Sunday, April 22, 2012

Favorite Books of 2012 ... So Far

Thought it would be fun this week to post some of my favorite books of the far!  There have been a few that have really stood out above the rest (in book talk this means I stayed up way past my bedtime to finish them.)  There are two in particular that I think could be early Newbery contenders, however that is a tricky little award, so you just never know (do you sense I am still a little bitter about my favorite book from last year - Ok for Now!)

Anywhooo...I am starting with my all time favorite Wonder.  This book is just one of those stories that will not only touch you and your child, but neither of you will be able to put it down.  Just a triumph of a book that I think all your kids should read.  Well enough of my get out there and read a book!!

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Title:          Wonder
Author:      R. J. Palacio
Target:       Grade 3-6
Series:        No
What this book is about:
Auggie Pullman is about to enter fifth grade at the first real school he has ever been to.  He has been home schooled up to this point because he was born with a facial deformity so severe it prevented him from going to a mainstream school.  We are there as Auggie faces the challenges and we learn he is just an ordinary kid with an extraordinary face.
Why I love this book:
As a parent, I usually shy away from books where the kids have to go through extraordinary challenges such as this, it just pulls too hard on my parent heartstrings.  However, I am so glad that I didn’t shy away from Wonder!  It is told in the voice of Auggie as well as some of the other young characters.  When you get the viewpoints of several different young people to the same scene, it allows kids to see that there is more than one way to look at a situation.  It is a wonderful way to teach empathy, something this book does in spades
Auggie’s voice rings true and I grew to love him throughout the book and see both his challenges and those of his family and friends.  But the book also shows us the humor and love that surrounds this family.  There are actually some laugh out loud moments.  Ultimately the story shows you how similar we all are in side!
Who this book is for:
Great book for any reader.  The voices feel authentic so kids will easily see themselves and others in the story.  The action and events also move at a good pace.  I must note that my fourth grade son loved it, so it is not a story that only speaks to adults.  My son actually snuck into his room to read it one day because he told me he couldn’t wait to finish it!  Now if that isn’t a resounding recommendation for this fabulous book, I don’t know what is!
Final thoughts:
This book is an early contender for the Newbery and I can easily see why.  It is so thoughtful and well done with a voice that a child will hear and understand!  One of my favorites so far this year. 

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon: Wonder, a portion of your purchase goes back to funding this blog!

Title:          The Mighty Miss Malone
Author:      Christopher Paul Curtis
Target:       Grades 4-7
Series:        No
What this book is about:
Deza Malone is a young girl growing up during the Depression.  Deza is the smartest girl in her class, and the adults around her see a special path for her in life.  However, when a terrible accident affects her father and he leaves to find work, Deza and her older brother must move to an encampment  miles from their home, and they cling to the hope they will one day all be together again.
Why I love this book:
Wow, when I finished this book I was blown away.  It is beautifully written, it tells of what life was really like during the depression, but it never looses its optimism or its humor.  Deza annoyed the stuffing out of me at the beginning of the story, but by the end I grew to love her and her family  The hardship and the hope stuck together like glue in this story and these characters were so well developed I felt like I knew them.
Who this book is for:
I have a feeling that the idea of the book will not appeal to alot of kids, but I dare a child to read it and not love it.  This is a case where a book is so well written that the story will touch them even if the topic doesn’t initially interest them.
Final thoughts:
I think the cover of this book is one of the most striking I have seen!  In this case, please do judge this book by its cover!

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon: The Mighty Miss Malone, a portion of your purchase goes back to funding this blog!

Title:          The Case of the Deadly Desperados
Author:      Caroline Lawrence
Target:       Grades 4-8
Series:        This is the first book in a planned series
What this book is about:
PK Pinkerton is in trouble.  His Sioux mother and Pinkerton father (of the famous Pinkerton Detective Agency) are dead.  His foster parents have just been murdered by Desperados in an attempt to get a piece of paper which might give PK the rights to a substantial portion of the Comstock Load.  He is on the run from these Desperados in the town of Virginia City.  Here he meets a soiled dove, an ace poker player, celestials and tavern owners who all want in on the action.  Will he get out of this alive?  Set in the Wild West of 1862, PK must find out who he can trust!
Why I love this book:
Ok, I admit that my summary might not make you want to jump up and buy this book, but jump up and get this book.  This is one of those books that I read straight through, which I don’t often do, but it was just that good!!  The tongue and cheek humor is fabulous, and the action is non stop.  PK is a wonderful character.  He can’t read people’s emotions but he is a genius with numbers and details.  As he changes disguises and figures out who his friends really are, you are pulled in more and more to this delightful story.  And did I mention it is funny in the most dead pan way!
Who this book is for:
I have skewed it a little older simply because some of the humor is a little sophisticated, and there is that pesky situation of murdered foster parents.  Also there are some references to loose women and a scene in an Opium den, but they are really very innocent and the life lessons in the book are extremely solid!  Also, without giving too much away, this book is really for boys and girls, as our main character masquerades as both!  Oh, I want to tell you more, but it would ruin the fun!
Final thoughts:
Who can resist a book whose first sentence starts out, “My name is PK Pinkerton and before this day is over I will be dead.”

To purchase this book, please visit your local bookstore or click here to connect directly to Amazon: The Case of the Deadly Desperados: Western Mysteries, Book One, a portion of your purchase goes back to funding this blog!

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