The Coronavirus is creating a lot of stress and anxiety for kids and teens right now. As parents we like to think that our kids have nothing to worry about, but it’s simply not true. No matter how much we try to shelter our kids from the hard news of the world, they still know. My oldest is only six and she is absolutely worried and being affected by what is happening. A Twitter friend asked me to suggest some gentle reads for teens. After reaching out to other librarians and bloggers, I have narrowed the suggestions to the following funny, happy, or cozy books and series, to help young readers relax.
Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery (Series)
Historical Fiction. As soon as Anne Shirley arrives at the snug white farmhouse called Green Gables, she is sure she wants to stay forever . . . but will the Cuthberts send her back to to the orphanage? Anne knows she's not what they expected—a skinny girl with fiery red hair and a temper to match. If only she can convince them to let her stay, she'll try very hard not to keep rushing headlong into scrapes and blurting out the first thing that comes to her mind. Anne is not like anyone else, the Cuthberts agree; she is special—a girl with an enormous imagination. This orphan girl dreams of the day when she can call herself Anne of Green Gables.
Dumplin by Julie Murphy (Series)
Contemporary Romance. Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked…until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.
Holes by Louis Sachar
Fiction. Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten- pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment—and redemption.
The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (Series)
Fantasy. Lucy is the first to find the secret of the wardrobe in the professor's mysterious old house. At first her brothers and sister don't believe her when she tells of her visit to the land of Narnia. But soon Edmund, then Peter and Susan step through the wardrobe themselves. In Narnia they find a country buried under the evil enchantment of the White Witch. When they meet the Lion Aslan, they realize they've been called to a great adventure and bravely join the battle to free Narnia from the Witch's sinister spell.
Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
Fantasy. Moral allegory and spiritual autobiography, The Little Prince is the most translated book in the French language. With a timeless charm it tells the story of a little boy who leaves the safety of his own tiny planet to travel the universe, learning the vagaries of adult behavior through a series of extraordinary encounters. His personal odyssey culminates in a voyage to Earth and further adventures.
Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot (Series)
Romance. Mia Thermopolis is pretty sure there’s nothing worse than being a five-foot-nine, flat-chested freshman, who also happens to be flunking Algebra. Is she ever in for a surprise. First Mom announces that she’s dating Mia’s Algebra teacher. Then Dad has to go and reveal that he is the crown prince of Genovia. And guess who still doesn’t have a date for the Cultural Diversity Dance?
Shadow Cipher by Laura Ruby (Series)
Fantasy. It was 1798 when the Morningstarr twins arrived in New York with a vision for a magnificent city: towering skyscrapers, dazzling machines, and winding train lines, all running on technology no one had ever seen before. Fifty-seven years later, the enigmatic architects disappeared, leaving behind for the people of New York the Old York Cipher—a puzzle laid into the shining city they constructed, at the end of which was promised a treasure beyond all imagining. By the present day, however, the puzzle has never been solved, and the greatest mystery of the modern world is little more than a tourist attraction.
Tweet Cute by Emma Lord
Romance. Pepper and Jack’s spat turns into a viral Twitter war. Little do they know, while they’re publicly duking it out with snarky memes and retweet battles, they’re also falling for each other in real life. As their relationship deepens and their online shenanigans escalate, their battle gets more and more personal, until even these two rivals can’t ignore they were destined for the most unexpected, awkward, all-the-feels romance that neither of them expected.
I tried to include a good variety of books from a lot of genres, but ended up relying heavily on classic fiction. If you have any suggestions for books published in the last couple of years that steer clear of sensitive topics, please add them in the comments section.
This is a mix of Juvenile and Young Adult titles. If you have questions about the suggested reading or age level of a specific book please comment or email me.
Summary excerpts from Goodreads.com
Check back on Tuesday for a No Spoiler Book Review of Ten Thousand Doors of January.
As I am writing this my county is on lockdown. I know many people across the world are living under similar orders, whether they are official or not. We are dealing with empty grocery stores. Worrying for the first time in our lives, if we will be able to get milk for our babies. We are not allowed to leave our homes, except for groceries, medicine and daily outside exercise. We must maintain a social distance and not spend time with anyone outside our household. It is a real-life nightmare.
A Twitter friend asked me to find gentle reads for her kids and I thought I should do the same for adults. I am limiting my entertainment to light comedies as much as possible right now and I figure lots of other people are doing the same. Here are some options from a variety of genres that will hopefully help you relax. I have included a summary excerpt from Goodreads followed by my thoughts on the books.
Above the Bay of Angels by Rhys Bowen
Historical Mystery. Isabella Waverly only means to comfort the woman felled on a London street. In her final dying moments, she thrusts a letter into Bella’s hand. It’s an offer of employment in the kitchens of Buckingham Palace, and everything the budding young chef desperately wants: an escape from the constrictions of her life as a lowly servant. In the stranger’s stead, Bella can spread her wings.
This is the perfect time to read something by Rhys Bowen. She writes cozy historical mysteries that are thoroughly enjoyable and completely engaging. No Spoiler Book Review of Above the Bay of Angels.
Alchemist by Paolo Coelho
Fiction. An Andalusian shepherd boy named Santiago travels from his homeland in Spain to the Egyptian desert in search of a treasure buried near the Pyramids. Along the way he meets a Gypsy woman, a man who calls himself king, and an alchemist, all of whom point Santiago in the direction of his quest. No one knows what the treasure is, or if Santiago will be able to surmount the obstacles in his path. But what starts out as a journey to find worldly goods turns into a discovery of the treasure found within.
This short novel has the feel of a folk tale or a parable. It’s comforting, affirming, and inspirational. This is an older book, so there is a good chance you can check out the ebook for free from your library with no wait.
Bossypants by Tina Fey
Memoir. Tina Fey was just a young girl with a dream: a recurring stress dream that she was being chased through a local airport by her middle-school gym teacher. She also had a dream that one day she would be a comedian on TV. She has seen both these dreams come true. Tina Fey reveals all, and proves what we've all suspected: you're no one until someone calls you bossy.
If you are a fan of Tina Fey or 30 Rock and somehow never read this memoir, now is the time. A laugh out loud choice that is probably available as a library ebook right away.
Feather Thief by Kirk Wallace Johnson
Non-Fiction. On a cool June evening in 2009, twenty-year-old American flautist Edwin Rist boarded a train for a suburban outpost of the British Museum of Natural History (Tring). The Tring museum was full of rare bird specimens whose gorgeous feathers were worth staggering amounts of money to the men who shared Edwin’s obsession: the Victorian art of salmon fly-tying. Once inside the museum, the champion fly-tier grabbed hundreds of bird skins–some collected 150 years earlier–and escaped into the darkness.
I know what you’re thinking, how can this possibly be good? There are like three people who are interested in this subject. But I am telling you this book is wild! Also, probably available for check out with no wait online!
Flatshare by Beth O’Leary
Contemporary Romance. Tiffy Moore needs a cheap flat, and fast. Leon Twomey works nights and needs cash. Their friends think they’re crazy, but it’s the perfect solution: Leon occupies the one-bed flat while Tiffy’s at work in the day, and she has the run of the place the rest of the time. They’re about to discover that if you want the perfect home you need to throw the rulebook out the window…
I just finished this book, but I wish I could read it again for the first time, right now. Even if you do not love romance, you will love this outlandish and adorable book. No Spoiler Book Review of Flatshare.
Let’s Pretend This Never Happened