Julie: It can take a while for Mia and me to find a book we both love. This is an obvious downside of our dialogue format for recommendations. (A huge upside, for me anyway, is that it's far more fun to talk about a good book with a friend than to ramble on all by my lonesome. But I digress.) To fill those quiet intervals, we thought we might start sharing a bit of our process for identifying the books that we think have potential. And so, here are some of my recent thoughts.
I suggested HOKEY POKEY, by Jerry Spinelli, after reading this review by celebrity librarian Betsy Bird: http://blogs.slj.com/afuse8production/2013/01/14/review-of-the-day-hokey-pokey-by-jerry-spinelli/. Bird admits that Spinelli's prior books have left her cold, then says that HOKEY POKEY is "one of the strongest works of children’s fiction I have ever had the sheer joy to encounter." Surely that's worth a read! So it's now on our list.
I also like teacher Monica Edinger's blog, "Educating Alice." She recently posted this rave preview of an upcoming fantasy novel for young adults: "Even though MORTAL FIRE isn’t out till June I want to write about it now to get the word out as it is simply spectacular. And to encourage those fantasy fans among you unfamiliar with Elizabeth Knox to go and read her two other also fabulous young adult books, DREAMHUNTER and DREAMQUAKE, the latter a Printz honor book." http://medinger.wordpress.com/2013/01/22/coming-soonish-elizabeth-knoxs-mortal-fire/ And so I'm proposing to Mia, at this very moment, that we take a look at DREAMHUNTER. Mia, what do you think?
Finally, my younger daughter, Isabel, recently devoured the middle-grade novel SEE YOU AT HARRY'S, by Jo Knowles. Maybe we should add that to our middle-grade list, Mia? Also, any suggestions to add?
Julie again: Wait! I've found more possibilities, before you've even had the chance to respond! Take a look at this fabulous list from husband-wife uber-talents Philip and Erin Stead (seriously, those author-illustrators are jaw-droppingly good. They’ve chosen "the books [from 2012] that meant something special to us at this point in our lives. These are books that challenged us to be better writers and illustrators." Here's the link: http://philipstead.com/2013/01/22/announcing-the-4th-annual-phildecott-and-steadbery-awards. And here are some of the picture books from this list that intrigue me: STEPHEN AND THE BEETLE, by Jorge Lujan; A TRIP TO THE BOTTOM OF THE WORLD WITH MOUSE, by Frank Viva; and BONE DOG. Note, too, that Steve Sheinkin's BOMB (middle grade non-fiction) is showing up everywhere as a 2012 favorite, including this list. Hmm.
And one more option! I never read Nancy Farmer's HOUSE OF THE SCORPION, a 2004 science fiction novel for young teens, which won (get this! how often does this happen?!) the National Book Award and the Newbery Honor and the Printz Honor. Wow. Seems worth reading, right? Especially because the sequel is due out in September.
That's it! I think. I make no promises.
Marirosa Mia: Am I good to go? You sure? (waits a few minutes just in case) I'm all for reading HOUSE OF THE SCORPION! I've been meaning to read it for a while. And I already have my copy of HOKEY POKEY on the way. I'll make sure to add DREAMHUNTER to that mix, Julie!
Let's see. On my end I’m interested in reading TO SAY
NOTHING OF THE DOG, which I looked up after a friend recommended it. The
description is quite intriguing in that it doesn't say much! "Ned Henry
shuttles between the 1940s and the 21st century while researching Coventry
Cathedral for a patron interested in rebuilding it until the time continuum is
disrupted." Time continuum disrupted? I'M THERE. Plus it feels a bit Terry
Pratchett-like, so I'm intrigued.
I just got my copy of TELL THE WOLVES I'M HOME, and I can't wait to devour it soon. A few others I'm looking forward to are OUT OF THE EASY, by Ruta Sepetys, and PAPER VALENTINE, by Brenna Yovanoff. I'm a fan of both of these ladies' work, so I can't wait for their latest.
J: We're so set! But, just because it’s raining children's book reading ideas right now, let me close by noting that School Library Journal's annual Battle of the Kids Books has begun! Here's their list; we can check it against ours: http://battleofthebooks.slj.com. Oh, and by the way, my copy of DREAMHUNTER has arrived! (Boy, was that fast.) I might have to start with it, since Isabel has stolen HOKEY POKEY.