Now, just because they can read on their own does not mean that you can’t read these books with them, just saying. Because that’s definitely the case with this first book:
Good Night Stories For Rebel Girls by Elena Favilli & Francesca Cavallo – So the only problem with this book is that I only ordered one copy. And now I have about ten different girls I want to give a copy to. Because guys, it’s SO GOOD. There’s 100 different amazing women, with 100 different original stories, and 100 beautiful pieces of artwork. I love it so much. I am giving it to everybody for their birthdays next year – I don’t care how old they are: If you are a lady in my life, “Happy Birthday!” I mean, I have never even heard of so many of these kick-ass women, and now I need to know more. I need everybody to know about them. I need people to see these gorgeous portraits and be as starstruck as I am. Here’s just one example. “Once upon a time, in Bogota, Colombia, there was a seamstress who was also a spy.” That’s the first sentence of Policarpa Salvarrieta’s story, and I need to know more. I need all the girls in my life to know about her, and all the other wondrous ladies that populate this book, and the world, and that’s all there is to it.
Eyewitness: Titanic by Simon Adams – is for my cousin’s kid, who’s obsessed with naval disasters. Since my nephew also went through a similar stage (“Did you know there was two sister ships to the Titanic, auntie, and they both blewed up too?”), I am luckily pre-prepared for this eventuality. The Eyewitness series are informative without being overloading, and filled with “fun” facts (because can you call facts about ship disasters fun, really?) about the ships ins and outs, complete with a timeline of events and what the wreck looks like now. He’s also getting The Bermuda Triangle, by Jim Whiting, but I haven’t read that one yet (I trusted Amazon & Goodreads!), so I can’t review it. (If you are looking for other books in this genre, however, I can give you a lengthy list. My nephew was 3 when he first started talking about the Titanic; he’s sixteen now, and last week we watched a ‘documentary’ about how it could have all been staged. So, he’s not over it yet.)
The Tapper Twins Go To War (with each other) by Geoff Rodkey is for the previously mentioned ten-year-old’s twin brother. Who I am not advocating should begin hostilities, but was looking for something an early reader would be able to manage that didn’t have too much content that was above his maturity level. Low and behold, here’s a book about twins, who are fighting in a virtual world called MetaWorld that is eerily reminiscent of the Minecraft world said twin and his brother are ob-sess-ed with. (I do not get Minecraft, with it’s pixel-ly squares and all the building all the time, but they LOVE it.) The text is a bit of mixed media – there’s text messages, pictures, wiki-articles, even some coding language (does anybody speak DOS anymore? Because I have forgotten all of mine.), and it’s a short read for advanced readers, a bit of a stretch for the intended ten-year-old, but the kind of stretch that will do him good. Because it’s funny, and fast, and about stuff he likes, and sometimes that’s the best bet when it comes to a book. (Also, it’s part of a series, and it’s not the first book, so I wrestled with that, but it looks like the one that might hook him, so I’m going for it.)
The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin – I didn’t read The Westing Game in school, but I’ve heard it’s a part of many curriculum. One of my reading resource teaching friends recommended it for a reluctant reader, and I’m suggesting it here for any of yours. Part “choose your own adventure”; part slapstick comedy; part “what the heck is happening” mystery, this is a confusing kind of book, but it’s so intriguing that readers get drawn right in.
Nightmares – Jason Segel & Kirstin Miller – So, I probably should have bought the audio book for this one, because I read it, the whole time imagining Jason Segel’s voice reading the parts, and it turns out he does that. BUT, I’m still gifting the copy I bought to an 11-yr-old in my life, because she will love it, and because her life has been a little topsy-turvy lately, and I think she could relate to a boy plagued by actual nightmares. She’s also getting a copy of Sister Soldier, Fly Home by Nancy Bo Flood – Although my original e-copy was provided by Netgalley, I have since ordered one on Amazon, because the storytelling is poignant and simple, the characters are relateable, and the perspective – of a Native American girl torn between tradition and being ‘more American’, whose sister joins the Army to help support their family, but does so startlingly, without any warning, is unique and valuable. Even if that weren’t true, the story has so much emotion and power in it, so much internal discussion on the character’s behalf about her feelings, that I couldn’t not pass it on.
And that’s what the early double digit kids in my life are getting this year.