7 Books to Read

There are a lot of amazing books to read, but these are some of my favorites. The books are not listed in order.

  1. Little Women

I enjoyed reading this book because of the wide variety of characters and their different personalities. It is a great novel and an amazing classic. The main characters include Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March. This book explores a part of the lives of these 4 sisters. There are several sequels to this classic, including Little Men and Jo’s Boys. There is also a movie based on Little Women.

  1. The Hobbit

This is a great book. It is one of my all time favorites and I would highly recommend you to read it. It is about Bilbo Baggins, a hobbit, who goes on an adventure to help the dwarves. Their home has been taken over by a dragon named Smaug, and Gandalf thinks Bilbo is a good fit for the journey. However, Bilbo does not like adventures or going outside his hometown Shire at all. During this journey, he faces lots of obstacles and challenges. Will he survive the adventure and return to the Shire, or will he fail in his quest? This novel has been made into a trilogy of 3 movies named An Unexpected Journey, the Desolation of Smaug, and the Battle of the Five Armies. I would recommend you to read the book first before watching the movies so you will be able to visualize the story instead of thinking about what took place in the movie.

  1. Death on the Nile

Death on the Nile is a great book. It was intriguing and kept me wanting to read until the ending throughout the whole book. This book is about a cruise down the Nile, enjoyable until a murder happens. Additionally, there are several other crimes Hercule Poirot must try to solve! Everything in this book was interesting, and I would definitely recommend you to read this amazing story.

  1. Book Love

This book is a graphic novel about books and love for books. The book is very funny and it has a lot of amazing stories. I really liked reading it and if you enjoy reading graphic novels and/or are a bookworm, this book is for you!  It is definitely a great read.

  1. Heidi

Heidi lives in the mountains with her grumpy grandfather until one day her aunt takes her to Frankfurt to befriend the daughter of the family she is working for. Heidi accompanies the young girl throughout a part of her life. The story is about Heidi’s adventures and the journeys she takes. I liked this classic, and I would highly recommend you to read this book.

  1. And Then There Were None

This book is about 10 people who have gone to an island, invited for different reasons. Everything seems normal, until those guests start to be murdered, one by one. However, there is a terrible storm and they can’t leave the island, or get any help to the island. The remaining people do not know who shall be killed next, but they do know it could be them. They must all find out who the killer is before they are all killed. 

  1. The Lord of the Rings

A sequel to The Hobbit, this trilogy is also a great series to read. It takes place many years after the Hobbit. Frodo is given an extremely powerful Ring, but he soon finds out he must destroy it, or the world may be ravaged. He sets out on a journey to Mordor to demolish the Ring in Mount Doom. Mordor, however, is the location of his enemy. This trilogy consists of Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. It has also been made into 3 movies based on the trilogy of books.

-Peri A.

Authors We Love: Jean Craighead George

Jean Craighead George is a naturalist, illustrator, and author.  Born in 1919 in Washington DC, George developed her love of nature from her family.  All being naturalists, together they’d hike mountains, climb trees to study owls, and make their own fish hooks out of twigs.  

This love of nature carried over to her writing as George eventually graduated from Pennsylvania State University with degrees in Science and English.  She is known for uniquely combining her careers into engaging fictional stories that take place in real, vividly described ecosystems. 

One of her most famous books, My Side of the Mountain, takes place in the Catskill mountains and involves a boy, named Sam, who attempts to make a home for himself in the wild.  The novel details the day to day life of Sam and features illustrations of some of his creations, including shelters, traps, and whistles.  While the book is an amazing read for nature lovers due to its setting, the trials of surviving in the snow, finding food, and the mystery of an unstable environment makes it a tale of suspense that is perfect for adventure-lovers too.  

Other novels by Jean Craighead George include:

  • Julie of the Wolves (Newberry Prize Winning) 
  • The Fire Bug Connection
  • There’s an Owl in the Shower
  • Water Sky
  • Charlie’s Raven 
  • Shark Beneath the Reef 
  • On the Far Side of the Mountain (Sequel to My Side of the Mountain)

-Giselle F. 

