Sometimes a book is so delicious, borrowing it from the library isn’t enough. You want to own it – to reread it, to share it with children, friends, strangers (“Looking for a book about dragons? Have you read…?”). When I need the comfort of a hopeful story, I reread Sarah, Plain and Tall. And when I need adventure, I reread My Only May Amelia.
If you are an aspiring writer, books are essential. I don’t know any successful authors who aren’t voracious readers with groaning, overflowing bookshelves. And who hasn’t slipped away from a party to study the spines in the host’s home?
So today I give you a virtual snoop of my bookshelves, with a focus on middle-grade stories. I wandered around the house, up and down, snapping these shots.
An old favorite:
Do you have a book that just takes you away? For me, that is Dragonsong by Anne McCaffrey. Menolly, a talented musician, was misunderstood by her family, and makes friends with fire lizards. This story always had a dash of feminism that made me root for Menolly. And oh wonderful when she finds herself among people who love her and her “twiddlings.”
A new one:
Published this year, K.A. Holt’s novel in verse Rhyme Schemer is told from the point of view of a bully. Kevin picks fights, makes fun of the principal, and defaces pages in the library. It is the librarian who helps him turnaround. How? The found poetry is a clue, and the sweet way Kevin’s relationship with his brother improves feels so true.
If you need to cry for emotional release, just read Lynda Mullaly Hunt’s One for the Murphys. This is the story of Carley, who is a foster child, struggling to bury her feelings toward her mom and stepfather. Mrs. Murphy is plain wonderful, and I dar you to read this without crying when Carley slowly learns to love and trust again.
The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp, Kathi Appelt’s National Book Award finalist, is full of giggle-worthy antics. With a poet’s ear for language, the words simply sing off the pages, and the escapades of Bingo and J’miah make this a delight. I have to say I love any book with pie in it!
What’s on your shelf?