Friday, June 26, 2009

End of the year

Report cards are given out and the school year officially ends tomorrow. See you in September!

Summer reading

Summertime is always one of my favourite times for reading (not much beats laying on the beach with a good book). There are many reading lists for kids floating around the internet and I've listed some of them below. Lots of books to choose from!

American Library Association "Notable Children's Books 2009" - an excellent list. Don't forget to check similar lists for every year since 1996.

Caldecott Medal and Honor Books - an annual prize for picture books, lists all winners and Caldecott Honor books since 1938.

Good Comics for Kids summer 2009 reading list - from School Library Journal.

Newbery Medal and Honor Books - an annual prize for children's novels, lists all winners and Newbery Honor books since 1922.

Parkway Summer Reading Lists - great suggested reading lists for grades Primary through 6 from a U.S. school district.

Recommended reading lists from

School Library Journal's Best Books 2008 - a list of very good books published in 2008.

And don't forget that the Cumberland Regional Library is open all summer and hosts activities!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Review: Dreamdark: Silksinger

Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor

~This review is based on an advanced reader's copy (ARC) that I received from Putnam, the book's publisher. As a result, the page numbers I cite may not be correct in the final version, to be published in September 2009.~

Only a few weeks after being declared the Magruwen's champion*, Magpie Windwitch and her friends are on the hunt for the remaining Djinn to prevent evil forces from taking over the faerie world. Meanwhile, young Whisper Silksinger is the last member of a tribe which was thought to be extinct and she is secretly trying to get a sleeping Djinn in her care to his rightful throne. On her quest she encounters Hirik, who has a secret of his own, and together they voyage to the city of Nazneen where danger awaits.

Thank goodness I'm not in the business of writing book blurbs, because the last paragraph doesn't cover half of what happens in Silksinger. (And how hokey is "...where danger awaits?" Honestly. But it does! And in the form of a giant spidery warlord and his army of devils! Ack!)

My summary also doesn't reveal the glorious language that is used throughout the book. As with Blackbringer, the faeries and crows have their own slang, including "neh" for no and the highly amusing curse "Jacksmoke," which rolls off the tongue so nicely that I have decided to use myself. The names of people and places are lovely, and I especially enjoyed the outpost names such as Iceshimmer and Lost Eyelash. Taylor also uses wonderfully evocative phrases that just reach out and wallop you, such as this beauty from page 31:
...he heard Vesrisath give a sigh that was nearly a sob, and the sound was one of such despair that Slomby felt his heart twist inside like a wrung rag. He knew that twist well. It was misery.

Oof. Taylor certainly knows how to depict emotions ranging from grief to fear to affection in ways that are potent and yet entirely appropriate for children.

It was a joy to return to Laini Taylor's faerie world, and especially to realize that there will be more books on the way (one for each Djinn, perhaps?). Whisper and Hirik are wonderful new characters that I look forward to seeing more of, and Magpie and Talon and the crows are just as endearing as they were in Blackbringer, if not more so. The talents of the different faerie tribes are fascinating and I cannot wait to find out what other wonders will emerge in future books in the series.

5 stars out of 5 for Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor.

*That whole exciting adventure can be read in Dreamdark: Blackbringer, which I highly recommend and reviewed here.

I'm not the only one who loved this book.

Laini Taylor's website.