“Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Friday, March 16, 2012

Looking for a better YA read for girls than the typical clique or rich girl fare? Try Phyllis Reynolds Naylor's "Alice" series...

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor

Phyllis Reynolds Naylor is a Newbery award-winning author, having won the award in 1992 for her wonderful book Shiloh.  I received a package from her publisher last week with an advanced reviewer copy of Alice On Board, her latest book in the Alice series, a series I wasn't familiar with, but I am glad to have been introduced to.   The series is refreshing compared to so many books for young girls and teens that I see and read as it is filled with honest, solid characters going through what seemed to me far more realistic experiences than many books on the market.  The friendships are very much like the friendships I have and both of my daughters have at ages 9 and 20.  While books like Gossip Girl may be entertaining, I believe that this series may offer girls more of a feeling of identity with their own experiences and emotions.

In this latest book, Alice and her friends have graduated high school and are spending the summer before college working together on a cruise ship on the Chesapeake.  All boyfriends have been left behind as the girls spend the summer working hard and figuring out how to handle change.  It's a fun read and at the same time has value in the way that it depicts friendships among a group of very different girls who help each other through challenges in life by giving each other support and unconditional love.  The girls also learn how to have strong friendships with boys at this stage as they discover that romance may not be a top priority.

After finishing Alice On Board and finding it so delightful, I went to the Alice blog to learn more about the series.  http://alicemckinley.wordpress.com/the-books-in-order/  Little did I know how extensive the series was!  Alice McKinley has been around for quite a while -- the books begin when she was a third grader.  There are excerpts from the books on the Alice blog.  I liked the books so much that I decided to buy the first few years for my 3rd grade daughter.  When she is finished reading them, we'll donate them to her elementary school library.

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