Thursday, April 14, 2011
When I turned ten, a family friend (who happened to be a school librarian) gave me The Fledgling by Jane Langton. I had not heard of it, but was definitely drawn in by the dreamy-looking cover (hey, I was ten- the cover mattered!).
Some 25 years later, I still consider this book a favorite. It is an incredible mix of fantasy and coming-of-age story - punctuated with humor and suspense, it also manages to be an essay on Thoreau and the transcendentalists. Now, in fourth grade, I certainly would not have described the book this way. I probably would have said it was about a girl who is taught to fly by a Canadian Goose and how her family feels about it...either way, it is a truly interesting, touching story.
Middle grade fiction is riddled with literary mediocrity and endless series. It is a shame because when I think of the army of voracious readers out there in that age group, I think they deserve more books like this one (and that is the preachy librarian in me :) ).