The works of Jean Craighead George are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library.

2021 Summer Reading: Book Recommendations

I am a bibliophile, and I am proud to admit it. I look forward to the summer as it gives me the time to spend more time with my books. Though I always look for new books to read, sometimes I just simply reread the books which has left a mark on me. Here is a list of my favorite books, not in any particular order. All of them are the ones which I have truly enjoyed and would recommend to my fellow bibliophiles:

  1. Wonder by R J Palacio: An awe-inspiring story about the journey of a boy with a craniofacial difference, who starts school for the first time after being home schooled for years.
  2. Auggie and me by R J Palacio: Stories about different characters from Wonder
  3. Matilda by Roald Dahl: A story of a bright little girl, who finds her inner powers to outwit those who don’t understand her.
  4. Where the Red Fern grows by Wilson Rawls: A novel about a friendship between a boy and two hunting dogs.
  5. Hoot by Carl Hiassen: A suspense novel where a newcomer makes two new friends and one enemy, and joins an effort to stop an activity which would destroy certain wildlife colony.
  6. Scat by Carl Hiassen: A mystery novel about a missing teacher and panthers
  7. The Giver by Lois Lowry: A story written from the point of view of an 11 year old boy, living in a futuristic society.
  8. The Maze Runner by James Dashner: A teen dystopian science fiction.
  9. The Outsiders by S E Hinton: A novel which details the conflicts between groups divided by socio economic status.
  10. Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle: A novel about journey through space and time, from universe to universe.
  11. Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan: A series of five fantasy adventure novels based on a boy who discovers he is a demi-god
  12. Divergent Series by Veronica Roth: A powerful story about a futuristic dystopian world in which society is divided into factions
  13. The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling: Series of 7 fantasy novels chronicling the life of young wizards and witches
  14. The Hunger Games Series by Suzanne Collins: Series of three young adult dystopian novels that take place in a futuristic society which used to be North America
  15. The Hobbit Series and The Lord of the Rings Series by JRR Tolkien: A children’s fantasy novel of a boy on a journey through treacherous lands filled with dangerous creatures

-Anya P.

Summer Book and Movie Recommendations

As an avid reader, I’m always looking for new books to read. Here is a list of books, many of which I consider my all-time favorites, but some are simply ones that enjoyed and would recommend to anyone in search of a good read:

  1. The Harry Potter Series, by J.K. Rowling
  2. The Hunger Games Series (and its newly-released prequel, The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes) by Suzanne Collins
  3. When, by Victoria Laurie
  4. Dessert First, by Dean Gloster
  5. Man’s Search for Meaning, by Viktor E. Frankl
  6. Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury
  7. The Little Prince, by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  8. The Raft, by Stephanie Stuve-Bodeen
  9. If I Should Speak, by Umm Zakiyyah
  10. Night, by Ellie Weisel

As for a few movie recommendations, I once again have to include Harry Potter and Hunger Games! But I’ll also be adding others, once again, either more of my all-time favorites or just all-around good movies.

  1. The Harry Potter Series
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. The Aeronauts
  4. The Hunger Games Series
  5. The Lord of the Rings series
  6. The Rise of Skywalker
  7. Inception
  8. Little Women
  9. Interstellar
  10. Collateral Beauty

The Top Five Books to Escape Isolation

The top five books that I think would make isolation move by faster are The Hunger Games, The Maze Runner, Kira-Kira, Harry Potter And The Sorcerers Stone, and Once.

The Hunger Games is my number one choice because it is one of the most well-written books that I have ever read. The book’s main character is Katniss Everdeen, a sixteen-year-old girl, that is chosen for the reaping. She has to compete against twenty-four other opponents to be able to live in peace. Her one problem though is that she has to kill everyone to win. This book is very descriptive and paints a vivid picture inside your head.

Next, my second book choice would be The Maze Runner. This is because the book has so many twists and turns that it just compels you to read more. The Maze Runner is about a boy named Thomas whose memory has been wiped clean. He is surrounded by boys whose memories have also been wiped and their main goal is to find a way out. The main problem though is that they have to make it past the grievers. Grievers are big metal machines that kill mercilessly.

