Adventure and Thrillers
Amongst this category of fiction for the young adult can be found a few of the titles written by Robert Muchamore: Cherub: Class A; Cherub 4: the Killing; The General (Cherub); The Sleepwalker (Cherub), amongst others. You will also find ‘The Best of Pippi Longstocking’ and Philippa Pierce’s book ‘Tom’s Midnight Garden’ which I find to be an excellent book. However, one of the more provocative and evocative books that are currently on the market under the young adult classification is ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ written by John Boyne. This book covers an incredibly difficult and heart-wrenching period in the history of the world – the events that took place during the Second World War in war-torn Europe: the Holocaust.
Without giving away the details of the plot, the 9 year old son of the Auschwitz commandant tells the story from his own perspective, about meeting a boy from the other side of the fence and readers can only wonder at the naivety of the commandant’s son as the story unfolds. However, today’s reader relates to the book with the benefits of hindsight – knowing what went on during that awful period in history – and from the perspective of today’s worldly-wise child. Children 60+ years’ ago were certainly not that knowledgeable about events surrounding them. At that time there was the ‘grown-up world’ and the ‘child’s world’ and the two never overlapped as we understand it today.
To my generation [and I was a child at the end of the War] this story is totally believable in its naivety – something children today would find totally unbelievable: today’s children have the benefit of television; we did not. Moreover, even many adults at that time did not fully believe that other human beings could be capable of such atrocities and, because it was so unbelievable, it was not until after the War had ended and places like Auschwitz and Buchenwald were liberated, was it possible for the full picture of what had been happening, to emerge – often under the noses of local residents, none of whom had even been aware that such awful things had been happening, in reality, so close to them.
I have read reviews of this book that suggests that such naivety ‘beggars belief’ but, unless you truly lived at that time, you couldn’t possibly understand how sheltered children of all ages were from the lives of adults going on around them. Today, a 12 year old would well be expected to be totally aware of current affairs but, for my generation, being 12 years old, you were just a child, probably akin with a 6 year old child’s development today. This book is a very clever and very accurate portrayal of the behavior of children of their era. It has been written very sensitively and with considerable understanding. Moreover, the atrocities of both World Wars should never be allowed to be forgotten – especially nowadays, as the ages of those veterans serving in the Second World War, ages and with the First World War now almost beyond living memory.
Biographies and Memoirs
Staying with the same period of history, ‘Out of India’ is the autobiography of Jamila Gavin whose mother was English while her father was an Indian in the years coming up to Partition. Jamila was a child during the 1940s and returned to the UK to the sounds of doodlebugs and other sights and smells reminiscent of the Second World War and the Blitz. This is another evocative book written about a colorful period in history. I don’t want to say much more about it as it would be too easy to give away little nuggets from within this book that would ruin your read. Visit our website and order it from us, settle back and have a good read. This book is aimed at the young adult market, but it tells such an interesting story you would enjoy it regardless of your age.
History and Historical Fiction
If you think about it, both the books I have mentioned above could also have been categorized within the history section – but that’s how it is with book genres. Many fit just as well in one category as they do in another. Rather than pick out some of the more obvious history or historical novels, I thought you might be interested in the series of novels being written by Gordon Korman. I notice that this series have been described as being the Da Vinci Code for kids – which just about sums it up. The books involve following a set of clues across Europe and includes secret passageways and getting into all sorts of scrapes as each clue evolves and leads the characters into danger – then, through a process of elimination, the adventure is cleverly solved through the use of agile brains and even more agile bodies so that the main characters come through completely unscathed to emerge triumphant at the end of the book.
It’s that time of year again – Hallowe’en coming up within the next couple of weeks and, with it, the anticipation of keeping warm as the evenings close in, reading some of the best horror books. One book I would like to get my hands on – and will do once I have a bit of time to spare, is Neil Gaiman’s ‘The Graveyard Books’ which looks like an excellent read. Then, of course, there are the other categories within this genre: ‘Flower Fairies of the Autumn’ by Cicely Mary Barker that fits into the Literature category; ‘Much Ado about Prom Night’ by William D McCants, categorized amongst the Love and Romance section. As for the other sections, space really precludes individual titles being mentioned in each of these classifications but, if you visit our website I am sure you will be truly delighted at the enormous range of books you will find in each of the following categories:
•School and Sports
•Science Fiction and Fantasy