Teachers and students across the nation are gathering to celebrate Read Across America Day and the birthday of beloved children’s author Dr. Seuss.
Montage Hotels & Resorts Literary Ambassador Brad Meltzer encourages both children and adults alike to pick up some of his favorite must-reads of the month to join in the nationwide reading observance day.
Here’s a secret about the New York Times best-selling author: He loves a fighter, particularly when he or she is searching for truth. Perhaps that’s why the bookish Beecher White character from Meltzer’s renowned “Culper Ring” series, and the explosive Hazel Nash from “The House of Secrets” never give up. But Meltzer doesn’t just write books about fighters, he reads them, too.
For his book recommendations this month, Meltzer takes the fight out of the real world and into magical places where things aren’t always what they seem to be, and goodness and truth can be a little difficult to uncover. “Sure, we’re all different,” he says. “Some of us have beards, or no hair, or blue fur or green flippers. But goodness lives within each of us.”
V.E. Schwab’s second fantasy adult novel is set in four parallel worlds with four parallel Londons. But one character, a rare and magical Antari named Kell, can travel between all of them. Kell was raised in Red London, where life and magic are revered; then there is Grey London, a mundane place where magic is scarce; White London, where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back; and Black London, a world destroyed by lust for magic. Kell is officially the ambassador who carries the monthly correspondence between the royals of each London, but is also a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for small glimpses of a world they’ll never see. It’s a treacherous tale where “Kell can travel between universes and, lucky for us, can take us to the wondrous multiple Londons of this book,” says Meltzer. “Magic abounds in a world you can’t imagine.”
“Got a ‘Wimpy Kid’ lover in your life?” asks Meltzer. “Here, Zarf is a troll at very bottom of the middle school food chain, below the princes and the giants. Think [the] fairy tale of ‘Shrek’—[but] in middle school.” As a troll, Zarf is even stuck below the prince and knights (populars), ogres and giants (jocks), and even the lowly minstrels (band geeks). And then Zarf’s life gets even worse when his archenemy, the prince, ascends the throne and Zarf and his two sidekicks (a neurotic pig and the not-funny son of the court jester) set out to find the missing king, as well as their way to middle school heroism. (Okay, the heroism part might be wishful thinking.) Award-winning comic creator Harrell has middle-grade humor mastered with his Life of Zarf series, of which this is the second installment.
By Katie McElveen