Thursday, May 5, 2011

Spec. Books for Kids

I want to talk about stories written for kids that I absolutely love. I’m talking about those books and movies that just make you smile, that have you rooting for the hero.

When I was a special education teacher a few years ago, I worked with a boy who I read books to regularly. I decided to move up to something a little bit bigger to see if he was able to follow. I picked up the book The Troll King by John Vornholt. It is the story of a teenage troll who leads his enslaved race against an evil sorcerer. I hadn’t read much fantasy since I was a kid and obsessed with the Xanth books. This book re-invigorated my love of that fantastic element. There is a trilogy for the Troll king books as well, which I prefer over the long ongoing series. I would love for someone to make a movie of this book, as I think it has a lot of great imagery that would lend itself well to the big screen.

I’m sure most people have heard of the City of Ember and either read the book or watched the movie. What a great concept! The creation of an underground city to escape the apocalypse. The people in the book have been living pleasantly, unaware of the surface world, then supplies start to run out. The author, Jeanne DuPrau, writes in a deceptively simplistic style and I read this book in one sitting. I also thought the movie really matched the story well.

Both of these books were meant for a younger audience, yet I really enjoyed them. I can see why some kids are just eating up books. I think what appealed to me most about these books is the what if? factor.

What if there was a city of trolls who were tired of being slaves? What if they had been without a troll king for many years? What if the most unlikely of trolls decided to change things?

What if our dying society decided that they need to preserve life? What would happen if they decided to start a new society underground with just some babies and a few caregivers? What happens when those caregivers die?

Are their any kids books or YA books that have just taken your breath away or that you read over and over?


Ella Gray said...

I couldn't agree more, Stacie. I'm so jealous of the selection of books for young people these days. When I was a kid it was all Baby Sitter mysteries and modified versions of the classics. I read a lot of comic books and mythology collections, too.

One of my favorites is Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series. When I first read those years ago I was pretty blown away and now there are just tons of great books for YA. I read some on occasion, but I can't even keep up with them all anymore. That's a good thing.

Anassa said...

I second Ella's recommendation of His Dark Materials. I had them read to me at bedtime as a kid, and was enthralled. Then I reread them several time as an adult, and they blow me completely away now.

The same goes Susan Cooper's Dark Is Rising series. They blend Celtic myth, Arthurian myth, and Britishness to be utterly lovely—also dark, creepy, and tense. I'm never sure if the protagonists are going to win, and I've read the books countless times.

I've lost track of how many times I've read The Hunter's Moon, by OR Melling. It's kind of obscure, but it's an utterly perfect YA contemporary fantasy. A teenage girl has to save her impulsive cousin from marrying the fairy king, and ends up travelling the whole of Ireland and dipping into all sorts of Celtic lore. Anyone into YA paranormal or Celtic-based adult UF should enjoy it.

Stacie Carver said...

Great suggestions. I am always on the lookout for great kids fiction -for myself, not acually for kids. ;)

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