Last week on the blog, we gave you a peek at some of this year’s most highly-honored books for young readers available for $1 check-out on Brain Hive. This week, we’re focusing attention on award-winning and honored young adult fiction and books for older readers. Take a look at these excellent titles, and head on over to Brain Hive today to click them out!
I Remember Beirut – by Zeina Abirached, translated by Edward Gauvin – Lerner/Graphic Universe
A 2015 United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) Outstanding International Book
In this graphic memoir follow-up to 2012’s A Game for Swallows, Zeina Abirached has again provided her readers with an intimate, pinpoint view into the everyday experience of war. Abirached’s eye-catching black and white illustrations and lyrically simple prose present snapshots of a young girl’s perspective on the Lebanese Civil War that lasted from 1975 to 1990, dividing Lebanon’s capital city of Beirut and forcing everyday citizens to face danger and isolation on a daily basis. I Remember Beirut is a collection of images from Abirached’s memory of the war – some horrifying, some beautiful – that invite us to think differently about the faraway conflicts we have read about or seen on news broadcasts. In addition to this book’s potential for sparking meaningful reflection and discussion about the social and emotional repercussions of violence and war, I Remember Beirut (along with A Game for Swallows) could serve as an excellent introduction to the genre of graphic memoir, or as a gateway to similar, more complex texts like Marjane Satrapi’s Persepolis or Art Spiegelman’s Maus.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender – by Leslye Walton – Candlewick Press
A 2015 William C. Morris Award Finalist – This award honors debut books published by first-time authors writing for teens.
The peril of falling in and out of love is, of course, a theme often explored in literature. The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender is a text that proudly follows in this tradition, but it does so in a surprising and mysterious way. Leslye Walton has constructed a poetic and magical – yet strangely believable – world for her characters to inhabit, one in which babies are born with wings and the ghosts of the past haunt more than just characters’ memories and dreams. We never quite know what is real and what is not in the story, but this precisely is its allure. The book’s entrancing narrator, Ava, is a member of a family that has suffered more than its share of disastrous love, but she relates her place in the Lavenders’ long history of heartache and loss with so much resilience that we cannot help but join her in her earnest belief in the all-consuming power of love. Walton’s lush, image-laden writing in Ava Lavender could easily serve as inspiration for budding writers interested in exploring the possibilities of magical realism. Additionally, Walton’s use of symbolism to address issues of violence and gender within the Lavender family’s romantic relationships could also serve as an interesting place to begin a conversation with students about the complex assumptions and expectations that society associates with gender.
With one more installment left in our series of blogs covering this year’s honorees available on Brain Hive, we’ll sign off for now. Got questions about these or other fantastic eBook titles on Brain Hive? Get in touch with Molly, our Concierge, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or give us a call at 855-554-4483. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!