Category Archives: Adventure

The Graveyard Book – Newbery Winner 2009

The Graveyard Book – Newbery Winner 2009

The Graveyard Book

“There was a hand in the darkness and it had a knife. The knife had a handle of polished black bone, and a blade finer and sharper than any razor. If it sliced you, you might not even know you had been cut, not immediately. The knife had done almost everything it was brought to that house to do, and both the blade and the handle were wet.” And you know why the blade and handle are wet, even though the book doesn’t say. Scary. Really scary.

But one person escapes the house, a toddler who makes his way to the neighboring graveyard and is taken under the protection of the resident ghosts to keep him safe from the mysterious man with the knife. And that, this very unconventional family, not the knife, is the heart of the story.

At first, the ghosts in the graveyard have a discussion about whether or not it is OK to keep the baby and raise it in the confines of the graveyard. A childless ghost couple, Mr. and Mrs. Owens, agree to raise the baby as their own. But as one of the graveyard inhabitants points out, “It is going to take more than just a couple of good-hearted souls to raise this child. It will take a graveyard.” And so the group agrees to offer the little boy protection from the danger that lies outside the graveyard fence and raise him as their own, a living boy in a village of spirits, ghosts and ghouls.

The Graveyard Book is a really delicious story about what makes a family and how that family raises up a child to go out into the world and face the dangers there. This book was just named this morning as the 2009 Newbery Medal Winner. One of the links below is to a set of online videos of the author, Neil Gaiman, reading the whole book outloud. Yes, you can listen to the whole thing. Cool! Author: Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book Trailer Narrated by Neil Gaiman:

And here is a review of this book from Bethany, a reader of IMCPL’s Readers Connection:

A murderer goes after an entire family, but the youngest member — just a toddler — manages to slip away… and toddle into a nearby graveyard. There, the toddler becomes Nobody “Bod” Owens and is raised as a living boy among the dead. Bod is taught the secrets of the graveyard, how to Fade and frighten people, but he craves human companionship. As he grows up, it becomes clear that those who originally wanted to do Bod harm want to see the job finished.

This is another one of those books that shouldn’t be labeled as a kid’s book, becaus grown-ups really should read it too. Gaiman’s spooky riff on Kipling’s “The Jungle Book” is great storytelling, with a full cast of delightful characters. Bod’s struggle to figure out what it means to be human among a graveyard full of dead people from different times is poignant and surprising.

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Alabama Moon

Alabama Moon

Alabama Moon

This action packed adventure set in rural Alabama revolves around Moon, a ten-year-old boy who has lived his entire life living off the land in the forest with his father, a Vietnam Veteran survivalist, who dislikes rules and distrusts the government. After his father dies from a broken leg, refusing to see a doctor, Moon is left on his own. Before his father died, he told Moon to go to Alaska so Moon sets out to do this, but folks have different ideas about what is right for Moon. When Moon makes his first friend, tastes his first sweet roll and begs to stay in jail saying it has the, “best bed he ever had”, he begins to wonder if everything his father told him was right. This first time novel by author Watt Key left a memorable character in Moon that will not easily be forgotten! Recommended by: Kimberly Andersen, West Indianapolis Library

You get a real sense of what it is to live off the land in this book. The author, Watt Key, lived for 14 days in an Alabama swamp as part of a school project so he knows what he’s talking about. This experience eventually lead to Mr. Key writing this story. Author: Watt Key

An Alabama Moon movie is coming, althought I don’t know when. Here is a video clip about the premiere on September 27, 2009.

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The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

The Tale of Despereaux

Despereaux is a lovable big-eared underdog, um, mouse. When he’s born, he’s too small and his ears are too big and his eyes are weird. He’s so puny no one thinks he will even live. Even his own mother describes him as a disappointment. Now that’s sad. And as he grows, he’s just not good at being a mouse, but he’s got dreams, big ones. Go see the movie (opens Dec. 19), sure, but don’t miss the book, Despereaux might be tiny but he’s one mighty mouse. Author: Kate DiCamillo

The Tale of Despereaux Web Comic Used With Permission

despereaux-web-comic

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The Legend of Bass Reeves

The Legend of Bass Reeves

The Legend of Bass ReevesGary Paulsen, the author of this book, calls it “the true and fictional account of the most valiant marshal in the West.” Mr. Paulsen adds a little here and there to fill in the places where history left gaps…but for the most part, this is the story of a real guy – the first African-American U.S. Deputy Marshal west of the Mississippi – and this was in the 1870s! Bass became a legend, even in his own time. Some outlaws turned themselves in once they heard it was Bass that would be looking for them!

Bass was born to slave parents in the 1830s but escaped to the Indian Territory during the Civil War and lived with the Seminole and Creek Indians. After the Emancipation Proclamation, which freed slaves in 1863, Bass returned from the Indian Territory and settled in Arkansas. Because he knew how to speak several tribal languages and knew the land so well, he was hired as a U.S. Marshal. In his lifetime he brought in over 3,000 outlaws. This book is the story of how he went from being a child slave to being one of the most respected lawmen in the West. A really inspiring story and fun to read too. Bass was not boring and thought up all kinds of interesting ways to trap outlaws or trick them into custody. He could fight and he could shoot when he had too, but mostly, he was smart! Truly, one-of- kind! Author: Gary Paulsen

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Rapunzel’s Revenge

Rapunzel’s Revenge

Rapunzel's Revenge

This Rapunzel is no princess in distress waiting to be rescued, in fact, she’s an Old West cowgirl ready for action. She can handle those braids like Indiana Jones and his whip. When Rapunzel discovers that she is indeed strandard in the tower until death, she makes a daring escape and discovers the truth about her stay in the tower and about what lies behind the wall that encircles her kingdom. She sets out to right the many wrongs that have been done against her and the people she cares about. This one is a graphic novel – it looks like a comic book inside. Take a look at the excerpt to see what I mean – it is action packed and a lot of fun! Author: Shannon Hale Illustrator: Nathan Hale

  • Look at a 15 page Excerpt from Al’s Book Club
  • Print and Color Rapunzel Paper Dolls by the Illustrator
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