Two special Zoom sessions of Continued Sense of Wonder were held on Wednesday, 29th April 2020. Fifteen adults met to discuss books written for children and young adults that they found consoling, or which they could immerse themselves in, and help distract them, during lockdown.
" Reading is how I escape, but it’s also how I engage."
- Will Schwalbe Books for Living
I was impressed by the breadth of books consumed during lockdown, including a range of older classics through to the very latest novels for children and young adults, and, also with the variety of media used to consume these books. Participants in both Zoom sessions testified to the ways children's literature helped them to escape from the current situation but also, alternatively, helped them to think about it, and how certain stories resonated with them at this time.
Below is a list of the books discussed by the two groups. Some of the physical books we read, as they were in our homes when lockdown began, others we listened to, or read electronically, and some were adaptations we watched. Click on the titles below to find them in the library catalogue. I have also added some links to other titles about these writers and their books.
Alice in Wonderland Lewis Carroll
Various editions of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, first published in 1865, are available in a range of formats including print, e-books and e-audio. Additional information is included in Alice in Wonderland Decoded and the annotated Alice in Wonderlands. You will find books about Lewis Carroll and the real Alice in the Children's Literature Research (CLR) collection. Film adaptations are available on DVD. There are even reimagined Alice in Wonderlands, including Geronimo Stilton and Dora the Explorer versions.
Bad Girls Jacqueline Wilson
Available in print, e-book and e-audio formats. See review in NB May 2020.
Brilliant Roddy Doyle
Available in print, e-book and e-audio formats.
Deeplight Frances Hardinge
Flying Ace Jim Eldridge My Story series
Lenny's Book of Everything Karen Foxlee
Available in print, audiobook CDs, and e-books.
Nancy Drew Carolyn Keene
Many editions of various Nancy Drew stories are held by the library. Check out the Mystery collection (books with Blue Dots on the spine) or ask at the City Youth Information desk for an older edition from the Youth Stack. We learned that the 28th of April 2020 marked Nancy Drew's 90th Birthday.
The Secret Commonweath Philip Pullman
This is the second in Pullman's Book of Dust trilogy which bookends His Dark Materials series set in an alternative Oxford. The first Book of Dust La Belle Sauvage is the prequel, and Lyra's Oxford is an illustrated short story set after His Dark Materials, but before The Secret Commonwealth. These are available in print, and as audio-CDs, e-books and e-audio. There are also guidebooks to His Dark Materials and essays by Pullman on storytelling. His Dark Materials TV series is available for streaming via Neon.
Rotherweird Andrew Caldecott
This adult/young adult crossover fantasy series of three books: Rotherweird, Wyntertide and Lost Acre, is also set in an alternative England.
Molly Moon Georgia Byng
Six books make up this funny children's series about unloved orphan Molly Moon who hynotises her way to stardom. The first book, Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hynotism, is available as a DVD, and this movie is also available via Beamafilm (access with your library card).
The Story of the Treasure Seekers E. Nesbit
Available in print and as an e-book. First published in 1899, this is the first book of three about The Bastable family: it is followed by The Wouldbegoods and The New Treasure Seekers. Learn more about Nesbit in her autobiography written for children, Long Ago When I Was Young. Nesbit was an early advocate for the importance of play. See Wings and the Child; or, The Building of Magic Cities. There are also a couple of recent biographies of Edith Nesbit.
To Kill a Mockingbird Harper Lee
Read by generations of high school students, this 1960 novel is available in various formats including as a graphic novel. Also available as an e-book and the 1962 movie, starring Gregory Peck, is available as a DVD or via Beamafilm (access with your library card).
Animals at Lockwood Manor Jane Healey
This crossover adult/young adult novel is available in print, audiobook CDs, e-book and e-audio.
Belgariad and Malloreon series David Eddings
These two young adult series by Eddings are set within the Belgariad Universe.
Ella and the Ocean Lian Tanner, illustrated by Jonathan Bentley (On order for DPL)
The Field Guide to Drawing and Sketching Animals Tim Pond
Although the library does not yet contain this book, there are similar books at 743.6 in both the children's and adult non fiction collections.
Little Women Louisa May Alcott.
This novel celebrated its 150th birthday in 2019, being first published in two volumes in 1868 and 1869. There are many editions available in print, as an e-book, and e-audio. Different films and TV series adaptations are also available on DVD. You can also learn more about Alcott and her books in the CLR collection, including in March Sisters where four writers, including Jane Smiley, offer their personal reflections on this novel. Sometimes the sequel, Good Wives, is bound with Little Women. The story continues further with Little Men (1871) and Jo's Boys (1886).
Neverwhere Neil Gaiman
Another adult/young adult crossover novel. Listen to Neil Gaiman who is "Happily stuck in New Zealand ..."
Sydney and the Whalebird David Elliot
Learn more about local writer and illustrator David Elliot, and his books, on his website. Also download the dtour app from the Dunedin UNESCO City of Literature.
A Trio of Sophies Eileen Merriman
The Tulip Touch Anne Fine
#tumeke! Michael Petherick, illustrated by Paul Beavis