Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Staff Picks - Best Books of 2012: Elissa


A YA novel about a boy who decides nothing has meaning and his school friends who try to convince him otherwise. This is a dark story. Not for the faint of heart. But it's good. Very good. It will make you question a lot of things we take for granted. What is meaning? And how do we decide what something is worth?  

One of two books published posthumously after Hoban's death at the end of last year. Soonchild is a beautifully illustrated, wondrous story about a man whose unborn baby doesn't want to come out into the world. He embarks on a magical journey to convince her otherwise. A wise and often amusing tale, partly based on Inuit mythology. 

Vintage Children's Classics 

I could say a lot about numerous titles in this series. If I had three or four pages I could rave about all the different titles here that I'm so happy to see again. Given that there are so many well known authors on this list I have to take this chance to mention some who aren't as well known to modern audiences.

Joan Aiken's The Wolves of Willoughby Chase is exceptional. And the cover is just great. It's a mystery/ adventure story set in an alternative history with wolves in England.

Erich Kastner's Emil and the Detectives was written in 1928 and is about a young boy who falls victim to a thief and engages a gang of children his own age to apprehend the criminal. While I was investigating this series I found the Vintage Children's Classics website and discovered that Kastner was considered anti-German by the Nazis and copies of Emil were put to the flames in 1933. Kastner was even present at the time. Thankfully not all copies were lost so we can all still enjoy this fantastic story.

There's something here that will interest every child and they're only $9.95! Needless to say my bookshelves have significantly less room now Edith Nesbit, Arthur Ransome and Mark Twain have invaded.

- Elissa

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