Thursday, December 21, 2017

Kathryn Erskine

Kathryn Erskine is the acclaimed author of many distinguished novels for young readers, including Mockingbird, winner of the National Book Award; The Absolute Value of Mike, an Amazon Best Book and ALA Notable Book; and Quaking, an ALA Top Ten Quick Pick for Reluctant Readers.

Erskine's new book is The Incredible Magic of Being.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Her reply:
Salt to the Sea, Ruta Sepetys

This is a masterpiece of a book about a little-known event near the end of World War Two. Refugees fleeing Soviet troops head to the sea, overcrowding the ships supposedly carrying them to safety. Apart from the incredibly well-researched history and storytelling, it’s worth reading simply to examine how Sepetys generates such strong characters and empathy for them (or perhaps, in the case of the Nazi youth, loathing) with such sparse language. It’s an all-nighter.

Long Way Down, Jason Reynolds

Powerful. Stunning. This verse novel will take you no time to read but much time to truly digest. The bulk of it takes place descending in an elevator as a teen considers a life changing decision on the heels of his brother’s murder. It says a lot about who we are as a society and begs the question, What would you do in such a situation?

Straw into Gold, Gary D. Schmidt

“What fills a hand fuller than a skein of gold?” is the question of the Rumpelstiltskin inspired fairy tale turned on its head and spun around like a Rubik’s cube. Like all of Gary Schmidt’s work, he doesn’t shy away from the gritty but his characters create hope in their perseverance, and you root for them on their journey, sometimes smiling, sometimes cringing, until the end, when you realize you’re left with a perfectly uplifting tale to fill your hand.

Alexander Hamilton: Revolutionary, Martha Brockenbrough

I haven’t started this one yet but I can’t wait. It’s not just the subject matter but how much I love her writing, especially epic works like The Game of Love and Death. Martha Brockenbrough is an award winning, bestselling author but even having said that I think she’s underappreciated. She’s whip smart, funny, and has the social conscience we need today to help fight our current backsliding.

Life on Surtsey, Iceland’s Upstart Island, Loree Griffin Burns

I’m loving this research, told in such an appealing style, about a volcanic island born over 50 years ago and now supporting life. It’s as much about the scientists as the land – including where and how to deposit their bodily functions!

This is Just a Test, Wendy Wan-Long Shang and Madelyn Rosenberg

I’m always fascinated that authors can write books together so I’m curious to see how Wendy and Madelyn accomplish this feat. I just started but am engaged by these characters already!
Visit Kathryn Erskine's website.

The Page 69 Test: The Incredible Magic of Being.

--Marshal Zeringue