Yesterday afternoon we celebrated with our 2017 Pesky Reading Challenge participants at the library; a brief but festive meeting centered on a love of books that included discussion, prizes, and gorgeous cupcakes. Five readers completed all 25 categories--what an achievement. Everyone was invited to share with the group a favorite book, a book that surprised them, or any that they would have never read without the challenge categories. One of the best things about a challenge with 25 diverse categories (from a book that takes place on an island to a steampunk novel) is that it forces readers to choose books outside of their comfort zone. And although many of our categories were directed at potentially older works--a classic, a book published before you were born--I was still struck by the books our students chose to talk about. It warms these librarians’ hearts to see young people speaking passionately and intelligently about books in general, and especially some old favorites. I thought I would highlight a few of the books that came up in our discussion.
1984 by George Orwell
A modern classic if there ever was one, Orwell’s dystopian novel greatly inspired one student. He spoke of its amazing ability to speak to students today even 60 years after it was written, and how brilliant and insightful the story was.
The Princess Bride by William Goldman
Our youngest reader managed to fulfill all 25 categories in 4th grade! When asked to speak of her favorite book from the list she mentioned The Princess Bride. Known mostly from the 1987 movie, the book holds its own among audiences and critics for its humor, romance, and swashbuckling story. The book is always better than the movie, right?
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
This beloved fable fit a number of our categories including book under 100 pages and a book translated into English. It was heralded by one reader for its surprising universal message and standing up to all that she had heard about it in the past. There is a reason that it has been translated into over 200 languages and more than 70 years after being written it remains one of the world’s bestselling books.
Thanks again to all of the readers who participated, and we look forward to announcing our 2018 challenge soon.