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I'm an actress, singer, dancer, and writer. I'm also a freelance journalist, a publicist, a bookseller, and a webdesigner. This LiveJournal, for the most part, pertains to books - book reviews, exclusive interviews with authors, press releases, and booklists. My journal has an emphasis on teen fiction, though there are plenty of items for adult fiction and for juvenile fiction (or "kidlit") as well.
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1. Poetry Friday: Breaghy by George William Russell (A.E.)

When twilight flutters the mountains over,
The faery lights from the earth unfold:
And over the caves enchanted hover
The giant heroes and gods of old.
The bird of æther its flaming pinions
Waves over earth the whole night long:
The stars drop down in their blue dominions
To hymn together their choral song.
The child of earth in his heart grows burning,
Mad for the night and the deep unknown;
His alien flame in a dream returning
Seats itself on the ancient throne.
When twilight over the mountains fluttered,
And night with its starry millions came,
I too had dreams: the songs I have uttered
Come from this heart that was touched by the flame.

- Breaghy by George William Russell (A.E.)

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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2. Poetry Friday: The farthest thunder that I heard by Emily Dickinson

The farthest thunder that I heard
Was nearer than the sky,
And rumbles still, though torrid noons
Have lain their missiles by.
The lightning that preceded it
Struck no one but myself,
But I would not exchange the bolt
For all the rest of life.
Indebtedness to oxygen
The chemist may repay,
But not the obligation
To electricity.
It founds the homes and decks the days,
And every clamor bright
Is but the gleam concomitant
Of that waylaying light.
The thought is quiet as a flake,-
A crash without a sound;
How life’s reverberation
Its explanation found!

- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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3. Poetry Friday: When I go to orchestra rehearsals by Barbara Newhall Follett

When I go to orchestra rehearsals,
there are often several passages for the
Triangle and Tambourine together.
When they are together,
they sound like a big piece of metal
that has broken in thousandths
and is falling to the ground.

- Barbara Newhall Follett

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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4. Interview: Una LaMarche

The 2015 Sydney Taylor Awards were recently announced, and Like No Other by Una LaMarche received an Honor in the Teen Readers category. The book was also named a Publishers Weekly Best Book of Summer 2014, a 2014 Junior Library Guild Selection, and a Summer 2014 Indie Next List Pick, among other accolades.

When I interviewed Una as part of The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour, here's what she had to say about love stories, teen stories, and true stories.

LNO paperbackWhat inspired you to write Like No Other?

I knew I wanted to write a love story, I knew I wanted to set it in Brooklyn (where I grew up and still live), and I knew I wanted to write something with real stakes. I felt like a lot of the supposed "obstacles" in contemporary romance - He’s rich, she’s poor! She’s popular, she’s a nerd! Etc.- weren’t strong enough. I’m no Shakespeare scholar, but I kept thinking about Romeo and Juliet, about how their families were sworn enemies, and how great it would be to find something similar in modern-day New York. One of the greatest things about living in the city is how inclusive it is, but I needed to find two groups who could believably be at odds. I wanted true forbidden love. Luckily, I barely had to do any work to connect the dots, since they were literally right in front of my face.

Growing up, I had always seen Hasidic families at the park or out shopping, but there was an unspoken rule that we would never interact; we were "other" to them and they were "other" to us. It struck me that that kind of extremely insular religious group might provide the perfect environment for the story I wanted to tell, and after speaking to women who had grown up in those communities, I knew I'd found what I was looking for. There are rules of Hasidic life that govern how to live, whom to love, and who to be. For anyone to break those rules, let alone a young woman - let alone with a black man - well, that would set some seriously Shakespearean stakes.

How has real life impacted your writing, and/or vice-versa?

I draw as much as I can from what I know, just because that’s both what’s easiest and most genuine. In Like No Other, what I knew best was Brooklyn - that experience of growing up in a dense, vibrant, diverse place that’s alternately comforting and a little frightening - but even though I didn’t have a huge amount in common with either Devorah or Jax, I always try to put as much real life experience into my characters as I can. The great thing about being human is that regardless of race, gender, sexuality, or religion, most emotions are more or less universal. I may not have had any firsthand experience with Devorah (my Hasidic character's) upbringing, but I know what it felt like to be a teenage girl. And I'm not male or black like Jaxon, but I know what it’s like to be a city kid under pressure from your parents to make them proud.

