Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Read "The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo"

True story:
I saw this book everywhere. The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. It was piled up at Costco, a movie had come out, and it looked like everyone was reading it. So I checked it out, and took it home. My 8th grade daughter saw me reading it one winter's day, and said, "Oh, that's what Kaitlyn is reading. Can I read it when you're done?" I gave her my standard, "We'll see."

I could not finish that book. The horrible, graphic, depictions of sexual violence on women make me feel sick to this day. Like the opening scenes in "Leaving Las Vegas," there are some images that I cannot get out of my head, that terrify me in the dark of sleepless nights. Why our culture embraces tales of depravity, I'll never understand. But letting 13 or 14 year old be exposed to such is criminal.

Adult books are not for kids. Even adults shouldn't be reading most of them.

Now for the boring stuff about finding age appropriate reading material for your children.

Our local library uses the Dewey Decimal System, as do most public libraries. Like it or not, the DDS leaves a lot of ambiguity with the generic "F" for Fiction. In Youth Services, the vague delineations are furthered with "JF" for Juvenile Fiction and "YF" for Young Adult Fiction. The hard-working people who decide whether a book is J or Y, most likely use reading level, and in special cases, content. Juvenile fiction is generally for elementary school children, up to about 6th grade. Young Adult is then for the middle school kids, 7th and 8th grades. Some libraries have a High School section, which includes adult books about teenagers, or content judged inappropriate for children.

There is a lot of crossover between J and Y books, and each library makes it's own calls. You may find the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series in either category, depending on which library you go to. In Juvenile books, you can find all the silly, gross, My Butt from Mars type books. But, (no pun intended) you can also find nearly every children's classic and loads of good stories that will interest readers of any age. In Young Adult, you can find most of the paranormal (Cirque du Freak, Twilight, etc.), romances (from Princess Diaries to Anne of Avonlea), and weightier themes such as crime, death of a loved one, homelessness, etc.

Young Adult books are some of the greatest books I've ever read. And also some of the worst. I believe that writing for this age group is often more demanding than writing for children or adults. I also realize that the popularity machine that catapults books into a frenzied craze begins with young adults. So, when reading YA, I am always cautious, and often amazed with what I find.

Here is a list of several YA books that I read, enjoyed, and consider appropriate for my teen son and daughter.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Schooled by Gordon Korman
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson
Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt
Peak by Roland Smith
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Leviathan by Scot Westerfeld
Vampire Rising by Jason Henderson
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Correspondence With My Nearly 11 year old Godson

Hi Jessica,

Congratulations on your new baby! :)

I’ve read all the books you recommended from your last blog post. They were all awesome! I think we have the same taste in books. Do you have any other books you would recommend for me?

Love,
David


Thanks David! I got the package of cute baby outfits and shoes along with your very nice rainbow card. Thank you!

I really like everything that Roland Smith wrote. He wrote Elephant Run, but he’s written lots of other books too: Zach’s Lie, Cryptid Hunters, Sasquatch, Peak, I.Q. Books One and Two and more. Those are just the ones I’ve read.

I also like Richard Peck. He’s hilarious. He wrote The Teacher's Funeral, Long Way to Chicago, Fair Weather, among others.

And Tim Greene. He’s a former NFL star turned book author. He wrote The Football Genius series, the Baseball Great series and more. Check out his website at www.timgreenbooks.com/kids. I heard him speak at a Childrens’ Literature conference. I also heard Katherine Lasky speak then too. She wrote the Guardians of Ga’hoole series. If you liked Redwall, you might like the Guardians of Ga’hoole.

Savvy by Ingrid Law is really good, and there is a sequel, Scumble.

Andrew Clements has lots of good books, they are shorter and faster to read than most of the ones I’ve recommended here. I recently read Extra Credit.

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry is one of the best books I’ve read this summer. You’ll love it.

Lastly, there is The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas. If you liked Harry Potter, you’ll like this series.

I’ve actually put together several booklists for the library where I work. I’ll see if I can send them to you.

Let me know when you’ve tried all these.
Love,
Jessica

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Mamas, Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to Read "The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo"

True story:
I saw this book everywhere. The Girl with a Dragon Tattoo. It was piled up at Costco, a movie had come out, and it looked like everyone was reading it. So I checked it out, and took it home. My 8th grade daughter saw me reading it one winter's day, and said, "Oh, that's what Kaitlyn is reading. Can I read it when you're done?" I gave her my standard, "We'll see."

