Great Books for Great Kids
07/08/2014 06:07PM ● Published by Melanie Teague
By Alexandra Brown
Happy summer to everyone! It is unbelievable that summer is already more than half over and soon we will be heading back to school. There is still time for some more reading and since it is really hot outside I recommend a nice quiet afternoon inside – with a good book of course.
There are quite a few good ones to recommend in this issue and the first is “Love by the Morning Star” by Laura L. Sullivan. If you read this article often, you will know that historical fiction is one of my favorite genres of books, especially when it is done well. “Love by the Morning Star” is one of those historical fiction novels that is done well, and I think most tween and teen girls (and their moms) will enjoy it. The story begins just before World War II breaks out and two girls from Germany are sent to a grand English country estate to be safely out of the cities. Both girls are sent to do specific things: one to work in the kitchen and spy for the Nazis and one to be part of the family. However, when they arrive on the same day their roles are mixed up and each is sent to do the wrong job. The result is an engaging story full of twists and turns.
Next for this issue I recommend a nonfiction book that serves to teach all of us about things that are going on in other countries. “Running for my Life: One Long Boy’s Journey from the Killing Fields of Sudan to the Olympic Games” is the true story of Lopepe “Lopez” Lamong. As a young boy in Africa he was kidnapped from his family and held captive to be trained as a rebel soldier. This book chronicles his journey from that tragedy to becoming an Olympic runner for the United States. It is inspirational and you quickly begin to love this young man and his faith. I recommend this book highly for boys and girls ages 12 to 99.
Another book for this month I found incredibly engaging is “Out of My Mind” by Sharon M. Draper. This book is fiction and the story is about Melody, an 11 year old girl who is severely physically handicapped. In her mind she is incredibly intelligent but no one knows it because she cannot communicate. She feels like she is going out of her mind because she has so much to say and no way to say it. In the story, she discovers a way to make people “hear” her and everything changes. This character is one that will melt your heart and you won’t be able to forget. Anyone age 10 and up will fall in love with Melody.
Finally for this issue I have one more recommendation. Due to all the news about Russia lately and the Olympics taking place in that country recently, I thought that our young readers would enjoy a book that teaches a bit about the history of the Communist party in Russia through a fictional story. “Breaking Stalin’s Nose” by Eugene Yelchin is another book in the “historical fiction” genre. The main character is Sasha, a young boy living in the USSR. He is raised to worship Stalin and his dream is to become a Young Soviet Pioneer when he gets older. However, his father is suddenly arrested and everything changes for Sasha. The dark side of Communism and the difficulty for so many people living under Communist rule is well illustrated in this book. It is a short book and an easy read, but it does a great job of showing kids (and adults) what it can be like living under a Communist dictator. I recommend this for anyone ages 10 and up who want to understand more fully what all the fuss is about with Russia and other Communist countries.
I wish all of you a good end to the summer and a great start to the school year. As always, I truly welcome any book suggestions you may have so if you have read something great let me know! Email a short paragraph with the title, the author and what you liked about the book to Alex Brown care of firstname.lastname@example.org. Be sure and let me know who you are and how to get in touch with you – if we decide to include your suggestion, I would love give you a “shout out” in the article (with permission of a parent).