Monday, April 30, 2012

Children's book review: Adam Gopnik

Young adult fiction is definitely for grownups! But also perfect to share with your grandchildren! No matter how old they get, they will ask you for recommendations! Sales of fiction for 14-20 year olds have increased dramatically in the last few years. The hunger games alone sold 23 million copies and at was before the movie came out. I still find it difficult to recommend because it is children killing children but i read the books because they remain in the top 10 banned books since publication. And i have had great discussions with friends, children, librarians and strangers about those books. More importantly, there were also 10,000 different Y/A books published last year. How to chose is difficult. But it is great fun for most adults to lose themselves in imaginary words and the innocence of childhood all the while finding a great book to share with children. Adam Gopnik's The Steps Across the Water (2010), superbly illustrated by Bruce McCall, is another creative imaginative masterpiece by this fabulous journalist and author. Rose is a young child living in NYC with her adopted parents and brother (Oliver was the subject of an earlier book and another must read!) She knows she has a lovely family but she is lonely and wonders who she really is. She desperately wants a dog and she loves snow globes. One day she sees a crystal staircase arching like a rainbow over the central park lake (no one else believes her of course). But later she discovers another entire world UNork peopled with fascinating, intriguing and some scary characters! Gopnik has a great deal of fun with names in the alternative universe ( times square squared), unique situations (food being shot at you with cannons, just open your mouth) and everyday parental quotes you've said ("If it weren't for the coffee and email. I wouldn't know I was alive" Rose's Dad. Also " school, which meant they're progressively draining my bank account..."). This book deals with themes of identity and the meaning of home in beautiful language. It is a charming story that will warm your heart and be read many times for generations. Quotes "Medusa Books? You mean your father's never taken you there? Well, that's a long overdue polka on your dance card, Miss Rose." ""Where was it published? Do you remember that?" Alexandra frowned.m"London? Hong Kong? Maybe Mars?" it if would be the most normal thing in the be published on Mars." Rose's favorite thing to do when she was frustrate and confused was to eat something delicious and it was her personal opinion that when you weren't frustrated and confused it was still a good idea to eat something delicious. Rose : "You're only as big as the last brave thing you've done." Thought by another great children's writer: A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in It, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them. Lemony Snicket