First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear announces Top 10 Autumn Reads

Press Release Date:  Friday, October 23, 2009  
Contact Information:  Sarah Baird

Frankfort, Ky. – As the leaves begin to fall and thoughts turn towards finding excitement for families indoors, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced her Top 10 Autumn Reads at Paul Sawyier Public Library as part of the First Lady’s Reading Recommendations initiative and State Friends of Libraries Week.

“Reading is the primary vehicle on the road to success,” said Mrs. Beshear. “Students who love reading and love learning are more likely to be engaged in the classrooms. Children who are eager to go to school have higher test scores, stronger retention rates and are more likely to go on to explore post-secondary education. These books will help students at all levels foster a love of the written word."

Fall 2009 Reading List

1. Harper Lee: To Kill a Mockingbird (Ages: 12-18)
"This book is a classic for a reason: the lessons contained in its pages are as applicable and important today as when Ms. Lee penned the words. This is a great book for families to read and discuss together. Plus, the author's nephew is a Kentucky resident!"

2. Suzanne Collins: The Hunger Games (Ages: 12-16)
"A fascinating and action-packed Scholastic book series, The Hunger Games is great for any student with an active imagination and keen interest in futuristic tales. The strong female lead character is also a fantastic role model for young girls."

3. Calef Brown: Polkabats and Octopus Slacks: 14 Stories (All Ages)
"This book of nonsense poems with an out-of-the-ordinary, jazzy tempo is guaranteed to be whimsical fun for children and adults alike!"

4. Marguerite Henry: Misty of Chincoteague (Ages: 6-12)
"This Newbery Honor Book tells the story of the relationship between a family and a strong-willed, wild pony. This book is sure to please horse-lovers, or any child who has ever cared for an animal!"

5. Marjorie Priceman: How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World  (ages: Birth-5)
"I was deeply saddened earlier this fall when Reading Rainbow aired its final show after decades of inspiring children to crack open a book. This book was featured on a recent episode about our increasingly global society. A cook travels around the world to gather the ingredients for making an apple pie--from Asia to Europe and beyond."

6. Frank Asch: The Earth and I  (Ages: 4-8)
"When I started the First Lady's Green Team, I wanted to make sure that teaching sustainability and environmental responsibility starts as soon as possible. This book is a great way to introduce children to nature and their role in helping preserve it."

7.  Azar Nafisi: Reading Lolita in Tehran: A Memoir in Books  (Ages: 15-18)
"A powerful and thought-provoking memoir of an Iranian teacher's efforts to lead seven of her best female students in a weekly study of great--but illegal--Western literature in her home."

8. John Steinbeck: Travels with Charley: In Search of America (Age: 14-18)
“Most high school students read the Steinbeck classic The Grapes of Wrath, but don’t have the chance to explore his other, diverse works. Travels with Charley is a non-fiction account of a road trip across America that’s sure to get any student looking for new ways to explore.”

9.  Lois Ehlert: Red Leaf, Yellow Leaf (Ages: Birth-5)
"With interactive tips on planting and raising a tree, this book combines watercolor and collage in an examination of the life of a sugar maple tree from the point of view of a young child."

10.  William Pene du Bois: The Twenty-One Balloons (Ages: 8-13)
"With gorgeous illustrations to accompany a tale grounded in both science and fantasy, this story of a bumbling school teacher’s misadventures leads him to an island of excitement."