Trends

April 9, 2009

I’ve noticed two trends recently, one in patron requests and one in publishing (I think.)  I’ve definitely seen an increase in patron requests for juvenile and young adult nonfiction books on money, savings, money management, etc.  I’m guessing the adult selectors are seeing similar requests for these types of titles, too.

The other trend I think I’ve spotted in publishing is an influx of western/cowboy books for kids and YAs.  I don’t know if this is a real trend or if I’ve just noticed these books lately.  I know some branches are always looking for “books similar to Louis L’Amour but for kids,” and I’m hoping these might find their way into the hands of those patrons.  (I haven’t read any of the following, nor have I read any L’Amour, but these three books have all had favorable reviews.)

shepherdHeart of a Shepherd.  This is my favorite cover of the three.  From Booklist:  Ranching and soldiering are what men do where Brother lives, in eastern Oregon. Trouble is, the nearly 12-year-old boy doesn’t think he’d be much good at either. But then his father’s reserve unit is sent to Iraq, and the boy and his elderly grandfather are left in charge of the family ranch. Much soul-searching ensues, ultimately leading Brother to his own personal path to the future. Parry’s first novel, about a boy’s emotional and spiritual coming-of-age, is heartfelt and often heartwarming, though her characters are a bit too saintly for credibility, and her occasionally preachy tone strays into the didactic more than it should. She does an excellent job, however, of acquainting readers with the realities of modern ranching life and the impact a distant war has on the families who are left at home to cope. Grades 4-7.

deadwoodThe Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones.  From Booklist: Though himself a free man, Prometheus Jones’ father was a slave who was sold away from his family. Now 13, Prometheus is determined to find the man he thinks of as “Mr. Jones” and—in April 1876—signs aboard a cattle drive that he hopes will ultimately take him to Texas and the reunion he longs for. In the meantime, however, the drive is headed north, through Indian country, bound for Deadwood in the Dakota Territory. Inspired in part by the real-life adventures of Nat Love, arguably the most famous of the nineteenth century’s African American cowboys, Hemphill’s novel offers a carefully researched look at the often uneasy circumstances of a black teenager on the American frontier. Prometheus is an always sympathetic and engaging character, and the dangers and misadventures he encounters en route to Deadwood make for compelling reading. True, what he finds there may strain some readers’ credulity—and feels a bit rushed in the bargain—but most will welcome the stirring, action-packed conclusion to Prometheus’ quest. Grades 7-12.

smokeSmoke.  From Booklist: Colt is mad. The 12-year-old idolizes his dad, a champion bull rider on the professional rodeo circuit, but has lived with his mom since his parents divorce. And now she s up and dragged him away from Idaho Falls to a strange new home in northern California, where she rediscovers gourmet cooking and launches a friendship with their handsome neighbor, Angelo. And then wouldn t you know it, Colt s beloved pet cat, Smoke, goes missing, and the boy waits for a dangerously dark and stormy night to set off on a solo search. What next? Hint: things will get worse before they get better. Jukes, a Newbery Honor winner, has written a fitfully engaging but often predictable story about an appealing boy trying to come to grips with a new life. Yes, adult readers may find her tone a bit patronizing at times, but kids enamored with cats and cowboys probably won t care about that. And did I mention there s a ghost, too?

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One Response to “Trends”

  1. Julie Says:

    I’ve noticed that too! An interesting blog!


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