Monday, March 24, 2014

Books and other diversions (The "spring" edition of linkapalooza)



Do you live near Boston? I am thrilled, embarrassed, and fretful to report that my friend Suzy Becker, author of the brilliant One Good Egg and the brilliant and bestselling All I Need to Know I Learned from My Cat (now in its godzillian printing), and her friend Nancy Aronie, and I are going to be in “conversation” together in May. Less important than the actual going is the buying of the tickets and the communicating to the Concord Museum folks that you’re my people, buying tickets because of me, and Suzy and Nancy aren’t the only people selling tickets.

On Writing, Life, and the Origin of Chicken Fingers
Thursday, May 15, 2014, 7PM - 9PM
Authors Nancy Aronie, Suzy Becker, and Catherine Newman invite you to join them for an evening of casual conversation. These nationally acclaimed authors will read from their own works (and each others’), share their thoughts on all manner of things, and answer questions – “theirs, yours, and some real doozies from this year’s MCAS.”  Wine and cheese at 7:00 p.m., program begins at 7:15; book signing to follow. $10 Concord Museum Members, $15 Non-members. Ticket price includes wine and cheese. Tickets may be purchased online or by calling (978) 369-9763, ext. 216. 

Phew. Other things.

I have a piece in the current issue of Brain, Child, and it’s about a hibernaculum [shudder]. (That's just a link to the "teaser," i.e. a photo of me in pasties.)

Do you remember how I mentioned Colorku at the holidays?

Well. I am reporting back that it is completely excellent. All four of us love it, and the level of challenge-feeling ranges from a kind of brain-churning competence to something like a tangled, numbing conviction that that there is something wrong with your mental processing apparatus. We work on it alone, or in pairs or clumps, and it is deeply engaging and fun and companionable. I cannot recommend it enough. Plus, the pieces are painted wood, and there is something very beautiful about them. The pastel ones remind me of Dutch mints 

to the point that I have to actively stop myself from putting one in my mouth.

 
Also from the holidays: my parents gave me (okay, I may have specifically asked for it) the Roz Chast collection Theories of Everything, and I cannot say how much pleasure we’ve gotten out it. Okay, maybe I can try to say. No. I can’t. Only this: every single day after school, Ben and I lie on the couch and read it together, and every single cartoon makes us laugh. Her memoir is coming out soon, and I preordered it, which is a strong indicator of my feelings, given my propensity to loiter around hoping that someone will send me a review copy of everything. (You can read what looks like an excerpt here.)

Another book recommendation, this one from Birdy: Wonder by R.J. Palacio. She devoured it in a nearly unprecedented way. When I asked her to describe it for you, she said, “Like a review or like a blurb?” Hello, child of a writer. Here’s what she gave me: "August Pullman tries to make it through 5th grade with friends, foes, and surprises. It's an amazing book that you just don't feel like putting down." This is so literally true that Birdy had to stay home from school one day last week to finish it. Hello, child of a reader. Not that her description doesn’t totally capture the plot, but, well, it kind of doesn’t totally, so here’s this from Amazon: “August Pullman was born with a facial deformity that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.” Do you have any book recs for Birdy? She has also recently read and loved two of my own tween favorites: Bridge to Terabithia and The Brothers Lionheart. (Not that there were tweens back in the dark ages, when we were wringing out our menstrual rags in a bucket.)

 
I myself read and loved Valerie’s Martin’s latest, The Ghost of the Mary Celeste, which is a historical novel about nineteenth-century ghost ship, communication with the dead, and Arthur Conan Doyle. The ship itself is, weirdly, kind of the missing center of the book, not by accident, and it makes for an engagingly disjointed read, if that makes sense. If you’ve never read anything by her before, Trespass is my favorite and is a nearly perfect novel, IMHO. (I wanted to write IHOP.)
Frank Cottrell Boyce. He was not exactly driven to writing by homeliness, if you know what I mean.

