Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Summer Reading--Really!

One of my projects this summer is to read through the junior high and high school reading lists for the local schools. I've done this before, but moving to a new library means new schools and new lists! These are all books from the seventh grade list. As you'd expect from reading list books, they all carry A Very Important Message of one kind or another, but some are better at getting the point across with subtlety and finesse!

The Maze by Will Hobbs: I like this choice, because it will appeal to both boys and girls. It's an easy read, with enough action to keep kids interested.

Boy by Roald Dahl: As much as I love Roald Dahl, I think this book could be problematic. It is, after all, about his childhood, which occurred many years ago and in a foreign country. I'm not sure kids today are going to be charmed by tales of an English boarding school.

King of Shadows by Susan Cooper: This book is marked as a more challenging read on the list, and I'd agree with that. It was one of my favorites, but it includes a lot of references to Shakespeare and his plays which might bog down a younger or less skillful reader.

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli: I listened to this one in the car, and it was read by John Ritter, who did a great job. Year after year, this is a popular choice for summer reading among the girls, and I can see why as it's very engaging and fun, and Stargirl is a free spirit we'd all like to be friends with. Even though it's written by a guy and from the perspective of a boy, it comes off as a pretty girly book, and I don't think I've ever had a boy come in and request it.

Flipped by Wendelin Van Draanen: Speaking of the boy/girl thing, this story is told from dueling perspectives, with chapters alternating between the girl's version and the boy's--a he said/she said type of thing. Whatever you do, do NOT listen to this on cd. The narrators are horrible. Despite half the book being told in a guy's voice, this came across as a book girls would love and guys would roll their eyes at.

The Transall Saga by Gary Paulsen: Science fiction and definitely not my thing, but it was a quick and easy read with plenty of action, and I think it would make a good choice for a reluctant reader.

Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer: Joan Bauer enjoys a lot of popularity with teachers making summer reading lists, but this was my least favorite book of the group. I thought it was boring and obvious and had a hard time slogging through it.

I still have a few left on the seventh grade list, and then I'll move up a grade! Hopefully this will help me provide guidance to the kids who come in looking for one of their assigned titles. It's definitely exposed me to a few books I wouldn't have read otherwise!


Rita said...

I vote for the new color. looks good.

Sherry from Alabama said...

You are so dedicated to your job! I don't think many people would read through that list if they didn't have to. I always enjoy your book reviews so much and have read several books because of you. Thank you for keeping them coming!

Sherry @A Happy Valentine

Anonymous said...

Unless that boarding school is Hogwarts :) cheers, Lynda