If you love seeing your favorite books come to life on the big or small screen, 2023 is shaping up to be a great year. And if you’re a read-it-before-you-see-it person, you’ll want to take note of the screen adaptations slated for release this year, and add the following books to your reading list! (Release dates are given when known, though they are subject to change).
Love is in the air with these e-books for kids and adults. Download with your Cheshire Library card!
Franklin’s Valentines by Paulette Bourgeois. It’s Valentine’s Day and Franklin can’t wait to give his friends the cards he has made. But when he gets to school, he discovers that they’re missing.
Elmo Loves You by Sarah Albee. Elmo loves lots of things. But what does Elmo love most of all? Read along with this charming book to find out!
Dora Loves Boots by Alison Inches. It’s Valentine’s Day! Dora and Boots can’t wait to spend it together. They pick a favorite meeting place and set out with Map’s help. Will they find each other on this special day?
Rotten Ralph’s Rotten Romance by Jack Gantos. Sarah is very excited to take Ralph to Petunia’s Valentine’s Day Party. But Ralph will do almost anything to avoid the party and drippy Valentine kisses!
February Friend by Ron Roy. Bradley is passing out his class’s valentines, but one of them has no name on it. Inside, the card tells the class to look in the closet. When they open the closet door, the kids find a rabbit named Douglas in a cage! What mysterious “friend” left him there? And why?
Royal Valentine by Jenn McKinlay. Molly Graham stumbles across a very handsome British professor seeking refuge in her office during the Museum of Literature’s Valentine’s Day gala. But just when things start to get interesting, he disappears.
Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani.When Valentine Roncalli discovers a long lost shoe design, a family secret unravels that helps her take control of the company from a conniving relative, but first she seeks the counsel, and more, of her ex-fiancee, Bret Fitzpatrick, to help re-boot the business while she pursues a hot romance with a handsome Italian from her past.
Death of a Valentine by M.C. Beaton. Announcing his engagement to associate Josie McSween, police sergeant and once-confirmed bachelor Hamish Macbeth struggles with prenuptial jitters while investigating the murder of a woman whose increasingly complicated case introduced him to his fiancée.
Sweet, Thoughtful Valentine by Alexander McCall Smith. When philosopher and amateur sleuth Isabel Dalhousie runs into an old classmate facing marital and financial troubles, the secret becomes more and more difficult for Isabel to keep. Thankfully, Isabel’s devoted husband, Jamie, is there to help her navigate her competing moral obligations.
Be My Valentine by Debbie Macomber. Dianne Williams, tired of matchmaking efforts on her behalf, enlists the help of a stranger to accompany her to a Valentine dinner; and, romance novelist Bailey York tries to find the perfect model for her new fictional hero.
No, not books about bridges. Bridge Books are those that carry a child over from picture books to early chapter books.
Picture books are often beautifully illustrated and tell a story a young child can relate to. The picture holds their interest while they process the story about the picture. The elaborate illustrations can fire their imaginations and make them howl with laughter. No one expects a preschooler to read them by themselves.
But by the age of four or five, the simplicity of a picture book story may bore a child. They want more, but sitting and listening to a long story with no pictures is also not the solution. Enter the Bridge Books, short, easy-to-follow stories that are more involved, but still full of captivating drawings and pictures that keep a child’s attention. Like a picture book, no one expects an emergent or new reader to read these books on their own, but they provide a deeper and longer story than a picture book, and it’s no stretch to finish a chapter or two before bed every night.
Bridge books come in a wide range of abilities for both the very beginning reader and the more advanced. Perhaps the very first one to start with is Baby Monkey, Private Eye, by Brian Selznick. My four year old couldn’t get enough of Baby Monkey, and still loves to carry the book around, even though she can now decode the words. Baby Monkey, though shelved in with the graphic novels, is the perfect first reader – simple repetitive words, very short sentences, and full illustrations which are loaded with easter eggs. From Baby Monkey we went right to Selznick’s more famous story, The Invention of Hugo Cabret, which is much longer but just as beautifully illustrated with pictures that capture the imagination – and ties into actual film history that you can find on YouTube for added bonus. The movie version of the book, Hugo, is just as wonderful.
Every child learns and processes information differently, and there is a bridge book for almost every type of learner. Some have color illustrations as clear as a cartoon, others well-rendered pencil drawings, to simple outline drawings or comic-book style artwork. Some are in full-color, others just black and white. Some have illustrations on every page, others every 2-3 pages. If your child is bored by one, let them choose the style of illustration they prefer. As always, nudge your child to go a little deeper into the story – can they predict what will happen on the next page? What would they do instead? If they were best friends with the character, what would they tell them? Draw a picture about the story. Make some toast for Mercy.