Finally, on a friend’s recommendation we have now listened to more or less everything on tape by Frank Cottrell Boyce, and we have loved every single book: Cosmic, Millions, Framed, and the short but wonderful The Unforgotten Coat. He is English and funny and deeply kind, and the books are all different, but they’re all about the kinds of awesome, quirky kids who obsessively memorize details of saints’ lives, say, or note in a huge journal every car that passes. Some of our own recent car trips, even long ones, have passed in a blur of pleasure. 

Please, share anything relevant (or irrelevant!). We are, as you know, always looking to read, listen to, and play new things. xo

80 comments:

  1. Two old books that you and Birdy and Strawberry :) might like are: The Mummy Market by Nancy Brelis and The Wicked Enchantment by Margot Benary-Isbert. Sadly, both are out of print and really expensive on Amazon, but they are worth tracking down at the library.

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  2. Tell Birdy that if she loved Wonder to read Out of my Mind by Sharon Draper. Sigh.....so good.

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    1. Anonymous10:12 AM

      My daughter read both Wonder and Out of my Mind (almost back to back, now that I think about it) and loved them both. --Cathy K

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    2. maxanyamom11:38 AM

      The library volunteer who does a read-a-loud every Monday after school is reading Out of my Mind to us right now. It jumped into my head when I was reading your blog. So happy to see it recommended here! We are all quite captivated (me, my 10 year old boy, and 6 (and 1/2 (!)) year old daughter) by the story. This week's reading left off at a cliff-hanger kind of place in the story, and we can't wait to get back next week for the ending!

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    3. Yep, Out of My Mind is one my kids still talk about a year later. In a similar vein, no one has mentioned Rules, by Cynthia Lord. Also by Cynthia Lord, Half a Chance addresses Alzheimer's and aging, and honesty and self-worth. Carole Geithner's book If Only deals with grief and losing a parent. Heavy stuff, but both my daughters loved it. Warning: You may cry more than she will. Moving on, The Year of the Dog and The Year of the Rat, both by Grace Lin, are entertaining books about being American-born Chinese (or Taiwanese, in this case). In the absurd amusement category, there's Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman, though sometimes I think he wrote it more for parents than kids--it does, as my daughter pointed out, mention the Queen of Melanesia, as all good Gaiman books for kids do (and I assume she's devoured The Graveyard Book already).

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    4. Yep, Out of My Mind is one my kids still talk about a year later. In a similar vein, no one has mentioned Rules, by Cynthia Lord. Also by Cynthia Lord, Half a Chance addresses Alzheimer's and aging, and honesty and self-worth. Carole Geithner's book If Only deals with grief and losing a parent. Heavy stuff, but both my daughters loved it. Warning: You may cry more than she will. Moving on, The Year of the Dog and The Year of the Rat, both by Grace Lin, are entertaining books about being American-born Chinese (or Taiwanese, in this case). In the absurd amusement category, there's Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman, though sometimes I think he wrote it more for parents than kids--it does, as my daughter pointed out, mention the Queen of Melanesia, as all good Gaiman books for kids do (and I assume she's devoured The Graveyard Book already).

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  3. Anonymous12:42 PM

    LOVED The Mother Market (American title, same book). I still have my old one.

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    1. Okay, great. Thank you!

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  4. I think Birdy needs an etsy shop. Seriously in love with the glitter fairy shadowbox!

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    1. Ha ha. Thank you, but *I* made that! I just used her quote. I could open an etsy shop with just that one item in it! : )

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  5. I lovvvvvvve Roz Chast. I have all her cartoon collections. My 13-year-old particularly loves them, and reads them again and again. We also like the Beartato books.

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  6. Have you read Hyperbole and a Half (The book OR the blog)? Purely for entertainment... I had to stop reading it in public, for fear that someone might try to send me to the looney bin for laughing hysterically for no obvious reason. It seems more socially acceptable to sit and read a sad book and cry in public, but for some reason laughing makes me feel more insane. :o)

    I read Wonder with my boys last year and we all loved it. I've recommended it to *everyone* and purchased copies for their teachers.

    Has Birdy read Tuck Everlasting? It's a pretty quick and easy read...

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    1. Thank you for reminding me of Tuck Everlasting! And for the Hyperbole & 1/2 reminder too.

