Find a fresh perspective on 2012 with these recommended reads by Apple Valley staff member Annemarie Robertson:
The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery
Rene Michel is a 54-year-old widowed concierge of an apartment building in Paris that caters to the rich. Although she is very cultured in literature, art, movies and philosophical thinking, she pretends she is only an uneducated, dumpy worker to fit in with the expectations of the tenants. Paloma is an extremely bright, 12-year-old daughter of one of the tenants, who is planning to commit suicide on her 13th birthday. Enter a new Japanese tenant, Kakuro Ozu, who invites both Rene and Paloma into his cultured life. The three form a curious friendship and the world of both Rene and Paloma are forever changed. This is an elegant, light-spirited and very European adult fable.
Overcoming Life’s Disappointments by Harold S. Kushner
Rabbi Kushner, well known for his bestselling When Bad Things Happen to Good People, addresses the issue of how we can all cope with disappointments. These may be illnesses, broken relationships, job loss or frustrations. Kushner uses the story of Moses as depicted in the Hebrew Scriptures to help the reader find ways to take inventory, learn from their experiences and move on with an open heart. This book successfully speaks to readers who have experienced disappointments, regardless of their religious traditions.
The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey
Originally published in 1989, this title has become a classic in the field of business and personal development. Covey presents the seven rules (Be Proactive, Keep the End in Mind, Put First Things First, Think Win/Win, Seek to Understand and Then Be Understood, Synergize, Renewal) to improve effectiveness and increase productivity at work and at home. This may be a perfect book to read to start the New Year! This title and others that Covey has written on teens, families, leadership and problem solving are available in print as well as audio.
When you Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
Sixth-grader Miranda lives in New York in 1978 with her single mom, who is trying to become a contestant on the $20,000 Pyramid television show. Miranda’s favorite book is Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle, which she uses as a compass to help her through hard times. This is an intriguing tale of Miranda and the cryptic notes she begins to receive which give her an uncanny sense of being stalked. The many threads of this book are woven together with skill and the conclusion will have readers amazed by this mysterious, time traveling tale. (Ages 12 and up)
Where’s Walrus? by Stephen Savage
This is an amusing, wordless picture book that follows a walrus on an adventure through the city as he tries to disguise himself so he won’t be returned to the zoo. It’s also a bit of a spoof on theWhere’s Waldo series. This book, with marvelous art and a delightful story, will bring smiles to the child in all of us. (Preschool and up)
The Inventions of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
With the recent release of the movie Hugo, you may want to explore the book once again or for the first time. This is the heartwarming story of a young boy left orphaned in 1930s Paris who is keeping the clockworks of the train station running. The book is a work of art on many different levels. It is a blending of narrative, illustration and cinematic technique. It is a pleasure to experience for those who love movies, art, and all things mechanical. (Ages 8 and up)