Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse
When Billie Jo is just fourteen she endures heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring.
Written in free verse, this Newbery Award winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma’s staggering dust storms, and the environmental as well as emotional turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.
I completely fell in love with the language of this book. Not all Newbery books are books that I love, although most of them are. And that medal on the cover always makes me want to read the book, just to see why the judges felt it was worthy. Out of The Dust is powerfully written and deserves this recognition. It made me want to read all the free verse novels I could get my hands on. Love the genre. Karen Hesse says more with fewer words. Read it!
Zoom by Istvan Banyai
Here is a picturebook that is for almost all ages! The book is wordless and takes you onto an amazing journey: from farm to ship to city streets to a desert island. You will go by any mode of transportation, around the entire globe.
But if you think you know where you are, guess again. For nothing is ever as it seems in Banyai’s mysterious landscapes of pictures within pictures.
Like a photographer with a zoom lens, the illustrator zooms out from a close-up, surprising you at every turn of the page.
You can ‘read’ the colorful images with young children, make up elaborate tales with others and have interesting discussions with readers right into high school.
If you like this book, try part 2: Rezoom.
Paperback, 64 pages, Puffin Books ISBN 0140557741 (ISBN13: 9780140557749)
The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games #1) by Suzanne Collins
One of the advantages of being in a book club, I find, is that it sometimes makes me read books I might not select on my own. The Hunger Games is a perfect example. Judging by the short content on the back cover, I would never ever have picked this book to read. Gruesome, terrible, not at all ‘my kind’ of book. I am not at all a fan of science fiction (if that’s what this is).
However, my book club decided that we should read this first book in the series, mostly to find out what all the hype was about. My book club consists of about 6 – 8 women ranging in age from 19 to 80.
And so I took The Hunger Games home from the library and, hesitantly, starting reading.
I don’t remember now how long it was before I was completely, totally hooked: in the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister Primrose, regards it as a death sentence when she steps forward to take her sister’s place in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before — and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to, she becomes a contender. But if she is to win, she will have to start making choices that will weigh survival against humanity and life against love.
I could not put the book down. The writing was superb, the story riveting. And with today’s popularity of reality TV shows, scary as it is, even has a ring of truth to it.
When my book club next met we discovered that the story had gripped each of us in a similar way. Each of us read all three books in a row:
Part 2: Catching Fire
Part 3: Mockingjay
Powerful writing! Highly recommended for YA and adults of all ages. Good discussion material in highschool.
I had no need at all to see the movie: as with all good books, I had already seen the movie in my head while reading.
http://www.scholastic.com/thehungergames/ (for games, downloads)