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  7. Anonymous2:05 PM

    How much do I LOVE how Birdy carries Strawberry around in her shirt? Completely and totally and utterly.

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  8. The amazing thing is that I live in CONCORD and my friends live in CONCORD and we will now all be buying tickets. YEAH!!

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  9. We love the Kate DiCamillo books. The best one, which is also wonderful as a family readaloud, is The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane. Completely different - Neal Schustermann's books, particularly Everlost. Fablehaven is a fun series. Coraline just scared the socks off the readers in my house, and John Bellairs was the author who did that to me as a kid, so if you are into scary (but not gross or dumbed down), that is a place to start. We are big fans of The Mysterious Benedict Society. Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin is a top five pick for all of my kids ages 5-11 around here. And then, maybe, I'll Be There? It's a debut novel but there's something just lovely aound it. It centers around a boy/girl relationship but is PG. OH! And Maniac McGee. My oldest loved that book. (I'll stop now. But oh, how I love the book recommendations for this age group! Keep 'em coming!)

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  10. Did anyone else enjoy Leisel and Po as much as I did? I read it to my daugther when she was 7 or 8.

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  11. DanielleH4:41 PM

    My daughter had a pink monkey exactly like Strawberry, but hers was named.... Pink Monkey :-)

    Has Birdy read Harriet the Spy or From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs Basil E Frankweiler? Those are oldies, but goodies and two of my personal favorites!

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  12. annette7:16 PM

    Have you and Birdy read When You Reach Me and/or Liar & Spy,both by Rebecca Stead? Liked those a lot. I also love your little shadow box -- the tiny pin holding the torn quote is perfection.

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  13. Giggling over IHOP I second Edward Tulane (and a tissue) for you and the kids. Wild by C Strayed and Interpreter of Maladies (if you like short stories) for you. The first story in that book took my breath away. Wish I could come to your Author's night! Happy Spring. (Still snowing in OH. Sigh.....)

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  14. For Birdy: The Penderwicks. There are three of them and they are all wonderful and engaging and timeless and I am telling everyone about them.

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    1. And better yet, what I've always felt must be the inspiration for The Penderwicks, Elizabeth Enright's Melendy Family books, plus Gone-Away Lake and Return to Gone Away. The Melendys have inspired my adult life in so many ways; they are perhaps the books I most strongly identify with the middle years of childhood.

      I could recommend books for DAYS, but one I just adored that I bet you and Birdy would both love is The Green Glass Sea, by Elles Klages. OMG wonderful historical fiction set at Los Alamos during WWII!!

      OH!!!!! Also The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate. Be still my heart, what a wonderful age for reading that lucky girl is at. I can't wait for my kids to get there (though my oldest, 3.5, is loving the early Betsy-Tacy books even though I think he understands 30% of what's happening!).

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  15. Rebecca B9:10 PM

    Flora and Ulysses, also by Kate Di Camillo, was just great. I find my self more and more reading "tween" or YA books. No disrespect to Judy Blume, but we did not have the vast- and excellent- options available today. I second Harriet the Spy, too. What about Nancy Drew? Too scary, too square? My daughter enjoys the new Nancy Drew, but she (and new Nancy, I think) are only 8. I can remember the delicious scariness of The Clock Tower mystery...but, alas, I am 1000 years old, and maybe it is not scary to today's brave girls.

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  16. I borrowed "Wonder" from the library and read it twice this winter: once to pre-screen it for my 9-year-old son, and then aloud to him. The second time through, I cried throughout the final page of the narrative-proper, thinking of how full Auggie's mom's heart was, and how all the children had overcometh.

    Per my son's request, I bought him a hardback copy after we'd finished reading together. Can't say enough about how wonderful that book is.

    Try "The True Meaning of Smekday"--it's got a kick-ass girl protagonist, aliens, a touch of dystopia, and a bucket of hope. And "Edward Tulane" was a hit here, too.

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  17. You guys have already read Wildwood, haven't you? Did you try The Girl Who Circumnavigated… series? Or, let's see, what about Eva Ibbotson's books? Island of the Aunts seems Birdy-ish to me.

