Must Reads! What Everyone's Reading
READING: it's like water, it's a must. It grows your mind, makes you think, triggers your curiosity, expands your perception – that’s how you see the world, - increases tolerance and helps us understand others as well as ourselves. It helps us to see one world through the eyes of many.
by R.J. Palacio - a heartfelt celebration of kindness, difference and friendship.
Wonder tells the story of young August, an ordinary 10 year old boy with an exceptional difference. Born with a facial deformity Auggie has had to learn how to deal with people’s responses to him, but now starting school he must confront his greatest fears. This is a poignant tale that many middle school kids will identify with as they empathise with Auggie’s struggle to be accepted for who he is. ‘Wonder’ will make you laugh, cry and ponder as it powerfully conveys the courage needed to stand out when you would rather “blend in”.
The Travelling Restaurant: Jasper’s Voyage in Three Parts by Barbara Else
A tumble of an adventure, The Travelling Restaurant sees Jasper caught in the web of treachery, deception, royal daggers, whirlpools, dragon-eagles, scrumptious food, foes and friends. After ‘The Great Accident’, Fontania is in danger of being usurped by the evil Lady Gall and Jasper must, with the help of a rag-bag of pirates, restaurateurs, “troublesome monkeys” and unlikely friends, save his family to save his home.
Previously... Must Reads!
The Water Mirror
by Kai Meyer – also known under the title The Flowing Queen
If you’ve read and enjoyed Stravaganza City of Masks or Cornelia Funk’s The Thief Lord, take a look at The Water Mirror by Kai Meyer. It’s highly inventive, original and magical. Set in Venice, a wondrous city of magic and mystery, this extraordinary fantasy takes you on a dangerous but fantastical journey through murky canals, a web of tunnels, hidden pasts and malevolent plots. The main characters, Merle and Serafin, must risk everything to save ‘The Flowing Queen – the protector of the city whose life has come under threat from forces working to destroy her power and control Venice. The author, Kai Meyer, has created a highly believable, vivid adventure filled with mirrors made of water, fantastical creatures and ancient mysteries – you’ll be drawn deep into this stunning title.
The Revenge of the Shadow King by Derek Benz
Have you ever wondered what would happen if the characters from the books you read or the card games you played broke through the walls of fiction and became part of your reality? Well that's what the characters face in this next book. A group of kids, The Grey Griffins, Max, Harley, Ernie and Natalia, meet regularly just to hang out and to play a complex card game. Their card game is played with odd shaped dice and cards of fantastic creatures - spriggans, garden fairies, goblins as well as other weird and often malevolent characters. But lately The Grey Griffins have noticed that something is wrong, very wrong and it is up to them, with the help of Olaf Iverson, a wise old friend, to correct the balance and rid our world of an ancient evil.
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
This award winning novel really challenges us, for as the front blurb tells, it “holds a fantastic puzzle at its heart.” Miranda and Sal are best friends but cryptic notes left for Miranda such as “I am coming to save your friend’s life, and my own. I ask two favors. First, you must write me a letter” herald an unraveling of their day to day life and ambiguity and strange happenings begin to invade and shape their lives. This is a beguiling and demanding novel that engages both your imagination and curiosity. It’s brilliantly written. And also in the same vain try the great contemporary classic David Almond’s Skellig – one of the most perplexing stories every written. Check out the interview with author Rebecca Stead just beside the above book cloud to your right.
I love these two books - I recommend them to everyone - because they made me feel different somehow after I’d read them – like I was a better person for having read them – strange eh. Well not really because they taught me stuff, stuff about people, about being part of community and about myself. Take Because of Winn-Dixie. The central character Opal, adopts a dog Winn-Dixie or should I say it adopts her. And together they unite a whole community while helping the individual people of that community to be accepted by each other and by themselves. It’s a moving story that will stay with you long after you have turned the last page – in fact it’s the kind of book you might want to read again. Now Each Little Bird that Sings is a little different but with many of the same themes. It is sadder, so have a box of tissues handy. But, again, it is a story about a child changing those around her and about growing up - about having to deal with life’s surprises both good and bad. This book is both serious and funny. I can’t recommend these two books enough . Have you read them yet?
The Word Witch – poems by Margaret Mahy, Edited by Tessa Duder.
Margaret Mahy is arguably our most celebrated and awarded children’s author. She has captured us for years with her mastery over and insight into language – what you can do with it – how you can pull it, twist it, toss it up in the air and see the marvels it creates as it lands. She understands and plays with its boundlessness creating some of the most unforgettable lines, images and connections. Awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Award, the highest award attainable for a children’s author, in 2006, Margaret Mahy celebrates words and the sheer enjoyment of reading and listening to the treasure that is language. The Word Witch is a blend of limericks, rhyming prose, humorous verse and insightful poetry, and stands as a testimony to Mahy’s belief that in the ordinary is the extraordinary. The illustrations, by the well known illustrator David Elliot, are quirky and complementary, and as Tessa Duder comments the words sparkle, brimming with “mischief, energy and wit”. To quote from the publishers website: “Her cauldron is a dictionary, her wand a mighty pen, and she stirs her words at midnight, making tempting teats for children, to please and tease and tantalize them with imaginary treasures, and delectable dreams. She weaves words into adventures, sets verses wildly dancing, makes similes sing and stamp their feet and poems purr like pussycats who’ve eaten all the cream. Her name is Margaret Mahy. These are her spells.”