Books I Want Youth To Discover

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I’m joining this week’s blog hosted by  Long and Short Reviews.

I’ll start with the classics.

The first mystery books I ever read were in elementary school. The Westing Game and Harriet the Spy. The Westing Game was a difficult mystery when I was so young and I loved the feel of solving it at the end-and reading it all myself. Harriet the Spy became my idol…I did a lot of spying on my grandmother’s neighbors when things got slow during my summer visits. The next book that had a big impact on me as a young reader was Island of the Blue Dolphins. I loved the adventure and survival themes, but also it sparked a love of history and studying culture. I have loved that book for years.

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The next two books I read as an adult, but they are actually for younger readers. Out of My Mind by Sharon Draper is a middle grade book and really, really good. I read it as part of a workshop and was struck by how vivid the writing was and how well it handled  themes ranging from disabilities, to bullying, to exclusion. A very powerful book that all youth should read-and adults to.

The other is The Hate U Give. I haven’t seen the movie (yet) but the book is a must read. It takes the contentious issue of race and police and gives it layers and perspectives that you never get from news or politics. The reason fiction is so powerful is because it can take those issues we want to see as either/or and show that life is actually much more complex than that.

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Truthfully, I think youth should discover the books that they like. I don’t believe in telling people ‘books you must read’ or behaving as if someone’s genre choices are superior to others. Books are personal and the ‘best’ books are the one’s that are ‘best’ for you.

 

 

 

20 comments

  1. Oooh….I loved Island of the Blue Dolphin. Mostly because my mother read it to me on the couch each night. Years later I read it myself. That’s a special book for me.

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    • It’s wonderful that your mother picked that book to read aloud. It’s a great one.

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  2. I keep trying to comment but it hasn’t let me. Let me try again… “The Island of the Blue Dolphins” was one of those books I got as a kid from the Scholastic flyer they gave out in school. Loved it! And boy did that bring back memories.

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  3. At the risk of disclosing my age here, the books I remember from my earlier childhood that stay with me is the Happy Hollister stories. All those twins and their many adventures. Then there was Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. The first sci-fi story I remember is The Forgotten Door by Alexander Key. I think I still have that battered paperback around here somewhere waiting to passed on to some interested youth. I too remember Island of the Blue Dolphins. As you can tell from the earlier selections, I was into the mystery stuff, so there was also Encyclopedia Brown, and Donna Parker in my early reading. As I entered High School, I found Victoria Holt and Phyllis A Whitney as well as Gone with the Wind. So many good titles from back in the day.

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    • I didn’t know about the Happy Hollisters. I’ll have to find the Alexander Key book. I remember my first real SF book-I think it was called The Girl With the Silver Eyes.

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