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Posts Tagged ‘1980s’

I can’t say how many times I’ve read these books.  Tamora Pierce’s work deserves pride of place in the canon of modern, strong-girl fantasy adventure (if that’s a genre).  Alanna pretends to be her brother, so she can go train as a knight and he can go train as a magic-user.  From there, you can probably predict the plot, identity twists and all.  Predictable though it may be, this series is also engaging, funny, and exciting.  Alanna and her friends are great characters, and this series has been continued with, to date, four other series in the same universe.

Author: Tamora Pierce

Order: Alanna: The First Adventure; In the Hand of the Goddess; The Woman Who Rides Like a Man; Lioness Rampant

Tortall Series: Song of the LionessImmortals; Protector of the Small; TricksterBeka Cooper

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Title: A Gathering of Days

Author: Joan Blos

Newbery 1980

A very interesting slice-of-life look at New England in the 1830s.  Even though it was written in the 1970s, it is pretty historically accurate (to my untutored mind at least) – dealing with distances, snow, and the isolation of a community in New Hampshire.  The characters are believable, and the story is wonderfully understated.  While there are major events in this book, they happen in and among normal and small events – just like real life.  The book covers somewhat less than two years, and you are left wanting to know more about this girl’s life after the diary ends.

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Title: Joyful Noise: Poems for Two Voices

Author: Paul Fleischman

Newbery 1989

Having got it out of the library originally, I actually went and bought a copy of this book.  I love it!  The concept of poems written to be read by two people simultaneously is really cool, the poems are so much fun to read aloud, and the illustrations are beautiful – anthropomorphized insects that manage to be still buggy and not too cute.  Some of the poems are quite a challenge to read aloud – you need good rhythm, some practice, and a sense of humor.  He did two other books of poems for two voices, and I want them, too.

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The Hero and the CrownTitle: The Hero and the Crown

Author: Robin McKinley

Newbery 1985

Again, I remembered loving this book, but absolutely nothing about the plot or characters.  What a pleasurable re-read.  I’ve been a fan of McKinley’s for a long time, and this is a good one.  A truly classic fantasy novel, drawing on all the canon rules, this book still manages not to seem formulaic or cut-and-dried.  I think she drew from multiple canons, so that it would blend into something new.  It’s got an ignored princess, dragons, and an evil uncle, but at least the main character comes into her own without clichéd ‘you can do it’ speeches from her supporters.

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