Monday, April 26, 2010

For the pure pleasure of it.

So many of the books that I recommend here are included because I can see or I’ve been told that they connect to the curriculum in some way.
But for those of us who really love reading there is something more that we like to give besides the title or two of great books. Spreading the love, as it were. And sometimes that will be accomplished with a resource that has nothing to do with a topic taught in school. In fact, promoting those books totally unrelated to curriculum topics might be another strategy to encourage reading. No strings attached just pure pleasure.
And here’s one of my recommendations.

Finding Violet Park by Jenny Valentine (823 V234F FIC) was one of those finds that was a real delight.

This is not your typical coming of age unless you think communing with the ashes of a once famous pianist, named Violet Park is the norm for adolescents these days. Lucas comes across Violet’s funerary urn in a taxi cab office where it’s been sitting for over eighteen months. He feels an unexpected and unexplainable fascination with imagining who this woman had been. The hunt for Violet’s story intersects with some of the issues he’s dealing with in his own family – his father disappeared several years ago and the family (Lucas, his mom, older sister and younger brother) has been left to wonder what happened. To say the least, the family is stresses and Lucas is feeling it. Lucas is an interminably likable character with a weird and wonderful way of looking at the world. Secondary characters also add layers of interest to the story. Even though dead, Violet too becomes very real to Lucas and us.

I would suggest those in grades 8 into high school would enjoy this book the most.

This book is a British import and has been published under the title Me, the Missing and the Dead in the United States.


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