I could not finish that book. The horrible, graphic, depictions of sexual violence on women make me feel sick to this day. Like the opening scenes in "Leaving Las Vegas," there are some images that I cannot get out of my head, that terrify me in the dark of sleepless nights. Why our culture embraces tales of depravity, I'll never understand. But letting 13 or 14 year old be exposed to such is criminal.

Adult books are not for kids. Even adults shouldn't be reading most of them.

Now for the boring stuff about finding age appropriate reading material for your children.

Our local library uses the Dewey Decimal System, as do most public libraries. Like it or not, the DDS leaves a lot of ambiguity with the generic "F" for Fiction. In Youth Services, the vague delineations are furthered with "JF" for Juvenile Fiction and "YF" for Young Adult Fiction. The hard-working people who decide whether a book is J or Y, most likely use reading level, and in special cases, content. Juvenile fiction is generally for elementary school children, up to about 6th grade. Young Adult is then for the middle school kids, 7th and 8th grades. Some libraries have a High School section, which includes adult books about teenagers, or content judged inappropriate for children.

There is a lot of crossover between J and Y books, and each library makes it's own calls. You may find the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series in either category, depending on which library you go to. In Juvenile books, you can find all the silly, gross, My Butt from Mars type books. But, (no pun intended) you can also find nearly every children's classic and loads of good stories that will interest readers of any age. In Young Adult, you can find most of the paranormal (Cirque du Freak, Twilight, etc.), romances (from Princess Diaries to Anne of Avonlea), and weightier themes such as crime, death of a loved one, homelessness, etc.

Young Adult books are some of the greatest books I've ever read. And also some of the worst. I believe that writing for this age group is often more demanding than writing for children or adults. I also realize that the popularity machine that catapults books into a frenzied craze begins with young adults. So, when reading YA, I am always cautious, and often amazed with what I find.

Here is a list of several YA books that I read, enjoyed, and consider appropriate for my teen son and daughter.

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Schooled by Gordon Korman
The Dangerous Days of Daniel X by James Patterson
Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt
Peak by Roland Smith
When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Leviathan by Scot Westerfeld
Vampire Rising by Jason Henderson
Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz
Woods Runner by Gary Paulsen
Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
Little Blog on the Prairie by Cathleen Davitt Bell
Princess of the Midnight Ball by Jessica Day George

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Correspondence With My Nearly 11 year old Godson

Hi Jessica,

Congratulations on your new baby! :)

I’ve read all the books you recommended from your last blog post. They were all awesome! I think we have the same taste in books. Do you have any other books you would recommend for me?

Love,
David


Thanks David! I got the package of cute baby outfits and shoes along with your very nice rainbow card. Thank you!

I really like everything that Roland Smith wrote. He wrote Elephant Run, but he’s written lots of other books too: Zach’s Lie, Cryptid Hunters, Sasquatch, Peak, I.Q. Books One and Two and more. Those are just the ones I’ve read.

I also like Richard Peck. He’s hilarious. He wrote The Teacher's Funeral, Long Way to Chicago, Fair Weather, among others.

And Tim Greene. He’s a former NFL star turned book author. He wrote The Football Genius series, the Baseball Great series and more. Check out his website at www.timgreenbooks.com/kids. I heard him speak at a Childrens’ Literature conference. I also heard Katherine Lasky speak then too. She wrote the Guardians of Ga’hoole series. If you liked Redwall, you might like the Guardians of Ga’hoole.

Savvy by Ingrid Law is really good, and there is a sequel, Scumble.

Andrew Clements has lots of good books, they are shorter and faster to read than most of the ones I’ve recommended here. I recently read Extra Credit.

Heart of a Shepherd by Rosanne Parry is one of the best books I’ve read this summer. You’ll love it.

Lastly, there is The Magic Thief series by Sarah Prineas. If you liked Harry Potter, you’ll like this series.

I’ve actually put together several booklists for the library where I work. I’ll see if I can send them to you.

Let me know when you’ve tried all these.
Love,
Jessica