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01/02/2015 01:49PM ● Published by Alexandra Brown

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This year has been an incredibly busy year.  I am not sure why it has been so crazy, but I have had a tough time getting in my reading time.  When I do find time to read I find it so relaxing and enjoyable that I am pretty cranky when I get called back to reality and have to put down the book.  This issue, I am including some new releases and some more obscure ones, but I hope that one of these suggestions will bring about a desire in you to escape for a while into a great story.
Although this first book was targeted toward tweens, I loved this book as well and I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying it.  It is a new book called “The Boundless” by Kenneth Oppel.  I love it because it teaches something about history (the era of train travel) and its main character is a young man who just won’t back down even when faced with all kinds of dangers.  This book is fun and full of adventure and the reader won’t even realize how much he or she is learning about railway history because the story is so enjoyable.  I recommend this for anyone ages 9 and up (but don’t let the young age fool you – anybody will like it!)
Next is another book full of history, so I guess you and your young reader will just have to be ready to learn something new with these suggestions.  It is “Elijah of Buxton” by Christopher Paul Curtis.  This book was a Newbury Honor Medal winner and as with most in that honored group it is fantastic.  The story centers on 11 year old Elijah who lives in a colony is Canada that is inhabited by former slaves.  Elijah is the first baby born in the colony, which means he is the first black person any of the inhabitants know who was “born free.”  While you think that would give him notoriety, he is a timid child and struggles to fit in.  This book is wonderfully written and the reader is drawn into the emotions and suspense of the book.  I highly recommend this book for anyone over the age of 9.
“Lara’s Gift” by Annemarie O’Brien is my next recommendation.  This is the most interesting story line that I have read in recent years.  The main character, Lara, is being groomed in her family’s tradition to take over as kennel steward for a Russian Count’s kennel of Borzoi dogs.  These dogs are a valuable commodity, and the office of the kennel steward is a high and lofty place.  Lara loves her work with the dogs and is keenly working toward her future inheritance.  However, a surprise baby brother is born and her family quickly turns its sights away from her and to her baby brother as heir to the family tradition as kennel steward.  Lara works to prove herself and you find yourself pulling for her the entire way through.  I recommend this one for anyone ages 9 and up.
Lastly, but certainly not at the bottom of my thinking, is a book for the teens.  Many teens may inwardly groan and outwardly roll their eyes when I say the word “classic” with regard to books, but there is a real reason why many of these older books are still in publication.  One of them is the original mold for the fantasy books that are so popular with the teen set today.  It is “The Invisible Man” by H.G. Wells.  I am surprised more “Hunger Games” loving teens haven’t stumbled on it already.  Yes, the language is a bit more archaic but the wonderful storyline is worth it.  The story begins with a visitor to an inn who refuses to remove his hat, coat and scarf.  Why?  It is because he will disappear if he does…. And the story goes from there.  If you have a tween or teen who really loves the current futuristic fantasy books out there, then give this one a try for a little something different.
I hope that in these busy crazy schedules we all seem to have these days that you will find time to sit down and spend some quiet moments reading.  You won’t regret the time well spent.  If you have read something great, please clue me in.  I always welcome suggestions!   

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