This has to be one of my favorite times of year. The icy grip of winter’s hand is only a memory, days are delightfully long, we are privileged to see the Creator’s work in the awesome beauty of a thunderstorm and the multi-colored blossoms that are springing up everywhere, and the pleasures that summer brings are upon us.
Yet, I have another reason for delighting in this season. It’s at this time that boxes of books I’ve carefully chosen arrive. Even though there are many duties awaiting me: class sessions, notifying students, teachers, and support staff that it’s time to return library materials before the end of the school year, and so on, I cannot resist the pull of new books. It’s fortunate that I have a good excuse: when compiling my annual Recommended Reading List, it’s important to peruse the recent arrivals for titles that should be included.
This year’s acquisitions definitely do not disappoint. Every book I’ve completed thus far is a worthy addition to our collection. Here’s a sample.
When many think of author Joseph Bruchac, his Native American heritage comes to mind. The versatile storyteller’s long list of books reflect this: from picture books such as Raccoon’s Race with Beaver, to thrillers like Whisper in the Dark and The Dark Pond, to March Toward the Thunder and other historical fiction, his pride in his background shows through. Now Joe Bruchac turns to the other side of his heritage with Dragon Castle, a fantasy that is so much more. This tribute to the Slovakian side of the author’s family tree earns a place with Bruchac’s best. The author’s trademark sensitivity, humor, and ability to tell a good story are all present here. From the moment we meet Rashko, a young man who feels the weight of preserving all he loves on his shoulders, we know we are in for a literary treat.
Sharon Creech outdoes herself with every book she writes, and this novel is no exception. When a farmer and his wife discover a young boy sleeping on their porch, they are baffled. The child bears no clue to his identity except a note stating that his name is Jacob and the writer will return for him. When the youngster awakens, he can offer no clues, as he does not speak. Stymied, the good-hearted John and Marta welcome Jacob into their home and their lives, all the while looking for reports about a missing boy. A warm, humorous, satisfying tale.
Stay tuned for more gems.