    We're big on fairy tale retellings lately at our house, Anne Ursu's Breadcrumbs, that sort of thing--but now I start to suspect I got those ideas from you, too. Hmm. That is possible…

    How I wish I were nearby enough to see you in conversation! With cheese and everything! It will be a brilliant sparkling night. :)

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  18. Ohhh I loved Wonder and I adore Frank Cottrell Boyce too. (Saw him do a Q&A last year and he was utterly lovely.) Do you know he's written some new Chitty Chitty Bang Bang books? I've only read the first, but I loved it. I second the suggestions of Liesl & Po and When You Reach Me, plus I'd like to add Stephanie Burgis's Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson series. xx

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  19. So many great choices have already been mentioned, but I want to add my two cents as a children's librarian, and mom to a reader who seems to be similar to Birdy's interests. I adore every Kate DiCamillo book, but especially her new one, Flora & Ulysses. I am reading it aloud to my class of second graders right now and we love it, although the topic is timeless. Blue Balliet's books are mystery/art history/ puzzling favorites. I absolutely still love The Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler and The Egypt Game after all these years and I think they still hold up quite nicely. For a light read The Tail of Emily Windsnap - there are 3 or 4 books in this series of a girl who learns she is half mermaid -- a fun, light hearted romp that my 4th an 5th graders really enjoyed. The Penderwicks is another GREAT book series that I just wanted to fall into and live there, and When You Reach Me was a fantastic, wowza kind of ending books. I also would like to recommend The Westing Game. I read it when I was a kid and it blew my mind. I have re-read it several times since then - what a fantastic mystery/puzzle. It really ruined "regular" mystery books for me in the very best way. Ellen Raskin was a spectacular writer. For you to read I would suggest The Signature of All Things by Elizabeth Gilbert. A VERY different book than Eat, Pray, Love but one that reminded me of Flight Behavior and State of Wonder and I currently have a book hangover from this book. Happy Reading!!

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    1. Erin. Thank you for recommending The Tail of Emily Windsnap! My 10 yr old daughter finished it this morning and loved it. :)

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  20. KyCat8:27 AM

    I am beside myself with glee because somehow I watched and was mesmerized by the movie Millions and never knew that it was a book! I purchased the movie just to lend to people and spread the love and I gave it to my sister and she never watched it!! It couldn't have been that I didn't go on enough about it so I can only assume that I went on too long. BUT, now I get to read the book!!! And get into a new author- yeah! This information has made me so very happy! THANK YOU!!

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  21. I am in book recommendation HEAVEN, frantically scribbling down titles and seeing what's in at the library. Loving this. Thank you so much.

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  22. Anonymous9:17 AM

    Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo, anything by Christopher Paul Curtis. My 8 yo daughter just discovered that she needs to read the entire Little House on the Prairie series, so we're in the middle of that right now at our house.

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  23. See you in Concord! I just ordered my ticket.

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  24. Catherine you must read "Wonder" yourself. I can't say how much I loved that book. It was so touching and thought-provoking. It makes me happy to know that Birdy loved it!

    A different type of book, but my nine year old daughter read "A Tangle of Knots" recently and loved it so much she had me read it afterward. It's kind of puzzle-y, I bet Birdy would like it. A great book!

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    1. Anonymous7:57 PM

      Agreed! Wonder was wonderful. My kids are too young to read it, but I'm keeping it for them.

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  25. Anonymous10:28 AM

    Here's some we love at our house that I don't think have been mentioned yet:
    The Search for Wondla, by Tony DiTerlizzi
    Dragon Rider, The Thief Lord & Ingraine the Brave, all by Cornelia Funke
    Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH, by Robert C. O'Brien
    The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster
    We Can't All Be Rattlesnakes, by Patrick Jennings



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  26. So much to love here:
    Your funny voice
    Tickets to hear you speak are so affordable (it's the plane fare that'll get me)
    Wonder (I read this to my much younger kids and felt like we took on each character's perspective and are better for it)
    The fairy mushroom comment AND art!
    I love Roz Chast and am thrilled to know of new memoir.
    IHOP!
    xo
    Rachel
    ps: I recently loved Wally Lamb's new book.