Kira-Kira is a heartwarming book about a girl and her family. This book is about a Japanese girl named Kate whose moving to Iowa because her father’s store shut down. Now she is forced to live in a small apartment in Georgia while her parents work in a Japanese power plant. This story demonstrates family virtues, kindness, and friendship. I highly recommend this book.

Harry Potter and The Sorcerers Stone is a novel about a boy named Harry who lives with a rude and unkind family named the Dursley’s. Then, Harry finds out that he is a wizard and joins a school of witchcraft and wizardry named Hogwarts. Harry makes friends and foes along his way. I recommend this book because the book takes your mind to a whole different world that shows that everything is possible.

My last and final book is Once. This book is a thrilling and nerve-racking story about a boy named Felix who is escaping the Nazis. As he is on the run, he makes a friend named Zelda, a four-year-old girl. Morris Gleitzman writes this story in a way that makes you feel as if you are in the book with them. In conclusion, this book is also highly recommended.

In conclusion, if you want to escape your boring days of isolation I highly recommend these five books. They will not only exercise your brain, but they will transport you to a whole new world.

-Veronica S.

Authors We Love: Roald Dahl

Roald Dahl is the author of many fictional books for children.  Most of his books were illustrated by Quentin Blake.  I have always enjoyed these books as well as the illustrations.  Dahl uses very inventive language, including interesting words such as “gnazzle,” “knid” and “snozzcumber.”  His books are very funny and full of entertaining nonsense.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory is about a boy named Charlie who lives in a small home with his poor family.  Willy Wonka, the owner of a famous chocolate factory, announces that five lucky children will be invited to tour his factory.  The children would be selected by finding one of five golden tickets hidden inside the wrappers of chocolate bars.  By sheer luck, Charlie receives one of the five golden tickets.  As the story unfolds, we discover the wild and zany rooms in Willy Wonka’s factory, and finally we learn the real reason why Mr. Wonka invited the children to his factory.

The BFG tells of a little girl named Sophie who lives in an orphanage.  Sophie is captured by a twenty-four-feet-tall giant, who takes her to a cave in a faraway land called “Giant Country.”  There she learns that the giant’s name is the “Big Friendly Giant,” or the “BFG,” for short.  The BFG is actually the runt of nine other giants, who are about fifty feet tall and are very wicked, unlike the BFG.  The other nine giants like to gallop off to different countries to gobble up about two to six people at a time.  Sophie and the BFG come up with a plan to put a stop to the other giants’ evil deeds.

In Matilda, a girl named Matilda learns how to read at a very young age, but her parents mistreat her and hardly even notice her talents.  When she starts school, Matilda encounters the giant, nasty headmistress named Miss Trunchbull.  The headmistress terrorizes the entire school until Matilda discovers special powers within herself.  This is my favorite of Roald Dahl’s books because of the charming characters and wonderful story.

Most of Roald Dahl’s books are about ordinary children who discover extraordinary things.  Dahl usually includes fantastical characters, such as man-sized insects and little people known as “Oompa Loompas.”  It is for good reason that his books are very popular and are considered classics for young readers.  I highly recommend these books to people of all ages.

-Oliver H.

The works of Roald Dahl are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. They can also be downloaded for free from Overdrive.

12 Books to Read in 2020

Happy New Year! One of my New Year’s resolutions is to spend more time reading new books, and I hope that this post inspires you to do the same. With that, here are 12 books you should read during the 12 months of 2020: 

