Monday, February 15, 2010

Goldsmith's Daughter, by Tanya Landman

In this tale about the ancient Mayan culture a young girl named Itacate is being raised by her father, an important goldsmith, after her mother dies in childbirth. Her brother, according to custom, is in training to follow in his father's craft. But Itacate is the one to show the true gift to work with gold!

Set at the end the Aztec's reign of power (when the Spanish army arrive), the Goldsmith's daugther raises the question "What would it be like to live back then?"

Monday, February 8, 2010

Winter's End, by Jean-Claude Mourlevat

In a bleak oppressive society four desperate teenagers escape their prison-like boarding schools and try to make their way to join the underground rebellion to strike a blow against their government! Only one is recaptured, and is forced to fight in barbaric one-on-one fights to the death for the amusement of his captors. Can he be rescued in time?

Winter's End is an award winning book in France, and only recently translated into English.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hamlet, by John Marsden

Murder! Revenge! Lust! Remorse! Betrayal! Sounds like a great young adult novel, right? Shakespeare's enduring story about Hamlet's struggle to revenge the death of his father, who was killed by his own uncle (now king) Claudius, has been around now for over 800 years. But while our language has changed a lot over those years, Shakespeare's words have not - leaving readers to read and re-read his plays to better understand them. How frustrating! Have you ever wished that someone would just get around to rewriting Hamlet using the words we use today?

The wait is over! Hamlet, by John Marsden, IS set in modern times. It has much of the basic plot of the original story, and the characters are named the same, only now it's almost - - dare I say it - - FUN to read! School Library Journal called this "a wonderful treatment of the play: engaging, gripping, dark and lovely."