Books Inc. Kids Blog

Home of the Brave by Katherine Applegate

Katherine Applegate (Newbery winner for The One and Only Ivan) assumed the voice and thoughts of a lonely, wise, and heartbreakingly unforgettable gorilla in The One and Only Ivan. In Home of the Brave, she brings us into the mind, memory, and language of Kek, a young refugee boy from an African village, who has just set foot in Minnesota. We have the occasion to experience details, curiosities, and language of our own country, as deconstructed through the eyes of Kek. The book is written in verse; Applegate’s writing is thoughtful, subtle, and often humorous.

The reader has an intimate view of the world as Kek sees it, and navigates with him through this new environment, and the unfamiliar, meaningless words that he must use to describe it. It is an experience to read and a heartbreaking and endearing voice that remains with you long after. It is similar to The One and Only Ivan in this respect, and also recalls another one of my favorites, Mockingbird, by Kathryn Erskine, in its ability to draw the reader into the perspective of an outsider.

An easy read, yet worthy of attention from older readers as well. Ages 8+

--reviewed by Chantal, Books Inc. Mountain View

Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler

Told in a series of letters (really one long letter divided into chapters), and objects, in a box to Ed. Min tells the story of her first real love and heartbreak. There are many firsts woven throughout- including the ultimate “first time.” As Min and Ed grow closer, the differences between them start to tear them apart. Overall an enjoyable novel with a unique style of storytelling! This is something I can appreciate as a writer. Ages 15 and up. --Reviewed by Renee from Books Inc. Market Street

Clockwork Scarab by Colleen Gleason

In alternate steampunk Victorian England, Irene Adler hires the niece of Sherlock Holmes and the half-sister of Bram Stoker to solve a mystery surrounding the recent suicides of London’s eligible society girls. This all probably sounds awesome, largely because it is. The content is handled so fluidly and Gleason offers a fresh voice to young fans of mystery and detective stories. Miss Holmes and Miss Stoker, respectively an insufferable know-it-all and a dark action girl with a suicidal streak, balance each other perfectly. This is another example of really good world building and writing, but the heroines and their relationship shines. --Reviewed by Marie at Books Inc. Chestnut Street

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(Photo posted with parents' permission at our October 2013 Jeff Kinney Event!)

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