward money.


The Swiss Family Robinson by Johann David Wyss – Written in 1812 about a family who gets shipwrecked on an desert island, this is a must-read among must-reads. Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume – This is the first of five classic books about a boy named Peter and his annoying little siblings. Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson – Originally published in 1883, this is the original pirate tale. The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame – Written in 1908, these are the enchanting adventures of Mole, Mr. The first time I got about halfway through, and I was bored, so I put it down and didn’t pick it back up. I want a story that draws me in and makes me want to read just one more chapter! I want it to expand what Gracie knows – either in experiences or feelings or understanding of the world. She’s in the same time period and same general location, so Grace was instantly interested in the books. It’s a heartwarming but sad story about carving out your refuge both physically and emotionally away from bullies and the harsh realities of being a kid. Based on the author’s grandmother, Caddie Woodlawn is a story I loved as a little girl.
I haven’t read this one, but it reminds me of the Indian in the Cupboard which appears below.
The book, however, is the real life, laugh out loud funny story of the Gilbreth family who lived in the very early 1900’s.
It’s about a 19-year-old girl who leaves home to become a teacher in a (comparatively) primitive town in the Smokey Mountains of Tennessee. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary – This is a collection of letters written by a little boy to his favorite author over a period of four years.
I could never figure out the whodunnit, but I really liked reading the stories and being surprised at the end.
Every Avi book I’ve ever read has gripped me from the first page to the very last, and the reviews of this on Amazon look really great.
It’s an elementary school classic about a little boy who wants to have freckles and thinks he can get them from freckle juice. It was one of the first books I ever read, and I bought it for Grace before she could even sit up. These can get a little gruesome by today’s standards, but most are still appropriate for the early elementary set.
Harriet is an 11-year-old aspiring author who documents her brutally honest observations in her secret notebook.
A bullied girl tells the class that she has a hundred dresses – even though she wears the same threadbare one to school every day. It’s a classic, about a little girl whose rich father sends her to a fancy boarding school. Two little kids (in Frog Creek, Pennsylvania!) find a magic tree house and have adventures all through time and space.
It’s about a doll made from sticks and a hickory nut, left all alone to survive the winter.
She can’t walk or talk, but she is brilliant and wants to share her mind with the world. She has crazy red pigtails, no parents to tell her what to do, a horse that lives on her porch, and a flair for the outrageous that seems to lead to one adventure after another! It’s about a very little mouse who has to go on a dangerous adventure to save her family.
It’s a exciting story, though, of a shipwrecked kid who lives for 28 years on his own. This time traveling book had me on the edge of my seat and searching for non-fiction sources about history, too. It was before the Glenn Close movie came out (which is also excellent, similar in a lot of ways to Little House on the Prairie), because I remember watching the movie with my mom and comparing. I loved it when I was little (partly because of all the things they did that you just can’t do.
White – This story is about a mute young swan who learns to communicate using a trumpet his father stole for him.
I don’t remember why (was I sick or did I just want to read?), but I remember being absolutely and totally immersed in the story. There were not a lot of twists or turns, and some parts that were slower than others, but over all it keep me interested. I was horrified at how she was taken, shocked at the planning and stalking that went into it, and exhilarated reading how she was found. It’s the true story of two sisters who were on the very first transport to Auschwitz.
The next thing she knows, she wakes up on the floor of the gym (she hates working out??!) and it’s 10 years later.
After hearing so many, many, many reviews of how good this book is (and given that I typically am drawn to this genre), I decided to give it another shot.
I want a story with layers  – something she may come back to again as an older kid or even an adult.
I noted where that was the case, and I included them only at the recommendation of someone I respect (most often our favorite public librarian). Even preschool kids will understand the kindnesses and cruelties portrayed through the situations in this book. She loved that there was a movie adaptation (the old Gene Wilder one, not the new one, which I’ve heard is not appropriate for little kids), and she loved that we found Willy Wanka candy at the grocery store. Even little kids will be able to see his foibles and find comfort in his friendship with Christopher Robin. His parents divorce, he moves to a new school, he gets picked on all the time, and he learns to deal with his confusing life through writing.


Her family eventually moves away (because of the torment), and the rest of the kids are left to deal with their own behavior. James lives with his crazy aunts who don’t understand him and gets mixed up with magic, mystery, and adventure. I read them on my own when I was in fourth grade (not sure why, but I remember reading it on the playground), but I’ve been reading them to Grace since she was three. We’ve finished the original 9-book series and moved on to On the Way Home, a memoir Laura wrote about moving from South Dakota to Missouri with Almanzo.
Mowatt brings the Owls to life as characters in their own right and his masterful storytelling is both exciting and timeless. This book, written in 1872, inspired JRR Tolkien, Madeline L’Engle, and Lewis Carroll. Set on the prairie in 1910, the story is about Sarah (who describes herself as plain and tall), a woman who answers a newspaper ad to become a widower’s new wife and mother to his two kids.
When his friend, a bird, goes missing, he goes out looking for her and finds a great adventure.
Charlotte Doyle is a teenage girl, unexpectedly the only passenger on a transatlantic voyage in 1832.
A little girl runs away from home to live with them, and she contemplates drinking from the spring. So in honor of the new year, I thought I’d share some of my favorite reads from 2013.
I didn’t want to put it down, and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened. At first I could not even remotely comprehend how they voluntarily got on the transport until I read her first-hand account. They weave a lot of history in with the story, so they’re interesting to read and learn a few things too. It had been awhile since I’d read it the first time though, so I just decided to start all the way over.
You’ll see some parallels with Disney movies and stories, but the original is (as you might have known) much richer. The book is actually five short stories, and it’s the first in a series of four books. Travers – Is there a book in all the world that’s not better than its movie adaptation? Mouse through a Scholastic book on DVD thing that she got for Christmas, and she loved him. An innocent family of field mice (one sickly) are saved by highly intelligent rats who’ve broken out of the National Institute of Mental Health. The story of how they learn to be a family is tender and emotional (but in a really good way). A crippled and sickly little girl’s family dies, leaving her all alone, to be shipped off to an uncle in another country. I thought it was very well written and the style was easy to read, even though the subject was not.
It got a little technical about military aircraft carriers in one very small section, but the rest of the book kept me on the edge of my seat. The chapters are short and there are several storylines going on at once, so there’s always something exciting happening.
I knew I’d just read something I liked, but just two weeks later I remembered nothing about it.
I still have the boxed set of these books in my basement, waiting for Grace to be big enough to listen to them. I think the movie adaptation of Mary Poppins is positively splendid, but the book is even better. She lives in an upside down house, her backyard is full of buried treasure, and everything she does is fantastic! AND there are several sequels, which I know you will read because you won’t want your time with Poppy to come to an end.
Even little kids will appreciate the story, and it is an awesome history lesson about turn of the century life in the midwest. She finds a secret garden within the walls of his home, and she is determined to explore it. From beach reads, to mystery, to memoirs and historical fiction, I’ve got you covered.
The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom is a similar account of surviving concentration camps in WWII, and is on my list as a favorite, unforgettable, life-impacting book. I was fascinated reading about his life after years of imprisonment and wished that part went into more detail. This particular book was a little weird for me, but mysterious enough to keep me reading to find out what happens in the end. I might have to go get this from the library because writing about it makes me want to read it all over again. I flew through this book and when I got towards the end I stayed up all night reading it just to find out what happened. We saw the movie over Christmas, and while they left out a lot and really toned the movie down, I loved it too.
However, I can assure you that two weeks later I did not forget the name of the book or what it was about. I had a huge emotional response to it, and one of those really good, freeing, stress-relieving cries.



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