As I was choosing titles for our Spring 2013 webcast, I noticed a theme running through several of the books that ended up on my final list. Perhaps it is my taste in books showing through my choices or maybe it’s a larger trend in children’s publishing this season. Either way, I highly recommend these books for exploring the idea of facing your fears and moving on.
Sleepwalkers by Viviane Schwarz. May 2013. 9780763662301. Gr. 2-6
If you’re ever afraid to go to sleep, all you need to do is leave a letter under your pillow for the Sleepwalkers. They will save you from your nightmares. The Sleepwalkers take on the monsters and scary situations that disturb our sleep by giving the dreamer what they need to face their fears. But the three heroes have been rescuing children from their nightmares for a long time, and they are ready to train their replacements. This is the story of the new Sleepwalkers as they learn to conquer their own fears right in the dreams of the children they are rescuing. Viviane Schwartz creates a fantastic world with unusual heroes that just may have young readers looking at their dreams and fears with new perspective.
After Eli by Rebecca Rupp. August 2012. 9780763658106. Gr. 6-8
It’s been three years since Daniel’s brother Eli died in Iraq. Though that time has passed, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the pain has lessened. Daniel still adds names to the Book of Death notebook where he lists the names of people who have died particularly senseless or cruel deaths. His parents aren’t really present for him anymore, and Daniel is focused on keeping the memory of his brother alive on his own. When he meets some unconventional new friends, he finds that he is slowly drawn in to their lives, which is what he needs to be able to process his grief and move on.
Will & Whit by Laura Lee Gulledge. May 2013. 9781419705465. Gr. 7-10
Wilhelmina Huckstep has an old fashioned soul—she likes old things and a simple life—but she is haunted by shadows, and she has been ever since her parents died. She would love to eschew modern life to spend time with her friends without technology getting in the way, but she’s embarrassed to admit that she’s afraid of the dark. It turns out that Hurricane Whitney forces the issue when it knocks out the power, and makes Will and everyone else in town to do without for a few days. Artistically inclined readers may relate to the way Will uses art to face her grief from her parents’ death. Will is a likable heroine, and her story will have readers alternately cheering for her and tearing up.
There’s a lot more in the webcast on this theme and beyond. I thought I’d pick just a few of them to share on the blog perhaps to entice those of you who haven’t watched the webcast yet to check it out. You’ll hear my voice in the sections devoted to realistic teen fiction, graphic novels, and secondary science.