Friday, June 06, 2008

48 Hour Book Challenge--Book One

Many books of short stories for kids and young adults are "themed books," meaning someone came up with an idea for a book of short stories and then contacted some writers to ask them to write on that theme. Well, Friends, edited by Ann M. Martin and David Levithan, is one of those. It describes itself as "Stories About New Friends, Old Friends, And Unexpectedly True Friends," but it doesn't actually use the term "short stories" anywhere.

That sounds as if I'm nitpicking, but some of these things read like memoirs--memoirs that were dashed off quickly between other writing jobs. Some of the pieces here come across as just telling what happened to me without much filtering or shaping into a piece of literature. Most of the memoir-type pieces don't come off very well, except for Virginia Euwer Wolff's Doll, which is excellent.

Among the better short stories are Shashikala: A Brief History of Love and Khadi by Tanuja Desai Hidier (though it may be a little too sophisticated and difficult for younger readers), The Wild Prince by Brian Selznick, and Flit by Patrick Jennings. I think kid readers would probably find Flit to be the best fit for them.

The reviews at Amazon describe this book as being for the upper elementary grades or middle school students.

Reading Time: 3 Hours

Number of Pages: 181

Blogging Time: 15 minutes

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