Welcome to Through the Looking Glass

Welcome to the September and October 2019 issue of Through the Looking Glass Children’s Book Reviews. I have put together a wonderful collection of reviews for you for this issue, and I hope you enjoy reading the reviews as much as I enjoyed writing them.

As always, the books reviewed on TTLG are carefully chosen by the editor. We only review books that suit the scope of TTLG, and that we feel have something to offer readers. Therefore, all our reviews are positive ones. We hope this will help you to find excellent books for the young people in your lives. If you are looking for books for yourself, we hope you will find books that you will enjoy reading. Please consider buying books through this website. Your purchases help to support our work, and give us the means to improve this online resource.

For this issue I have chosen to focus on books about Writers and Writing. I shudder to think what the world would be like if there were no writers, and if there were no books, newspapers, blogs, and other written materials for us to read. For many people, the cooler months are the perfect time to embark on writing adventures. In this feature, readers will find books about the writing process, and they will also find biographies about writers. Please note that you will find many more biographies about writers on the biographies listing page. Books about Beatrix Potter, Mark Twain, Walt Whitman and others can be accessed from this page.

Since September is the month when many children go back to school, I have added book reviews to the School Days feature page. In this feature there are titles about school life that will suit readers of all ages.

September is also the month when summer starts to unwind and when many people experience the first signs of fall. Leaves start to turn red, gold, and yellow. Frosts begin to nip at the plants in the garden, and in October farmers and gardeners start to harvest the fruits and vegetables that they have tended for many months. My husband is a winemaker so this is the busiest time of year for him. Hundreds of pounds of grapes will be turned into wine as the temperatures dip.

For this month’s Editor’s Choice title, I have selected a young adult novel called The Agony of Bun O’KeefeBun is a teenager who has had a truly miserable existence thus far. Then, purely by chance, she finds herself living in a house with a group of people who have formed a family of sorts. They are not related and they are all very different, but they take care of and support one another unconditionally and they do the same for Bun when she joins them. This story is heartbreaking at times, but it is also full of hope.

In every issue I spotlight a series that I am really enjoying, or have enjoyed in the past. For this issue I chose books that tell the story of an apprentice magician who ends up going on some terrifying and downright bizarre adventures. The Paper Magician Trilogy takes readers on into a world where magic practitioners are respected members of society, or at least most of them are. The apprentices are paired with a medium – paper, glass, metal, wood – which they then have to magically master to the best of their ability. Ceony Twill is bonded with paper, which she is not pleased about at all, but as she discovers, being a Paper Magician is not easy. She also learns that her new teacher is a very complicated man and he has some dangerous people in his past.

I enjoyed this series so much that I have decided to feature the author of these books in the Author Spotlight for this issue. Charlie N. Holmberg has a gift for creating worlds that are fascinating and so convincing that it is hard to leave them behind to rejoin the real world.

When I choose the award-winning books that I want to feature on TTLG, I seek out books that are unique, titles that touch me in some way. In this issue I also wanted to feature books that are connected to the late Lee Bennett Hopkins. Lee passed away in August and the world of children’s literature will greatly miss him. He was a wonderful poet and poetry anthologist, and in 1993 he created the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award. Won Ton: A cat tale told in Haiku is a delight to read, and it won the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award in 2012. Readers will also find a review of one of Lee’s newest poetry anthologies on the poetry page for this issue.

Finally, take a look at the Bookish Calendar page for reviews about Elizabeth I of England, Pablo Picasso, the Great Depression, and much more. This calendar is a great tool to use at home and in the classroom to help children incorporate books more fully into their lives.

There are several bookish events taking place in September and October that I would like to tell you about. They are:

September 22nd to September 28th is Banned Books Week

October is National Book Month (USA)

October also TeenTober (USA) 

In September of 2012 I launched a project that I would like to tell you about. It is a story blog called Talon Diaries, and it is written by a colorful and very unusual character called Gryf. I hope you will come and read Gryf”s blog posts.

For those of you don’t know already, I also publish a blog about children’s books and the children’s book world. On the blog I post reviews, interviews with great authors and illustrators, I offer book giveaways, and I tell you about interesting contests and bookish events. Do visit the blog and sign up for the feed. In the coming year, I will be posting new picture book reviews on Mondays and poetry book reviews on Fridays.

Some of the titles I reviewed several years ago are now out of print. Though you cannot buy these books in every bookshop, many of them are still available for purchase on websites like Amazon.com and Barnes and Nobles.

I hope you enjoy this new issue, and I look forward to hearing from you.

All the best,

Marya