What's your favorite part about writing fiction? How do you approach writing non-fiction?

I love writing fiction because A) there are no limits, but mostly B) I’m a control freak and can decide what happens. When I’m writing nonfiction I’m very careful to make sure everything I’m writing is as accurate as possible; I don’t even like to write dialogue in my memoir pieces for fear of getting it wrong or manipulating it somehow. But in fiction there is no getting it wrong - at least from an artistic standpoint - and manipulation is the whole point! It’s pretty awesome.

What books or authors did you love as a teenager?

As a preteen I was a card-carrying member of The Baby-Sitters Club fan club, and a little too emotionally involved with the goings-on at Sweet Valley High. Later, I got into horror and devoured anything by Stephen King or Christopher Pike. I loved Lynda Barry’s cartoon anthologies, and of course Queen Judy Blume. But I also dabbled in Jane Austen, Cynthia Voigt, and Maeve Binchy… when I wasn’t busy obsessively reading Sassy magazine. UnaHeadshot

You are a novelist, an essayist, and an Etsy enthusiast. What other nouns or vocations suit you?


Mother. Wife. Oenophile. Karaoke hustler. Ball of emotion.

When you were a kid, you kept a diary. Do you still keep one as an adult? Does anyone else in your family keep a journal, or write regularly?

I have actually never kept a regular or honest* diary. I was a diary dilettante and still am; I have a sort-of-diary that’s an ongoing letter to my (currently three year-old) son, and I still only manage to update it about twice a year.

*As a teenager I tried to make my life seem a lot more exciting than it was. Maybe that’s why I write teen fiction now?

What are your top ten favorite books?

It was so hard to narrow it down to ten, but here’s an attempt at a reflection of my current list, in no particular order:

It’s So Magic, Lynda Barry
The Girls’ Guide to Hunting and Fishing, Melissa Bank
Me Talk Pretty One Day, David Sedaris
Candyfreak, Steve Almond
Circle of Friends, Maeve Binchy
Slouching Towards Bethlehem, Joan Didion
Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
Metropolitan Life, Fran Lebowitz
No Lifeguard on Duty: The Accidental Life of the World’s First Supermodel, Janice Dickinson (I’M BEING HONEST, DON’T JUDGE ME)
Bad Feminist, Roxane Gay

Visit Una's website at http://www.unalamarche.com/

Check out the full blog tour schedule as posted at the AJL blog.

Drop by the Association of Jewish Libraries website and the official Sydney Taylor site.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2014
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2013
The Sydney Taylor Book Award Blog Tour 2012

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5. Poetry Friday: Souvenirs by Orla Gartland

Yearning, yearning for the past
It's like we're always burning
Through the hourglass
(Like we always do, like we always do)
Learning, learning as we go
It's like we're always searching
For the seeds we've sown

Stuck in the rhythm, same every day
Looking at pictures I know I should put away
Building towers to break 'em back down
We're framing the moment
Ties that keep us bound

Days and nights
And the best of times
We keep our memories like souvenirs
When we were kids,
Did you think that it would all come back to this?
Looking back
Oh, looking back
And you know, and they know,
That we just don't wanna be forgotten

- selected lyrics from Souvenirs by Orla Gartland

Watch the official lyric video:



If you can't see the video embedded above, click here.

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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6. The Menagerie series by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski



Looking for a new series to add to your e-bookshelf? You can now get all four books of The Menagerie series by Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski on your Kindle via Amazon.com or Amazon.co.uk!

I've said it before and I'll say it again -- this series rocks! If you like X-Men and The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, you'll enjoy the mix of mischievous, powerful characters that make up The Menagerie: each legendary character has distinct abilities and mystical, mythical, and/or literary origins. Christopher Golden and Thomas E. Sniegoski have taken various characters well-known from literature and mythology and made them their own. They've got Eve (yes, that Eve - who became a vampire after she fell from grace), Ceridwen, and Doyle (what's up, Sherlock?), among others.

Again, there are four books in the series, which you can get separately or all at once. Trust me, you're going to want to have the entire series on hand once you start the first one so you can read them back-to-back.

Let me know which character or story is your favorite in the comments below.

