About Me

My name is Genevieve Woods and in addition to being the mother of an adorable preschooler named Oscar and his adorable toddler brother Henry, I am the Children's Buyer at Spellbinder Books, a small independent bookstore in Bishop, California. I am often asked by customers for recommendations...and thus the idea for this blog was sparked.

Many sites recommending books for kids are created by librarians and non-profits. While these are great sites, they often recommend out-of-print books. This site is all about the great books that are available now! While I am not being paid for these recommendations, I would appreciate it if readers would purchase the books I recommend from local independent bookstores, or even B&N. Basically don't buy from the evil empire (A_A_O_), because if you do much of our literary knowledge will be lost.

Friday, August 22, 2008


Every couple of years I read a book that seems as though it is a part of me, as though I have always known the story, even when I didn't know what the next page would bring. The Giver, by Lois Lowry is one of those books. I read it for the first time four years ago, and was shocked I hadn't read it in school. I was again shocked when I realized it had not existed when I was in school, it was published in 1993, and was not available in paperback until high school was a distant memory. Of course high school was a distant memory my first year of college.

This weekend I read another one of those eternal books, The Nation by Terry Pratchett. Although Terry Pratchett is a very well known writer, especially in the field of science fiction and fantasy, I admit I had never read him before. But I'm sure I will read something else of his soon. Terry Pratchett was diagnosed with Alzheimer's last year. To watch a video of him discussing his diagnosis and symptoms click here.

The Nation starts with a captain's boat landing at a plague infested port, picking up the surviving remnants of the royal family, and then learning that he must go and search for the new King (who does not yet know he is king) on distant islands so that he can bring him back to set foot on royal ground less the crown revert to the French. A little convoluted yes, but the chaotic and confusing start does get your attention.

Then we depart to an indigenous boy who is on an island alone as part of his Nation's traditional manhood quest. The boy is preparing to depart the island and is excited about the celebration awaiting him when he returns home; except on the way home he barely survives the greatest of great waves. The wave beat him home, and on his return everyone and everything has perished; he is now the sole member of his Nation.

But he is not alone.

He hears the Grandfathers' in his head, demanding rituals and respect for their gods.

And he yells at them, unable to forgive or believe in Gods that could destroy all who worship them.

And there is another, not of his Nation, on the island. A Trouser Girl on a large boat wrapped herself in a mattress when the seas became rough, and when the boat crashed on the boy's island, she is its only survivor. Together they build a fire on the beach, and soon other wave survivors come, and eventually a motley new Nation is created.

Of course there is much much more - the discovery of the Nation's great past, the fight with cannibal raiders, the finding of the Trouser Girl by her father, and the discovery that her father is King. It is a grand, big story, but it never gets to bigger than its characters, which is a very impressive feat.

Sometimes I forget to give star ratings, but this book, which doesn't come out until September 30 2008, gets five stars. *****

No comments:

Post a Comment