Since we are already in the middle of National Reading Group Month, our thoughts have turned to reading suggestions for book groups for young readers. At PaperTigers, we are deeply committed to books on multicultural subjects that bring differing cultures closer together. So of course the books on our little list are novels that we think will accomplish that, while they keep their readers enthralled and provide the nourishment for spirited book group discussions. Almost all of the suggested titles are in paperback editions and all should be available in libraries. Most of them have been reviewed by PaperTigers and one has been chosen by our own online bookclub, The Tiger’s Choice.
1. Beacon Hill Boys by Ken Mochizuki (Written for older readers, this novel explores teenage rebellion, parental expectations, and racial stereotypes with humor and perception. This is a perfect book for boys who are reluctant readers–by the end of the first page they’ll be hooked.)
2. On Thin Ice by Jamie Bastedo (Through entries in Ashley’s diary that she keeps while visiting family in an Inuit village, this book addresses the issue of climate change in Arctic Canada, where the polar bears are coming far too close for comfort.)
3. Woolvs in the Sitee by Margaret Wild (Who are the “woolvs” who terrify Ben and keep him sequestered in a place where he is safe from them? This is a title for older readers that falls into the realm of picture book/graphic novel, and one that will keep them reading.)
4. Kira Kira by Cynthia Kadohata (Winner of the 2005 Newbery Medal, this is a novel that takes a serious look at serious issues, through the lives of an extended Japanese-American family who are struggling in tough times.)
5. Cinnamon Girl: Letters Found Inside a Cereal Box by Juan Felipe Herrera (The tragedy of 9/11 as seen through the eyes and voice of thirteen-year-old Yolanda, whose uncle had “inhaled Twin Towers of dust,” while delivering flowers at the moment that the planes struck.)
6. The Boy in the Striped Pajamas by John Boyne (This is a book group selection for all ages, and when we chose it for our own book group, the discussion was thoughtful and lively–much to think about in this slender little volume.)
And there is our baker’s half-dozen–what suggested titles would you add to this little list? Let us know!