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7. Best Books of January 2015

January 2015: 36 books and scripts read

Short Story Spotlight
An Optical Illusion by Eimear Ryan

Non-Fiction Pick
Yes Please by Amy Poehler

The Play's the Thing
I and You by Lauren Gunderson

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8. Poetry Friday: Of so divine a loss by Emily Dickinson

Of so divine a loss
We enter but the gain,
Indemnity for loneliness
That such a bliss has been.
- Emily Dickinson

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

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9. Poetry Friday: The Sea-Wash by Carl Sandburg

The sea-wash never ends.
The sea-wash repeats, repeats.
Only old songs? Is that all the sea knows?
Only the old strong songs?
Is that all?
The sea-wash repeats, repeats.
- The Sea-Wash by Carl Sandburg

Related posts at Bildungsroman
Fog by Carl Sandburg
Pigeon by Carl Sandburg
Potomac Town in February by Carl Sandburg

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.
View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.
Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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10. Poetry Friday: The Sea-Weed by Elisabeth (Cabazza) Pullen

The flying sea-bird mocked the floating dulse:
"Poor wandering water-weed, where dost thou go,
Astray upon the ocean's restless pulse?"
It said: "I do not know.

"At a cliff's foot I clung and was content,
Swayed to and fro by warm and shallow waves;
Along the coast the storm-wind raging went,
And tore me from my caves.

"I am the bitter herbage of that plain
Where no flocks pasture, and no man shall have
Homestead, nor any tenure there may gain
But only for a grave.

"A worthless weed, a drifting, broken weed,
What can I do in all this boundless sea?
No creature of the universe has need
Or any thought of me."

Hither and yonder, as the winds might blow,
The sea-weed floated. Then a refluent tide
Swept it along to meet a galleon's prow-
"Land ho!" Columbus cried.

- The Sea-Weed by Elisabeth (Cabazza) Pullen

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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11. Poetry Friday: Unwritten Poems by William Winter

Fairy spirits of the breeze-
Frailer nothing is than these.
Fancies born we know not where-
In the heart or in the air;
Wandering echoes blown unsought
From far crystal peaks of thought;
Shadows, fading at the dawn,
Ghosts of feeling dead and gone:
Alas! Are all fair things that live
Still lovely and still fugitive?

- Unwritten Poems by William Winter

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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12. Poetry Friday: Entrance by Rainer Maria Rilke

Whoever you are: step out of doors tonight,
out of the room that lets you feel secure.
Infinity is open to your sight.
Whoever you are.
With eyes that have forgotten how to see
from viewing things already too well-known,
lift up into the dark a huge, black tree
and put it in the heavens: tall, alone.
And you have made the world and all you see.
It ripens like the words still in your mouth.
And when at last you comprehend its truth,
then close your eyes and gently set it free.

- Entrance by Rainer Maria Rilke, translated by Dana Gioia

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Black Cat by Rainer Maria Rilke

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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13. Best Books of December 2014

December 2014: 6 books and scripts read

Yes, you read that correctly. I only read 6 books this month, when I normally read that many in a week. I devoted a great many hours to writing this month. It was strange not to have a novel with me at all times, like I normally do, but I had to remove the temptation to read in order to really focus on what I'm writing. I have many words and many pages to show for it, so I think it is worth it. I read a few scripts, preparing for projects that will start in the new year. When I'm done writing the Major Thing, I plan to read Yes Please by Amy Poehler, which is staring at me from the table as I write this...

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14. Best Books of 2014

Total number of books and scripts read in 2014: 275

This year, I wrote nearly as much as I read. Things I wrote were published, produced, and performed. Things I read made me laugh, made me grateful, and made me take pause. I feel honored every time I book a film or a TV show or a play or a musical and cherished every opportunity to explore new worlds and tell stories in words and movement and song. I was delighted when I was hired to narrate an audiobook (which I subsequently remastered and edited!)

Here is my list of the best books of 2014, containing titles released and read in that calendar year. Please note that a title's placement within a category is not an indication of rank of any sort; titles are typically listed in the order I read them. Click on a title to read my review.

