Something For Both of Us

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Something For Both of Us

Books for you, and the young reader in your life

It’s sometimes hard to find a book that you and your child can tolerate. With that in mind, here is a list of chapter books that can be enjoyed by anyone, from your middle grade reader to your grandmother. It will certainly make reading before bed more fun, or you can read them on your own to recapture your inner child.  

Howl’s Moving Castle, by Diana Wynne Jones
You may think you know this story, but while the beloved Hiyao Miyazaki film takes its premise from this book, it’s a loose adaptation, allowing for a reader to enjoy the story in a whole new way. The protagonist, Sophie Hatter, does fall victim to an unfortunate aging spell, but there are some notable plot differences, including the fates of Sophie’s two sisters, who are both unhappy with their lots in life and take matters into their own hands. The witch of the waste is an irredeemably evil adversary who wants to destroy Howl and take over the kingdom of Ingary, and Sophie has untapped magic of her own, magic that may help her save the ones she loves, and help her return to her young self.         

Witches Abroad, by Terry Pratchet
Witches Abroad is a book written for adult readers with content suitable for younger listeners. It is part of a larger series, but can be read on its own without previous knowledge. When three witches set out on a journey, only chaos can ensue! Nanny, Granny and Magrat leave home to help a young woman whose destiny is being decided for her, to offer her protection from her so-called fairy godmother. Along the way, they help a number of others escape the stories being written for them, and come to understand that the evil witch masquerading as a fairy godmother is more of a danger then any of them expected. Armed with a malfunctioning wand and a fat cat, these two elderly curmudgeons and one novice witch are the only thing standing between their realm and a fate worse than death. If they can manage to stop bickering long enough, they just might save the kingdom.   

The Search for Delicious, by Nathalie Babbit
The prime minister is compiling a dictionary, but the king and court are in disagreement as to what should be in the sentence for “delicious.” Everyone likes something different, and the argument results in the prime minister’s son, Gaylan, being sent on a journey through the kingdom to poll the populace. His quest is to find what people can agree is the most “delicious.” However, on his quest, Gaylan discovers that the kingdom is full of discontent, and he enlist the help of an unusual ally to bring peace to the kingdom, and find what all can agree on to be delicious.   

The Westing Game, by Ellen Raskin
Sam Westing dies and leaves his fortune to sixteen people, who seem chosen almost at random. The catch? They have to work in assigned teams to solve his murder through clues left in his will. The book’s ensemble cast features a number of odd characters, including but not limited to a podiatrist, a dressmaker, a restaurant owner, a judge, and several children. Mysteriously, these heirs have also taken up residence in the same building, Sunset Towers. The first pair of heirs to discover the truth will inherit Westing’s considerable fortune, and control of his company. This leaves everyone wondering, who killed Sam Westing, and who is pulling the strings behind the scenes?   

Gifts, by Ursula Le Guin
In this fictional world, each family of the Upland region has its own magical gift. Orrec’s family gift is unmaking, the ability to destroy from the inside anything or anyone. His gift is “wild” or untamed, and he blindfolds himself to protect others, unwilling to use his gift in any way. His best friend Gry has the gift of speaking to animals, but refuses to call them for their people to hunt. There is unrest in the Uplands, and Orrec’s father tries to come to terms with another local landowner, but only darkness follows. A tragedy forces Orrec to look within himself and see where his true power comes from, and to choose who he wants to be.

The Lightning Thief, by Rick Riordan
While this book and its sequels are popular among middle grade readers, they are less known to adults. Plucky young Percy is twelve, and he hates his life. He has to go to school in upstate New York, and live away from his mom, plus he struggles with ADHD and Dyslexia. Percy has few friends, except Grover, a fellow student, and his Latin teacher. Percy feels like he’s always getting into trouble, but an ill-fated trip to the beach leads to answers he never knew he needed about himself. Soon, Percy finds himself on the world’s worst and most urgent road trip to stop a war- and not just a war, but the war to end all wars. Along the way, Percy will discover strengths he never expected and make new friends- and enemies.