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    Wednesday, June 19, 2024

    Books for children - Sept. 11


    “Stargirl” by Jerry Spinelli, Alfred A. Knopf, 186 pages

    Read aloud: age 10 and older

    Read yourself: age 10, 11 and older

    When Stargirl arrives at Mica High School, the student body buzzes with questions. Why does she dress the way she does? Why does she have a pet rat, carry a ukulele, and sing “Happy Birthday” to people in the cafeteria? And although Stargirl is completely different from anyone they’ve ever met, the students begin to like her and are propelled into a new school spirit they’ve never experienced.

    But soon Stargirl’s nonconformity begins to grate on a few students’ nerves, and shortly thereafter the whole school shuns Stargirl for everything that makes her unconventional. They also shun her once-popular boyfriend, Leo, and in Leo’s panic to make things “right,” he urges Stargirl to change, to become “normal.” Then one day, Stargirl disappears.

    A tense, emotional story about nonconformity and the thrill of first love, this outstanding story provides important lessons for adolescents on a variety of levels. 


    Library: Salem Free Public Library, 264 Hartford Rd., Salem

    Library Director: Rachel Gaither

    Choices this week: “Bats at the Library” by Brian Lies; “My Weird School” series by Dan Gutman; “Three Good Deeds” by Vivian Vande Velde 


    “Dwarf Nose” by Wilhelm Hauff, illustrated by Lisbeth Zwerger, translated from the German by Anthea Bell, Minedition, 2016, 53 pages

    Read aloud: age 4-5 to age 12

    Read yourself: age 9-10 to adult

    Long ago in a town in Germany, there lived a cobbler and his wife and their handsome 12-year-old son, Jacob. Jacob helped his mother who sold fruit and vegetables at the outdoor market.

    One day, a very unpleasant, dirty old woman came to their stand, rummaged through their perfect display of vegetables and fruit, and complained loudly that everything was “Poor stuff, poor stuff!” This angered Jacob, and he criticized her for touching all of their goods with her dirty fingers.

    When the old woman decided to buy six large cabbages, she declared that Jacob should carry them home for her and said she would give him a reward for his service. Jacob’s mother insisted he do so, but what Jacob and his mother didn’t realize was that the old woman was really a wicked fairy with plans of her own for Jacob.

    “That’s Not Normal” by Mar Pavón, illustrated by Laure du Faÿ, Nube Ocho, 2016, 40 pages

    Read aloud: age 3 to 6

    Read yourself: age 6

    Elephant has an extremely long trunk, which isn’t considered “normal,” but Elephant makes very good use of this long trunk by helping all of his animal and insect friends, and they are grateful to Elephant for his kindness. Hippopotamus, on the other hand, makes sure to tell the other animals again and again that Elephant’s super-long trunk is NOT normal.

    One day Hippopotamus is so preoccupied with his dislike of Elephant’s trunk that he doesn’t see his baby go chasing after a grasshopper, heading straight for the lake where hungry crocodiles lay in wait for their next meal ...

    This charming story for younger readers makes it clear in a clever way that there really isn’t such a thing as “normal.”


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