First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear Announces Top 10 Spring Reads

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, March 24, 2010  
Contact Information:  Sarah Baird

FRANKFORT, Ky. – When the first sprouts of green peek through the earth and winter’s chill is shaken off, thoughts often turn towards ways in which families can “spring forward” into new goals for the warmer months. In an effort to encourage reading as one of those springtime goals, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced her Top 10 Spring Reads as part of the First Lady’s Reading Recommendations initiative.

“With the longer days and sunny weather of springtime just around the corner, children can get a jumpstart on outdoor adventures through reading,” said Mrs. Beshear. “Whether diving into an action novel or enjoying a book of poetry aloud, reading brings families together and lays a foundation for a lifetime love of literature.”

  1. Miss Rumphius, Barbara Cooney (Ages: 4-8)
    Thoughts in spring often turn to travel and exploration. The winner of a Caldecott Award, this tale follows one extraordinary woman’s off-the-beaten path quests to faraway lands and her dream to make life—and the world—a more remarkable place.
  2. Jayber Crow, Wendell Berry (Ages: 15-18)
    Mr. Berry is one of the Kentucky’s greatest living residents, and his contributions to literature cannot be understated. An advocate for nature, agrarianism and preservation, his gift for the written word spans the breadth of poetry, prose and non-fiction. Jayber Crow, part of his Port William fiction collection, continues to paint the portrait of a Kentucky community with humor and thoughtful reverence.
  3. Poems of A. Nonny Mouse, Jack Prelutsky (Ages: Birth-5)
    Wacky limericks, quirky rhymes and zany chants make this book of poems—complete with electrifying, outlandish illustrations—a pleasure to read and even more fun to share aloud!
  4. Alice in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll (Ages: 8-12)
    This classic tale has captivated readers for generations. Brimming over with magic and frivolity, readers join Alice for the Mad Hatter's tea party to the Red Queen’s croquet match and beyond.
  5. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, Junot Diaz (Ages: 15-18)
    This Pulitzer Prize winning novel blends comic book allusions, science fiction and pop culture jargon with traditional Caribbean folklore and historical flashbacks while following the life of a Dominican-American boy and his contemporary struggles with cultural identity, integration and family.
  6. The Gardener, Sarah Stewart (Ages: 4-8)
    When a young girl moves to the city and brings a suitcase full of seeds with her, the garden she creates both delights and transforms a neighborhood! The book is a great way to inspire children to grow their first plants.
  7. Drinking Coffee Elsewhere, ZZ Packer (Ages: 15-18)
    A native of Louisville, Ms. Packer’s collection of eight short stories touch on issues of race, gender and youth in the 21st Century with a gutsy honesty and poignancy that is both heartfelt and clear spoken.
  8. Lawn to Lawn, Dan Yaccarino (Ages: Birth-5)
    What happens when four lawn ornaments—a pink flamingo, jockey, troll and deer—are left behind after a move? This fanciful, illustrated tale follows their twisting and turning cross-country adventure to reunite with their family.
  9. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie (Ages: 11-15)
    A moving, semi-autobiographical account of a Spokane Indian teenager’s attempts to cope with the struggles of poverty, his reservation community and adolescence through humor, art and an unwavering resilient spirit.
  10. Rainbow Fish, Marcus Pfister (Ages: Birth-5)
    What better way to observe the return of springtime colors that this celebrated bold, enchanting tale of individuality?