Readers who are transitioning from the elementary grades to middle school often feel it is difficult to find books that challenge them and yet are fun to read. “Furthermore” by Tahereh Mafi, which is suggested for readers 9-13, might be such a novel. Mafi, the author of the “Shatter Me” series, has created a magical land called Ferenwood. Alice Alexis Queensmeadow, age 12, lost her father three years earlier. There are only three things that matter to her: Mother, who wouldn’t miss her, magic and color, which elude her, and her father, who always loved her.
With the help of Oliver, a mysterious companion, they embark on a quest to find Alice’s father. Their journey takes then to Furthermore, a mythical land where down can be up, paper is alive, and left can be right.
This is a story of friendship, loss, and recovery in a mystical setting–all the elements that will appeal to middle grade readers.
“Pax” could be described as a coming-of-age story. In this case, both the titled character Pax, a red fox, and his friend-owner, Peter, will be called upon to use their intelligence, courage, and perseverance to survive and mature.
Awarding-winning author Sara Pennypacker has written a moving and, often intense, novel that beautifully describes the bond between human and pet. She focuses on the journey that Peter and Pax take to be rejoined after a heartbreaking separation.
Peter is a thirteen-year-old boy who lives alone with his father. He found Pax in the woods and raised the orphaned kit. When the father volunteers to join the army and fight in the war, Peter must move in with his grandfather and there is no place for Pax in his new home. In the emotional opening pages of the story, Peter must abandon Pax in a forest.
Alternating between two points of view, Pennypacker unfolds the story of how boy and fox search for each other. Peter faces a number of obstacles that force him to reevaluate who he is. Pax, who has never lived in the wild, must learn how to hunt and defend himself. Pennypacker gives voice to both the boy and the fox.
The issue of war is another theme in the story. As we follow Peter on his journey to find Pax, the reader learns what war has done to people and animals in the area. Only a brief mention is given as to the cause of the war–the fight over water rights.
Young readers who enjoy realistic animal stories will appreciate this novel. There are, however, some very strong, vivid images that describe how Pax learns to survive in the forest and the devastation brought on by the war. This book is suggested for readers ages 10-14.
We have just ordered two new video games to add to our collection! Madden NFL 17 and the highly anticipated No Man’s Sky will be arriving next week! Make sure you come in and check out these two new games and fill out the Video Game Survey at the Circulation Desk so that we can improve our video game collection!
“In No Man’s Sky you explore an infinite universe where you will discover unique never-before-seen planets and lifeforms. A mystery lies at the center of the galaxy, an irresistible pulse that draws you on an epic voyage to discover the true nature of the cosmos. Your journey will be charged with danger, encountering hostile creatures and fierce pirates; in order to survive, you will need to prepare, upgrading your ship, suit and weapons. Whether you choose to fight, trade or explore, every decision you make has consequences, shaping your journey as you travel ever deeper into No Man’s Sky.“
The NY Times Book Review this weekend has as entire listing of recommended books for kids. Several popular authors have new picture book offerings: A Child of Books is by Oliver Jeffers, the famed author of The Day the Crayons Quit, I Am a Story by Dan Yaccarino, and How This Book was made by Mac Barnett. A middle grade novel is out from Richard Peck, titled The Best Man, and Raina Telgemeier has produced a new graphic novel, Ghosts. They are a sure bet to welcome kids into the school season, so be sure to check them out.
A study from the United Kingdom says that about one third of parents avoid reading scary books to their children. Referring to Cruella de Vil, the Oz wicked witch, and the Big Bad Wolf, parents are afraid of exposing kids to these characters. Psychologists say it “forges resilience” however. With The BFG and other evil-doers prevalent in most children’s novels, it is difficult for parents to know if they are stepping over a line which would cause nightmares. Fear not! The psychologists say it helps children learn the difference between good and evil and helps children learn to conquer fears.