Juvenile Fiction
The Meaning of Maggie by Megan Jean Sovern
Half a Chance by Cynthia Lord
The Summer I Saved the World...in 65 Days by Micby Michele Weber Hurwitz

Young Adult Fiction
The Good Lie by Robin Brande
Hung Up by Kristen Tracy
The Last Forever by Deb Caletti
Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour
We Are the Goldens by Dana Reinhardt
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell

Adult Fiction
Snowblind by Christopher Golden

Non-Fiction
Life in Motion: An Unlikely Ballerina by Misty Copeland
Wild Things! The True, Untold Stories Behind the Most Beloved Children's Books and Their Creators by Julie Danielson, Elizabeth Bird, and Peter D. Sieruta
Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness by Danielle Fishel

Graphic Novels
Sisters by Raina Telgemeier
Cemetery Girl, Book One: The Pretenders by Charlaine Harris and Christopher Golden

Backlist and Re-Reads
Hyperbole and a Half: Unfortunate Situations, Flawed Coping Mechanisms, Mayhem, and Other Things That Happened by Allie Brosh
The Children's Hour by Lillian Hellman
The Bad Seed play adaptation by Maxwell Anderson, based on the novel by William March

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15. Poetry Friday: Where it Hurts by Caitlyn Siehl

There is too much wrong with the weather
these days and I can't look you
in the eyes without thinking
about how long it's taken for
the snow to melt...

- Where It Hurts by Caitlyn Siehl - Click here to read the poem in its entirety!

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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16. Bridget Heos's Website

400bridgetheos

I recently helped Bridget Heos add some pizzazz to her Yola website. Bridget has written laugh-out-loud picture books as well as dozens and dozens of non-fiction books for kids. Visit authorbridgetheos.com to learn more about Bridget's works, including Mustache Baby and the forthcoming sequel, Mustache Baby Meets His Match!

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17. Poetry Friday: The Graveyard by Caitlyn Siehl

In the graveyard of our hands,
we are bringing each other back to life.
In the graveyard of our hands, we are digging up the funeral and
burying it again, fresh and unmourned.
Take me to the mausoleum where
we first learned how to tiptoe over
ghosts and then make it sing.
Make the place talk like a fable.
Teach me how to be brave.
Teach me where to put the time that doesn’t heal so that it can never find me again...

- The Graveyard by Caitlyn Siehl - Click here to continue reading the poem!

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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18. Poetry Friday: A Zoo of Human Emotion by Caitlin Siehl

A zoo of human emotion. Anger is sleeping in its exhibit, and the security guard warns you not to tap the glass. Across the way, in a different exhibit, you can’t see inside, but a sign is hanging up that reads: "Do not feed the loneliness."

- Caitlyn Siehl

View all posts tagged as Poetry Friday at Bildungsroman.

View the roundup schedule at A Year of Reading.

Learn more about Poetry Friday.

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19. Quotes: On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta

Continuing my transcription of notes I took five years ago, I offer you quotes from the outstanding book On the Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta:

The faces of the dead or missing, so young and happy that all I can think of is, how can they be dead? Toothy grins, mostly those school photos that you keep hidden. - Page 60

After the narrator finds all of the songs that Hannah mentions in her manuscript, she downloads them, making her own soundtrack:
I wrap myself in the music, curled up in my bed, thinking of Hannah, eyes wide open, forcing myself to keep awake. Unlike Macbeth, who has sleep taken away from him, I can take sleep away from myself.
- Page 135

My mother deserted me at the 7-Eleven, hundred of kilometres away from home.

Hannah, however, did the unforgivable.

She deserted me in our own backyard. - Page 135

"Hold my hand because I might disappear." - Narnie to Jude, Page 188

She looks as me intently. "She used to talk about you. She'd tell me that when I came to the school, I would have you and that she'd be the luckiest person in the world because she'd have both of us. I used to think she was your mum." - Page 242

How can you just forget a person completely until the moment you see his face again? Who else is back there lurking in my head? - Page 331

I'm holding one of only two people left in the world who share my blood: my father's sister, who one night sat in the same spot for four hours just to protect her brother from a sight that would have killed his spirit. - Page 397

So what is On the Jellicoe Road about? It's about a girl named Taylor was abandoned twice: once at a convenience store by her mother when she was 11 years old, and again by Hannah, her guardian and mentor six years later.  It's about the manuscript Hannah left behind, filled with stories about teenagers from two decades ago. It's about the struggle of power between different groups of students at Taylor's boarding school. It's about alliances, and secrets, and personal histories, and hazy memories. It's about the past. It's about the future. It's about Taylor. It's about Hannah.

Read this book. Read it now.

Related posts at Bildungsroman:
Booklist: From a Land Down Under
Booklist: Coming-of-Age Novels aka Bildungsromans
Hope: Melina Marchetta

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20. The Palace Chronicles series by Margaret Peterson Haddix

When kids and teachers ask me for a book that's a twist on the Cinderella story, I offer them Just Ella by Margaret Peterson Haddix and the companion novel, Palace of Mirrors. These books are royally good, and I strongly recommend them to fans of Shannon Hale.

