What About the Rest? Part II: Jewish Books for Older Readers

Once again, after choosing my three best Jewish children’s books for 2010: The Rooster Prince of Breslov, Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword and Life, After, guilt over the excellent books I left behind set in. Is there something called “reviewer’s remorse”? Moving on…I decided to go back and look at the books I remember and will recommend and from those created a “pretty close to best” list.  I have written about my choices for Jewish Books for Younger Readers. Today:

Jewish Books for Older Readers (Middle Grades)

It appears, at the moment, that YA (Young Adult) books are taking over the publishing world. What is the difference between Middle Grade and YA books? In a word…sex. Once a book moves past an innocent peck on the cheek or lips and into some heavy petting and beyond, it has crossed into the world of YA. Of course, there is more to it than that, depth of subject matter, story lines, adult language, etc.  all make a difference, but really when push comes to shove the sexuality of the characters is what determines the reading level.

As a result, while there were a number of books to read in this category (Older Readers – Middle Grade), there were not as many as in years past.  Of the books I read, none spun me around like Hereville: How Mirka Got Her Sword. Many were good, a few were great, but only one book even came close to Mirka in being excellent and timely.

Sharing Our Homeland: Palestinian and Jewish Children at Summer Peace Camp by Trish Marx, photographs by Cindy Karp. ©2010, Lee and Low Books. Ages 10-15. It is wonderful to have a book that shows efforts being made toward peaceful reconciliation between Jews and Palestinians. Sharing Our Homeland is especially good, because it shows the work being done with children that hopefully will ensure a future of peace between Israel and Palestine.  While there are a few minor issues that may be argued when reading the book, overall the text handles “hot button” matters with a balance and directness rarely seen in books on this subject. Although published in a picture book format, the text is most appropriate for older readers, the photographs simply adding a “scrapbook quality” to what is described and discussed.

That is my pick for “pretty close to best” 2010 Jewish Book for Older Readers (Middle Grades). Tomorrow, the final chapter in this series What About the Rest? Part III: “pretty close to best” Books for Teen Readers (High School). Now, that was a tough group.

Happy Reading,

Kathy B.

©2010 Kathleen M. Bloomfield and forwordsbooks.com all rights reserved.
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