A guide to books we're reading and talking about this year.
Last Updated: Jul 31, 2014
Children's Books: Award Winners & Other Good Reads
If you've never considered reading all of the Newbery Award books, now might be a good time to start. Ariana shared that she especially remembers Number the Stars and Strawberry Girl. Look out below for links to that list as well as other outstanding reads for children and young adults (and the perennially young at heart). It's also a great way to connect with college students!
- 25 children's books that adults should read again
Who knew that a business magazine would run a list of favorite children's books. But, please note, they put this together with the able help of a librarian.
- The John Newbery Medal
From The Story of Mankind (1922) to Flora & Ulysses (2014), the Newbery Award continues as a prestigious annual award for the "best" children's book each. How many of these are familiar to you?
- Reading a YA novel? Should you hide the cover?
Who knew there is a spirited debate currently raging about the merit of adults reading books that were aimed at a teenage audience. It all started with an article in SLATE magazine and continues here. See what you think and don't let anybody tell you what you can and can't read!
Ariana won the coveted "Mankind to Magee" plaque for her Newbery Award reading efforts. But how much does she (or do you) know about this award? Take the quiz and see how you score!
Ariana Stafford, Director of Admissions, is our reader for the week of July 28th
Talk to Ariana about books and she'll tell you right away that she is from a family of readers. She was challenged by her Dad to read the Newbery Award winners and her family gathers for a "book sale" to swap titles and donate the rest to the Friends of the Library. Although Ariana says that she primarily reads fiction, her many interests take her into phases of choosing books focused on mental health disorders, social justice and history. The thread through everything that she talked about is summed up nicely by her own statement that "people are interesting" and you'll see that reflected in some of her favorite reads highlighted below.
Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe
Publication Date: 1997-01-21
When asked why this was in her pile of books to share, Ariana simply said that she "just loves it." If you thought the movie was good, you should try the book! From Publisher's Weekly: "Cleo Threadgood, 86, shares a lifetime of memories of Whistle Stop, Ala.where the social scene centered on its one cafewith Evelyn Couch, a younger woman who is looking for meaning in her life."
Lord of the Flies
Publication Date: 1987-09-01
Ariana first read this at some point in high school and then again in college. This book is one that she points to as especially important and she re-reads it about every 5 years. The summary from Amazon: "William Golding's compelling story about a group of very ordinary small boys marooned on a coral island has become a modern classic. At first it seems as though it is all going to be great fun; but the fun before long becomes furious and life on the island turns into a nightmare of panic and death."
Publication Date: 2007-03-28
Ariana found this so hard to put down that she genuinely had to tear herself away to go to a martial arts class - something that would come in handy in this post-apocalyptic world created by master storyteller Cormac McCarthy. Publisher's Weekly explains that the story "is narrated by a nameless man, one of the few survivors of an unspecified civilization-ending catastrophe. He and his young son are trekking along a treacherous highway, starving and freezing, trying to avoid roving cannibal armies."
The Girls' Guide to Hunting and Fishing
Publication Date: 2000-05-01
A lighter choice from Ariana but notice the continued focus on human nature. From Kirkus Reviews: "A smart, ruefully funny chronicle of a modern young woman's search for love. When we meet Jane Rosenal, shes a wisecracking 14-year-old whose sassy wit keeps the world at bay but also gets the attention of her affectionate yet slightly distant parents. First-novelist Bank creates a dead-on teenage voice from her opening lines, making protagonist Jane both mildly obnoxious and appealingly vulnerable ...."
Publication Date: 1997-09-08
This is a book that Ariana said would give to another reader and she described it as "science fiction without being annoying." From Kirkus Reviews: "Brilliant first novel about the discovery of extraterrestrial life and the voyage of a party of Jesuit missionaries to Alpha Centauri. Russell lays down two narratives: One begins in 2059, in the aftermath of the mission; the other in 2019, when a young astronomer intercepts a transmission of haunting songs from Alpha Centauri."
Publication Date: 2012-07-31
Like many readers, Ariana can get caught up in a series like this first volume of a trilogy. She's just hanging on for October and the next installment! A summary from Amazon: "Cronin is a remarkable storyteller ,,, whose gorgeous writing brings depth and vitality to this ambitious epic about a virus that nearly destroys the world, and a six-year-old girl who holds the key to bringing it back. The Passage takes readers on a journey from the early days of the virus to the aftermath of the destruction, where packs of hungry infected scour the razed, charred cities looking for food, and the survivors eke out a bleak, brutal existence shadowed by fear."
No Touch Monkey!
Publication Date: 2003-10-28
As someone who has been many interesting places around the globe, Ariana especially likes travel literature that is funny. She recommended this one along with books by Bill Bryson. From Amazon: "Curator of kitsch and unabashed aficionada of pop culture, Halliday offers bemused, self-deprecating narration of events from guerrilla theater in Romania to drug-induced Apocalypse Now reenactments in Vietnam to a perhaps more surreal collagen-implant demonstration at a Paris fashion show emceed by Lauren Bacall."