In recognition of this week’s Read Across America, a nationwide celebration of reading among both kids and adults, Patch referred to our friends at the public library for their picks of some of the best children’s and adult books. Although narrowing down the list to just five was a tall task, South San Francisco librarian Kyle Broenkow and library director Valerie Sommer joined minds to share with us some of their all-time personal favorites as well as current titles that are popular among young and old alike.
- The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen (2001) – one of Sommer’s picks for adults. A 2001 National Book Award Winner that centers on the warbles and troubles of a Midwestern couple and their three children.
- Moon over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool (2011) – a current choice for children and teens from Broenkow. The town of Manifest, KS, is presented in two different eras: its present-day setting of 1939 during the Great Depression, and twenty years earlier as its protagonist discovers the history of three mysterious men who lived there in 1918.
- A Discovery of Witches by Deborah E. Harkness (2011) – this pick from Broenkow, which is suitable for teens and adults, tells the tale of a young woman descended from the first woman executed at the Salem Witch Trials as she makes a crucial discovery.
- To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee (1960) – this American classic makes Sommer’s all-time list. The coming-of-age themes in this story of a young girl and her curiosity about a certain neighbor of hers makes this a great story for children and teens, while its larger commentaries on race relations in America make it a timeless piece to return to at any age.
- A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip C. Stead (2011) – Broenkow highlights a current choice for beginning readers. This picture book depicts a zookeeper’s friendships with the animals at the zoo, and the ways in which they show their appreciation of him.
Although Read Across America week is coming to an end, these five choices should provide a starting point to keep the literary celebration going much longer.