On the fence about a particular book you'd like to read? Don't be!
I invite you to enjoy my recommendation of a select collection of books. It is my hope that parents, as well as educators, can gain additional perspectives on the book and implement them for reading for enjoyment, in the classroom, or with lessons and activities.
Seek, enjoy the hunt, and prey on books. It's what the pages crave!
And it's the best meal your brain will ever have.
~ Wenndy Pray
Jamieson, V. (2015) Roller girl. New York, NY: The Penguin Group
Jamieson tells the story of Astrid's interesting summer between elementary and junior high school. Astrid's mother, who culturally enlightens her daughter from time to time, takes her to a roller derby bout for the first time. Astrid is incredibly enthralled and knows that it's something her best friend Nicole and her would love to do together. But... Nicole's sight is on ballet instead. Astrid is crushed that Nicole would rather dance ballet with Rachel, the worst person to ever exist, than hang out with her. This initiates a rough summer where Astrid will have to do things on her own, make new friends, and come to terms with some changes between her and her best friend Nicole. At the end of the story, Astrid comes to terms with not being a jammer (the player who scores the points) and having other friends besides Nicole.
I really liked this book. Many middle school kids have to come to terms with letting go of elementary friends or friends they've had since early childhood. This book is for that shy girl who feels out of place and now witnesses her friends moving in a different direction. Furthermore, roller derby is a sport some would think has seen its better days. I love that Jamieson brought it to the world of the middle school student. And the fact that Jamieson is an illustrator, author, and a roller derby girl is pretty cool. Confession: I liked it so much, I took out my DVD copy of Whip It, Drew Barrymore's directorial debut, to watch and live vicariously through the life of a Texas roller derby girl in the making.
Here are other books geared for girls interested in roller derby. And one is a series!
Requirement: Great Graphic Novels for Teens Book covers found on Amazon.com
Wilson, S. M. & Mirokawa, M. (2015). Lafcadio Hearn's the faceless ghost and other macabre tales from Japan. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, Inc.
This collection of translated stories includes the following titles: Diplomacy (a tale about how one's state of mind before death affects those you leave behind), The Snow Woman (a story about the effect of broken promises), Of A Mirror And A Bell (a tale about how devotion and determination can lead to uncertain results), Hoichi The Earless (a story of Hoichi, a blind biwa player who plays for the dead), The Faceless Ghost (a retelling of an encounter with a faceless woman in the mountains), and The Gratitude of the Samebito (a tale about how a true act of kindness can have big rewards). In each tale, characters experience internal conflict, conflict with the past, honor, and the consequences of betrayal.
Japanese tales have been the inspiration for movies like The Grudge, which I thought was incredibly scary, and the conce…
Block, F. L. (1998). I was a teenage fairy. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.
A life of a young girl trapped in her mother's dream of being a model - this is Barbie's life. The book starts examining Barbie's life at the age of 11. Her mother, a woman with a failed dream, drives her daughter to be the model she couldn't be. Barbie continues to model into her teens, and when she is 16 years old meets Todd. Todd is another model who later becomes Barbie's boyfriend. Griffin, Todd's gay roommate, also becomes very good friends with Barbie. Barbie is the product of a dysfunctional family. Her mother forces her to be a part of the modeling world by any means necessary, putting Barbie in harm's way when she meets a photographer, who she and Griffin call a crocodile because they don't like him. Both Barbie and Griffin have been sexually molested by this photographer, and that's why they both see a fairy named Mab. Mab talks to Barbie in this inc…
Telgemeier, R. (2012). Drama. New York, NY: Scholastic, Inc.
Callie is a seventh grader in love with stage design and has a crush on Greg. But after Greg doesn't share the same feelings, she decides to occupy her time executing the best set design for the school play, Moon Over Mississippi. She continues to work in the midst of school friend drama. While she tries to get over Greg, brothers Justin and Jesse walk into her life. Justin tries out for the lead in the play and gets a secondary part. He also confesses to Callie that he is gay. Callie is there for him and continues to work hard on the set. She sets her eyes on Justin's brother Jessie. On the last showing, the leading lady refuses to perform because the leading man broke up with her, and it's Jesse who dresses up and sings the lady's part to save the show. Callie is thrilled to be stage director next year and to have great friends. Drama includes conflicts that plague any teenager. This graphic novel is a g…