If you are looking for a funny book about writing, pick up The Plot Chickens by Mary Jane and Herm Auch. Full of egg humour and silly chickens, this picture book still manages to instill sound plot writing tips as well as publishing woes such as rejection letters, self-publishing and bad reviews. This is for children and aspiring writers everywhere.
Try some chicken activities (and I don’t mean cooking), and some writing.
What can I say about We Were Liars by E. Lockhart? It’s an amazing read. It’s suspenseful, psychological and there’s a surprise that makes it hard to review. The teens featured in this book are cousins (and one honorary cousin) who summer on a private island near Martha’s Vineyard. There’s racial tension and money tension and family tension. It’s been compared with King Lear and Wuthering Heights.
Cadence tells her story in first person. Something has happened and she is being kept from summering on the island she loved. Summer seventeen she goes back. She doesn’t know why the island has changed, why her cousins and Gat stay cooped up in one of the houses, why her grandfather has erased their memorabilia. The reader uncovers the clues as Cadence does, and it’s scarily thrilling, filled with teenage injustice and its repercussions.
Thirteen-year-old Mia can see colours, colours in words, colours in sounds, but no one knows because of one incident when she was in grade three. She keeps this mystery to herself until she finds out what she has: synesthesia. (Find out more about this interesting condition–Mary J. Blige has it). Once she begins learning about the condition and finding others who have it, Mia’s world opens up. She begins leaving friends and family out while she explores the facets of being a synesthete. Mia is also dealing with the loss of her grandfather, whose eyes she sees in her sickly cat, Mango. Written by Wendy Maas, A Mango-Shaped Space is an interesting read about growing up.
My nine-year-old loved this book. She told me to make sure I really paid attention to the pictures because they tell a different story than the words. She was right, of course. Brian Selznick‘s Wonderstruck tells two distinct stories, one in words and one in pictures, and by the end, they meld.
Both stories are full of wonder, connections and museums. Ben Wilson’s story begins in 1977 in Minnesota where he begins a search for his father after his mother dies. Rose’s story is told in pictures, beginning in 1927 when she escapes her house to cross the river and watch a silent movie in New York. Later we understand she is deaf, and the change from silent movies to talkies isolates her more than she already is. Both Ben and Rose search for important pieces to their lives, and they both need New York City for this.
It’s a lovely book, both parts, and the way it fits together.
Jim Averbeck‘s simple and funny picture book with a circle plot questions assumptions every page of the way. Who says a book for the very young can’t be complex as well? This book is proof. It’s also a fun read and sure to garner some giggles.
Be sure to follow up with a few rereads to notice the metamorphic illustrations. As an extension, have an animals from eggs discussion.
It’s always nice when a book that is so talked about actually surprises you with its goodness. The Fault In Our Stars is indeed a very good book, and although its characters are either cancer survivors or cancer sufferers, cancer remains on the back burner while the beautiful love story pushes out to centre stage. Listen: ” ‘I am in love with you, and I’m not in the business of denying myself the simple pleasure of saying true things. I’m in love with you, and I know that love is just a shout into the void, and that oblivion is inevitable, and that we’re all doomed and that there will come a day when all our labor has been returned to dust, and I know the sun will swallow the only earth we’ll ever have, and I am in love with you.’ ” (Augustus to Hazel Grace, p. 153)
Now I know I may have scared some of you off by saying this is a love story, but it is. It’s not romance, as in the genre of romance, but there is a little romance in it (the dinner scene in Amsterdam for example) and it’s all wholly unexpected, not forced but beautiful.
So before you see the movie, read the book by John Green.