Saturday, February 21, 2009

Kid Books

I'm having lots of fun reading books for my "tween" and YA Lit classes, but it's more time consuming than I would have guessed. I'm a little bit more willing to read Fantasy and Science Fiction now, but I've discovered (by reading reviews of some things I have enjoyed) I might not have the best taste in it. I am being kind to myself and assuming that's because I am not as familiar with the genre as those who love it, so am still learning its conventions, much like children will read formula fiction as they become comfortable with understanding how a novel is constructed. (This is a Thing I Learned.This should probably be a Thing I Know, but teachers of reading have a somewhat different approach to reading than librarians...another Thing I Learned.)

Nevertheless, I am looking forward to when I can read more Books for Grownups, although I think some of the YA stuff can be such a thing, just marketed specifically. More about that another time.


Anonymous said...

What are some of the sci-fi/fantasy things that you've discovered you like? I can try to come up with grown-up versions for you.

Mary said...

I liked Interworld by Neil Gaiman (although many fans of his didn't care for it). Because it was actually an idea for a TV show, it had very vivid and fun (and simple) visual descriptions. Although some felt that there wasn't the level of character development they expect from Gaiman, I liked that the characters were different versions of the boy from other worlds: strong, intellectual, female, animalistic, etc.

I wasn't crazy about Gift of the Unmage, but I liked the idea that the main character Thea's inability to do magic actually became her strength, particularly in tandem with other magically challenged kids, so I guess I like interdependence as a theme. I like when the weakness turns out to be the strength in any kind of story, actually. I also liked that she had huge expectations upon her that she couldn't meet as the seventh child of two seventh parents, so having to meet everybody's grand expectations and seemingly not being able to is another thing that interests me. (I think you are a closet librarian: ) )

Anonymous said...

Nah, I'm not a closet librarian, more like a genre pimp.

How very weird. It appears that you've read two books I've never even heard of. (And I thought I'd heard of most Gaiman, at least.) Why did your class choose those?

I really think you'd like Tamora Pierce's stuff. Start with the Alanna quintet. It's a good "bucking expectations to follow your strengths" kind of story. (I think I may have already suggested this in an earlier comment, actually.)

Mary said...

We actually choose our own books in both classes according to a genre or a category (such as Printz or Newberry award winners) about once a week. The difference is in the tween class, we had to pre-choose for all the categories the first week, could not duplicate, and everything had to be copyrighted 2007 or later. In the YA class, we have much more leeway.

I chose both the books from the teen shelves at our little township library because they seemed pretty digestible. The funny thing is I didn't know at the time that Neil Gaiman is kind of a star...I have seen the ads for the Coraline film and all, but didn't know he had written the book. Then after the Newberry awards were announced, I realized I really need to catch up in this world.

I actually have found the Tamora Pierce stuff looks appealing to me when I'm browsing bookshelves for fun and not for class, so I think your recommendation is probably a very good one.