Recommending books

Jon Noble jon_p_noble at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 19 21:05:41 EDT 2002


I was in just this situation only a few minutes ago,
working with a rather reluctant reader in year 7 (age
12) who had selected a David Eddings book on
recommendation of some of his more able reading
friends. So I found a selection of easier fantasy for
him to look through (He hasn't read all the harry
Potter but they're all out), authors I showed him were
DWJ (of course), Garth Nix, Sally Odgers (hi!), Emily
Rhodda and Margaret Mahy. This was just a quick
selection and all from just one area of the fiction.
He chose Garth Nix. I was quite surprised when I
realised that appart from DWJ they were all Australian
or NZ authors. I certainly wouldn't have been able to
do that when I was his age. (when I was looking for
something to read after W E Johns' Biggles books). 
I would suggest that all of those could go onto a
proposed list along with such traditionals as Lloyd
Alexander, Alan Garner, Ursula leGuin, Tamora Pierce,
Susan Cooper etc. I'd also add Reeve's "Mortal
Engines"

Jon Noble

--- Melissa Proffitt <Melissa at Proffitt.com> wrote:
> I *actually* went to the library yesterday.  Then it
> turned out, this
> morning, that the video art lesson my daughter
> wanted was nonfunctional.
> Back we went to the library--at first just me and
> the older girls, but
> eventually all four children, because, honestly, I
> like taking them places.
> (Most of the time.)
> 
> Then the library trip got REALLY long.  I ran into
> an older woman from my
> church with a young man in his early teens who
> turned out to be her visiting
> grandson.  My keen spider-sense detected that they
> were in search of the
> Narnia books and that these did not suffice.  Later
> I found them looking at
> the Harry Potter display and made a friendly
> inquiry, though I'd already
> figured it out.  Yes, this was a boy who had
> devoured the Harry Potter books
> multiple times and was looking for something new.
> 
> I'm sure everyone here can figure out what I asked
> next.  :)
> 
> After introducing him to DWJ--and he looked very
> interested, too--I hit a
> mental block.  I simply couldn't think of much else
> to give him!  And it's
> not like I haven't read all the appropriate
> stuff...I just got stuck.  I
> ended up going around the YA shelf--
> 
> --brief aside: we have only ONE shelf in the YA
> section, front and back, and
> I weep for the children--
> 
> --and picked out a few more.  They were very
> grateful and told me, as I was
> afraid they would, that the reference desk librarian
> hadn't known to
> recommend anything other than the Narnia books.  Not
> that those are bad
> books, but they're certainly not the only ones in
> the world for fantasy
> fans.  This was not news to me because I've seen it
> before at our library;
> our librarians are very helpful, but they are not
> even a little bit informed
> about science fiction and fantasy--for any age
> group.  Last fall they
> produced a bookmark-sized list of quick picks for
> teens who liked F&SF, but
> it's not around any more (and it wasn't very good in
> the first place).
> 
> Anyway.  I'm tired of my mind going blank like that.
>  I remember that once
> upon a time, we had a discussion on what to
> recommend to a kid who likes
> Harry Potter (or Prydain or Narnia), but I don't
> know where that list is.
> So if someone knows anything that would help me find
> it in the archives, I'd
> be grateful.
> 
> Alternatively, if you want to start a new list, I'd
> like that too.  I intend
> to type the whole thing up and format it so that I
> can either pass it out to
> people as needed or give out recommendations on the
> fly.
> 
> Melissa Proffitt


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