We recently received two new children’s books that are now on the shelf.
Fall Mixed Up by Bob Raczka unfortunately just arrived. A very colorful rhyming tale about everything connected with fall.
First Girl Scout by Ginger Wadsworth–An in-depth study of Juliette Gordon Low from her early days to her work forming the Girl Guides of the US later, of course, to be known as the Girl Scouts of America. The book contains some great period photographs, a chronology, and source notes
In a recent SLJ article titled “Make Way for Stories,” author Anita Silvey adds yet another voice to the debate about why juvenile picture book sales have declined. The author has experience in publishing, writing, and teaching. She doesn’t question the value of JPB. She states “they’re the perfect form to move children from what they have–visual acuity–to what they lack, verbal acuity.” So why the drop in sales?
She has found that older titles continue to sell very well. Why? She concludes that newer books have fewer words. Although great authors can tell a great story in 500 words or less–not all authors can. Silvey believes the prevailing philosophy in publishing is to get picture book authors to be as creative as possible with very few words. Older titles with more text give the authors the ability to develop a story. Because the stories are longer, the books can be read many times, with the reader or listener gaining a different appreciation of the content with each exposure. Also sentences are likely to be more complex, richer in language. She believes that a picture books with “an anemic amount of text” don’t satisfy the reader or the listener. This may be the reason why parents are forsaking picture books and moving on to chapter books and other more developed material.
As in everything else in life, there are trends in publishing. Anita Silvey believes that there are authors out there now that will revitalize the picture book market. The result will be better picture books and better sales.
I’m sure everyone’s figured out by now that the Twilight series and anything by Rick Riordan are decent bets as recommendations to a YA reader, but many of the teens have already read those books. Here are some other recommendations:
Maggie Stiefvater wrote a great trilogy about a small group of young people that turn into wolves. The books delve into how that affects their relationships with each other and family and the dangers they have to face being wolves in the wild. The titles are Shiver, Linger, and Forever. These are all excellent reads with the sci/fi element firmly rooted in a reality setting.
Inheritance, the conclusion to the best-selling Inheritance Cycle books by Christopher Paolini was just released in December. I haven’t read this book yet, but my younger brother couldn’t put it down. If a teen likes fantasy novels with dragons and plenty of sword fighting, this series is a sure bet.
Kathy Reichs has branched out from her best selling Temperance Brennan novels and has written two YA books called Virals and Seizure. The books are about Tempe’s niece, Tory, and her friends who are infected by a mysterious virus and they each develop supernatural abilities. These are fast-paced and exciting reads that any teen is sure to enjoy.
Beautiful Creatures, Beautiful Darkness, and Beautiful Chaos are a trio of books by writing duo Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. The books are teen gothic romance that take place in the South and, in my opinion, are better written and a better story than Twilight.
Of course, not all teens want to read something in the fantasy/sci-fi genre, or a series, so I always recommend Sarah Dessen or Laurie Halse Anderson to those looking for books about relationships and real-life issues.