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Archive for November, 2019

The Book of Dust: the belle sauvage

Tuesday, November 19th, 2019

by Phillip Pullman, 449 pages, Grades 7 and up.

This is the prequel to the His Dark Materials trilogy which includes the books The Golden Compass, The Subtle Knife, and The Amber Spyglass

The world of His Dark Materials feels a lot like the earth we know but humans in this fanstasy world are made up of two parts: the human being and the daemon. Daemon’s take many animal forms, but they are really part of the human with whom they are paired. It is a little bit like having your soul or your heart living outside of your body in this other little being. 

Malcolm is young enough that his daemon has not settled on a form yet. Daemon’s change shape from owl, to fox, to squirrel all day every day until one day when you reach a certain age they settle into one form they will be the rest of your life. 

Malcolm is 11, he is a good kid, and a hard worker. He is always helping his parents and other people in the village, but his favorite thing to do is take to the water in his little boat, The Belle Sauvage. 

Recently, dangerous, creepy people have been visiting his parents’ pub asking questions about a baby. The only baby Malcolm knows is the adorable Lyra being taken care of by nuns at the priory, and Malcolm begins to worry for her safety. Then, the flood strikes. It is the biggest flood in centuries, it seems like the whole of England is under water. Suddenly Malcolm finds himself in charge of saving little Lyra from the flood, evil people, and the government; Malcolm’s calm existence is transformed into a grand adventure full of life threatening danger.  

If you like fantastic adventures you might also enjoy: The Bartimaeus Trilogy, by Jonathan Stroud, the Harry Potter Series, by JK Rowling, or, of course, His Dark Materials Trilogy, by Phillip Pullman.

When Friendship Followed Me Home

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

by Paul Griffin, 247 pages, Grades 6 and up

“Never let the hill slow you down, Traveler.” This is something Ben’s mom would have said to help him get through difficult times. The trouble is, this hill might just be too steep. Ben is moving in with his aunt and uncle after his mom died; how can he feel “at home” in a place that has never been his home. At least he has Flip and Rainbow girl in his life. Flip is his little dog he can carry around in his backpack, and Rainbow Girl is a new friend who is trying to convince him to help her write a novel. Maybe friendship is just the thing to help him up this hill of troubles.

If you like books about kids overcoming adversity, you might also like: Waiting for Normal, by Leslie Connor, Counting by 7s, by Holly Goldberg Sloan, or The Boy in the Black Suit, by Jason Reynolds.

 

Renegades

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

by Marissa Meyer, 556 pages, Grades 8 and up.

In the old days “prodigies” used their superhuman skills to save society from anarchy and destruction. Nova was a little girl at the time and when the Renegades, a group of prodigies, took control of the government to bring about peace and justice when the world was full of chaos. The Renegades promised to keep people safe, but Nova’s parents were killed anyway and Nova cannot forgive the Renegades for this injustice. She is a prodigy herself and has made it her life’s mission to avenge her parents’ murder. She has allied herself with a group of prodigy villains who plan to take down the Renegades and bring about anarchy where all people can make their own rules and take care of themselves. It happens that nothing is as simple as good and evil, and Nova finds herself seeing both qualities in places where she did not expect to. What is the right path? Who can be sacrificed for the greater good? How will Nova know whether her actions will really be the right choice? 

If you like a good adventure story you might like the Cinder series by Marissa Meyer as well.

If you like superhero stories you might also enjoy: Miles Morales, Spiderman, by Jason Reynolds, Dreadnaught, by April Daniels, or the Graphic Fiction: Black Panther, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.

A Land of Permanent Goodbyes

Tuesday, November 5th, 2019

by Atia Abawi, 285 pages, Grades 7 and up

Tareq remembers growing up in beautiful, peaceful country, but just barely. Most of his life Syria has been turmoil and then his family home was bombed.  Tareq,his little sister, Susin, and their father – the only two surviving family members – decide it is time to find a safer place to live. The journey itself is treacherous. Who can they trust? How can they find the money to afford safe passage, and will they be able to keep the remains of the family together and safe from any more heartache?

If you enjoy harrowing survival stories, you might also like: Refugee, by Alan Gratz, Hold Tight, Don’t Let Go, by Laura Rose Wagner, or Salt to the Sea, by Ruta Sepetys.