Treat Tuesday – this week is about the books I read this weekend.
Yes I end up reading quite a lot of Young Adult fiction due to that being the genre I naturally write in. Stephen King always said you should read, read and read and that was a major part of anyone’s writing process and I would say I tend to agree. Not that I am anywhere near the same league as Stephen, but you get my point.
I am a major fan of ‘Coming of Age’ stories. The Outsiders by S E Hinton is probably one of my favourite books…ever! I read a lot, that is a huge statement. And although not quite The Outsiders, I was introduced to the world of Jerry Spinelli recently and it gave me another author that has written billions of books (ok more like somewhere in the region of 40 but how impressive is that still…..) and I am slowly going to devour them all.
This weekend I read each of these in a couple of hours and although, yes, they are too young for me, it’s not quite the same age group as Star Girl – which I would say is one of the most universal books I have read, Loser and Smiles to Go and during the week I read Milkweed.
Milkweed was genius. It’s a slightly older Young Adult book – the same sort of age range as Star Girl and again I would say as universal. Jerry took on the challenge of writing a Young Adults book about the Holocaust and about what it was like to be a Jew in 1930/40. He wrote it about children, from a child’s perspective. The innocence of not yet having learnt about judgements and segregation, the mean side of human nature. It follows a boy called Misha and his life in Warsaw, Poland. He steals. Does this make him bad? In my book, no! It makes him a survivor. He is not selfish with the good he steals – he falls in with some other boys that are looking after themselves, that are parentless. He helps out a young girl and her family and also a local orphanage. It is a moving story from a different perspective. There is such positivity running through what was a very brutal time. A must read for adult and child.
Loser – is about a young boy called Donald Zinkoff. His schoolmates think he’s a Loser. His biggest crime? Being too enthusiastic. It is story to show the cruelness of humans, the questions one has to ask about what really makes a Loser, how easy it is to change that name and replace it with Hero and what really makes a Hero. Donald doesn’t pick up on his quirky ways – or if he does realise it then he doesn’t care, and that is the beauty of this story – it’s about celebrating the child within us all – to focus on having fun and not get wrapped up in all the other rot that can drag you down in life and take up your time caring about things that shouldn’t matter.
Smiles to Go – Will Tuppence is a big brother – to Tabitha…who he sees as the most annoying sister in the world. Will likes Skateboarding, hanging out with his friends and avoiding his sister. He also loves science and is blown about when he finds out that protons don’t actually last forever. The reader is invited into the rollercoaster ride of Freshman Will and soon learns that things aren’t always as they seem. Whilst trying to get his head around the fact that nothing lasts forever and trying to train himself for an important chess match he is really reminded of what is important and given a chance to see his life and his sister through different eyes. A lovely uplifting story and a must for anyone with an annoying younger sibling.
I think reading in general is a treat. I know many people see it as geeky or dorky – but I take either word as a compliment these days. The greatest gift, I think, that you can give to a child is imagination. To learn about things, to see things through others eyes, to learn to be alone and to find their own entertainment. To ask questions, to explore, to be curious. Reading allows all of this to be developed in a human…..and I guess that is why I still read so avidly. I am still so curious about everything.