I am excited to join the conversation at #IMWAYR! Thank you to Sheila, Jen and Kellee for inspiring and hosting this meme.
We are deeply into the dog days of summer now and I am reading a mixture of books that have just arrived for my library and those that have been on my TBR list for a while... my favorite this week was Ari Berk's beautiful Nightsong.
|Recommended for K-3|
Nightsong, written by Ari Berk and illustrated by Loren Long is a beautiful book, rendered almost completely in black (which you'd think would make it dark, but Loren Long manages to make it soft and warm feeling). It tells the story of little Chiro, a baby bat, who is venturing out into the world for the first time. Chiro slowly begins to rely upon his senses and discovers his powers of echolocation. Along the way he makes friends and discovers that the world is a good and safe place.
|Recommended for grades 5-8|
There was one title on this year's Maine Student Book Award list which I had not read, but no longer! I can finally check them all off, as I read The Ghost of Graylock. This is a great title for those kids who beg for scary books. This one is seriously creepy! When Neil and Bree have to move in with their aunts because their dad has moved out and their mom is debilitated by depression, they are somewhat shellshocked and disappointed. When Neil discovers that a broken down old psychiatric hospital is close to their new home, though, his interest is piqued. Very quickly, Neil, Bree and their new friends become entangled in the terrifying ghost story related to the hospital. I will hand this to fans of ghost stories, with the caveat that they shouldn't read it at night!
|Recommended for grades 5-8|
This week I also loved the sequel to another title on this year's Maine Student Book Award list, New Lands (The Chronicle of Egg #2) by Geoff Rodkey. When I reviewed the first book in the series (Deadweather and Sunrise) I said it was quite possibly the best pirate story I had ever read (and I've read quite a few). I'm always nervous about sequels when I feel especially attached to the first book and I was thrilled to discover that New Lands takes off where Deadweather and Sunrise ended. I think what I most love about this series is that the plot is full of very fast paced action and excitement, but at the same time, the main character, Egg, is entirely sympathetic and vulnerable. He is madly in love with Millicent (a girl who doesn't always seem worthy of his devotion), he is an entirely loyal best friend to Guts, and he is struggling to cope with the fact that his family treats him horribly. I can't wait for the third book in this series to come out so I can discover how it all ends.
|Recommended for grades 6-8|
Finally, The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chaniani, has one of the coolest covers I've seen in a while. That, combined with the subject matter, will make it a good draw for middle school readers. This is a seriously hefty book, coming in at almost 500 pages, and it will require a patient and somewhat sophisticated fantasy reader. That said, though, this book will be appreciated by readers who just can't get enough magic, intrigue and blurring of lines between good and evil. For years, two children have been kidnapped into the School for Good and Evil, where fairy tales come true (as in, the kids are the actual characters in the tales we know and love). Best friends Sophie and Agatha are this year’s picks, but with a shocking twist - Sophie, beautiful and kind, is sent to the School for Good and Agatha, surly and dark, is sent to the School for Evil. What follows is a wild ride as the two girls attempt to both find their places in the school and escape it.