Books We Love: Jinx

Jinx coverJinx” is a juvenile fiction book that was first brought to my attention when participants in DBRL’s own Heavy Medal: Mock Newbery program decided it their winner last year. Its win nudged me into giving it a read, and I am so glad I did.

Jinx” is the story of an orphan (of course he is an orphan, you have to get those pesky parents out of the way so that our young characters can have any sort of adventures, right?) who lives in a magical world with fantastical facets presented though humorously matter-of-fact narration. The story kicks off with a stepfather attempting to leave young Jinx in a dense and dangerous forest, called the Urwald, that surrounds all of the cities in Jinx’s world. After an unlikely rescue by a grumpy old wizard named Simon, Jinx finds himself a wizard’s apprentice and gathers some sidekicks along the way. Adventure naturally ensues, and the story does a lovely job of examining the fact that “good” versus “bad” is not always a black-and-white concept. Jinx’s internal ruminations on the subject are particularly touching. Continue reading

But Series-ously: Juvenile Historical Fiction

Book cover for With the Might of Angels, a book in the Dear America seriesConfession: One of the most satisfying questions to get from an early reader is something like, “I really liked so-and-so book, do you have any more like that?” when you know that yes, yes, burgeoning reader, you have picked a book in a series! Let’s get as many books as possible into your hot little hands! Read! Read, you young absorbent mind – read like the wind!

While I am a firm believer in the theory that whatever a child is reading, within the parameters of law and reason of course, is good because they are reading, it is such a cherry on top when there is an educational facet to these series. See? Interdisciplinary learning can be recreational fun! Okay, maybe don’t take it that far with your child/student/patron, as you’ll likely send them running from the stacks and your vicinity in general, but hopefully you see my point.

The further good news is that while the classics of juvenile historical fiction, such as the Little House on the Prairie series, are still popular and valuable, this particular genre has really expanded over the past decade or two, especially in series form. And again, that series factor can be crucial if you need to strike while the enthusiasm for reading – I mean, the iron – is hot.

An American Girl bookBesides becoming a mega-doll industry, American Girl has managed to pump out some (and by “some,” I actually mean “oodles of”) pretty good books that cover a wide range of American demographics, periods of time, geographical location, etc., while still retaining a relevance to things girls today experience. Continue reading

Resolution For The New Year

cover of Every New Year’s, I resolve to do something, anything! I usually don’t stick to it, but I tried, right? So this year, the resolution I’m going to STICK to is …

…to read more chapter books to my child. Yep. That’s all. I’ve already made a list of my picks that I want to read to my kiddo. I will make the loveliest of charts so that my son can keep me honest, and we can check them off as we read them.

Interested in my list? Here are my top ten: Continue reading

2013 Mark Twain Award Nominees

Mark Twain Award Nominee GraphicEach year, the Mark Twain Award Committee selects books for the purpose of providing Missouri children in grades four through six with a recommended reading list of life-enriching literature. The library has copies of the current nominees for check out. Below is a list of this year’s nominees, along with their publishers’ descriptions.

Book cover for Close to Famous by Joan BauerClose to Famous” by Joan Bauer
Twelve-year-old Foster McFee and her mother escape from her mother’s abusive boyfriend and end up in the small town of Culpepper, West Virginia, where they challenge themselves to build a new life.

Missing on Superstition Mountain” by Elise Broach
When brothers Simon, Henry and Jack move with their parents to Arizona, they are irresistibly drawn to explore Superstition Mountain, in spite of warnings that it is not safe.
Continue reading

Transitional Books: Recommendations for Young Readers

There are many times in life when you are “between” things. Your pants are too short, and the next size up is too long. This can be frustrating. Well, reading is no different; at some point a child is between the simpler beginning-to-read titles and the full-length juvenile fiction. (Though no one is EVER too old for a picture book!)  We don’t want children to lose momentum in their reading journey, but sometimes transition means a few physical steps back and forth between the Easy section and the Juvenile section to make sure the perfect book is found. Here are a few titles to get you started:

Want more suggestions? Check out the transitional book list in our catalog. Have suggestions of your own? Let us know in the comments!