Can't Stop Reading

Lucky for me I get a hefty discount at work, because I just can't seem to stop myself!

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Today was not so productive on the reading front. I only read a crappy chick lit book, which I will not bore y'all with. However, I almost sold someone a copy of Clara and Asha by Eric Rohmann. Rohmann won the Caldecott recently (last year? two years ago?) for his book My Friend Rabbit. However, I think Clara and Asha is better. Clara is a little girl with a crazy imagination. Asha, her friend is a giant fish. They met at the park, where Asha is part of a fountain. The book chronicles some of their adventures together, including some of the most beautiful illustrations of a girl and a giant fish flying through the night sky you will ever see. Rohmann's illustrations make me want to live in his books. Have you seen The Cinder-Eyed Cats? Eric Rohmann, take me away!

Next up, my good friend Kim needs a recommendation for her little sister. Kristen is 13, and so far Kim has Are You There God, It's Me, Margaret lined up. Loved that book, though I remember being really confused about the importance of religion, having grown up in a totally secular house. There has been some interesting discussion of this one here on the internet recently because Judy Blume has decided to update it a bit by changing the sanitary belt to pads or tampons or some such. Blume says she is not changing the story at all, so its no biggie. I tend to agree with her. However, someone pointed out that (insert classic children's novel here) has not been changed to be more modern, and learning about sanitary belts won't hurt anyone. Which is also a good point. The thing about Margaret though, is that it really is a modern novel. And the only things keeping it from being totally contemporary are the little details, like sanitary napkins (and how old are those things!?). That's my opinion on the whole thing. And also, Judy Blume wrote it, shouldn't she be able to do whatever she wants with it? I suppose that opens a whole can of worms about whom a book belongs to after it has been published and read by millions, though, eh?

Rant, much? Moving on: for Kristen, there are a few books that I could recommend. On the fantasy end of things (and apparently she's reading A Wrinkle in Time), I am gonna have to say: Garth Nix. Specifically I would recommend the Sabriel series, which are phenomenal. Really. They are stories set in The Kingdom, a country where magic exists, and there is an official necromancer (known as the Abhorsen). Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, and must save her father, and have various adventures with evil necromancers, as well as maybe fall in love with a prince. The follow up novels, Lirael and Abhorsen follow future generations of women doing the same job. Nix has done an amazing job of creating this whole world, and so many real characters that live in it. I've also recently been reading his new series, called The Keys to the Kingdom. They are a bit younger, and the protagonist is a boy, but still super super good. My only complaint is that there are seven in the series, and only four have been published so far. Write faster Garth Nix!!

Also in the fantasy vein, one of my favourite novels this year was I, Coriander by Sally Gardner, who has written quite a few books for younger readers (The Countess' Calamity is a really great early chapter book). Coriander lives in England during the time of the civil war. Turns out, her mother was a fairy, and her father, in danger of being seen as a royalist, is forced to marry an awful Puritan woman. Coriander ends up in Faery, having to face off against the fairy queen, who, let me tell you, is not such a nice lady. The way Gardner has mixed history and fantasy is downright, well, magical!

Just so that we're not all fantasy, all the time over here, A Mango Shaped Space is the winner of the 2004 Schneider Family Book Award in the middle-grade category by the American Library Association. This award recognizes books that discuss disabilities. However, author Wendy Mass has written not about a girl who is disabled, but a girl who really is differently abled. And if you are anything like me, you generally roll your eyes when you hear terms like that (okay, I'm a terrible person, yada yada yada). But Mia has Synesthesia, which means that sounds and letters and numbers have colours for her. The story of this novel is the story of Mia's diagnosis, and the story of her coming into her own. I read this book with my teen book club, and everyone really seemed to enjoy it. There is a little reading group guide at the back, which I suppose could be helpful. We just made fun of it though. The first question was something like, "Have you ever felt that you had a problem you couldn't confide to a teacher or parent, like Mia?" Seriously.

Okay, so that is all I'm going to get in tonight. Hope that helped, Kim!

Clara and Asha written and illustrated by Eric Rohmann
ISBN 1596430311
40 pages

The Cinder-Eyed Cats written and illustrated by Eric Rohmann
ISBN 0440417430
40 pages

My Friend Rabbit written and illustrated by Eric Rohmann
ISBN 159643080X
32 pages

Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
ISBN 0440404193
160 pages

Sabriel by Garth Nix
ISBN 0064471837
496 pages

Lirael by Garth Nix
ISBN 0060005424
705 pages

Abhorsen by Garth Nix
ISBN 0060528737
518 pages

Mister Monday by Garth Nix
ISBN 0439551234
361 pages

Grim Tuesday by Garth Nix
ISBN 0439436559
336 pages

Drowned Wednesday by Garth Nix
ISBN 0439436567
389 pages

Sir Thursday by Garth Nix
ISBN 0439700876
344 pages

I, Coriander by Sally Gardner
ISBN 1842552902
272 pages

A Mango Shaped Space by Wendy Mass
ISBN 0316523887
224 pages


  • At 10:47 AM, Anonymous Kim said…

    Haha! name mentioned twice. Sweet. That's like the blog equivalent of shout outs. I'll be famous too!!!

  • At 5:49 PM, Anonymous Hooked on Kids' Books said…

    I loved the Abhorsen series too (can't say the same for Keys to the Kingdom, though -- didn't get past the first book). Have you read the Lioness or Wild Magic series by Tamara Pierce? The Dragonsinger novels by Ann McCaffray would also appeal to a 12-year-old girl who likes fantasy (or to anyone else who can't stop reading). The Chanter of Tremaris trilogy by Kate Constable is another.......

  • At 5:54 PM, Blogger bookstore girl said…

    HOKB, I have to tell ya, I really don't like Tamora Pierce. I just think she's a really crummy writer. I gave that lioness series a go, but I didn't even finish the first one. The Kate Constable's were okay, but not really good enough to make me want to read more than one of them. I have heard really good things about Ann McCaffrey, though I haven't had a chance to pick any of her's up yet.

  • At 5:39 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Totally loved the Sabriel series, and the dragon series by Ann McCaffry is well worth the read. Also check out Susan Cooper if fantasy is your thing.


  • At 5:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Totally loved the Sabriel series, and the dragon series by Ann McCaffry is well worth the read. Also check out Susan Cooper if fantasy is your thing.



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