One of my favorite things about summer is the variety of treats that are best eaten during summer months: fruit that comes in season, treats like ice cream that are best eaten in hot weather, and s’mores. I love the process of toasting marshmallows over a fire and sandwiching them between graham crackers with a sliver of chocolate. I sometimes even make them in the microwave, which isn’t nearly as delicious but will do in a pinch. If I were to make a s’more out of books, here’s what I’d use:
Miss Fortune Cookie by Kay Honeyman. This book would be the first cookie layer. Erin runs a popular advice blog, but things get complicated when her ex-best friend writes in with a question. Soon Erin finds herself entangled in a web of half-lies and drama.
Strawberry Marshmallow by Barasui. This six-volume manga series could be toasted and become the next layer of my s’more. This cute series featuring the antics of a couple of school girls would add the right amount of sweetness.
The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier (1991 Margaret A. Edwards Award). Jerry decides not to sell chocolates as a part of the school’s annual fundraiser, and this choice quickly spirals into something much larger than Jerry would ever have imagined.
Sweet Treats and Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald. The teens in this story send fortune cookie messages to their neighbors on Valentine’s Day, and these messages turn out to be just what each person needed to hear. Mix in a few long-held crushes and watch the drama ensue!
Stick by Andrew Smith. This is not an easy book to read, and the main character definitely has more than his share of difficulties to deal with, but many teens enjoy books about characters facing a lot of adversity, so this is the perfect addition to our s’mores recipe.
Fire by Kristen Cashore (2010 Best Books for Young Adults). Without a heat source, the marshmallow would never roast. This second installment in the Graceling Realm series follows the last “human monster,” Fire, as she’s brought to the royal city to use her powers in aid of the king.
If you were to make a dessert out of books, what would you use?
Are you heading to ALA annual this year? Are you staying home, but wishing you could join the festivities in San Francisco? Here are some young adult books set in San Francisco to help you feel like you are there already:
The Fire Horse Girl by Kay Honeyman
Jade Moon is offered the opportunity to join her father in immigrating to the United States. Soon, however, she finds herself trapped on Angel Island with no promise of ever seeing her new country. The only way she can get off the island is to disguise herself as a boy. Can this fire horse girl survive the streets of 1920s San Francisco?
Bitter Melon by Cara Chow
Frances’s mother dreams of the day that Frances graduates from high school and begins to pursue a career as a doctor. She encourages Frances to work very hard in school and has forbidden any extra-curricular activities. A computer glitch lands Frances in a speech class, though, and there she begins to find her true calling.
Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
Erin is the brains behind the popular advice blog Miss Fortune Cookie. When one of her friends writes in for advice, however, Erin must face the real-world consequences of her blog’s advice.
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan (2013 Alex Award)
Clay was just looking for any job that paid when he walked into Mr. Penumbra’s 24-hour Bookstore, but he soon finds himself wrapped up in mysteries and puzzles and enigmas. Continue reading San Francisco, Here I Come!
Historical fiction can be a deceptively complex genre to define. It would seem initially that any fiction set in the past might be considered historical fiction but as we examine this basic distinction, it becomes significantly less simple. After all, how far into the past does a novel need to be set to be considered historical rather than contemporary realistic fiction? Do we use a specific range of years? Do we consider the likely cultural memory and lived experiences of the intended audience? For the purposes of this guide, I’ve decided to define historical fiction as a novel set in the past in which the particular realities of that time and place play a significant role in the narrative.
The genre of historical fiction is vast and varied. The idea of compiling a definitive genre guide is fairly daunting so I chose a focus: “off the beaten path” historical fiction–novels set in the past that feature perspectives, places, time periods, or events frequently unexplored in both the average history class curriculum and historical fiction.
These novels expand the genre beyond the ‘white people in interesting clothing’ approach that can dominate the historical fiction shelves. In the process of creating history, many voices have been silenced, forgotten, or shoved aside. Good historical fiction–like all good fiction–weaves an absorbing story with complex characters, providing us with an opportunity to counteract simplified or biased versions of history. Through fiction, readers can look at well-known events from a new perspective, immerse themselves in unfamiliar cultures, or see an exploration of their heritage.
Continue reading Beyond The History Books: Genre Guide to ‘Off The Beaten Path’ Historical Fiction