There isn’t much I can say about We Were Liars without giving it away. I can tell you that it takes place on the private island of a rich Boston family. I can tell you that it’s about a group of four friends who call themselves “the Liars”, and that there are indeed a lot of lies in the story. I can tell you that the writing is fearless, razor-sharp and beautiful, and that I read it in the space of about three hours. But as for what it’s actually about? No, I can’t tell you that. The heavy, portentous suspense in We Were Liars is the book’s best feature. The phrase “unputdownable” gets thrown around a lot with new, hyped books, but I’m gonna say it anyway: you will genuinely not put this book down until you get to the end. As it says on the back of the book: Read it. And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE. We Were Liars by E. Lockhart; Random House; 17.99; 13+ years old
Are you the youngest? The youngest sibling, cousin, friend? Well then you know very well that hand-me-downs have a story, a history, some carry a novel within them. You didn’t know that? Well then maybe this book will change your mind. All old clothes have been somewhere else before and withstood many adventures. In Mary Ann Hoberman‘s story, a brother and sister have fun imagining the adventures these clothes have been on, imagining adventures for them to have, and also imagining who will have the clothes next. Do you still think that your hand-me-downs are boring?
Not only do the clothes in this book have a story, but so does the story itself. Mary Ann Hoberman originally published I Like Old Clothes in 1976 with different artwork. Now, Patrice Barton‘s illustrations bring a new life to the story, showing different styles and fun in the clothes.
I Like Old Clothes by Mary Ann Hoberman; illustrated by Patrice Barton; Alfred A. Knopf; hardcover;$16.99; ages 3-6
Rebecca Stead might just be gearing up to win yet another Newbery Award. Her new story follows seventh grader Georges, named after Georges Seurat (or as he pronounces it: Sir Ott). When his father loses his job, the whole family has to move from their house into an apartment down the street. Georges quickly meets Safer, a 12-year-old with an eccentric view of life, who enjoys all things spy-related and being quite mysterious himself. The boys have met at the right time, for Georges, a friend is greatly needed among the bullying at school and his mom working extra shifts at work, and for Safer, he could really use another spy to help him track the mysterious Mr. X who always wears black and carries suitcases in and out of the building at odd hours.
I really enjoyed reading this book. Rebecca Stead has created a middle schooler than most can relate to. He’s living for Fridays when he’s at school, like most kids (and adults!) I love Safer’s family, from the kids having named themselves (in a way) to each of their different personalities. Safer’s little sister Candy especially had me laughing; I loved her extensive knowledge of when and where to buy different types of candy in New York City. And I couldn’t help but think that she would love The Sugar Cube here in Old Town. I would recommend this book to anyone 5th grade and up; I even handed it to my 13-year-old brother when I was done reading it.
Liar & Spy by Rebecca Stead; hardcover; Random House; $15.99; ages 10+
The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce; $25.00; Random House.
When I asked everyone to remember their learning-to-read experience, staffer Leah said, “there was a time I didn’t know how to read?,” and it sure is hard to believe, when you’ve pored through thousands of books, that there was a time when you had to sound out “b-o-o-k.” Yet there was a time when all of us had to learn to read, or when someone had to read books to us, and we book-lovers look to those memories fondly.
Hooray for Books! owners Ellen and Trish have spent a lot of time around books: reading books, reviewing books, and handing their favorites to young readers here at the store. When asked to share their favorite beginning reading story, it was tough to pick out just one especially with all their favorite books and book memories. They were eventually able to narrow it down and share a story for all new and old readers.
Ellen remembers being read to in her kindergarten class. Everyone probably remembers their teacher asking the class to gather around for the daily picture book reading. Her kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Galbraith, used to read Harold and the Purple Crayon by Crockett Johnson to the class. Ellen one day realized that, even though Harold was a made-up character, he was creating a marvelous and amazing world and adventure. Ellen says this was “the moment when the book literally came alive for me.” I’m sure she didn’t mean the pun when describing the book, but if any picture book were to “come alive”, Harold is perfect.
Trish remembers moving to the D.C. area from Tennessee in the 2nd grade and discovering Landmark Biographies. She would go to pick out a new biography every week at her school library. Like many of us, Trish swears that even though she must have learned how to read, it’s more likely that she had just always known how, because she does not remember where or when she started to read! While most of the Landmark Biographies have gone out of print, we still have some of them (as well as other biographies from other series) here in the store.
Whether it’s being read to you or you’re reading it on your own for the first (or 100th) time: happy reading,
Rocket is using his knowledge from when he learned to read to piece together his very own story. Rocket finds words everywhere, from the world around him, and from his teacher, the yellow bird. When Rocket gathers together enough words, he tries to to write down his story, yet nothing is inspiring him like the books he reads. When his walks keep taking him to a tall pine tree with an empty nest on its tallest branch, Rocket finds the inspiration he was looking for, as well as an unlikely new friend and reader.
This book is great for kindergartners or 1st graders who are beginning to write stories of their own, especially if they’re having trouble finding their inspiration! Rocket teaches that inspiration can come from anywhere when you least expect it.