Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Neil Gaiman wins the Newbery!

Neil Gaiman, who is best known for his dark and hypnotic Sandman series, is having a great year. Not only is Coraline, one of his novels, debuting on the big screen on Feb. 6th, but his most recent novel, The Graveyard Book has just won the Newbery Award, and will also soon be made into a motion picture.

The Graveyard Book is the story of a young boy who winds up being raised by a group of ghosts after his parents are murdered. Gaiman has claimed that his inspiration for his novel was Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. It can be found in Teen Fiction.

Coraline is the story of a young girl who finds a secret door in her house that leads her into an altered universe. It has been compared to Alice in Wonderland, and can be found in Children's Fiction.

Both novels are sure to delight lovers of dark, mysterious, fantastical fiction. Get your copies now and beat the rush!

Monday, January 19, 2009

Titles that celebrate a time of change

This week the first African-American will take the oath to serve at the President of the United States. This is surely a time of change when the entire country will be reflecting on decades of sacrifice and civil rights struggles that led up to this moment. Here are some well-written teen novels that celebrate African-American identity and history.

The Glory Field
Walter Dean Myers
This moving story follows one African-American family as they struggle through 241 years, from the Sierra Leone to South Carolina. Teen Historical Fiction

Day of Tears
Julius Lester
On one day in 1859, the largest slave auction took place on a plantation in Georgia. Emma is a house slave who, although promised otherwise, is sold impulsively to a woman in Kentucky, and must then deal with the resentment and betrayal that follows. Teen Historical Fiction

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation: The Pox Party
M. T. Anderson
Sixteen-year-old Octavian is the son of an African princess who is now living with a group of philosophers in pre-Revolutionary Boston. He is treated to a life of privilege and education, but eventually realizes that he is the subject of their scientific experiments to study the nature of Africans. Realizing the hypocrisy of his benefactors, he uses his education to his advantage, and joins the Patriots to fight the British army. Teen Fiction

Fire From the Rock
Sharon Draper
Sylvia Patterson is a typical teenager who finds herself in the eye of a storm when she is selected as the first African-American student to attend Little Rock Central High. Teen Historical Fiction

Trouble Don't Last
Shelley Pearsall
An eleven-year-old Kentucky slave attempts to escape to Canada with the elderly slave who raised him through the Underground Railroad. J Paperback Fiction

Bud, Not Buddy
Christopher Paul Curtis
Ten-year-old Bud leaves his foster family in 1936 Flint, Michigan and sets out on his own to find his father who he believes to be the famous jazz composer H. E. Calloway.

Friday, January 2, 2009

A Tribute to Madeleine L'Engle

2009 has been designated The International Year of Astronomy by the International Astronomical Union and UNESCO. You can read all about it here.


This got me to remembering the very first YA novel I ever loved, A Wrinkle in Time, by Madeleine L'Engle.

Published in 1962, this science-fiction masterpiece tells the story of Meg and Charles Wallace Murry who travel with their friend Calvin through a wormhole in order to find their missing physicist father. It is truly an intriguing story, and one that is difficult to put down. For those who have not read it, I strongly recommend it. It is the first in a series of Time Quartet novels by L'Engle. The rest are A Wind in the Door, Many Waters, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet.

Read it on a cold winter's night when you don't have a ton of homework. You're sure to love it.