Somehow, without even an inkling of a plan to do so, I spent September feasting on and [mostly] delighting in award winning children's books. I used to feel a sort of guilt in reading so many children's books, but then realized that a good story, no matter what age it is crafted for, is still a good story and worth reading.
September Reading List
I spent a few weeks reading Lily's Crossing by Patricia Reilly Giff. Set during World War II, this novel is not about the typical heroine. Lily is quirky, a self-proclaimed liar, and honestly a little hard to like at first. As the story progresses, she befriends Albert, a Hungarian refugee, who is staying with a nearby family. It is through her interactions with Albert that I came to enjoy Lily. I would recommend this book to both children and adults.
This book was a surprisingly fast read (1 day!). The Wanderer is written in diary entries by two of the books characters, Sophie and Cody. It takes place on a sailing ship adventure from the United States to England. Although I enjoyed the book, I don't know that I would make a sweeping recommendation for it. It seems to be a book written for middle school girls that doesn't intend to gain an audience from the grown-up reading sector.
When I saw that Ann M. Martin, of Babysitter's Club fame, had written a Newbery Honor Book, I was honestly a bit shocked. Like many women my age, I spent a good many childhood hours reading Babysitter's Club books, and although I enjoyed them, they aren't exactly literary masterpieces. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this story of young Hattie Owens and the summer that she met her psychologically unstable Uncle Adam. This is a true coming-of-age tale, but I would actually hesitate to call it children's literature. Amazon has it listed for ages 8-12 years, but I would not hand it to even the most mature 8 yearolds due to some of the situations and themes presented in the later part of the book. I could see recommending it to a twelve year old at the very youngest.
I was honestly disappointed by Kathryn Erskine's Mockingbird. I had read a glowing review of it in a magazine, and actually purchased it new (a rarity for me). I felt like this book was trying to do too many things at once. It was trying to be a book about a school shooting and its aftermath, which it managed to do quite poorly. It was trying to be a book that gets into the innerworkings of what it is like to be a child with Asperger's which it does an okay job at, but it doesn't ring completely true to my experiences working with children who have Asperger's. It also tries to deal with what happens to the family dynamic when a family member dies. Somehow making Caitlin, the main character, lose her brother after she has already lost her mother to cancer seems like overkill. It doesn't manage to fully handle being a book about loss either. I cannot recommend this book.