Book ideas for busy Santas – The Durango Herald

The book “I’m Not Missing” by Skylar Hogan and Kashelle Gourley will appeal especially to dog lovers. (Courtesy)

Do you know a young reader? Here are some gift suggestions

It’s that time of year again, and busy Santas could use some advice for young readers. Choosing a great read for children young or older will not be difficult thanks to these options.

For older and young adult readers, these teen books are great choices:

“The Fort,” by Gordon Korman, is the talented author’s 100th book. His first book, written as a seventh grader, was published in 1978. “Fortress” is perfect for any reluctant reader. Five boys’ discovery of a long-hidden bomb shelter after the door is exposed by a hurricane leads to life-changing events. Four of the boys are fast friends with Evan, CJ, Mitchell and Jason. Ricky is the new kid, and he’s the one who makes the big discovery. It’s a fully furnished underground escape, which the boys decide to keep secret. This turns out to be a big challenge. Each boy is dealing with different problems at home that they have been hiding. But as they say, the truth always comes out. This book is a great read for third grade and up.

“I Was Born for This,” by Alice Oseman, is a unique coming-of-age story for readers 14 and older. This story is about 18 to 19 year old main characters from London. The big scene is a British boy band called Ark. The main character, Jimmy Kaga Ricci, a trans member of the band, is dealing with anxiety and the problems that come with crazy fans everywhere. Angel, a Muslim, is a huge fan looking forward to meeting the band in person, especially Jimmy, her favorite. When many events go wrong, Angel and Jimmy are thrown together and they are finally able to help each other.

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“The Lost Dreamer,” by Liz Huerta, is a complex and dynamic fantasy story set in Mesoamerica in a long-gone society. Coming from a long line of seers, Indir is a gifted dreamer. When a beloved king dies and his wayward son takes over, he tries to end the Inda family tradition that keeps society healthy and safe. Meanwhile, Saya, another seer lives her life as a lie, thanks to her controlling mother. As these two strong young women come to grips with their lives and finally intersect, the patriarchal society is about to change for the better, if they can find the lost mother of their dreams.

“Wildoak,” by CC Harrington, is a beautiful book set in 1963 in London. It features Maggie, an elementary school student who stutters. Badly. She will do anything to avoid talking in her class. Her last attempt was so bad that her parents are sending her to live with her grandfather Fred in Cornwall, which is better than being sent to the institution Granville, which has a nightmarish reputation. Surprisingly, Maggie can talk well with animals, including the small collection of animals she keeps in her room. In London, Harrods had a Pet Kingdom that had exotic pets for sale. This practice was banned in 1976. In this story, a white snow leopard cub was bought as a gift. It goes horribly wrong and the cub is thrown into the area near Wild Oak. Young Rumpus and Maggie’s lives become intertwined, and Maggie turns her love of animals into her life’s work.

“Timeless Trivia, Volume Six, Junior Edition,” by Bob Hammitt, is a fun book for the whole family. Seven young students submitted questions and answers that include fun, silly and serious content from active imaginations. There are 1,000 questions and answers that can make for a fun evening with friends and family.

A lovely chapter book, “Violet & Jobie in the Wild,” by Lynne Rae Perkins, is a big mouse adventure. Violet and Jobie are playing Snap! Cheese game when the normal ending changes. A brother and sister are house mice but on this fateful day they are trapped and instead of meeting a sad end, they are taken in a box to the forest and released into the wild. Their adventures meeting new creatures and learning to survive are scary, fun and engaging. This is a smart and heartwarming story.

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Picture books are perfect for young listeners or early readers.

“I’m Not Missing,” by Skylar Hogan and Kashelle Gourley, will be especially attractive to dog lovers. The brown fool is tired of doing tricks and following human orders, so he runs away to be free. His human girl puts up posters looking for her lost dog. But he’s not missing, he insists, he’s just living life himself. Absence makes the heart grow fonder and Mutt wants to come home soon. This is a smart and funny story with bright and colorful illustrations.

“Knight Owl,” by Christopher Denise, is an adventurous story about a young owl who aspires to become a knight. Finally, his dream comes true after many other knights have disappeared. He is now a knight owl who guards the castle walls at night. After a terrifying encounter, he discovers what has caused the lost knights, but because he is clever and resourceful, he saves the day, or rather, the night.

“So Much Snow,” by Kristen Schroeder and Sarah Jacoby, is a perfect first book for toddlers. The images are watercolors and are both vibrant and soft. The story begins on Monday when the first snowflakes begin to fall. As the days go by with each page featuring different wild animals, rabbits, mice, deer, etc., the animals are wondering how much snow there will be. Then the circle continues and spring comes. This is the cycle of life with changing seasons. The length is perfectly timed for the smallest listeners.

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A Durango student helped with one of the books

Lucy Griffith is one of Durango’s youngest authors. A fourth-grader at Mountain Middle School, she submitted a Q&A to Bob Hammitt’s “Timeless Trivia, Volume Six Junior Edition.” When we spoke, she had this to say about her experience.

Q. How did you get involved?

A. My mom’s uncle (Bob Hammitt, a teacher) wanted to write a children’s book, but he didn’t think he could write the right questions, so he asked some of the kids he knew to help, so I said yes.

Q. What was the most fun for you about making the book?

A. Thinking about the questions and writing them and then after I finish, tell my friends.

Q. How many trivia questions did you do out of the 1,000 in the book?

A. I submitted 100 and 55 were selected for the book.

Q. How long did you work on it?

A. I worked six to eight weeks, but not full time.

Q. Where did you get the ideas for your questions?

A. I got them from books I was reading and what I was learning at school.

Q. Do you have any advice for other young people who want to write?

A. I think mostly you take your time and don’t think you have to rush through it.

Q. What was your favorite question you wrote?

A. What is the name of a group of giraffes? A tower.

Leslie Doran is a retired teacher, freelance writer and former New Mexican who claims Durango as her forever home.


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