  1. 1984 by George Orwell: This book highlights the importance of individual rights and freedom, and serves as a cautionary tale meant to warn readers of the dangers that the future may hold.
  2. The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett: This classic mystery novel is a must-read for any enthusiasts of the genre. This suspenseful story is filled with action and intrigue and will keep you guessing until the very last page.
  3. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton: This is a very popular book read by students, and is known for its authenticity and powerful life lessons. Its characters are very relatable, and teach readers the importance of friendship and family.
  4. Cannery Row by John Steinbeck: Steinbeck tells the story of multiple characters living in Monterey, a town that relied on its fishing and canning industry. This story teaches readers resilience and the importance of a community.
  5. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck: Oftentimes, history is told from the perspective of the victors. However, this novel illustrates the Great Depression from the perspective of people that are struggling to find work, which makes it feel genuine.
  6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: This popular novel takes place in Nazi Germany, where a young orphan named Lisel learns to read and befriends a Jewish boy named Max that is hiding with her foster family. This story illustrates the importance of friendship and kindness and shows just how powerful words can be. 
  7. That Was Then, This Is Now by S.E. Hinton: Although this is one of Hinton’s lesser-known works, it is an incredibly authentic and moving story that shows readers how our experiences change and shape who we are. 
  8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley: This well-known story is one of the greatest horror stories and works of science fiction in literary history. Frankenstein is an incredibly intriguing story that teaches integrity and compassion.
  9. Life of Pi by Yann Martel: Life of Pi is a survival story that uses metaphor to depict the dark side of human nature. Its gripping suspense and powerful symbolism make it a literary masterpiece, and a must-read for everyone.
  10. Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand: This book tells the inspiring true story of a soldier in World War II, who is captured and held in a Japanese prison camp until the end of the war. He endures torture and abuse during his time at the camp and teaches readers resilience, strength, and perseverance.
  11. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist tells the tale of a boy on a search for treasure, and along the way, learns about the world and himself. This book teaches the importance of personal growth and discovery and shows that the real treasures in life lie within our hearts.
  12. 12. Wonder by R.J. Palacio: Wonder is an incredibly moving story about a young boy who faces bullying due to his appearance, but finds friends that support and help him. Another version of the book also tells the story from the perspective of one of the boy’s bullies, who is facing difficulties of his own that he tries desperately to hide. This books teaches compassion, empathy, and the importance of friendship, and is an essential read for everyone.

-Katie A. 

Book List: Books Worth Rereading

There are some books I enjoy reading just once, and there are others I could read over and over without getting tired … I seem to enjoy them more every time I read them. 

Whether you’re looking for an excellent book that (I would consider) is worth owning, or you’re looking for a relatable blog post about one of your favorite books/book series, I hope this post helps!

The Penderwicks by Jeanne Birdsall: I think I’ve mentioned this series in three other blog posts—when writing about my favorite fictional characters, locations, and about a recommended series. As you can probably tell, I love this series so much! Not only is the writing, setting, and characterization amazing, but this is a series I could read countless times. The perfect amount of humor is mixed with depth and sisterly love, and the dynamics of the Penderwick family are realistic yet captivating. I read the first few books when I was younger and enjoyed them, but I enjoyed and understood them on a different level when reading them once I was a little older. Like many of the books on this list (and with other books that I like rereading), I feel like so many age groups can get something out of this series. The Penderwicks is the ideal series for me when I’m looking for a book that is fun and not stressful but steeped in meaning and intrigue.   

When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead: The first chapter of this book can be disconcerting because the main character is addressing someone who readers don’t know about yet. By the time I had finished reading this book the first time, I had forgotten my confusion in the beginning. When I started to read it again, the beginning of the book was so much more understandable. I gained a new appreciation for the intricacy of the story, and I realized who the main character had been speaking to throughout the story. 

Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling: I just had to put this here. As I grow up and as I continue to read Harry Potter, the story does not grow old for me. With every reread I pick up a little more: a funny detail, another character, another layer of depth. Each character, even if only mentioned once or twice, seems to have his or her own background and fictional life. Reading Harry Potter is so comforting, and the draw of the series’ characters, humor, writing, and world continues and expands with each reread.  

The Heroes of Olympus by Rick Riordan: Among other things, my favorite part of this series is the characters. I love the individual personalities of the seven demigods and their acquaintances (often enemies) and friends. Riordan’s humorous descriptions of the world of Greek Mythology and his knack for characterization make his books entertaining—even the second or third cycle through the books.

Being familiar with certain books results in a comforting reading experience. I already am accustomed to the settings and characters, and this allows me to take in other components of the story that I have not noticed before. I find there’s something almost magical about books that can be read more than once–not all books hold the detail and layers I find in these books. With each reread, the words you read are the same, but what you get out of it could be quite the opposite.

