I have to start by saying I didn’t think I would agree with a statement that there are boy books and girl books. Book are books – yet I really know that is not true because there are books that most boys just aren’t going to care for or books that most girls are not going to care for. It is really hard to put an “all boys or all girls” tag to anything.
Now that that statement is out of the way the two books I just finished are way more girl oriented. They each have a boy character who is in partnership with the female lead but still my guess is most boys are not going to be interested for these two books.
I picked up Ship of Dolls by Shirley Parenteau, from the library after hearing about it a few weeks ago. It is a great book to add to the historical fiction section of your library – especially for 3rd – 5th graders. It tells the story of the friendship dolls that were sent to Japan in 1926. We learn of this event through the eyes of Lexie, who is living with her rule bound Grandparents. Parenteau does a nice job on giving us the history of everyday life of this time period. This would be a great mentor text to show how history can be included in your setting and though the actions of your characters – use of a treadle sewing machine, looking for a phone to use, the new sound of a motor car, or the clothes of a Flapper.
All the history and doll story is great but she also shares with us what is means to be a friend, how hard it is to tell the truth and how little lies can hurt more than you expect. It is a story to help young students think about their actions and how they might affect others. The story also pushes us to keep in mind another persons perspective. We see clearly how another’s hurtful actions may come from their own fear not from a desire to be mean.
Nightbird by Alice Hoffman, which will be release this March, is a good magical tale. (It has a bit more boy potential.) It is the story of the small town of Sidwell, a flying monster, a witches curse and friendship -maybe. Twig and her mother have moved back to their family home in Sidwell to run the family apple orchard. Twig’s family not only grows the best pink apples but her mother makes the best pies around. Sounds perfect but there is a secret that keeps Twig and her mother from making friends or living that perfect small town life. (It is connected to the monster.)
This middle grade read is about pushing past fears, breaking a few family rules to help build understanding and friendship. It is a cute story that reflects the struggles of friendships and the trouble with secrets. The magic fits into the tales of New England witchcraft from long ago – the power of teas, herbs and curses.
If you liked A Snicker of Magic by Natalie Lloyd (reviewed here) you will like Nightbird. They have the same feel – a small town, a bit of magic and families in need of friends. Oh yeah, and a curse to be dealt with. They would be a great comparison read for students.
Check it out this March!
My book line up is:
- Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone (to be released this year)
- Absolutely Truly by Heather Vogel Frederick
- Shadow Scale by Rachel Hartman
(I must admit I have a busy week so we will see if I get through all of these but always good to set a goal.)
Which are you reading this week – boy books, girl books or both?