Just under the wire, before the old year ends, here are the rest of the random book-recommendation requests I've been meaning to write about. Enjoy! (Part 1 is here.)
4. Books for 11-to-13-year-olds for a mother-daughter book group sponsored by a clothing store; books should focus on fashion and/or on the distinction between inner and outer beauty and girls finding their own identities:
- Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants, by Ann Brashares (though it might be a bit mature for an 11-year-old, depending on the individual kid)
- Stargirl, by Jerry Spinelli. Very popular, and features a teenage girl who is very much an individual inside and out.
- Uglies, by Scott Westerfeld. Thought-provoking and action-packed, set in a future world where everyone becomes beautiful at age 16.
5. Book for a 16-year-old boy, very smart but has dyslexia, hates to read, likes sports, wouldn't want anything too babyish, has to read a novel for school:
- Seek, by Paul Fleischman. One of my favorite teen novels ever. It's in the form of a radio play, so it reads quickly there aren't a lot of words on the page, but it's sophisticated and thoughtful and multifaceted—definitely not "dumbed down" in any way.
- Stuck in Neutral, by Terry Trueman. Shawn is brilliant, funny, and has a fantastic memory for everything he's ever seen or heard. But he has such severe cerebral palsy that he can't move or communicate in any way, so all those thoughts stay stuck in his head. And now he's getting the sense that his father has decided that the best thing for Shawn is to end his life. He's in danger, and there's nothing he can do about it. Taut and suspenseful, without one wasted word.
6. Books for a 6-year-old girl who wants to read chapter books but isn't really up for it yet:
- For a kid who's not really ready for even easy chapter books but likes the *idea* of chapter books, then some easy readers with short "chapters" might do the trick: any of the fabulous, funny Fox books by James Marshall, or Cynthia Rylant's Henry and Mudge books, or old standbys like the Frog and Toad or Little Bear books.
- My own particular favorites, which are sort of between easy readers and chapter books, are the "Three Stories You Can Read ToYour Cat"/"Three Stories You Can Read To Your Dog" books. Again: very, very funny!
- Some of the titles on this list of Best Easy Readers are also excellent—the list includes easy chapter books as well as the classic "easy reader" format.
That's all for now--I hope you and the children in your life all find the perfect books in 2009!