Sunday, September 15, 2013

Science Fiction for Kids is Back

I do think this is the year of the Sci Fi Books.  I see it coming back in a big way.  One thing that I believe will propel this genre forward is the release of the book Ender's Game as a movie in November.  This book is really good, and I think kids will have a bit of awakening to sci fi.

One thing that I think has held sci fi back a bit for kids is all the new technology out there.  As their communication methods and game devices become completely intergrated into their lives I think they are less inclined to imagine innovation that will change the way they live, since they are in the midst of actually experiencing it.

However, kids have been primed for sci fi with the rise of Dystopian books such as Maze Runner and Hunger Games.  These books do have sci fi components but they are exploring a world that we fear will occur, taking imagined innovation into the scary, heart stoping realm.  This is especially current as we worry about the way technology can be an invasive, unwanted form in our lives.

Well, I can analyze trends at nausium, but in the end it's about a great story.  This week I am taking on the ever popular dystopian story with a sci fi twist becasue as kids are drawn to these books, so too are great writers who are giving us some extremely compelling narratives.

So read on and may the force be with you, or is it live long and prosper?  Well whatever it is, your kids will be blown away by this weeks selections!

Don't forget to like One Great Book on Facebook or twitter so you can be prepared to wow your kids with all the earth shaking books out there.  Oh, and get your kids to read Ender's Game before they see the movie.  They will thank you for it (and so will I!)

Title:Ender’s Game

Author:Orson Scott Card

Target:Grades 6 and up


What this book is about:
Earth has defeated an attack from an alien species.  In an attempt to stop future attacks, they have sent ships across the galaxy to try and neutralize the threat.  However, they need to groom a great leader to defeat these aliens.  Ender Wiggins is the earth’s great hope.  He is strategic, brilliant, ruthless when he needs to be - and only six years old.  He is taken from his family and sent to battle school to be molded into the hero Earth desperately needs.  But will battle school train him or break him?

Why I love this book:
This is a great book.  Ok .... did you hear me?  Just in case you missed it, this is a great book!  I have no idea why it took me so long to read it, despite the pleas of my son.  I think with the movie release on 11/1/13, I knew I needed to get it under my belt, but now I am just mad it took me so long!  

The development of Ender as a leader is fascinating.  The battle games they play in zero gravity at battle school had me on the edge of my seat.  The reaction to Ender’s brilliance and the threats to his well being had me off balance throughout the story.  This is a can’t put down book in the best possible way.

Who this book is for:
Kids who like dystopian books, especially series such as Maze Runner will love this story.  I do have to warn parents that there is some bad language, although it isn’t rampant.  There are also some mature references, and some violence, so be warned if you have younger kids.  Grade six is the earliest I would recommend it based on these things.

Final thoughts:
Ender’s Game combines powerful messages about war and forgiveness with an incredibly engaging story.  Despite the fact that this book was first published in 1985, it remains current and relevant.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: Ender's Game (The Ender Quintet)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

Title:The Roar

Author:Emma Clayton

Target:Grade 5-8


What this book is about:
Mika lives in London, but it is a London you would not recognize.  Forty years earlier there was an animal plague which forced people around the world to move into walled communities.  The earth around them has been poisoned beyond recognition and is unlivable.  To make matters worse, Mika’s twin sister has been missing, presumed dead from a slip into the sewers.  However, within these bleak conditions Mika has the opportunity to compete in a video contest sponsored by the youth organization.  The prizes include unheard of luxuries such as real food and an apartment where they can see the sky.  He starts to compete as he realizes that perhaps the real prize for him is a chance to find his sister.

Why I love this book:
I had just read Ender’s Game when I picked this book up, so I was ready for more dystopian science fiction.  The similarities to that book are evident, however I am happy to say that it is not a copycat book.  The story was intriguing and fully flushed out and I really liked the supporting cast as well.  Although the one character that disappointed a bit was the bad guy.  He never goes beyond stereotypical so you don’t get a better sense of his motivation.

The story starts out with action and the books keeps up the pace until the end.  I can see kids blowing through this book quickly as it has all the elements of a can’t put down read.

I also like the environmental aspect of the book.  If this story doesn’t make kids think about treating the resources of the world with respect, then nothing will.

Who this book is for:
Great for kids who like dystopian books like Hunger Games, Maze Runner or Ender’s Game.  This book is less violent than the three I have mentioned so if you looking to start your kids out with something compelling but not as deadly, this book is the right fit.

Final thoughts:
The ending is satisfying, but there is still a cliffhanger so be prepared to get the next book pronto.

To purchase this book from Amazon, click on the following link: The Roar  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.


Author:D. J. MacHale

Target:Grades 6-8

Series:This is the first book in a planned series

What this book is about:
Tucker lives on Pemberwick island and is happy with idealistic island life.  However, when his football teammate drops dead during a game, and he and his best friend Quinn see an unidentified explosion over the harbor, things start to turn ugly.  The island is taken over by a navy group called SYLO who are there to contain the outbreak of an unknown virus.  The only problem is that Tucker and Quinn don’t think there actually is a virus, so why has their island been invaded and all communication to the outside world cut off?  No one is talking, so Tucker and Quinn start to investigate.  Can they solve the mystery?

Why I love this book:
Who doesn’t love a big mystery and as the questions begin to mount, the reader gets completely caught up in figuring out, along with Tucker, what is going on.  The author does a great job of giving us just enough information to keep us guessing.  

I also like the trio of good friends, Tucker, Quinn and Tori.  Tucker is the good guy who loves the island, Quinn is the brains of the group and Tori is quite the strong female.  There is plenty of action as well, which makes this a can’t put down read.

Who this book is for:
I kept thinking that kids who liked Maze Runner would enjoy this book.  There are some deaths and killing so I have targeted the story older.  MacHale is also the author of the Pendragon series so if you kids enjoyed those books than this may be a good fit.

Final thoughts:
It ends on a cliffhanger so be prepared to wait for the next book.

To purchase this book, click on the following link to connect to Amazon: SYLO (The SYLO Chronicles)  A portion of each purchase goes to support this blog at no cost to you.

1 comment:

  1. I also liked Krokos' Planet Thieves, and there have been more action/adventure space exploration instead of straight dystopia, which I prefer. Guess it's that latent Trekker in me!