It’s not a surprising statement that this year has had young and old alike needing to adapt and change course time and time again. While much of this has led to frustration, learning to adapt to change is an important life skill.
Sometimes, though, constant adaptation for a child can lead to feelings of confusion and alienation, as if they are on a solo journey. Of course that’s not true; we’re all pretty much in the same boat, but it is useful to read books that highlight what adapting to change can look like, such as the books reviewed below. Take a look for yourself and get reading.
Books to borrow
The following book is available at many public libraries.
“Nory Ryan’s Song” by Patricia Reilly Giff, Random House, 148 pages
Read aloud: age 8 and older.
Read yourself: age 9 – 10 and older.
Nory Ryan’s family has lived on the west coast of Ireland for generations. Life there has never been easy, but in 1845, it becomes much more difficult.
The English lord, whose land they live on, keeps raising their rent in the attempt to force all the Irish off his property. To make matters worse, their main food source is potatoes, but a terrible blight has attacked the crop, and people are starving.
Those able to scrape together enough money have left on ships bound for America, but Nory and her little brother wait for their father to return from the sea with the fish that will pay their rent. Will he return before they are thrown out of their house or starve to death? Will Nory continue to find the strength to help her family survive?
Outstanding in every way, this beautifully written novel of courage, ingenuity, love and determination will capture readers and remain with them long after the last page is read.
Library: Bernville Area Community Library, 6721 Bernville Road, Bernville
Library director: Alicea Rodig
Youth services: Debe Donley
Choices this week: “Chimps Don’t Wear Glasses” by Laura Numeroff; “The Kissing Hand” by Audrey Penn; “My Brother Sammy is Special” by Becky Edwards
Books to buy
The following books are available at favorite bookstores.
“Can Bears Ski?” by Raymond Antrobus, illustrated by Polly Dunbar, Candlewick, 2020, 36 pages, $16.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 4 – 7.
Read yourself: age 7.
Little Bear and his dad are watching TV where a man is skiing fast down a slope. Dad Bear says something to Little Bear, and Little Bear thinks he says, “Can bears ski?” Not certain he heard his dad correctly, Little Bear just shrugs, finishes his breakfast, and the two head off to school.
When Little Bear is at school, Teacher Bear asks Little Bear a question. Little Bear thinks he said, “Can bears ski?” Later, when all the students are having lunch and David Bear is talking, suddenly everyone is laughing, but Little Bear doesn’t know what they are laughing about. Then David Bear says to Little Bear, “Can bears ski?” Why is everyone asking Little Bear the same question?
When Dad Bear takes Little Bear to see an audiologist, the tests reveal that Little Bear is experiencing hearing loss. With his new hearing aids, Little Bear now knows that the question, “Can bears ski?” is actually, “Can you hear me?” because Little Bear can now hear correctly.
Drawing on their own personal experiences with hearing loss, author Antrobus and illustrator Dunbar have created a warm, sensitive and important look at adjusting to change and positively moving forward.
“Stink and the Hairy Scary Spider” by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds, Candlewick, 2020, 152 pages, $14.99 hardcover
Read aloud: age 6 – 9.
Read yourself: age 7 – 9.
Stink is crazy about all things to do with science except for one thing: spiders. Spiders freak Stink out in every possible way, and he is terrified by spiders. Stink has a very intense case of arachnophobia.
When Stink is in his backyard and discovers a gigantic hairy pink spider with a bazillion buggy eyes, he’s convinced it’s a mutant monster spider. And so, Stink does the only natural thing — he runs as fast as he can into the house, into his room and slams the door.
Stink decides to ask his big sister, Judy, who isn’t afraid of spiders, what she thinks of his encounter. Judy soon realizes Stink had seen a rare tarantula. Stink calls his friend Webster, who convinces Stink the rare tarantula is probably someone’s pet that has escaped and that they should do the right thing by capturing it and trying to find its owner. But will Stink be able to overcome his fears to complete the mission? Maybe, but he’s going to need a lot of help.
Loaded with laughs, funny illustrations and a subtle message about facing fears and adapting to new situations, this 12th book in the Stink series is certain to please.