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.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Lucky Breaks

We have a special place in our heart for Lucky, not only does she physically match our landscape with her desert colored hair and freckles, but she is one of us, living with us here in Inyo County. Of course we don't have Lucky's Hard Pan or Sierra City, but substitute Tecopa or Darwin for Hard Pan and Lone Pine or Bishop for Sierra City, and you are in Inyo County. There aren't very many famous fictional characters in Inyo County, in fact there aren't any other than Lucky. If you haven't heard of Lucky don't worry, she only won the Newbery (the most prestigious award for children's literature in the U.S.A.) a couple years ago, so you have time to get acquainted.

We initially met Lucky in her debut, The Higher Power of Lucky. There she grappled with her mothers untimely departure and her fear of loosing her guardian with thoughtful angst and heartfelt emotions that jumped off the page and made their way into your being. Now she is back in Lucky Breaks. She has come (somewhat) to terms with her place in her family, but is struggling to find a place in her society. She is struggling with her friends.

Initially I thought that Lucky Breaks didn't have quite the drama that I experienced in The Higher Power of Lucky, until I realized that Lucky Breaks does have dramatic events, they are just overshadowed by the everyday drama of life, and friendship. In Lucky Breaks Lucky's drama is a drama you are familiar with, one you felt many times growing up; it is the drama a finding a new friend, of fighting with an old friend, and of realizing you love your friends. In truth nothing is more dramatic than friendship.

Susan Patron, Lucky's creator, writes with clear, open-eyed poetry. You can open any page of Lucky Breaks and pull out a gem, like on page 16:

"Then she saw that one of the geologists was a girl about her own age, who looked a little shy around the edges."

And on page 96:

"Mr. Wellborne cleared his throat and looked at his watch, which was to Brigitte's watch what the Hummer was to Brigitte's Jeep."

And on page 171:

"Miles, his hair and skin glinting golden in the light of the thick bed of embers underneath the bathtub, seemed to be emitting light and heat himself, like a little sun."

Lucky Breaks is the poetry of friendship. And thus is not only our book of the week this week, but has also inspired a month long children's contest. For the month of September any child between 0 and 18 is invited to bring in an illustration of luck for a chance to win a prize. Illustrations can be with words, photography, or artwork. Below is an entry example from our 17-year-old staff member Sam:

To Dance At Sunset

Is To Dance At Ease

In a Field of Clovers & Bees