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On the Coast Magazine

Great Books for Great Kids

03/04/2013 09:34AM, Published by Nancy Babin, Categories:


Great books for great kids



Hello fellow readers! I am hoping that you are reading away, and if you aren't then I have some great recommendations in store for you. Usually I spend a lot of time during the winter reading, but this winter the weather has just been too warm. However, spending an inordinate time on planes lately has given me some catch up time.

Some people ask me if I prefer e-readers (Kindle, Nook, Ipad, etc.) over a traditional book. The answer is “sometimes.” There are some books that are so lovely with their bindings and illustrations that I relish holding the physical book in my hands.

One such classic is “Bright Island” by Mabel L. Robinson. What a lovely treat this book was to read, and I hope that you will give it a try. Originally written in 1937, a 75th anniversary edition was just released in hardback and the book is just gorgeous. The book plates and illustrations inside each chapter are lovely and worth the price of the hardback as this is one you will want to pass down. The main character of the story is Thankful Curtis, a teenage girl who has been raised on “Bright Island”, an island off the coast of Maine which is inhabited only by her family. She is a capable intelligent girl who has been homeschooled all her life and is sent to an elite boarding school on the mainland. Her struggle to balance her innate sense of who she is with fitting in at school creates a wonderful story that I would recommend for any girl of any age.

Another fabulous book that I picked up recently is “Endangered” by Eliot Schrefer. Even though the main character is female, this book would be enjoyed by both boys and girls. The heroine in this story goes to stay with her mother in the Congo for the summer at her mother’s bonobo (ape) rescue center. While there, a violent coup explodes and she finds herself having to cross the jungle to reach safety with a group of bonobos. I will warn you that the story does include a fair amount of violence – but it is an accurate portrayal of the real violence that many children around the world face every day. This book is compelling – I was not able to put it down! I highly recommend it for anyone ages 12 and up.

One book that would appeal to boys I found is an “oldie but goodie.” Given my passion for such books, I am truly surprised that I missed this one! It is “Canoeing with the Cree” by Eric Sevareid. The story is the author’s own experience, originally published in 1935. As a boy, author Eric Sevareid did what many boys dream of doing. After he graduated high school, he and a friend set out on a 2,250 mile canoe adventure from Central Minnesota to the Hudson Bay. With only an 18 foot canoe, $100 and some maps they set out for four months. The book was written from the journals they kept and is a simple but exciting story. ..

One last series I have to include is by award winning author Elizabeth Enright. The first book in the series entitled “The Saturdays” we used as a read aloud in our home over Christmas break. Our entire family enjoyed this book immensely and now we are on the second in the series entitled “The Four Story Mistake” and it is proving just a good. The main characters are the 4 Melendy children who are growing up in New York City. They manage to get in all sorts of scrapes, but are a wonderful example of siblings who squabble but love each other dearly. The story is fun, and the writing flows beautifully – making for a perfect read aloud. Anyone ages 8 and up will love these.

I hope that you find something in this article that appeals to you and your children. Should you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know. Happy reading!!!


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