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  27. My Side of the Mountain by Jean George
    The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
    The Giver by Lois Lowry
    And for you The Orphan Train by Christina Baker Kline

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  28. The book, Eleven is really awesome! And it's a bit of a stretch intellectually as there are jumbled memories to work through.

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  29. catherine hello!! rebecca here from the tundra of delaware county. when are you coming to visit again?? will you even read my comment down so so far in a long chain of comments of others loving you too? the last time i saw you you recommended a book so heartily. you and your father both loved loved it. had to whisper in the kitchen because jennifer hadn't gotten to it yet. (not the goldfinch) any memory? please come visit. xoxoxo

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    1. wait. now i'm thinking the kitchen whispering was from one of your posts. but still it was a book you and your dad both loved. clearly NOT the norman rush book, which he decidedly did not love.

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  30. Arthur Ransome's Swallows and Amazons books, http://nypl.bibliocommons.com/item/show/19996205052907_swallows_amp_amazons

    There are about a dozen of them.

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  31. My 11 yr old son and I read Wonder together and LOVED it.
    We followed it up with Counting by 7's, which was also good and somewhat along the same line.
    Also loved piecing together the story in When you Reach Me and laughed hysterically at The True Meaning of Smekday.
    My all time favourite read so far - The One and Only Ivan - great for both my 9 yr old and 11 yr old.
    Thanks for the recommendations everyone!!

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  32. Has Birdy read The Mists of Avalon? One of my all-time favorites.

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  33. Eleanor5:23 PM

    My daughter is almost 11 (but reading on a high school level) and these are some of her favorite authors: Edward Eager, Madeleine L'Engle, Gloria Whelan, Heather Vogel Frederick, Wendy Mass, Carl Hiaasen, Jeanne Birdsall, Katherine Paterson.

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  34. Allyson5:24 PM

    My 10 year old daughter and I both enjoyed Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. The best part are the slightly creeptastic old timey photos the story is based on.

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  35. Loved reading Edward Tulane to my daughter. Wonder is amazing. My daughter's recent fave, which she declared better than The Mysterious Benedict Society and better than Harry Potter (gasp!), is the HALF UPON A TIME trilogy.

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  36. we are loving this - Wildwood by Colin Meloy
    http://www.amazon.com/Wildwood-The-Chronicles-Book/dp/0062024701/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1395801724&sr=8-1&keywords=wildwood
    My boy(9) says to mention that "its very thick looking, but it goes by fast, and in the beginning it jumps around a bit, so you need to concentrate until you get into the feel of the writing style"

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  37. One I recommend that has not been mentioned yet is Because of Mr. Terupt by Rob Buyea and in looking up the author I found that there is a sequel called Mr. Terupt Falls Again. Both my 9 & 11 yr old enjoyed it. Another good one is Believe about Eric LeGrand a football player who was paralyzed while playing in college. A great overcoming obstacles story. It has votes from the 8, 9 & 11 yr olds. Also anything by Andrew Clements, I think he is a genius at fabulous stories that make you go deep. Lastly I also love Louis Sachar. There's a Boy in the Girls Bathroom is an awesome read aloud loved by every person in the family.

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  38. Anonymous1:05 AM

    I heartily concur with Westing Game and Mixed Up Files if Birdy hasn't done them yet. My 10 yr old loved Out of My Mind. For mama, I loved Tell the Wolves I'm Home. xoxo

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  39. OMG Brothers Lionheart -- the one where the kid kills himself (herself?) to be with beloved (dead) sibling in magical world??? SO NOT PIPPI!

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  40. The Neddiad by Daniel Pinkwater is AwESoMe!!!!!

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  41. And let's not forget The Wolves of Willoughby Chase and Arabel's Raven, both by Joan Aiken.

