Bethany's Readers' Advisory

The place to go for readers' advisory on books for children, teens, and adults

The Secret Life of Emily Dickinson by Jerome Charyn October 31, 2011

Filed under: adult fiction — Bethany @ 10:28 pm
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The Secret Life of Emily Dikinson gives readers a glimpse into the private life of the famous poet.  The story begins in 1848 when Emily is a student at Mount Holyoke, a female seminary school.  During her short time at this school, she witnesses the blond handyman rescue a fawn from the deep snow, a memory that will stay with her for the rest of her life.  When Emily first moves back to her father’s house, she is an adventurer.  She and her dog, Carlo, venture into town and “rum resorts” seeking a suitor for young Emily.  As time goes on, though, Emily becomes Queen Recluse.  She stays close to home and eventually does not leave the house at all.

This was an interesting novelized version of Emily Dickinson’s life.  My research after finishing the book showed that the timeline and many of the facts were accurate to her life.  Emily was a strong-willed, sharp-witted, eccentric girl with an intriguing history.


Picture Books October 21, 2011

Filed under: children's picture books — Bethany @ 10:51 am

A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead– A man goes to take care of his friends at the zoo each day, but when he is sick, his friends come to take care of him.

LMNO Peas by Keith Baker– An alphabet book with cute illustrations of peas doing activities that start with each letter.

Big Red Lollipop by Rukhsana Khan– A girl is forced to take her younger sister to a birthday party.  Later, she decides whether to make her sister do the same thing or to help her sister.

Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin by Duncan Tonatiuh– Two cousins, one who lives in the United States and one who lives in Mexico, write letters to each other about their lives.  They realize that they are not so different after all.

City Dog, Country Frog by Mo Willems- A city dog moves to the country and makes friends with a country frog.  They play together all year until winter comes around and frog disappears.


East by Edith Pattou October 9, 2011

Rose grows up believing she is an east born child, just like her mother had planned.  Unlike an east, Rose is always outside exploring.  It is during one of her adventures that she first sees the white bear.  Years later, the family is hungry and poor.  They are days from being evicted from their home and Rose’s sister is gravely ill.  The white bear comes to their door with a proposition that Rose cannot refuse.  The family’s livelihood and Rose’s future are dependent on a strange, talking bear.

Rose’s new life is mysterious.  She is made very comfortable, yet she yearns to know more about the white bear and its past.  But what if Rose’s ignorance is the only thing keeping the white bear- and herself- safe?

I’ll admit I was hesitant about this book.  Fantasy and outdoor survival are generally not my favorite genres.  However, I persevered with East and was rewarded.  After a slow start, it was an exciting and intriguing story with a strong female lead.  Recommended for middle school and high school girls who like fantasy and adventure stories.


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