In Just Ella, we met 15-year-old Ella after the big ball we're all familiar with - but it turns out the story everyone has heard isn't exactly true. Instead of getting glass slippers from a fairy godmother, Ella won them in a wager with a glassblower. Instead of having a pumpkin transformed into a carriage, Ella got a ride from a kind (and human) coachman. Instead of relying on magic, Ella uses her brain and her bravery to make her dreams into reality.

When the book begins, Ella is already engaged to Prince Charming. But being a princess isn't all it is cracked up to be. Conversations with the prince prove that, although he's nice, he's really not for her. After learning more about the war that's taking place beyond the palace gates, Ella becomes even more disenchanted with her royal life and yearns to do something that will help those suffering. When she tries to break the engagement, evil steps in and Ella is physically removed to a dungeon.

But the villains should have known that even dungeon bars can't stop Ella. She must use the same smarts and determination that got her to that famous ball in the first place to get out and to help her country. Ella is a selfless, intelligent leading lady, and Just Ella is a very neat adaptation.

In Palace of Mirrors, we follow a 14-year-old peasant girl named Cecilia. Raised by Nanny and educated and protected by Sir Stephen, Cecilia likes the evening best of all, for that is when she has lessons - "And for me it's the moment that divides my day as hardworking, ragged peasant girl from my evening as secret princess poring over gilded texts." (Page 22) She goes on to say, "The studying is no easier than the chores, but it's more promising."

But Cecilia isn't the peasant girl she pretends to be. She's a princess. When she was little, her parents were murdered. Cecilia was whisked away and a decoy (Desmia) was put on the throne. Cecilia can't tell any of her friends about it, not even her life-long best friend Harper. Meanwhile, Desmia, the decoy, thinks she's the real princess.

Then Cecilia's village is threatened, and she decides to reclaim the throne. Enter 11 other girls and knights. Each and every one of these girls thinks SHE's the real princess - and so do their knights. Their stories are all the same, and each girl was given a royal object as proof of her royalty.

Like Ella, Cecilia isn't afraid to get dirty, to walk barefoot through sludge, to bloody her fingers when trying to get out of a locked room. She doesn't yearn for the power or the fame or the riches or the ballgowns; she wants to bring peace to the kingdoms and make her slain parents, her ancestors, and her beloved caretakers proud.

Who reigns supreme in the end? You'll have to read the books to find out.

Palace of Mirrors takes place in the same world as Just Ella, with Ella herself making an appearance. Spoilers: Highlight to view - [ Ella is now engaged to Jed, who is the head of the delegation trying to end the war between Suala and Fridesia. Harper's dad died in that war, and though Harper's mom trained him to play the harp, he really wants to be a soldier.) And guess who has been working for the past year as the medical officer in a refuge camp near "the worst battlefield of the Sualan War" and wants to become a doctor after the war is over... ]

The third book in the line, Palace of Lies, will be released in April 2015.

The takeaways:
Follow your own truth.
Find your truth in yourself, not in others.
Do what is right for you.

Word of the day:
Munificent - to be extremely generous or liberal
Ella uses this word to describe Desmia.

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21. Entertainment Weekly's list of 50 Books Every Kid Should Read

Entertainment Weekly just released a list of 50 Books Every Kid Should Read. As I read the list, I kept thinking, "That's interesting," as in it was interesting to see what was included and what was not. For example, I was incredibly happy to see The Phantom Tollbooth, the All-of-a-Kind Family books, and The Book Thief on the list. Then there are some titles that I wouldn't have included, but that's just me. I'd be interested to hear what books on this list my fellow bloggers and loyal readers have read, and what books they would add to the list. Please leave your comments below so we can discuss.

Here is the list as presented by Entertainment Weekly. Note: The print article has the byline "by Chris Lee" while website says "by EW staff."

If the title is italicized, then I've read it.
If the title is bold and italicized, then I strongly recommend it.

