Monday, December 29, 2014

What WFL Children's Librarians are reading (and loving)

Do you ever wonder what the WFL Children's Librarians are reading?  While we can't read every Children's and Youth book out there, we try to keep up with the best of the best, the most popular books, and also those that interest us personally!

Here are some books that I've read recently (and enjoyed):

Picture Book:

Sophie's Terrible Twos by Rosemary Wells

You generally can't go wrong with Rosemary Wells, creator of the beloved Max and Ruby characters.  I have been reading her newest book, Sophie's Terrible Twos, with my toddler nearly every day for the last few weeks and she can't get enough.  Sophie is a mouse who just turned two and "got up on the wrong side of the crib."  After a grumpy morning she goes out on the town with her granny and comes home with an unexpected surprise!

Children's Fiction:

The Other Half of my Heart by Sundee T. Frazier

This book caught my attention when it was nominated from the Massachusetts Children's Book Award last year, and I'm so glad I finally got a chance to read it! It tells the story of biracial twins who look very different: one with their father's light skin and fine hair and one with their mother's dark skin and curly hair.  The girls travel from their small and very white town in Washington State to North Carolina to stay with their grandmother and participate in the Miss Black Pearl Preteen of America program.  Throughout their trip and experience with the pageant/program, both girls develop new understandings of identity, prejudice, bravery, wisdom, and sisterhood.  While this book could potentially read like an after-school special or a didactic tale, it does neither, instead presenting important lessons along with a rich plot and a story that is a joy to read.

Young Adult Fiction:

Far Far Away by Tom McNeal

I'll be honest that I had no interest in reading this book when I first heard of it.  There was something about the description and the cover (and let's be honest, we do judge books by their covers at times) that seemed unappealing to me.  But after the umpteenth award nomination and starred review, I felt it was my duty to give it a try.  And I am so very glad I did!  Although a completely bizarre premise - it is narrated by Jacob Grimm, who, as a ghost, accompanies the main character throughout his life in small-town America - the plot draws you in and then takes unexpected turn after unexpected turn.  From teenage romance to fairy tales and game shows, there is nothing formulaic or predictable about Far Far Away.  I can't say too much more other than that a very satisfying ending (as opposed to a cliff-hanger) is much appreciated in a YA novel these days, and this book certainly delivered.

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