Thursday, July 11, 2019

Keely Hutton

Keely Hutton is a novelist, educational journalist, and former teacher. She is the recipient of the Highlights Foundation Writers Workshop scholarship at Chautauqua.

Hutton has worked closely with Ricky Richard Anywar to tell his story in her first novel, Soldier Boy.

Her latest novel is Secret Soldiers.

Recently I asked the author about what she was reading. Hutton's reply:
Spring was a great season of reading for me.

In April, my first novel Soldier Boy was honored at the 26th Annual Children’s Africana Book Award in Washington D.C. In preparation for and following the ceremony, I read the books written and illustrated by my fellow honorees. I highly recommend these wonderful stories that celebrate African history and culture and provide readers with a better understanding of African societies and issues.

Books for Young Readers:

Baby Goes to Market by Atinuke and illustrated by Angela Brooksbank

Mama Africa by Kathryn Erskine and illustrated by Charly Palmer

Grandma’s List by Portia Dery and illustrated by Toby Newsome

Sleep Well, Siba & Saba by Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl and illustrated by Sandra Van Doorn

Books for Older Readers:

When Morning Comes by Arushi Raina

Solo by Kwame Alexander with Mary Rand Hess

Akata Warrior by Nnedi Okorafor

One Shadow on the Wall by Leah Henderson

In May, I read King of Scars by Leigh Bardugo. I am a huge fan of Bardugo’s novels, and King of Scars did not disappoint. I was delighted to find characters from her Grisha Trilogy and Six of Crows duology in the first book of her new duology. Her beautiful writing, memorable characters, and fast-paced adventures immerse you in the Grishaverse she’s created and leave you wishing the next novel was already available.

Following King of Scars, I read Refugee by Alan Gratz. A teacher-friend recommended the book, and I devoured it in two days. This heartbreaking middle grade novel follows the stories of three young refugees forced to flee their home countries in search of safety and freedom. Told in the alternating points-of-view of Josef, a Jewish boy living in 1930s Nazi Germany, Isabel, a Cuban girl in 1994, and Mahmoud, a Syrian boy in 2015, Gratz skillfully weaves historical facts with emotion to help readers, young and not-so-young, better understand the plight of refugees in our not-so-distant past and present and sparks much-needed discussions in our homes, schools, and communities.

I am currently reading the Winner of the 2017 Newbury Medal The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill. Barnhill’s lyrical writing brings this fairytale of witches, a tiny dragon, a poetry-loving bog monster, and a baby girl who is accidentally imbued with magic when she is fed moonlight to life in the reader’s imagination.

The next book on my TBR pile is For Every One by Jason Reynolds. Reynold’s Long Way Down is one of my favorite books. I recommend it to everyone and can’t wait to kick off my summer reading with Jason Reynold’s inspirational words in For Every One.
Visit Keely Hutton's website.

The Page 69 Test: Soldier Boy.

My Book, The Movie: Soldier Boy.

The Page 69 Test: Secret Soldiers.

--Marshal Zeringue