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  42. Michelle5:20 PM

    As a former 5th grade teacher, I highly recommend The Green Book by Jill Patton Walsh. Good intro to sci-fi without overdoing it. I enjoyed it myself :)

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  43. My fourth/fifth graders love The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg, Elijah of Buxton, Ida B, Becoming Naomi Leon, The Teacher's Funeral and Sparrow Road

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  44. I recently uncovered a box of favorite childhood books, including "Mandy" by Julie Andrews Edwards, "A Year in the Life of Rosie Bernard," and "Light a Single Candle." They're currently in my daughter's to-be-read pile. She's almost 10 and her all-time favorite book is "Out of My Mind."

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  45. Catherine... unrelated to this post. Related yo previous post. That cornbread knocked my socks off. I just made it a second time and added a tsp. of vanilla and a cup of blueberries. And I'm eating it for breakfast. And lunch. And dinner. Thank you!

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  46. At our house, the Bliss series by Kathyrn Littlewood. So beloved by my oldest daughter, that she has gotten the next in the trilogy for her birthday two years in a row, because they release near her birthday - and I love the idea of getting a new book in a series you love AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!! My son is reading these stunningly large books about cat clans - all part of the Warriors series by Erin Hunter. He is reading them with a passion that warms my book-loving heart. Also - his reading scores have rocketed upward because of these books, so I love them because of that too. Finally, for the little readers (not your children, although I know they too would find them funny) the whole family is loving reading the Elephant & Piggy series by Mo Willems aloud to our youngest. They are so simple. And yet so true. and FUNNY! They are best if you do voices for Elephant & Piggy, and I just can't say enough good things about them. On the grownup side, I just finished The Goldfinch. I cannot explain why I liked that book so much, but book club is coming in April, so maybe that will allow me to articulate it with the help of the group!
    elsiroomom

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  47. Oh - and one more thing - do you know about yournextread.com ?
    We have really enjoyed using that website. You put in a book you like, and it maps you to other books that people who liked your book have said they liked. It has been a useful tool for finding new things to read. ALSO - the Terupt books mentioned above - my 12 year old daughter loves those too.

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  48. maxanyamom12:24 PM

    You are the only person who I trust to use IMHO and be authentically humble! If I lived near Concord, I would be so buying a ticket to come hear you read and answer questions!

    Book recommendation: Chains by Laurie Halse Anderson. This is historical fiction and it is GRIPPING and intense. You may want to pre-screen it. The story is set at the start of our Revolutionary War and it follows Isabel, a slave girl who finds herself in a cruel twist of fate serving Tory masters in NYC. There is no easy road for Isabel - no easy choice to help Tory or Rebellion command. I cried more than once, but could NOT put down the book. It was so real, and I was rooting so hard for Isabel.

    The ending was a cliff-hanger, so that was probably the hardest part for me. The book is touted on the author's web site as the 1st in a trilogy, with the 2nd being Forge. I'm impatiently waiting for the 3rd book before reading Forge, though, as Forge follows a different character than Isabel whom I love and worry about!

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  49. Last one from me, I promise! Shadow Castle, by Marian Cockrell.

    I love these kinds of posts, where we all help each other. My books-to-read list has suddenly grown a lot! And my daughters thank you too!

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  50. I love this blog, and above all else the shadow box, which totally honors Birdy's perfect observation. I'm re-reading The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, by Aimee Bender. Deliciously heart-breaking and oddly life-affirming.

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  51. Anonymous12:36 AM

    Gregor the Overlander series, by Suzanne Collins
    Any Pseuodymous Bosch books
    For Catherine: The Ocean at the End of theLane, by Neil Gaiman

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  52. Here in Oregon my fifth grader has enjoyed the Oregon Battle of the Books, and the titles they release are fun to see each spring-many of these books have been recommended here by your readers.

    http://oboblsta.pbworks.com/w/page/5653618/Book%20Recommendations%202014-2015

    Wonder is one that I'm glad to know is loved by Birdy.
    A few titles I've read recently and loved are:
    Last Summer of the Camperdowns and Tell The Wolves I'm Home.

    I've GOT to make that corn bread. It sounds scrumpdiddlyumptious.

