Wonderstruck. The chance to be struck by the wonder of something. In the beautiful merging of pictures and words that characterize Brian Selznick's work, two stories are told, intertwining throughout the book. Wonderstruck by Brian Selznick (Lexile: 830; Reading Level: grades 3-6) is a story of loss, wonder, adventure, misunderstandings, relationships, and seeking for belonging. Throughout the book, we see Ben (in 1977) yearning to learn the story of his past, and Rose (in 1927) trying to create a story for her future. Following the two timelines is made easier by the use of two mediums to tell the stories: Ben's story is told in the words, while Rose's is told in pictures. I was especially fascinated with the minimal words in Rose's story. Using just pictures for her gave me a stronger feeling about her silent world. Anyone who takes the time to pick up this book will be well-rewarded for their effort. The illustrations are vital and sense-inspiring, and the story is thought-provoking and sturdy.
This second book in the Beyonders series by Brandon Mull is FANTASTIC! You definitely have to read this series in order, so if you haven't read The Beyonders: World Without Heroes, you should start there. In the first book of the series, we meet Jason before he travels to Lyrian, and we watch him grow from a "normal" 14 year old kid into a world leader and, yes, a hero. In Seeds of Rebellion (Lexile: 740; Interest Level: grades 5-8), Jason returns to the fight in Lyrian armed with important information. However, before he manages to find his friends, he has to figure out what to do when he gets ambushed by dwarf giants, followed by a torivor (otherwise known as a lurker), and almost arrested for not knowing the rules of a small town. At the same time, Jason's friend Rachel discovers that she can learn Edomic (the magic language), which puts her in greater danger because the emperor has already killed almost everyone else who has this power. As the friends work together to muster up some support to fight the emperor of Lyrian, they must travel and face some interesting obstacles. It's not just mountain climbing and high winds, but darts that make you grow moss? To find out what happens to Jason, Rachel and their friends as they travel to visit the Oracle, read The Beyonders: Seeds of Rebellion by Brandon Mull.
One of the reasons I became an elementary school librarian is so I can read children's books.