Now that spring is here, I have been reading a lot more. Over at her blog, A Chair, A Fireplace & A Tea Cozy, Liz B. (who was just elected to the Printz Award committee, yahoo!), asks , "What books are you reading?"
1. The Ghost in Allie's Pool. Written by my friend Sari Bodi, this novel (for ages 10 and up) concerns the waning friendship of two eighth-grade girls. But there's a great twist! A ghost appears to comfort one of them, and the ghost is none other than a Mayflower passenger. I loved the combination of history and contemporary kid problems in Sari's book.
2. So Long, Jackie Robinson, by Nancy L.M. Russell. A Canadian spin on America's favorite pastime. The year is 1946, Matthew, an Ontario kid and die-hard baseball fan, has just moved to Montreal with his mom and his new step-dad. He's not so happy about the move or the step-dad. But summer of 1946 is when Jackie Robinson plays minor league ball in Montreal, and Matthew lands a job at the ball park. I just started this one yesterday, and would highly recommend it to young baseball fans. Well-written and evocative of a historic era in major league sports. For ages 9 and up. Toronto's Key Porter Books send me a review copy, and I've enjoyed the Canadian perspective.
3. Of Farming & Classics, by David Grene. The memoirs of an Irish-born classics scholar at the University of Chicago who was also a farmer. The Complete Greek Tragedies, ducks, and cows. Cool combo, eh? (for grown-ups)
4. Strange Mr. Satie, by M.T. Anderson. A 2003 picture-book biography of the avant-grade composer Erik Satie. With wonderfully quirky and funny illustrations by Petra Mathers. One of the best author-illustrator-subject matches I've seen in ages. Since checking this out from the library, I've read it many times to my son, and I love the story of the strange man so committed to his art. At the end, Anderson includes helpful suggestions for reading and listening.
5. Food Not Lawns: How to Turn Your Yard into a Garden and Your Neighborhood into a Community, by H.C. Flores. When I plant tomatoes and squash in the flower beds, I'm going to blame it on this radical guide written by a friendly, urban-guerilla-gardening Miss Rumphius. Lots of advice here about leaving a smaller footprint on the earth. (for grown-ups)