Ages 3-5
Madeline by Ludwig Bemelmans
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
Bread and Jam for Frances by Russell Hoban
- All of the Frances books are cute. My favorite Hoban story is Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas.
Strega Nona by Tomi dePaola
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg - This story is special to me.
The Mitten by Jan Brett

Library Lion by Michelle Knudsen
The Lion & the Mouse by Jerry Pinkey

Ages 6-8
The Story of Babar by Jean de Brunhoff
Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
The Ramona series by Beverly Cleary
- I have read every single Ramona book, and all of the books that take places on Klickitat Street!
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble by William Steig
- Very precious to me.
Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
The Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne - I've only read a few
The Arrival by Shaun Tan - I think this is the wrong category for this book; it is a wordless graphic novel, and Tan himself differentiates it from children's picture books
Diary of a Wimpy Kid by Jeff Kinney</i> - I've only read a few

Ages 9-11
The Black Stallion by Walter Farley
All-of-a-Kind Family by Sydney Taylor - Wonderful books!
The Borrowers by Mary Norton

Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O'Dell
James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl - I prefer Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster - So awesome.
Where the Red Fern Grows by Wilson Rawls

D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths by Ingrid & Edgar D'Aulaire
Harriet the Spy by Louise Fitzhugh
From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E.L. Konigsburg
Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret. by Judy Blume
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

The Adventures of Captain Underpants by Dav Pilkey
Holes by Louis Sachar
Bud, Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis
A Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket - I've only read a few
The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia
Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Ages 12+
The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis - My favorite in the series
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle</b>
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson - Tears.
The Giver by Lois Lowry - So much better that the companion books that followed it.
The Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling

Monster by Walter Dean Myers
Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak - TEARS.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Smile by Raina Telgemeier
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
- I prefer Looking for Alaska.

See the article/list in image form at Dave Roman's Tumblr or click through the gallery at the Entertainment Weekly website.

Want to check out my top book picks for kids? Here you go:
So You Want to Read YA?
Middle School Must-Haves
Funny Fiction for Kids
Favorite Picture Books
Favorite Beginning Readers
Coming-of-Age Novels aka Bildungsromans
Tough Issues for Teens
...and all of my booklists plus my best of lists, which I post once a month and once a year.

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22. Poetry Friday: Brutal Romance by Brooke Fraser

All shapes and colours
Rolled and stained in aging hands
Sculpted explosions
Histories unfold
Our Jackson Pollocked earth turns
A silent witness

Lonely as silent
Poets bequeath best attempts
Romanticising
The brutality
Of the ages and of us
Avarice and lust

Love and death, and death and love
Brutal romance
The silver thread, the sharpened knife
A spinning slow-dance
I can't remember before
Warmth in the veins, lead in the core
Brutal romance

You're dripping with gold
Mine is more interior
Yours is sinking you

Men at attention
Devouring a drowning fleet
Epaulettes of charm

Love and death, and death and love
Brutal romance
A silver thread, a sharpened knife
In a spinning slow-dance
I can't remember before
Breath in the lungs, blood on the door
Brutal romance

And I want to sing
Over them and into them
What can't be unsung
And I want to sing
Over you and into you
What can't be unsung

Love and death, and death and love
Brutal romance
A silver thread, a sharpened knife
A spinning slow-dance
I can't remember before
Washing of wounds, won inner wars
Brutal romance

- Brutal Romance by Brooke Fraser, from her beautiful brand-new album, Brutal Romantic

Listen to the song here, then get the album (which I've had on repeat all week) from the store of your choice.



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23. Poetry Friday: Egyptian Serenade by George William Curtis

Sing again the song you sung
When we were together young-
When there were but you and I
Underneath the summer sky.

Sing the song, and o'er and o'er
Though I know that nevermore
Will it seem the song you sung
When we were together young.

- Egyptian Serenade by George William Curtis

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24. Best Books of November 2014

November 2014: 11 books and scripts read

Recommended for Tweens
The Swap by Megan Shull

Recommended for Teens and Adults
Girl Defective by Simmone Howell
Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Non-Fiction Pick
Normally, This Would be Cause for Concern: Tales of Calamity and Unrelenting Awkwardness by Danielle Fishel

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25. Poetry Friday: Piano by D.H. Lawrence

Softly, in the dusk, a woman is singing to me;
Taking me back down the vista of years, till I see
A child sitting under the piano, in the boom of the tingling strings
And pressing the small, poised feet of a mother who smiles as she sings.

In spite of myself, the insidious mastery of song
Betrays me back, till the heart of me weeps to belong
To the old Sunday evenings at home, with winter outside
And hymns in the cosy parlour, the tinkling piano our guide.

- Piano by D.H. Lawrence - Read the full poem

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