YA and True Crime Together At Last

More like I am indulging in a pet genre while researching books to use in homeschool coop next year.

I’ll start with YA, and two by Karen Hesse. Letters from Rifka is about a teenage girl emigrating from Russia to NYC in 1919. Great character, wonderful historical detail, and lots of emotion made it a great read. I’d love to read it with the 4th/5th graders but it’ll have to wait because last year we read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit, and there’s too much overlap thematically to read them both with the same group of students. I think they’d like Rifka better. I also read Hesse’s Music of Dolphins, about a feral girl found living among dolphins. It had some structural similarities with Flowers for Algernon, and I was very moved by the story.

I’m not going to tell you how much I loved The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner–I’ll save that for when I finish the whole trilogy. But I will gush over how much my 7.5-year-old and I loved, loved, loved the months we’ve spent reading The Chronicles of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander. I am both happy and sad that we finally finished the fifth book, The High King. What a great story! The denouement was so skillfully done–even though I could predict what would happen, I still loved how it all wrapped up. The story is straightforward–no Red Weddings here–but it’s a true classic and a great introduction to the joys of epic fantasy.

I have a penchant for true crime and read Footsteps in the Snow, about a very very cold case solved by luck and good detective work. I followed that with Anyone You Want Me To Be, about a serial killer who used the internet to find his victims. Neither one was particularly commendable. I basically went hunting in the stacks and that’s what I came up with. I’m not as in to it as I once was, but I still know that Dewey Decimal number 364.1523 has what I want…

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