Tuesday, April 16, 2019

What THEY Read


This list is so cool.  I asked the people sitting around the table at the Grade 5 and up Book Review session at the Kutztown University Children's Literture Conference (henceforth referred to a KUCLC) to write down the best book for children and Young Adults that they read in the past year.  I did not care if the book was a 2018/2019 copyright.  I wanted to know what books excited them in the past year.

The result is a marvelous list of recent and classic titles for children, teens AND adults.  I know you will approve.

Two of the books were from my review.  I will post this year's book list in the Lists section of  this blog or or check it out here.
Thanks to Nancy Mikitka for this photo of me holding up a book and talking, talking, talking...

Attendees Best Books 2018

This year I asked attendees to note the best book they read in the past year with only one restriction.  The books could be from any year but they had to be books for young people.  (Silly me!  ALL books are for young readers.)
Here are their choices.

Refugee by Alan Gratz. Scholastic, 2017.0545880831 (ISBN13: 9780545880831)
Gratz follows a Jewish boy from the 1930s, a Cuban girl from the 1990s, and a Syrian boy from 2015 as they and their families flee violence and deprivation. MG, YA, historical fiction, immigration, refugees, war
This book was mentioned twice!

Making Bombs for Hitler by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. Scholastic, 2017.1338170759 (ISBN13: 9781338170757)
Lida is forced to make bombs for the Nazis after she is sent to the camps.  But can she sabotage those bombs? MG, historical fiction, suspense, concentration camps

The Prince and the Dressmaker by Jen Wang. First Second, 2018. 1250159857 (ISBN13: 9781250159854)
A Prince, who secretly wears dresses, trusts this all-important secret to the dressmaker, his best friend.  Her dilemma is that she wants her creations to be seen and admired.  What is a designer to do?  This book received a lot of attention and several awards. YA, MG, gender identity, cross dressing, fashion, secrets, friendship, LGBTQIA, graphic novel

Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster by Jonathan Auxier.  This book made my list so check the Booklist for details.  AWESOME!

Poisoned Apple by Katherine McIntyre. Decadent Publishing, 2015. 9781613337837
Neve’s stepmother tosses her to the curb when Neve turns 18. Neve’s father abandoned her when he found his true love, another man. Now Neve wonders if her bad luck is her own fault.
YA, abandonment, fairy tale, stepparents, LGBTQ+, depression, mental illness

Check, please! by Ngozi Ukazu (#Hockey vol. 1-2). First Second, 2018. 250177952 (ISBN13: 9781250177957)
The hero is a champion skater, a pastry chef and the freshman player on his college’s hockey team.  Hockey’s practice of checking is a whole new concept.  And his team captain?  WOW!
YA, graphic novel, hockey, LGBTQ+

Dig by A. S. King. Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2019. 1101994916 (ISBN13: 9781101994917)
The Hemmings grandparents left behind their potato farm to become land developers so that their children and grandchildren could “thrive”.  Five teenagers come together from terribly tangled backgrounds - poverty, Flea Circus? cancer treatments, eager-to-please, Pine Barrens.  Is this what thriving looks like?  A. S. King’s books are hard to describe. YA, mental health, poverty, wealth, family,

Circle of Friends  This is all the notation said.
 I found Circle of Friends by Maeve Binchy. Adult
 And a series by Mary Jo Putney Adult
 and a graphic novel series about teens by Sean McKeever, Takeshi Miyazawa and Norman Lee (Marvel Comics). YA, MG, superheroes, Marvel Comics
 AND a wordless picture book by Giori Carmi All ages, kindness, pay it forward

Symphony for the City of the Dead: Dmitri Shostakovich and the siege of Leningrad  by M.T. Anderson. Candlewick, 2015. 763668184 (ISBN13: 9780763668181)
“Absolutely loved this YA non-fiction book. It’s impossible not to cry while listening to Shostakovich’s 7th symphony- the “Leningrad symphony” - after hearing about everything the people of Leningrad suffered during (& before) WWII and the brave performance of the symphony in the city on the dat that Hitler claimed he would be celebrating their defeat.” KUCLC attendee. YA, non-fiction, history, WWII, music, Shostakovich, Leningrad, Hitler

Feed by M. T. Anderson. Candlewick, 2004. 0763622591 (ISBN13: 9780763622596)
“A dystopian Future Society. High School students have an Internet “Feed” implanted and have constant access to the Internet. It does not end well.” KUCLC attendee YA, future, sci-fi, Internet, dystopia

Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Little Brown Young Readers, 2007.  0316013684 (ISBN13: 9780316013680)
Semi-autobiographical account of a Native American teen who transfers to a “white” high school in order to improve his chances at success in the larger world. YA, cartooning, memoir, Native American, fiction,

Aru Shah - that’s all the notation says BUT I gave attendees a chance to pick their favorites from the listed books and the first book in this series is on the list.  Check The Booklist for more details.

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. Tor, 1994 (first published in 1985). 0812550706 (ISBN13: 9780812550702)

Andrew Ender plays video games for the government.  Little does he know that he is engaged in something far more desperate.  His older brothers vie for the power that Ender seems to wield in this first entry in the Ender’s Saga series. YA, adult, science fiction, classic, interplanetary conflict

Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  Scholastic, 2008. 0439023483 (ISBN13: 9780439023481)

When Katniss’s younger sister’s name is pulled out of the hat as a candidate for the Hunger Games, Katniss takes her place.  The Hunger Games are a yearly punishment for the outlying territories that dared to rebel against the government.  Every year, a candidate from each territory fights to the death with the other candidates in a televised competition. YA, science fiction, dystopia, survival, battles, books into movies.

Wonder by R. J. Palacio. Knopf, 2012. 978-0-375-86902-0 (0-375-86902-6)
After being homeschooled for five years to accommodate the surgeries on his malformed face and skull, Auggie finally enters a private school in New York City. The school is proud to have him and make sure that all the students treat him with acceptance and respect.  But how do the other kids in Auggie’s class really feel?  This book has helped feed the burgeoning movement toward kindness. MG, Elementary, diversity, different abilities, birth defects, kindness, acceptance, appearance

Slaughterhouse Five by Kurt Vonnegut. Dial Press, 1999 (originally published in 1969).
Billy Pilgrim discovers that time is constantly re-occurring in this anti-war book by one of the most important American authors of the 20th century.  The book was inspired by the firebombing of Dresden in WWII.  It introduced the fictional writer, Kilgore Trout, and a planet called Tralfamdore and the mantra “So it goes?” The book needs to be read to be understood. Adult, YA, anti-war, pacifist, science fiction, time travel, social commentary.

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