Right in the middle of Picture Book Month comes National Young Readers Week, observed from November 7-11 this year. Even though, in my humble opinion, any occasion is the right one for encouraging kids to pick up a book, when a day, week, or month is set aside to promote reading, so much the better! Your friendly neighborhood librarian has been wearing signs alerting one and all to the double observances and wondering if anyone was paying attention to them. I received my answer this week when a student, thinking of all the student government election flyers posted around the school, asked me who I was voting for! I naturally answered that I am in favor of books. And, since we are as young as we feel, National Young Readers Week is for the book aficionado in all of us. Once the calendar says that November 11 has passed, not to worry–there’s always something out there just waiting to be read.
If you are–or know–a middle schooler who’s looking for an unforgettable novel, check out Schooled by Gordon Korman. It’s the story of Capricorn Anderson, a thirteen-year-old who has always lived with–and been homeschooled by–his grandmother, Rain, on their commune. But when Rain is injured and temporarily cannot care for him, Cap finds himself attending school for the first time. Feeling like he has been dropped onto another planet (and looked at like an alien from outer space by his new classmates), the teen struggles to make sense of–and fit into–this strange new world. This funny, touching, great story is one you’ll remember.
Ruben Plotnick is fun-loving and popular, so David is thrilled when he wants to come to his house to do homework together. But he’s also worried: what will Ruben do when he meets David’s grandmother, who is forgetful and sometimes says and does embarrassing things? Will he mimic and make fun of her in school tomorrow? What really happens when Ruben visits makes this a delightful and meaningful story about senility, understanding, and not jumping to conclusions.
I think I hear some unfinished books calling me…