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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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The Way We Work

The Way We Work

The Way We Work

    David Macaulay is the guy who wrote and illustrated The Way Things Work – the book that explains how all the machines we use work, like telephones and televisions and computers and cars. This time, his book is about how the human body works, like how the heart pumps blood, how digestion works, how our arms and legs move and how the body fights infections.  It is full of his usual illustrations that show every detail of every part. His writing and pictures help make hard things easier to understand. Author: David Macaulay

  • Listen to a David Macaulay Interview on NPR
  • Kids’ Health: How the Body Works
  • Your Gross and Cool Body
  • Amazon Look Inside: The Way We Work
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Inkdeath

Inkdeath

Inkdeath

This book is the last in the Inkheart Trilogy (Inkheart, Inkspell, Inkdeath). The series is about twelve-year-old Meggie and her father, who binds and fixes old books for a living. The two of them love books, yet Meggie’s father will not read outloud to her. Meggie discovers that when her Dad reads outloud, he brings book characters to life. The trouble is, when book characters come into our world, people from our world go into theirs (like Meggie’s Mom, who has disappeared into the book world). When one of the book characters comes looking for Meggie’s Dad because he wants to go home, a dangerous and exciting adventure begins.

The Inkheart world is a world of castles, kings, outlaws and travelling entertainers that walk tightropes and eat fire. Meggie and her Dad manage to read themselves back and forth between their own world and this fantastical book world as they try to defeat bad guys and rescue people they love. Inkdeath is a great ending to the whole series. It’s really very long, but hang in there for the second half – it’s worth it. If you haven’t read any of the series yet, I think you will want to begin with Inkheart and Inspell. It will be easier to understand who each of the characters are, plus the story and characters are so good, you won’t want to miss any of it. The movie version of Inkheart comes out January 23rd. Author: Cornelia Funke

You can also listen to these on CD or as Downloadable Audiobooks

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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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