First Lady Jane Beshear's Communications Office
First Lady Jane Beshear announces 2011 Fall Reading List

Press Release Date:  Wednesday, September 28, 2011  
Contact Information:  Parry Barrows

FRANKFORT, Ky.– In an effort to increase youth readership, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced her Top 10 Fall Reads as a part of the First Lady’s Reading Recommendations Initiative. 

“In this age of television, computers and cellphones, I can’t stress enough the importance of encouraging children and teens to expand their minds through reading,” said Mrs. Beshear.  “Delving in to a quality book develops a child’s imagination and critical thinking skills in a way that can’t be tapped through other mediums. Many of my selections this season feature mysteries and otherworldly characters to engage young minds as they curl up to read in the upcoming autumn months.”

Mrs. Beshear introduced the Reading Recommendations program in the summer of 2009 and issues reading lists four times per year.

2011 Fall Reading List

1.  “It's the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” by Charles M. Schulz  (Ages 4-8)  “Most people are familiar with this annual Halloween television special, but the book should also be a yearly read for any child anticipating this spooky holiday.  Each member of the familiar ‘Peanuts Gang’ takes an active role in this tale—from Snoopy’s flyer fight with the Red Baron to Lucy pleading for Charlie Brown to kick the football to Linus camping out in the pumpkin patch to sneak of peak of the infamous ‘Great Pumpkin.’”

2.  “The Hound of the Baskervilles” by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Ages 13 and up) “The well-known, cunning English detective Sherlock Holmes leaves his ever-faithful and resolute assistant Dr. Watson alone during most of this mystery adventure. Comprised of several mini-mysteries, the main secrecy to uncover in this story is who killed Sir Charles Baskerville. Could it have been the mythical dog notorious for taking out Baskerville descendents or perhaps another sly antagonist with hidden motives?”

3.  “The Little Old Lady Who Was Not Afraid of Anything” by Linda Williams (Ages 4-8)  “Perfect for both independent reading and telling aloud, this clever story uses onomatopoeia to bring to life a fearless older woman’s walk through the woods. During her autumn evening stroll, she encounters an array of objects that attempt to scare her but prove unsuccessful. When she makes it home at the end of the tale, the entity that knocks on her door provides an inevitable surprise.” 

4.  “Coraline” By Neil Gaiman (Ages 9-12) “This New York Times Bestselling novel features Coraline, a young girl who lives with her preoccupied parents in part of a huge old house.  As Coraline explores the house one rainy day, she finds a door that opens into an entirely alternate universe with unusual characters, including people that mirror the ones in her real life.”

5.  “Go Away Big Green Monster” by Ed Emberley (Ages birth – preschool)  “This Caldecott Medalist-winner features bold colors and clever graphics that are certain to stimulate infants’ and toddlers’ minds. With each turn of the page, a new feature of the monster’s face is revealed until the creature is fully unmasked and his scary characteristics then disappear one-by-one.” 

6.  “The Westing Game” by Ellen Raskin (Ages 9-12) “Filled with intrigue, wit and suspense—this novel involves an unlikely assortment of possible heirs who are invited to the reading of Samuel W. Westing's will.  Whoever solves Mr. Westing’s mysterious murder, will inherit his millions.”   

7.  “Who Came Down That Road?” By George Ella Lyon (Ages 4-8) “Kentucky-native author George Ella Lyon portrays a poetic lesson in history through this timeless tale.  A mother and child travel down an old pathway that spurs enlightenment about historic people and animals that include Civil War soldiers, early settlers, Shawnee Indians, buffalo and mammoths.”  

8.  “The Witches” by Roald Dahl (Ages 9-12) “This book tells a funny and inventive story about a young boy who discovers his grandmother’s tales about real-life witches are true.  In this world witches don’t fly on broomsticks or wear black hats—they dress in ordinary clothes, have every day jobs and are difficult to spot.  After the boy discovers the witches’ plot to turn all children in to mice, he teams up with his friend and somewhat-magical grandmother to expose and stop them.”

9.  “The Book Thief” by Markus Zusak (Ages 13 and up) “Set in Germany during World War II, this highly-touted New York Times Bestseller follows a young foster girl named Leisel as she collects stolen books and a unique set of friends.  The novel is narrated by Death, a strikingly unusual yet fitting choice, and explores the power of books and how words and language can truly nourish the soul.” 

10.  “Heckedy Peg” by Audrey and Don Wood (Ages 4-8) “Filled with enriching illustrations, this story tells of a group of brothers and sisters who are turned in to various types of food after being tricked by a witch named Heckedy Peg. When the mother returns home from the market with gifts for the children, she has to rescue them by guessing which type of food matches each gift. The children are each named after a different day of the week, providing an educational addition to this thoughtful tale.”