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What Would a Jedi Read? Reader’s Advisory for Star Wars Characters

Our favorite Star Wars characters need good book recommendations too! Yet, could you figure out a book picks for popular Star Wars characters off the top of your head? The latest and (apparently) final entry into the Skywalker saga within the Star Wars universe is just around the corner. It is always important to reflect on popular culture in the library. Such a large percentage of our collections embrace the idea of pop culture. Also, aspects of the fandoms can be great touchstones for reader’s advisory. If the teen you are trying to help doesn’t know how to explain their needs or desires in a book, asking for the name of their favorite Star Wars character could be the “in” that you need.

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Reading Star Wars Legends

With the announcement that Disney had purchased the rights to Star Wars from George Lucas, everyone got excited about the possibility of new content and story lines breathing life back into the franchise. It’s safe to say that The Force Awakens did that very thing as it made an approximate billion trillion dollars at the box office in December.

Now we’ve got new main narrative films in the pipeline and cool one-shot movies like Rogue One coming out. (I dare you to try to tell me you watched that trailer without drooling. You can’t. Trust me.) And we’ve also got new books just released or soon to be released connecting the movie stories together.

There are more than just these three obviously, with plenty more slated to come. These are just the ones I’m particularly excited about reading. Naturally, the folks at Disney had to come up with something to do with all of the books that had been written about what happened after Return of the Jedi. The most recent “non-canon” series showed Luke, Leia, and Han well into their sixties. Ultimately, the decision was made to cast these books as Star Wars “Legends.” Kind of like when comic book writers write a super hero’s story that is way different than the hero’s typical narrative and everyone just sort of labels it as something that “could happen” or something that happened in an alternate timeline or reality. Superman: Red Son is an example that comes to mind, where Superman actually ends up landing in Russia instead of Kansas and his whole story is changed based on that scenario.

All in all, Disney wanted to be able to move forward in their own direction with this franchise which is why they made the move. Maybe that will turn you off from reading any of the Star Wars Legends books, but if you make that choice, I think you’ll be missing out. There are some really cool characters and story lines out there and who knows? It’s quite possible that future stories will showcase characters and plot lines from these books. I already think that’s happening with Kylo Ren’s character and a character from one of the series mentioned below. So my recommendation is to read all the new Star Wars books coming out (naturally) but to also delve into these “Legends” and see how/if Disney adapts some of these stories.

Here are some interesting characters that are either introduced or expounded upon in Star Wars Legends novels:

 

Grand Admiral Thrawn – With the loss of Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader, an effectively intimidating character was needed to provide an antagonist for Han, Luke, and Leia. Luckily for Star Wars fans, Timothy Zahn stepped into the gap and wrote what is still often considered one of the best Post-Return of the Jedi book series. A trilogy comprised of the novels Heir to the Empire, Dark Force Rising, and The Last Command introduced readers to Thrawn, a tactical genius who takes over the remnants of the Empire to battle the “New Republic” that Han and the Skywalker siblings are trying to establish. Thrawn is quite different from Vader or Palpatine but no less dangerous.

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What Would They Read?: Rey from Star Wars The Force Awakens

As we celebrate a beloved series and await the next installment, let’s explore some fantastic reads for our newest favorite heroine, Rey from Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Here are some great books, new and old, that I would recommend to Rey if she came into the library during her breaks from lightsaber training and flying the Millennium Falcon.

What Would Rey Read

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

Emilia and Tio, adopted siblings and best friends, are budding young pilots who are caught on opposing sides of a war to control Ethiopia, the last unconquered African country. This is an engaging historical fiction pilot story for Rey, who would have no trouble drawing parallels between herself and Tio, who is captured by the Italians and doing his best to escape, and her friend Finn with Tio’s sister Emilia, who follows after to help save him.

Breaking Sky by Cori McCarthy

In the near future, daring pilot Chase Harcourt flies one of two elite prototype jets in a race to save the United States from a deadly cold war with China. Rey would love this book because Chase is a superbly gifted pilot, just like Rey, who also finds herself on the forefront of a battle between two great powers.

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Light Speed: Getting Ready for “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”

KENOBIThis December something is happening that many people thought never would- we’re getting a new Star Wars film! Personally I am giddy over this, and in order to get ready for it I’ve been revisiting some of my favorite media in the Star Wars universe. Games, TV shows and books all complement the movies, so there’s much to see and even DO in the Star Wars universe these days. Where does one begin?

Kenobi by John Jackson Miller is an awesome book about how Obi-Wan Kenobi got himself settled on Tatooine after the events of Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith, and also how he got himself involved in a whole lotta drama he didn’t really want to get involved in. It’s hard to keep a low profile when there are Tusken Raider attacks happening all around you, teenagers sneaking to your hut to spy on you, and a mother who clearly wants more for her family than living in a general store in the middle of the dusty desert asking you for advice. If anyone can handle it, though, it’s Obi-Wan (sorry, he’s going by Ben now!) Kenobi. This is a particular favorite of mine because Obi-Wan is my favorite character in the Star Wars universe.

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What Star Wars Taught Me About Social Justice

Image by Flickr user Steve Wilson; Posters by Olly Moss

It’s no secret that my two great passions are science fiction and social justice. My love of both can be traced to my childhood, stemming from an early exposure to Star Wars (although I also owe a large debt to L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time but I’ll save that for another post). So when the Internet exploded recently over the newly released trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens, I took the opportunity to reflect on the lessons I learned from the original trilogy about social justice and revolution (and if you haven’t seen the new trailer, what are you waiting for??!!?) And since librarianship so often intersects with social justice, I figured I’d share them below:

1. You Can Change the World

I’ll start with the most obvious lesson: revolutions can and do succeed against a larger, more powerful institution when fought with conviction and faith. Margaret Mead’s famous quote says this better than I could: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Thanks Leia, Luke, and the entire ragtag team of revolutionaries for proving this to be true and inspiring legions of 7-year-olds to do the same!

2. Act Don’t React

Luke famously walks away from his Jedi training in order to save his friends, blatantly disregarding Yoda’s wise advice to keep to the task at hand. The end result is a poorly planned rescue mission that ends in Luke losing his hand and Leia rescuing him instead. Nice job, Luke! All sarcasm aside, this may be one of the most valuable lessons for any activists and revolutionaries out there.  How often do we react rather than pausing to consider the best way to act? It’s always tempting to act in the heat of the moment but for any social movement to succeed, planning, patience, and perseverance are key to sustaining the fight and creating long-term solutions–even when this means drawing back or pausing in the midst of the struggle in order to gain more knowledge, power or perspective. 

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