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2011 is going to be a great year for kids movies... because it seems like they're all based on books! So while the Potter-files count down the clock until Harry and Voldemort's final duel, and Twihards breathlessly await Bella and Edward's wedding, here are some other books that have been adapted to to sate your literary viewing needs.

 

Due out this February is THE EAGLE, based on Rosemary Sutcliff's The Eagle of the Ninth. For ages 10 and up, this historical novel is the perfect read for that kid who's obsessed with military history. Set in Roman occupied Britain, this book has it all: action, historical detail, unlikely friendship and adventure. Sutcliff based most of her setting detail on archeological findings, and she is thusly able to sneak in a little history lesson while weaving her complicated tale of pride, redemption and bravery. Oh, and bonus! If you love The Eagle of the Ninth, don't fret! Sutcliff wrote an entire series of novels set in the Anglo-Roman era!

 

Also out in February is the sci-fi / action / thriller I Am Number Four, based on the Pittacus Lore novel by the same name. Some know Pittacus as Lorien's ruling elder, others know him as James Frey. Whoever this Pittacus is, he's penned the most popular YA sci fi / action novel since Suzanne Collins' runaway hit, The Hunger Games, and I am Number Four is sure to appeal to that same crowd. So track down a bullet proof vest, find a safe vantage point and get amped for the most explosive teen title on the scene, appropriate for ages 14 and up. 

 

 If the previous two titles promise a few more battle scenes than you're interested in, then get excited, because coming out this August is the most adorable story about penguins ever to get the Newbery Honor Award. Mr. Popper's Penguins, written by Richard and Florence Atwater, is the wholesome and hilarious tale of a humble house painter with grand dreams of Arctic exploration. When his favorite adventurer sends Mr. Popper a penguin, he embarks on an unforgettable tale of penguin husbandry and circus performances. Though the movie casts Mr. Popper as a successful New York business man instead of a house painter, it still promises all the hijinks and preciousness that only penguins could provide. Appropriate to read aloud to kids ages 4 and up, or else on their own ages 6/7 and up. 

 

 

There are way too many cool graphic novels out there for teens today. Listed below are only a couple.

The Runaways by Brian K Vaughan (books 1-7): Set in the Marvel Universe, this series is about a group of kids who find out their parents are super villains. What ensues qualifies as a teen/comedy/romance/adventure story that fans of Maximum Ride will devour. Keep an eye out for cameos by Captain America, Wolverine and even a vampire. For ages 12+

Scott Pilgrim Series (6 books) by Bryan Lee O'Malley:

This Eisner award winning series tells the story of man-child Scott, who falls in love with a girl named Ramona. However,

in order to be with her, he must defeat her 7 EVIL EXES! Kooky drawings and a loveable cast of

supporting characters make this one a romantic angsters MUST. Hilarious, sexy, and all too honest. For ages 13+

 

 

 

Erin Stead now joins the ranks of illustrators such as Robert McClosky and Maurice Sendak as the 2011 Caldecott Medal Winner*! (Pause for Applause) Written by Philip Stead, A Sick Day for Amos McGee is a tender story of reciprosity and friendship. When kindly zookeeper Amos has to call out sick from work, his animal friends come to him! Erin's gorgeous illustrations make this already charming story pop. Through use of limited palette and meticulously rendered pencil drawings, the visual world of Amos McGee is at once gentle and arresting. The soft colors meld flawlessly with the story to create a book that is perfect for night-night reading. So put on some pajamas and socks, curl up and read this Caldecott Winning book with your own little zoo animal.

*The Caldecott Medal is awarded yearly by the American Libarary Association to the most distinguished American Picture book of the year.

Pre-holiday madness is in full swing at the bookstore, so there isn't much time for blogging book recs - but we HAD to tell you about one of our new faves. ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is brand new and it rocks. For those who like funny and romantic contemporary novels, this is a perfect choice. When Anna is shipped off to boarding school in Paris, she doesn't know a parlez-vous from a coochie-coo, and she doesn't much care - all she knows is, she is missing the guy that she likes and all her friends at home. But then she meets the Etienne St. Clair... who is very hot, but also very taken. Let the giddiness begin! This is a frothy, addictive and fun novel chock full of amazing voice - we adore it and hope you do too! :D
People are talking so much about the innovative (illustration-heavy)  format of COUNTDOWN, as well as the historical setting ( the Cuban Missile Crisis) they're neglecting to mention that it's simply a wonderfully written book. Franny's voice is fresh and convincing, offering insights to both the tumult of the era, but also the usual emotional swings of a kid turning into a teenager.  In turns breathless and immediate, but also mindful and poetic (Franny is herself a reflective kid) Wiles earns the buzz she's getting.
The only thing KNEEBONE BOY has in common with Ellen Potter's other books is that it is excellent.  Told by one (you don't know which) of three odd semi-orphans, the book follows the trio on a search for their missing mother, in a house strange enough to be magical. Only it isn't. The characters are at once bizarre, and human, and the end is an absolute surprise. Amazing!
Our picks for all the kids and teens on your holiday list continues with FIRELIGHT by Sophie Jordan. Jacinda is the new heroine to look out for. She is both daring and defiant - a girl who is descended from dragons, and who falls in love with a very dangerous, but totally irresistable, guy... who just happens to be a Hunter. The plot is full of suspense and surprises and you will not want to stop reading.
THE QUIET BOOK is perfect for adults who want to encourage the little ones they know to use their "library voice" more often, or for lulling baby to sleep. With kid-centric descriptions and irresistible artwork, this gentle picture book explores all the different quiets that can fill a child’s days from morning to night.
In THE MERMAID'S MIRROR by LK Madigan, Lena is a Northern California girl who is obsessed with the ocean. All her friends surf, and her dad was a surfer too - but after a bad accident a long time ago, he refuses to let Lena take lessons. She sneaks behind his back and does it anyway, and finds a secret beneath the waves... a secret that will change her life forever. This book is magical and wonderful, you can practically smell the salty air between the words. A treat for 12+ girls - should appeal to both those who are into fantasy, and those who prefer realistic stories.

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