For early reading practice, give your child easy readers such as Elephant and Piggie by Mo Willems, Dr. Seuss, or Pete the Cat, but for lengthening that attention span and jumping to the next level of story depth, check out these series of early Bridge Books to read with your child. The picture content is large and frequent, and unlike some of the more advanced bridge series, will not leave you weeping from unbearably painful story lines and prose (You know I’m talking about you, Purrmaids). You might just find yourself sneaking a read on your own!
Graphic novel adaptations are not new, comic books based on classic literature could be found as early as the 1940’s and 50’s. Lately, however, there’s been a new crop of adaptations in graphic novel format that deserve some attention. While an adaptation of a book can never take the place of the original, it has value as a companion piece to the original, offering a fresh perspective on a well-established tale. This is particularly true of graphic novel adaptations, where illustrations and a change in pace can breathe new life into an older book. Even when a book isn’t all that old, a graphic novel interpretation allows us to see the story from a different angle.
We have a whole bunch of graphic novel adaptations on our shelves, for all ages. Here are some of our favorites.
The Graveyard Book, original story by Neil Gaiman ; adapted by: P. Craig Russell ; illustrated by: Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, Stephen B. Scott
Anne of Green Gables, original story by L. M. Montgomery ; adapted by Mariah Marsden & Brenna Thummler
As long as there have been books, there has been controversy about books. There have been six major book-burnings in the US (yes, America) over Harry Potter, because some people believe a little too much in witches, though, personally, if I believed that strongly in witches, I might just not want to anger them.
But logic doesn’t exist in book burnings, or bannings.
This year’s book fiasco (and this happened on January 10), has been the McMinn County (Tennessee) School Board voting 10-0 to remove the graphic novel Maus from their curriculum, over the use of 8 curse words (the most objectioned being – forgive me if you will, God damn), and the depiction of a naked mouse in a bathtub, with a breast showing. A mouse-breast.
Maus is not drawn as graphic realism; with its heavy line style, it could be cut and printed in woodblocks and look the same.
Maus, by Art Spiegelman, is the winner of a 1992 Pulitzer Prize, the only graphic novel ever to do so. In it (sometimes found in two volumes, sometimes as one combined), Spielman interviews his father, a Polish Jew, as to what it was like to survive the Concentration Camps – his father spent time in both Auschwitz and Dachau, and his mother in Auschwitz. Nazis are portrayed by cats, Jews by mice, Americans by dogs, French by frogs, British as fish, and Swedes as deer.
Spiegelman has a lot of anger toward his father that comes out now and then in the story. His father was, understandably, damaged by the war and not necessarily an empathetic father. Spiegelman’s mother couldn’t rid herself of the experience, and committed suicide when he was 20 (the unfortunate mouse in the bathtub). It’s a true story, an honest story, and Spiegelman’s struggle to make sense of it and his place in the narrative is the struggle we all face trying to understand the Nazi rise to power and the unimaginable atrocities they carried out – atrocities so horrific, the experiences threw open the study of epigenetics on the belief that the DNA of survivors’ children had been altered by the experiences of the parents, though some studies are undecided.
Tennessee withdrew the book from the curriculum just three days before Holocaust remembrance day, citing moral issues that included violence and showing dead mouse children, language, and that naked mouse breast in one panel.
Maus is now the top-selling book in America, thanks to Tennessee’s decision that thirteen year olds learning about the Holocaust in graphic form and seeing mild curse words in print might damage them. Good thing they never saw the photo novel my father, a historian, has of World War II, which is nothing but photographs of the war, including too many horrific images from the various camps, a book which has haunted me since childhood.
The internet, while not reliable for many things, had the best quote: If it was okay for 13 year old Anne Frank to live through it, why is it too disturbing for 13 year old Tennessee children to learn about it?
There are many reasons some books may be objectionable, outside of really bad prose, and yes, it is not unreasonable that some books should have an age limit – after all, movies and video games do. I would not recommend reading “The Exorcist” to a ten year old, even a literate one. The thing to remember is that not everyone can agree on what or why something should be limited, or worse, banned. Always, always, read the banned book, find out what information someone is trying to suppress, why, and then talk about it. If you still find the material objectionable, that’s fine, but you don’t have the right to control its availability to others.
Decide for yourself. Maus is currently sold out on Amazon, but you can join the wait list for the library’s copy here. Meanwhile, check out these commonly banned books – most of which the rest of America considers classics (1984 by Orwell is the #1 banned book in America).