Sometimes I like to mix it up on the blog and feature books for younger readers. Today I am hosting author Karen Romano Young whose newest book HUNDRED PERCENT was published on August 9, 2016.
About HUNDRED PERCENT
by Karen Romano Young
Publication Date: August 9, 2016
For my stop on the blog tour, Karen shares Tink's (the main character of HUNDRED PERCENT) Top Middle Grade Book Recommendations. What a fun way to get to know a character by the books she likes!
Jennifer, Hecate, Macbeth, and Me, Elizabeth by E.L. Konigsburg: Boring girl meets exciting though bossy friend. Two facts fascinate Tink: the fact that Elizabeth is a black girl, and the fact that both girls are free to go out, including at night, and get into trouble and adventures, and the parents are like, tra la la. It’s the sixties, and so some of the stuff is really different kid of historical, which is interesting to Tink although she’s a little embarrassed to say so.
Note from KRY: This is Rebecca Stead’s favorite E.L.K. book, which made me go back to it. I like the lesser known (George), About the B’nai Bagels, the Mixed-Up Files, and The Saturdays. She’s pretty much my favorite person. E.L.K. Actually also RS, too.
Permanent Rose by Hilary McKay: Sometimes you think, what if I’d been born to different parents, in a different country, with three older siblings instead of three younger? The character in question, a truly brave girl, has the name Permanent Rose, which is a color of paint. Why couldn’t Tink’s parents have been a bit more creative? After all, her father is an artist. She looks through the colors at the local Artarama and comes up with a few corkers for her siblings: Phtalo Blue. That would do for Kitty. Pht, pht, pht. For Jessie: Rose Madder, maybe. Alvin could be Permanent Sap (the color of the Swamp Thing he was for Halloween). For herself: Alizarin Crimson. Liz for short.
Note from KRY: When my Chronicle editor Taylor Norman and I found out we both loved the Casson Family books, we knew we were both in the right place.
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman. Because of this book, Tink is still trying to figure out who her daemon (her spirit animal) might be. She figures it is still in flux, as it is for most of the prepuberty kids in these books. Because of these books, Tink dreams of going to the far north.
She also thinks she should listen more to the part of her mind that is tricky and smart.
Note from KRY: Any book that creates a parallel universe gets my attention, because it forever changes the way I see the real world. My adult faves include Time and Again, by Jack Finnerty, and Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin — both New York books. And I’m fascinated by many of the stories described in Leonard S. Marcus’s book Storied City: A Children’s Book Walking-Tour Guide to New York City (https://www.amazon.com/Storied-City-Childrens-Walking-Tour-Guide/dp/0525469249) to New York through children’s books, which includes
The Alley by Eleanor Estes. Hundred Percent has girls at its center. There are plenty of important (or briefly important) boys, including Bushwhack, but Tink — with two sisters and a girl best friend, is girl-centered until Bushwhack comes along. That Connie in The Alley has a best friend who’s a boy, even though other people give them a hard time about it, means something to Tink, but much more she is fascinated by the quiet life of the little Alley, somewhere in Brooklyn, and how a crime that occurs one lazy afternoon throws things into disarray.
Note from KRY: The Alley is actually at Pratt Institute, where my brother went to school. I made part of it the setting for a book that hasn’t come out yet.
El Deafo by Cece Bell and David Lansky. Like most kids, Tink is fascinated by books about things outside their own experience — or sometimes, an experience that is in plain sight (a hearing-impaired kid at her school) but that she didn’t experience. Stories like this one make the world larger, more interesting, like a path with footholds on a slippery mountainside. Plus El Deafo is a girl’s story told in comic form, which Tink finds pretty spectacular.Note from KRY: So do I. I think kids need mirrors, windows, and also pictures. As in The Golden Compass, these portals open to new universes.
Karen Romano Young has written nearly two dozen books for children, and has illustrated several, including the groundbreaking graphic novel, Doodlebug (a novel in doodles) and its sequel, Stuck in the Middle (of Middle School). She lives in Connecticut.
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