The blackberries have nearly all ripened, staining my children’s hands and mouths red and begging to be baked into pies or mashed into jam. The sun is more sluggish to rise each morning, and my teaching nightmares have started.
Summer is waning.
The flurry of activities- soaking up a little more sun, squeezing in one more family hike- is interspersed with preparations for the coming school year. We have clothes to sort, supplies to gather, and schedules to fret over.
And this year, we have to do all of this for me, as well as for the kids.
After six years as a stay-at-home mom who only popped into the classroom to teach a bit of Art and Music weekly, I’m going to be adding on 7th and 8th grade Reading and Creative Writing. I’ll be in every day. (I guess I’ll need more than the one pair of “teacher pants” I’ve been getting by with…)
Nervous? Oh my, yes.
Prepared…. Getting there.
One huge perk of all of this preparing is an excuse to read enormous quantities of Young Adult literature. I haven’t read much for this age group for a while, and it’s been a delight to remember how engaging stories aimed at the youngins’ can be for those of use who can at least claim to be “young at heart.”
Today, I thought I’d share five novels that I’ve enjoyed discovering or rediscovering with you as recommendations for a little quick, end-of-summer reading. I hope you enjoy!
The Cay by Theodore Taylor
Naturally, I have to start with a book set in World War 2. 🙂
The Cay opens in 1942, on the island of Curacao. Phillip’s mother thinks that she is protecting him when she insists that they sail back to the United States, away from the threatening German U-boats. However, when one of the U-boats finds their vessel enroute, Phillip finds himself injured, and stranded with an elderly West Indian man named Timothy, and a cat.
This book is too short to say much more, but for a quick read with compelling struggles and a main character who grows a great deal in a short narrative, The Cay is an excellent read.
Walk Two Moons by Sharon Creech
Salamanca’s mother is gone. Sal hopes that, if she and her grandparents (who seem to attract trouble) can reach Lewiston, ID by her mother’s birthday, perhaps she can bring her back. Along the way, she tells the story of her friend, Phoebe Winterbottom and the “lunatic.”
Sharon Creech weaves the different narratives in Walk Two Moons together so deftly that, even as a reread, the ending left me shaking my head in admiration.
The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman
Many thanks to one of my favorite bloggers, the soon-to-be published novelist, Jean Lee, for putting me on to this one.
When the nefarious “Jack” comes, bearing his knife and in search of a baby boy, who can save him? The Graveyard folk, of course. The story of a living boy being raised by the dead and by Silas who is…well…something else, is a fascinating tale, by turns poignant and funny, but never dull.
Tuck Everlasting by Natalie Babbitt
While we’re dealing in the fantastical, I also enjoyed rereading Natalie Babbitt’s timeless (little joke there for those of you who know the story) Tuck Everlasting.
When Winnie Foster accidentally discovers the Tuck family’s secret- the secret of immortality- she must choose whether to aid them in keeping it or not. This slim volume doesn’t take the avid reader long to finish, but it’s packed with timely images of sweltering summer heat, and the weight of a heavy choice.
The Little Prince by Antione de Saint-Exupery
My final selection was new to me, though apparently it’s well-known and has had all sorts of adaptations, including a movie in 2015.
Ah well, I enjoyed discovering The Little Prince for myself.
A pilot has crashed in the middle of the desert. (Side note from real life: The author was a pilot, and he and his copilot survived a desert crash.) As he struggles to repair his aircraft with dwindling water supplies, he hears a voice.
It asks him to draw a sheep.
The voice belongs to (you may have guessed it) the Little Prince, who has come Earth from his home in space. (As far as I know, that bit is not based on the author’s experiences.)
I’ll admit, the premise sounded a bit strange to me at first, but if you’ve never picked up The Little Prince, his adventures are illuminating, and well worth reading.
Well, I could go on, but it’s late and one of those precious few days of summer will be dawning all too soon! What about you? Do you have any books- YA or otherwise- that you’ve read this summer or would like to read?
Many thanks for visiting!