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  53. My girls (and I) have been bereft since we finished Wonder. First they read it in their respective 4th grade classes, then I read it aloud to them and their dad while our family was on a roadtrip. We wish RJ Palacio would hurry and produce another novel as fantastic.

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  54. Ellie2:07 PM

    Hi Catherine,
    My favorite author is Diana Wynne Jones, I am still sad she passed away. Miyazaki's Howl's Moving Castle is based on one of her books. Dodie Smith's 101 Dalmatians is also enchanting. Loved Wonder - glad I read it before the recommendations! Maryrose Wood also wrote books that I loved reading along with my daughter. On another note have you heard of the best French film of the year, Les garçons et Guillaume, à table? Comedian Guillaume Gallienne wrote and played his story, one of being thought homosexual by his family but surprising them by marrying a girl.

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  55. I read "Navigating Early" before handing it over to the boy to read. I think he's also started the Book Thief, though I'm not so sure he's gotten "into" it so much. I thought Navigating Early was great. I have Wonder on my bedside to read. Finn read it last year and we lent it to a neighbor for the summer and now it's my turn to read it.

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  56. My 11 year old highly recommends A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass. I saw Wendy Mass listed but not specifically that book...

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  57. Anonymous1:31 PM

    The Zamonia series by Walter Moers, especially The City of Dreaming Books and The Alchemaster's Apprentice. Seriously. So Good.

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  58. Anonymous6:30 AM

    Wonder was great. More than great.

    In a very different genre, I would recommend the light-hearted and funny book Love Among the Walnuts by Jean Ferris. (She is also the author of Once Upon a Marigold, and it's two sequels, which Birdy would probably enjoy too.)

    In 3-4 years, I suspect that Birdy will love The Fault in Our Stars. It is excellent; the language is brilliant and the teenagers so much more philosophical and sardonic than they might be in real life. My 8th graders love it, but you should probably preread it - both for enjoyment as well as to decide if Birdy is ready for it yet.

    So, one to make her laugh. One to make her cry (but probably later).

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  59. Are you Harry Potter people? If not, you might consider converting. My son is Birdy's age, and that series is what made him a reader. He's read them all over and over. I love them just as much. Hatchet is a riveting survival/adventure story. My Life in Dog Years and Woodsong, also by Gary Paulson, are great narrative nonfiction for kids (and adults). The Giver is amazing, and the movie is coming out this summer, so that will be interesting to compare. The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich is a beautiful story. For you, if you like magical realism, The Red Garden by Alice Hoffman is lovely.

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  60. Sorry if I'm repeating because I didn't read the 73 comments above, but my 9yo and I recently read The Real Boy (Anne Ursu) and adored it. And re. Concord Museum: I have tix but how do I tell them I am going to see you? I am sure your friends are lovely and I am looking forward to hearing/seeing them too, of course, but in my entirely only-slightly-apologetically biased view, you are the main attraction. But how do I tell the venue that?

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  61. Anonymous9:14 AM

    Beholding Bee by Kimberly Newton Fusco
    Palace Beautiful by Sarah Deford Williams

    Both lovely books. And both generated a lot of discussion in our mother/daughter book club.

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  62. More books! These are in the "YA" section of our library, FYI, though my fifth-grader read them and loved them. Two views of girls of very different castes in India: Keeping Corner by Kashmira Sheth, and Homeless Bird by Gloria Whelan. My daughter felt she learned a lot from the differences between them, and that the stories told were compelling.

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  63. Anonymous7:00 PM

    Our Australian Girl series
    The Golden Compass
    Spirit Animals
    anything by Isobelle Carmody (Obertywn series, Little Fur series, the Red Wind series)
    Lemony snickets series of unf events

    Classics:
    The Little House on the Prairie
    Little Women
    What Katy Did
    Anne of Green Gables

    LOVE Bridge to teribithia, Because of Winn-Dixie beautiful books (and good movie adaptations as well)

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  64. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the Trespass recommendation - I loved it, and can't wait to read her others. Also, I'm currently enjoying Home Away. Did I thank you?

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