Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:
12 Picture Books 4 to 8 Year Olds Should Read | Still Advocating http://buff.ly/1EpOL5e
BBC News – Quentin Blake: We need more disabled children in picture books http://buff.ly/1GM3ifE
Brian Selznick Inks Deal For ‘The Marvels’ – GalleyCat http://buff.ly/1wXZ8wT
Five questions for Sharon G. Flake http://buff.ly/1xfVO1I
Middle-grade mirth – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/1GPkMHV
Native American Heritage Month: 10 Children’s Books By Native Writers « the open book http://buff.ly/1zk0PEe
Who are the best quirky heroines in children’s books? | The Guardian http://buff.ly/1szsw7p
Why Picture Books Are Important by Chris Barton http://buff.ly/10z7Gxc
Libraries and Buy It Now: A Difficult Decision? | American Libraries Magazine http://buff.ly/1wQpPDJ
One Man’s Diary of a Month-Long Library Closure – BOOK RIOT http://buff.ly/1B39M9A
New study reveals why it’s impossible to put down a Harry Potter book – ScienceAlert http://buff.ly/1tU0xCa
Reading children’s books has changed my life http://buff.ly/1ExzIbP
Comcast agrees with Obama on net neutrality, except for the legal bit – GigaOM http://buff.ly/1Eujw96
Dear Senator Ted Cruz, I’m going to explain to you how Net Neutrality ACTUALLY works – The Oatmeal http://buff.ly/1EC7D2V
Present Shock | Dark Rye http://buff.ly/10GI7KN – Using technology to set ourselves free rather than it using us
Authors of young adult fiction say pitching the content right is a balancing act http://buff.ly/1yjraRG
Meg Wolitzer: Why are teenage girls drawn to books about mental instability? | The Guardian http://buff.ly/10E6BEs
YALLFest: Q&A with Rita Williams-Garcia | Charleston City Paper http://buff.ly/1osBfvz
Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel
Lucy just knows that this is the biggest recess of her life, because at recess she will kiss Tom and cement herself as a popular fourth grader along with her best friend Becky. But after the kiss happens, all she has is a ring that turns her finger green and a sinking feeling about what just happened. Soon after the kiss, Lucy’s baby sister is born. Her parents are shocked to have a baby with Downs Syndrome and are caught up in coping with the surprise. That leaves Lucy alone to cope with the sudden turn of events at school where over the course of a few days she goes from being cool and popular to being one of the lamest kids in the class. Becky calls Lucy at night to tell her all of the mean things that the other kids are saying about her, claiming that she is still Lucy’s friend but can’t be her friend at school anymore. In the meantime, Lucy starts to make friends with some of the other kids in her class. She does a project on wolves with Sam, a very quiet boy who is bullied by the same kids. Out of that project and her growing group of outcast friends, Lucy decides that the only solution for them is to become their own pack.
Vrabel captures elementary school perfectly with its confusing social pressures that keep people conforming to the norm. She manages to keep everything at just the right level, never becoming melodramatic about the situation. At the same time, it is clear how devastating the bullying is to Lucy. While she has a supportive family, they are distracted by the new baby and rightly so. Her new little sister helps be a guide for Lucy forward, and is a very smart addition to the story, allowing Lucy her growth and also serving as an example of someone who will also need their own pack to support her.
Lucy is a character who becomes more likeable as the book progresses. At first with her quests for popularity and kisses, Lucy is shallow but after she becomes shunned by the popular crowd she immediately reveals how smart and strong she actually is. Vrabel’s brilliant combination of wolf packs and middle school bullies adds strength to the entire novel.
A smart book on bullies, differences and disabilities, this novel is one that will make a great read aloud for elementary classes. Appropriate for ages 8-11.
Reviewed from library copy.
Publisher’s Weekly has the news that Piers Torday has won the 2014 Guardian Children’s Fiction Prize for the second book in The Last Wild trilogy: The Dark Wild.
The Guardian Prize is a UK children’s book prize. The Dark Wild will be published in the US in January 2015.