– Mia T.

Recommended Fantasy Series

Something about becoming engrossed in a book series is so wonderful. Although I enjoy stand-alone books as too, I love reading a series and knowing that there’s a book after the one I’m reading; another story that immerses me back into the world and its characters. Comfort and familiarity come with following fictional characters into different books on their exciting and (usually) dangerous journeys. While reading a series, I also know which book I should read next, which saves me time that might have otherwise been spent browsing up and down the shelves in the library trying to find a title or a cover that looks as if it might hold an interesting story (although I don’t think browsing the shelves of libraries is necessarily a waste of time). For anyone looking for familiarity, wonderful characters, or just a series to become immersed in, here are some fantasy book series that I recommend.

The Books of Bayern (quartet), by Shannon Hale
First Book: The Goose Girl
I mentioned the first book in this series in a post about exploring new genres, but it’s such a wonderful fantasy series that I wanted to add it here. This series is based in a fairy-tale-like world, but I think it’s great for older teens too. It might be because of Shannon Hale’s entertaining and lovable characters and her style of writing that I haven’t recently found many book series as rounded as I find her Books of Bayern series.

The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel (six-part series), by Michael Scott
First Book: The Alchemyst
I have not read this whole series, but I’ve read and enjoyed the first couple of books. I would recommend this series for slightly older teens, and it is an excellent choice if you like stories that include mythology and history. The story is set in the real world, but is filled with a combination of mythological and historical beings. The protagonists, twins Josh and Sophie, give readers a relatable perspective as they discover a magical world. These books are filled with adventure, interesting characters, and detailed settings that add a realistic sense to the fictional elements.

Septimus Heap (heptalogy), by Angie Sage
First Book: Magyk
The Septimus Heap series is set in a fictional world containing wizards and bogarts and magic (who could have known?). One of my favorite parts about this series is the characters. There are so many of them, and though the books center around certain characters, the storylines of many side characters are incorporated throughout the series. I enjoyed reading the little additions Angie Sage makes at the end of the books, which give background or extra information on some of the characters. The books are humorous and filled with adventure and little details that make them even more enjoyable to read.

The Dragon Slippers Series (trilogy), by Jessica Day George
First Book: Dragon Slippers
Please don’t be discouraged by the title; it might not peak everyone’s interest, but this is a wonderful fantasy series that, like the Books of Bayern, I’ve had trouble finding a series as intriguing as. The Dragon Slippers series takes place in a fictional world in which dragons have hoards that don’t all contain gold and, despite what humans think, can be benign. With well-rounded characters and thankfully non-corny talking dragons, Jessica Day George’s Dragon Slippers series is a series that I highly recommend.

– Mia T.

Authors We Love: James Agee

Image result for james agee

Born on November 27th, 1909 and died on May 16, 1955 was this brilliant American poet, novelist, and writer for and about motion pictures. Written about in Encyclopedia Britannica, Agee grew up in Tennessee’s Cumberland Mountain area, went to Harvard University, and wrote for Fortune and Time after he graduated in 1932. Although his movie criticisms weren’t widely known, his humorous comments on movies still gained a lot of support from the audience instead of merely evaluating musicals and movies like an insider.

If you don’t know yet, his book A Death in the Family actually won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction. Now, I think this has a lot to do with his experience as a child, as this is an autobiographical novel. Not only the name “Rufus”, who was the main character in that particular novel but moreover it was James Agee’s middle name. His father, Hugh James Agee, like Jay Follet was killed in an auto accident when he was merely seven.

In addition, just when he was ten years old, his mother enrolled him in Saint Andrew’s boarding school. Remember something now? Yes, this is exactly the same setting as his other book The Morning Watch.

Although I haven’t read or watched all his other plays and featured stories, there is one thing I can tell: James Agee is a legendary author who utilizes his own family background and experience to produce outstanding stories and mold characters into the best shapes he can.

-Coreen C. 

The works of James Agee are available for checkout from the Mission Viejo Library