of the Center for Children's Books
|The Bulletin Dozen is a monthly theme-based booklist available
as an online-only Bulletin feature. Since we're awfully fond of bakers
here at the Bulletin, we thought we'd adopt their philosophy of generosity
and throw in an extra one or two when we have them to offer--so don't expect
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Losing: The Lost and the Losses
--selected by Kate McDowell
I remember the first time I finished a book and instantly started reading
it from the beginning again. The book was Katherine Paterson's Bridge
to Terabithia, and I was so stunned by the truthful depiction of a
loss, so overwhelmed by the palpably complex emotional world of losing
a best friend, that I immediately wanted to plunge back in, tears and
all, to try and sort out my intense feelings about the fictional loss.
While not all of the books on this list have the unforgettable impact
of Paterson's classic, they all deal with losses on one scale or another,
ranging from the loss of a pet mouse to the tragic wartime loss of home,
country, and innocence. Among these titles are many stories of healing
from loss by doing what is both necessary and difficult: letting go and
moving on. We hope you enjoy this list of books about losing, getting
lost, and cutting your losses.
--Kate McDowell, Reviewer
- Bagdasarian, Adam. Forgotten Fire. Kroupa/DK Ink, 2000 Gr. 7-12
Based on the events of the 1915 Armenian Massacre, the story of Vahan's young
life is full of losses; he loses his home, his entire family (one member at
a time) and his identity, all too systematic ethnic majority/minority
- Cormier, Robert. The Rag and Bone Shop. Delacorte, 2001 Gr. 7-12
Twelve-year-old Jason fears that he is losing his mind when expert investigator
Trent questions him accusingly about the murder of Jason's seven-year-old
neighbor, Alicia. (BCCB 12/01)
- Fleischman, Paul. Seek. Marcato/Cricket, 2001 Gr. 6-10
Rob lost his father before he was born, when his disc jockey dad ran out on
Rob's pregnant mom. Now he is looking for clues to his father's life by poring
over tapes of his father's old radio show and trying to find him via shortwave
radio. (BCCB 11/01)
- Fraustino, Lisa Rowe. The Hickory Chair. Illus. by Benny Andrews.
Levine/Scholastic, 2001 4-8 yrs
Louis, blind since birth, remembers with fondness the grandmother he lost
many years ago who always used to leave little notes for her family. Then
Louis's own grandchild finds an old note written in the grandmother's hand
that has remained hidden in Louis's favorite chair all these years: "For my
favorite youngest grandchild with blind sight." (BCCB 04/01)
- Goodall, Jane. The Chimpanzees I Love: Saving Their World and Ours.
Illus. with photographs. Preiss/Scholastic, 2001 Gr. 3-6
Although much habitat for Goodall's beloved chimpanzees has already been lost,
there is still much to be saved, and Goodall offers young people inspiration
for following in her footsteps and preventing further losses of our natural
world. (BCCB 2/02)
- Harris, Robie H. Goodbye Mousie. Illus. by Jan Ormerod. McElderry,
2001 3-6 yrs
A young boy's beloved mouse dies, and he grieves for the loss as he begins
to understand the permanence of death. Although his feelings are intense,
his recovery is reasonably swift, and in the end the boy contemplates the
possibility of having another pet someday. (BCCB 10/01)
- Howe, James. The Color of Absence: 12 Stories about Loss and Hope.
Simon, 2001 Gr. 7-12
In this collection of stories, Howe shows young people dealing with different
kinds of loss. The stories present various perspectives on how to live through
the inevitable losses that people must eventually face. (BCCB 12/01)
- Jacobsen, Ruth. Rescued Images. Written and illus. by Ruth Jacobsen.
Mikaya, 2001 Gr. 6 up
In this memoir, Jacobsen recounts life as a child in hiding during World War
II, during which she was shuffled from house to house and family to family
until she had lost almost all sense of her own identity. (BCCB 2/02)
- Littke, Lael. Lake of Secrets. Holt, 2002 Gr. 6-9
"Carlene Carter has lived her life in the shadow of Keith, her 'lost brother,'
who disappeared when he was only four (three years before Carlene was even
born)." Carlene's mother is convinced that Keith is alive somewhere, and she
moves the family back to the Lake Isadora, where Keith is thought to have
drowned, to prove that he is not dead. (BCCB 4/02)
- Nye, Naomi Shihab. What Have You Lost? Greenwillow, 1999 Gr. 7-12
Although there are some familiar names represented in this outstanding poetry
collection, Nye also includes lesser-known poets from all over the world,
many of them students in her poetry workshops, in this richly varied assortment
of poems about loss. (BCCB 3/99)
- Shreve, Susan. Blister. Levine/Scholastic, 2001 Gr. 5-8
Alyssa Reed's sister was stillborn, and she and her family are devastated
by the loss of the life that they hoped to see grow. She and her mother move
to a new apartment, her father moves out, and Alyssa renames herself with
a name suited to her rage about the lost security of her former life: Blister.
- Walker, Sally M. Fossil Fish Found Alive: Discovering the Coelacanth.
Illus. with photographs. Carolrhoda, 2002 Gr. 4-9
Sometimes things that are thought to be lost can be found again. That is the
case with the mysterious fish called the coelacanth, which was thought to
be long extinct, until a specimen turned up in South Africa and opened the
curtains on an international scientific drama. (BCCB 4/02)
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This page was last updated on September 1, 2002.