Every individual has a part he or she can play in mitigating the impact of the coronavirus, no matter where he or she is in the world. Fortunately the world is filled with countless, selfless people risking their lives to perform essential functions. Others, who must stay at home, are helping to slow the spread of the virus in an attempt to prevent health care systems from being overwhelmed. Each of us, by our actions, may prevent the suffering or death of someone else. That is a profound responsibility and a real opportunity to make a true difference.
For those of us tasked with staying at home, we are the lucky ones. Yes, it can chafe to feel confined, but so many others are being asked to carry much heavier, more dangerous burdens. Being unexpectedly at home is challenging, but it is a chance to enjoy being together with the people we love and to spend more time on activities we enjoy or to explore others we haven't tried in the past.
For me, this time under a stay-at-home order is freeing me to indulge in a favorite passion. I am one of millions of people around the world who love to read. Good books launch me into adventures throughout space and time and make the real world disappear. They enrich my mind and feed my curiosity. I literally can't go a day without reading. From my earliest memories of my mother reading to me to the fabulous novel I finished last night, books have been my constant companions and friends. Ask any of my fellow authors in the anthology, and you will find someone who is passionate about reading.
If you are looking for something new to do as a family during this difficult time or if you are a family of avid readers, my fellow authors and I have some great books for you to read together or individually. Because we have written a collection of short stories for middle-school-age kids, we are sharing some of our favorite books for that age. Good books are ageless and timeless. There is something here for readers of many ages.
Note: For links to the books and other information, click on the light purple words.
"The Third Ghost"
Some favorite middle grade novels that I’ve read recently include Front Desk by Kelly Yang, The Wanderer by Sharon Creech, and The Crossover by Kwame Alexander.
My favorite children's books were the translation of the Wizard of Oz (The Magician of Emerald City) and its sequels by the Russian writer Alexander Wolkow. They were so much better than the originals by Frank Baum, and they continued the adventures of Dorothy and Toto. I loved them as a child, and I love them still.
They have been (re)translated into English as "Tales of the Magic Land" and are still available in three volumes of two novels each:
Tales of Magic Land 1: The Wizard of the Emerald City and Urfin Jus and his Wooden Soldiers
Tales of Magic Land 2: The Seven Underground Kings and The Fiery God of the Marrans
Tales of Magic Land 3: The Yellow Fog and The Mystery of the Deserted Castle
My favorite middle-school-aged book?
A five-star read that was magical.
A story that resonated with me—wolves, Russia, revolution, adventure, and the wolves. Plus, prose that was masterful. An encounter with middle-grade reading with unexpected but amazing results: The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell. It was my top 2019 read, and I reviewed it here.
"The Ghosts of Pompeii"
My favorite middle-grade book is The Van Gogh Deception by Deron Hicks. It's an action-packed adventure of two brave kids who outwit some very smart art thieves. I love the twists and turns, and the cool thing is that it's interactive. Readers can scan QR codes throughout the book to see what the Van Gogh masterpieces look like.
"Simon Grey and the Yamamba"
When I first read the Harry Potter books, I thought, "Where were these when I was growing up?" I loved fantasy worlds that I could disappear into, like opening a wardrobe door and stepping through into a magical realm, and I was enchanted with the thought that a nondescript pub, or a pillar at a train station, could be a gateway into a whole other world.
"The Blind Ship"
It's hard to pick just one book that I liked when I was of middle school age. Here are four. I was into animals and read them because my mother bought me the books:
Call of the Wild by Jack London
Kazan the Wolf Dog by James Oliver Curwood
Rascal by Sterling North
The Dog Who Wouldn't Be by Farley Mowat
Rebecca M. Douglass
"A World of Trouble"
Rebecca wasn't able to contribute to this post because she has just arrived home after a harrowing adventure at the tip of South America and Antarctica.
But never fear, Rebecca is the incomparable Ninja Librarian, and she has recommended and reviewed an amazing list of books for kids of all ages. You must check out her website!
Beth Anderson Schuck
Hattie Big Sky by Kirby Larson is my pick for a favorite book for middle school age readers. The setting and predicaments encountered by Hattie, a 16-year-old girl
who inherits a homestead claim in faraway Montana are riveting. Strong willed females who face difficult challenges always engage me and keep
me turning those pages. It's a classic!
"Return to Cahokia"
My favorite middle grade book was and is "The Indispensable Calvin and Hobbes." The adventures, creativity, and loving support inspired me to strive for a life filled with weirdness and excitement.
Louise MacBeath Barbour
"Dare Double Dare"
One of the great pleasures in my life has been reading aloud to many, many kids during my teaching career. The books I shared with my students are like friends to me because of the laughter, the tears, and the adventures we experienced as we read and learned together.
These are middle-school-aged favorites that I will never forget:
Number the Stars by Lois Lowry,
Kokopelli's Flute by Will Hobbs,
The Prince of the Pond by Donna Jo Napoli,
and Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery.
Take care! Stay healthy!
Until next time ...
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Upcoming Blog Interviews and Virtual Tours:
1. March 16 - Yvonne Ventresca http://bookshopwithstaceyhoran.libsyn.com/bookshop-interview-with-author-yvonne-ventresca-episode-063
2. May 4 - June McCrary Jacobs https://authorjunemccraryjacobs.blogspot.com/
3. May 6 - C. Lee McKenzie, Author https://www.cleemckenziebooks.com/blog/
4. May 6 - Literary Rambles – Natalie Aguirre https://www.junetakey.com/#writersgambitblog
5. May 11 - Juneta Key https://www.junetakey.com/#writersgambitblog
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The release date for VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost
is May 5, 2020,
but purchase links are available,
and you can preorder a copy now.
Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press
Amazon - Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472X/ Kindle https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/
Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857
ITunes - https://books.apple.com/ca/book/voyagers-the-third-ghost/id1493413956
Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/voyagers-the-third-ghost