One of my favorite things--right up there with homemade cookies and finding an unexpected five dollar bill in my pocket*--is people asking me for book suggestions.
Recently I was on hall duty with a U.S. History teacher, and she said, "Hey, I wanted to ask you--we want to bring in some fiction for our westward expansion unit later in the spring, and I hoped you might have some titles to suggest." Did I ever. I'm not good at thinking of them off the top of my head, but it only took me a quick cross referencing of my "historical fiction" and my "recommended for middle schoolers" bookshelves on Goodreads to come up with a fine list for her team.
Just before Christmas I got a text from my sister. "What graphic novels would you recommend for a sixteen year old who likes Percy Jackson type books?" To me, sixteen is old enough to read any damn thing you want, but I didn't want to risk her offending her brother- and sister-in-law, the parents of the kid in question, so I annotated it as to which ones might include nekked people. (Even for myself, I find the visuals of nudity to be more startling than the narration of it.)
And then there are the pleas on Facebook book communities of various types. An elementary school teacher writes, "What books do you recommend for a 4th grader reading at an 8th grade level who is definitely not ready for more mature themes?" A younger reader says, "Are there any books with African American characters but the books are just about people, not the Civil Rights movement?"
I type a few ideas, then a few more, then come back five minutes later with a second and longer comment.
If I were independently wealthy, I'd volunteer at a bookstore or library and just offer title suggestions to people all day long. I often dream about adding a librarian certification to my teaching license, but my state requires practicums at two levels (middle and high school), and it's awfully hard to swing "student teaching" when you already teach full time. Also, school library jobs have been decimated in the past 15 years. So for now, I'll have to be content with creating lists for the occasional person who brightens my day by asking.
Do people ask you for book recommendations? Are you good at thinking of them off the cuff, or do you have to do research and get back to them too? Would you be a librarian if you could? If you are a librarian, tell me something about your job that drives you nuts, so I won't be as envious.
*I originally had this as "finding a five dollar bill in your pocket," but I realized it made me sound like the Artful Dodger that way.
Linking up with Nicole and Shannon's Discussion Challenge.
Era of Westward Expansion MG/YA Fiction
Walk on Earth a Stranger
One Came Back
Salt: The Story of Friendship in a Time of War
Under a Painted Sky
The Jump-Off Creek
A Heart for Any Fate
Donner Dinner Party
Our Only May Amelia
Carver: A Life in Poems
It bothers me that this list is so Eurocentric. Even letting go of the pioneer classics of my youth with their racist tropes, this is still a collection of books mostly about white people written almost entirely by white people. I would love any suggestions of books about westward expansion from a Native, black, or Latino point of view, especially if its #ownvoices.
YA Graphic Novels
Saga (some adult stuff)
adaptations I recommend:
Kindred (some adult stuff)
The Graveyard Book
Anne of Green Gables, although I didn't suggest this one for my sister's nephew
currently popular comic collections:
The Walking Dead
Archie (Riverdale reboot)
Lighter Middle Grade Authors for Precocious Elementary School Readers
Sharon M. Draper
Jennifer L. Holm
Christopher Paul Curtis
Kwame Alexander: The Crossover, Booked
W. Bruce Cameron's young readers' editions
Jason Reynolds: Ghost, Patina, Miles Morales
Margaret Peterson Haddix's sci fi series
Louisa May Alcott
Lucy Maud Montgomery
African American authors and POV characters-not slavery or Civil Rights setting
Sharon M. Draper
Christopher Paul Curtis
Tiffany D. Jackson
Walter Dean Myers
Chimamanda Adichie Ngozie