Between a long flight to Seattle and a renewed interest from the NY SCBWI conference, I've managed to get into a rhythm of reading once again. Here are a few quick reviews (for what my unprofessional reviews might be worth!):
The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide Not the most emotionally charged read, but seemed like a good read for young boys. I'll have to check with my nephew who got this for his birthday. I'm looking forward to the next few books on my next trip to the library.
The Higher Power of Lucky I absolutely LOVED this book. It felt really unique and definitely pulled at the heartstrings. I can see why this won the Newberry. I can't see why it was controversial AT ALL! A nice book to read together with a child I think.
The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things I really tore through this. It's the least relevant reading in terms of 'research' for me but I was really intrigued by Carolyn Mackler after hearing her speak at the conference. I definitely understand why this would be a controversial book, I was even a little surprised at one major plot development and the graphic description of the main character's make-out sessions. Realistically, kids today know more at a younger age so it's not a bad thing. Especially when the characters and situations are painted so honestly. I think teens NEED books like this, especially reluctant readers.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane I really didn't care for Tale of Despereaux so at a friend's suggestion I tried this book by Kate DiCamillo. I thought it had a similar vibe to Despereaux, something that twinges at me that I just don't like - an extremity of emotion/language perhaps? Her books remind me of old fables and teaching tales (the little matchgirl or baba yaga comes to mind) that teach by fear. I suppose it's a refreshing change from saccharin stories, I normally LIKE dark tales even for children... The story did win me over with it's charming secondary characters. I also really liked the illustrations.