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On the Coast Magazine

Great Books for Great Kids!

07/07/2013 07:26PM ● Published by Nancy Babin

Believe it or not, summer is going to be over before we know it and the kids are off to school again. The beginning of school can be a busy time of year, but you can help your children get a great start to the year by having them read great books they can use for schoolwork and for accelerated reader programs, if your children participate. 

Historical fiction is one of my favorite genre. When it is written and researched well, the author can teach the reader about a point in history in such a way that the reader will truly understand what it was like in that time period because the mind of the reader is experiencing the historical period through the characters. The reader will learn much more about the historical setting than memorizing a bunch of facts. 

I have discovered a wonderful series that does just that – places the reader into a story that is centered around an event in history and the reader is drawn right into it as if they were living it. The “I Survived” series is written by Lauren Tarshis, and here is what she has to say about them “Each book in my series tells a terrifying and thrilling story from history, through the eyes of a boy who lived to tell the tale.” The series titles include “I Survived the Battle of Gettysburg, 1863;” “I Survived the Japanese Tsunami, 2011;” “I Survived the San Francisco Earthquake, 1906;” I Survived the Sinking of the Titanic, 1912;” “I Survived Hurricane Katrina, 2005;” “I Survived the Bombing of Pearl Harbor, 1941;” I Survived the Attacks of September 11, 2011;” and many others. I recommend these books for anyone ages 9 and up.  

“Paperboy” by Vince Vawter is another book I recommend this month. The story takes place in Memphis, TN in 1959 and is about an 11 year old boy who may be able to throw the meanest fastball in town, but he cannot utter two words without severely stuttering. In order to help out a friend, he takes over a paper route for a month. The job requires speaking with customers. While that would be a small job for most, for “Little Man” as he is called, it is quite difficult. However, the unexpected friendships he makes along the way teach him much about what truly matters. This book is wonderful, teaching the reader about racism, disabilities and learning to look people for truly who they are versus what they look like or sound like. I anticipate this book will receive quite a few awards. I highly recommend this for anyone ages 11 and up. 

My final recommendation is a trilogy. As I was walking by my television one day I happened to catch an interview with Veronica Roth, the author of the book “Divergent” which was released a little over a year ago, its follow up “Insurgent” which was just released, and the final book in the trilogy “Allegiant” which will be released in the fall. Ms. Roth was so interesting that I decided to pick up a copy of “Divergent” and give it a read. I could not put it down. I went straight from that one to the 2nd book, “Insurgent,” and I could not put that one down either. I gave Divergent to my 12 year old daughter, Ellen, and she loved it as well and she is about to get started on “Insurgent.” 

The storyline throughout the trilogy is a futuristic society where all people are divided into “factions” based on personality traits. Beatrice is the main character and she chooses a faction that no one in her family would have suspected and as a result uncovers a sinister plot that leads to war among the factions. These books are well written and exciting and I am sitting on pins and needles waiting for the final book in the fall. I recommend them for anyone (adults too!) ages 12 and up. 

I hope you and your family have had a great summer, I know we have. Give some of these books a try and as always, should you have any questions or suggestions, please let us know. 

About the Author:
Alexandra Brown lives in Destin and is married to Jerry Brown and has 2 daughters, Ellen (11) and Clara (9). She has loved reading since the age of 3 and also loves snowskiing, hiking and mountain biking.
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