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February 1, 2016 BOOKLIST
Find more Top 10 Fiction on Health for Youth
Gathering this Top 10 meant going back a little further than we usually do for such lists, but it was worth it. The titles below, reviewed in Booklist from December 1999 through December 2001, stand out as offering great opportunities to introduce issues surrounding illness and recovery from a distance that allows and even encourages discussion. Equally important, they’ll open the way for readers to visit the nonfiction shelves for more information.
Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever 1793. 2000. Simon & Schuster, $16 (0-689-83858-1).
Gr. 7-10. A tragic yellow fever epidemic that struck Philadelphia in the late eighteenth century forms the backdrop for this carefully researched historical novel, in which a 16-year-old finds her life forever changed-by illness as well as the way those around her respond to the crisis.
Bateman, Teresa. Farm Flu. Illus. by Nadine Bernard Westcott. 2001. Albert Whitman, $15.95 (0-8075-2274-0).
Ages 3-6. There are plenty of good laughs in this humorous look at being sick, bouyed up by a bouncy, rhyming text that’s great for reading aloud. When the farm animals develop the sniffles, it seems only right for the lad in charge of them to offer the comforts of home-his home.
Gantos, Jack. Joey Pigza Loses Control. 2000. Farrar, $16(0-374-39989-1).
Gr. 4-7. Kids need not have read Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key (1998) to appreciate this poignant novel in which hyperactive Joey struggles to balance his personal needs with a deep love for his equally “wired” dad. Solid characters in a book that informs without being didactic.
Jenkins, A. M. Damage. HarperCollins, $15.95 (0-06-029099-4); lib. ed., $15.89 (0-06-029100-1).
Gr. 11-12. Popular, handsome, a talented athlete, Austin Reid seems to have it all. In reality, however, he’s deeply depressed, and not even his beloved football or sex with the prettiest girl help. There are no simple solutions in this unflinching, powerful novel.
MacLachlan, Patricia. The Sick Day. Illus. by Jane Dyer. 2001. Doubleday, $12.95 (0-385-32150-3).
Ages 3-6. In this loving book, originally published 20 years ago, it’s Dad who plays nurturer: he knows the remedy for the tummy ache Emily has in her head and the headache she has in her throat. Illustrator Dyer gets things right, too, in pictures that show the affection between Emily and Dad.
Pennebaker, Ruth. Both Sides Now. 2000. Holt, $15.95 (0-8050-6105-3).
Gr. 9-12. The subtle and not so subtle ways serious illness changes an individual and affects a family come clear in this heartrending novel, told in the alternating voices of a mother and her daughter, a high-school sophomore.
Trueman, Terry. Stuck in Neutral. 2000. HarperCollins, $14.95 (0-06-028519-2); lib. ed., $14.89 (0-06-028518-4).
Gr. 6-10. Everyone thinks that cerebral palsy victim Shawn McDaniel is a vegetable. But inside the prison of his body, Shawn is a genius, and he knows that his father is considering killing him. A powerful, thought-provoking book about life, death, hope, and love.
Wells, Rosemary. Felix Feels Better. 2001. illus. Candlewick, $12.99 (0-7636-0639-1).
Ages 1-4. At bedtime Felix the guinea pig ate too many chocolate blimpies, and the next morning he’s feeling poorly. Lucky for him, Mom is right there, keeping him warm, making him tea, and coaxing him through a visit to the doctor. She’s right there, too, when he starts feeling better. Wells’ signature art is right for the comforting story.
White, Ruth. Memories of Summer. 2000. Farrar, $16 (0-374-34945-2).
Gr. 7-12. Schizophrenia has been the topic of several YA books during the last few years. White considers the subject with integrity and compassion in this story of 13-year-old Lyric, who watches with confusion as her beloved older sister, Summer, becomes a frightening stranger.
Winthrop, Elizabeth. Promises. Illus. by Betsy Lewin. 2000. Clarion, $16 (0-395-82272-6).
Ages 6-8. Sarah misses the way things were before her mother became ill. She wants to help but doesn’t know how; she’s afraid. This optimistic yet honest book beautifully catches Sarah’s sadness and confusion, celebrating, in text and art, a mother-daughter relationship that provides solace during difficult times.
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