Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Celebrating Teen Read Week: The Book of Lost Things by Cynthia Voigt

In support of ALA's Teen Read Week I'll be highlighting a new TEEN read each day! Enjoy!

Published: October 10, 2013
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Themes: family, mystery, friendship, independence
Add it on: Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes And Noble/ *Indie Bound*

About The Book: Max Starling's theatrical father likes to say that at twelve a boy is independent. He also likes to boast (about his acting skills, his wife's acting skills, a fortune only his family knows is metaphorical), but more than anything he likes to have adventures. Max Starling's equally theatrical mother is not a boaster but she enjoys a good adventure as much as her husband. When these two disappear, what can sort-of-theatrical Max and his not-at-all theatrical grandmother do? They have to wait to find out something, anything, and to worry, and, in Max's case, to figure out how to earn a living at the same time as he maintains his independence. This is the first of three books, all featuring the mysterious Mister Max.

What Others Are Saying:  "The charm, the quirkiness, the quiet originality of “The Book of Lost Things” are immensely appealing to those of us who love the classic possibilities and styles of children’s literature. Yet the big question is whether this is what an 11-year-old I know calls, witheringly but honestly, “a grown-up’s idea of a children’s book” or a book that will actually appeal to children." —NY Times

What I Thought: Intrigued by the cover and the premise of a young boy being abandoned by his parents would have been enough to entice me to read. After the first 100 pages I felt carried away in Voigts descriptions and Max's world, but the pace was reminiscent of classic children's literature of the past. Possibly, too slow for younger middle graders. Those willing to stick with it will be rewarded by watching Max solve other peoples problems, becoming a solutioner. 

About The Author: 
Cynthia Voigt

Who: "I can pretty much pinpoint the time when I decided I wanted to write. Previously, in chronological order, I had wanted to be a cowgirl, a fire-person, a horsewoman, a veterinarian, a detective. But in the spring of my 9th grade year, I made up my mind. Here is the story:

Our English class had read The Idylls of the King, Tennyson's epic poem about King Arthur and his knights, and the final assignment, Miss Moody (who was not at all moody) assigned was to add a chapter to the book. I remember clearly that at rather the last minute, as was my style, I sat down at the leather-topped desk from which my parents conducted their financial and social affairs, took out one of the lined pads my father brought home from the office, and started to write. This was when I thought smart people didn't need outlines (maybe they don't need them but they do better work with their help) and didn't revise (wrong!). I sat and wrote, wrote my story, wrote it in blank verse. Then I handed it in and forgot about it.

Imagine my pleasure when Miss Moody gave it an A and praised it highly. Imagine now how pleased I was to have it chosen to be published in the graduation edition of the school newspaper. After all, I was a 9th grader and this was the high school paper. Things only got better after that: my parents were visibly proud of me and my sisters were jealous; people – grownups included – read it and came up to praise me; a boy I had my eye on asked a very intelligent question about my poem . . . .

Of course I decided I wanted to be a writer. It was easy, it was fun to do, you got lots of attention and praise for doing it, and boys admired you for it. Who could resist?" Cynthia Voigt, Author

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