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Great Books for Great Kids

01/06/2014 03:58PM ● Published by Nancy Babin

Happy 2014 to everyone! I hope that maybe – just maybe- you might have included a vow to read more as part of your New Year’s resolutions. If your son or daughter did happen to make such a “more reading” resolution then they are in luck – there are some amazing new books that have just been released that will make that resolution a joy to keep.

First for this new year, I have a real gem – “The Boy on the Wooden Box” by Leon Leyson. The subtitle of the book is “How the Impossible Became Possible” and that is a perfect description of this true story. It is a memoir by the author who was the youngest child to be included by Oskar Schindler on his list (the very same one about whom the movie Schindler’s List was made). Because of the “list,” Mr. Leyson survived the Holocaust in World War II. His account of day to day life in Mr. Schindler’s factory and his interactions with Mr. Schindler himself are rich with history and not to be missed. While we know the history of this time to be a dark one, the book is not so dark as to frighten children reading it. I highly recommend this book for anyone ages 10 and up.

Next, I have a more lighthearted book to suggest. “The Carpet People” by Terry Pratchett was originally released in 1971 when the author was just 17 years old. Since, Mr. Pratchett has become a pretty well known author, and his first book “The Carpet People” has just been re-released. It is a fun innovative story about tiny people who live in the carpet, and just like us, they are divided into little carpet “countries” – the Munrungs, the Dummis, the Mouls and the Wights. Also just like us, there are all sorts of squabbles among the various peoples of the carpet as well as “natural disasters” (hint – a vacuum cleaner wreaks havoc). Children will enjoy this story, although you may have a hard time vacuuming your carpets and rugs after they read this one. I recommend this one for any child age 8 and up.

Finally, I have a selection for older “tweens” and teens. I must apologize to readers of this article that are looking for books in this age group. I do not include a book in this age group in every issue, because quality new releases in this age group are sometimes few and far between. Currently, it is hard to find new books in this age category that are not just knock offs of the “Twilight” series, “The Hunger Games” series or the “Harry Potter” series. Almost ALL of the selections on the shelves seem to be in one of those categories: vampires or similar unworldly creatures, a dark future world or a magic world undetected by most humans. Don’t get me wrong, I am not degrading those series, I enjoyed them. It is just that everyone seems to be on the bandwagon of those story lines. Finding something that is truly different can be a challenge. Every once in a while I will find a possible book, but then when I really look at it I find the language or sexual references to be inappropriate and then out of consideration it goes! I urge you, parents and readers, to keep your standards high. There are quality books in this age group, they just take some extra work to find. However, I finally found one worth including – “Timebound” by Rysa Walker. The main character is Kate Pierce-Keller and when her grandmother gives her a strange blue medallion and speaks of time travel, sixteen-year-old Kate assumes the old woman is senile. Kate quickly learns that it the story is real and the medallion is the only thing protecting Kate from blinking out of existence. I recommend this book for anyone ages 13 and up.

Let me encourage you to submit suggestions when you come across quality engaging books. I know that many of you have wonderful readers and you or your child might come across a book that would be a perfect fit for other readers of this article. Please share if you do!!! Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy some of these selections.

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 snow skiing, hiking and mountain biking.

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