Saturday, April 12, 2014

A Journey Through Life, in Books (The Early Years)

I have seen so many good book lists recently. So, here is my own rendition. There is one book, per year, leading up to early adulthood. Here is a journey through the earliest years of life, in books:

1. The Giving Tree, by Shel Silverstein
Easy Reader, Picture Book

The Giving Tree tells the story of a boy, and a tree, who loves the boy very much. This is an equally sad, yet true tale, which affirms the need to discover self-worth.

2. The Five Chinese Brothers, by Claire Bishop
First Grade, Picture Book

Part fable, part a narrative of brotherly love, this is one of those stories which burrow in your mind, and never quite leave. Five brothers have astonishing abilities, and one day, there are serious consequences when their powers run amok.


3. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Second Grade, Picture and Chapter Book

Written for children and adults, this charming story tells the story of an otherworldly young boy who leaves his home planet. In doing so, he encounters a variety of adults, in different stages of their lives Although whimsical, it is a philosophical exploration human aging, behavior, and the dangers of narrow-mindedness.

4. A Series of Unfortunate Events, by Lemony Snicket
Third Grade, Chapter Book

After the Baudelaire children become the Baudelaire orphans (which doesn't take too long in this story), their life is never quite the same. This tale contains so many colourful villains that you just have to wonder: where exactly is Child Services? Despite this, kids and adults will equally enjoy the peculiar dialogue, bizzare reappearance of leeches, sugar bowls, and rather abominable, but well-dressed villains.


5. The Invention of Hugo Cabret, by Brian Selznick
Fourth Grade, Graphic Chapter Book

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a story half-told through hundreds of richly illustrated pages, half through a well-woven narrative. Also made into a film, the story revolves around an orphaned boy who keeps clocks operating in a train station after his father passes. It is a story of loss, redemption, mystery, and the truth that sometimes, one can choose a new family.


6.  Because of Winn-Dixie, by Kate DiCamillo
Fifth Grade, Chapter Book

Because of Winn-Dixie, despite persistent misconceptions,  is not essentially not about a dog. Instead, the book, at its essential core, tackles loneliness and a pressing need for companionship. Taking place in a small town, each individual within the work aches for connection, but is unaware of how to establish it. The characters of this work are cleverly written, laugh-out-loud witty, mellow, and unforgettable.

7. Bridge to Terabithia, by Katherine Paterson
Sixth Grade, Chapter Book

When lone student Jess meets Leslie Burke, the two become inseparable. Together, they create an imaginary world called Terabithia, in which they spend most of their time, allowing the rest of the world to fade away. This story is masterfully written, and will serve as a reminder to both adults and children of the unspoken, transformative power of having a friend.


8. Holes, by Louis Sachar
Seventh Grade, Chapter Books

After being accused of theft, Stanley Yelnats is sent to serve a sentence at a service camp, to avoid time at juvenile prison. To "build character" Camp Green Lake  the young boys at the camp dig holes, out in an open desert. And of course, as the boys soon discover, there is more than hold digging going on in the camp. There is a whole history of past entanglements, and a reason all of the boys are present at the camp.


9. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes, By Arthur Conan Doyle

Where does one begin describing Sherlock Holmes? Well, if we were Watson, he would describe Holmes as quite handsome, dark featured, and keen...but we are not Watson. In fact, there is nearly no set way to describe the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, and his partner, John Watson. However, these tales are a must read. They are genius, and still resonate in their acute insight to the human condition, and curiosity; many, many years after being written.

Hope you enjoyed the list,