5 reasons to read Lilliput on your vacation

by author Suzanne Slade

I’m obsessed with nonfiction books. I like to read thick, technical science books for fun. I read piles of children’s nonfiction picture books to keep abreast of what’s on the market (and because I love them!) On the rare occasion when I do read fiction, it’s a refreshing treat, and I’m pleased to share a new fiction gem I enjoyed while on vacation this summer—Lilliput.

Lilliput cover

To become my official vacation read, Lilliput first had to earn a place in my suitcase. (Sidenote: After years of intensive training, my husband has converted me to a “ultra-light” packer, so this means there was room for only one book in my small bag.) The night before I was to leave on my trip I hadn’t selected a book yet; there were several on my nightstand I’d been wanting to read. I made the executive decision to read the first chapter of each to determine which one was worthy of the trip. Well, the first chapter of Lilliput (only seven pages) hooked me immediately, and it won the spot in my bag.

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  1. The book was so compelling I finished it long before I returned home from vacation. I love how the main character, Lily, is a great role model for young readers with her unwavering determination and kind nature, despite the constant challenges she faces while trying to make her way back home to Lilliput.
  2. Lilly2The giant villain, Lemuel Gulliver, who kidnapped Lily and held her hostage for proof of his discoveries, supplied wonderful humor—with just the right amount of evil. I enjoyed how the author developed this character, and found myself feeling a tad empathetic toward the giant as I learned of his hopes and disappointments.
  3. Then there’s Finn, the hero, who was trapped by a unique prison of his own, yet he looked beyond his dire circumstances and bravely helped Lily escape.
  4. lily3To top it all off, the illustrations by Alice Ratterree are outstanding! The details she included are incredible, and her lovely action-filled pictures have heart.
  5. In the book’s Afterword, the author, Sam Gayton, shares his initial hesitation to write a story based on characters from Jonathan Swift’s classic tale, Gulliver’s Travels, due to concerns about copyright infringement. He relates a charming family anecdote about how his mom allayed his copyright fears when she declared (with a mouth full of dry scone crumbs), “Miffs fin rer fubric fromay.” Translation—“Gulliver’s Travels is in the public domain.”

If you’re looking for a great read to finish off your summer vacation, especially before heading back to school, Lilliput is the perfect choice. This fresh, daring story about a small girl’s quest for big things—freedom, friendship, and family—is truly magical.

Suzanne Slade is the award-winning author of 100 children’s books. Most days you’ll find her researching new book ideas, reading, writing children’s books, or visiting a school near you!

5 reasons to read Lilliput on your vacation

#Fridayreads: Kiki’s book club gives us recommendations

Let’s take a trip to Kiki’s book club! Kiki, who always has a fun story to share, is Albert Whitman’s Purchasing Assistant. Take it away, Kiki!

I’m a part of a lovely book club. We catch up, have some coffee, and discuss a variety of genres of books. I’ve been a part of it for a number of years. It’s honestly one of the best parts of my week! Below I’ve listed several titles we’ve recently read as a group, as well as some books I intend to read with the book club.

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The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing by Marie Kondo is an international bestseller with over 2 million copies sold since October 2014. I haven’t finished it quite yet, but here are some tips that especially resonated with me:

  • When you put your house in order, you put your affairs in order, too.
  • All you need to do is look at each item, one at a time, and decide whether or not to keep it and where to put it.
  • The key to success in tidying is to keep only those items that bring you joy. “Does this spark joy?”

If the answer to the above question is ‘no’ then you discard the item. I intend to employ the KonMari method during my spring clean this year. If used correctly, the KonMari method will make this my last attempt at tidying up. “By successfully concluding this once-in-a-lifetime task” all subsequent acts of tidying will only be putting items back to where they belong. She outlines a specific order to tidying and discarding. I am looking forward to my tidy house that she had me visualize in Chapter 2. Thanks Marie!

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Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill was selected as one of the New York Times Book Review’s 10 Best Books of 2014. As a short read –less than 200 pages—it has a fragmented style that keeps the reader on her toes. It is about marriage & motherhood and the loneliness & the disappointment that comes with both. My book club had a lively discussion of this book. This is the perfect book to read twice, expect to pick up on themes and other passages not noticed the first time around.

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Yes Please by Amy Poehler was neither critically acclaimed nor on any ‘Best of’ lists. However, it had funny stories and felt, at points, real to me. A bit scattered, all in all it was a good book to escape to after a long day. The book was neither frivolous nor too serious. I definitely recommend this one.

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The books I intend to read next are: The Martian, Deep Down Dark and Girl on the Train, which are the next three book club selections. My choice for the group was Girl on the Train since it kept popping up as a recommendation time and time again. We choose these three in particular so we can read ahead or get on the looong waiting list at the Chicago Public Library (101st on the waiting list of Deep, Down Dark).

#Fridayreads: Kiki’s book club gives us recommendations

Summer Reading

With temperatures soaring near 100, you’d think our summer reading would be nice and light, but with a reading list that ranges from global pollution and terrorism to the dark wit of Sedaris and a family “tragicomic,” it seems that we missed that memo.   Without any further ado, here is what are reading for the remaining 62 days of summer, at least while we’re not reading picture books.

(Abby, Editorial): The Imperfectionist, Tom Rachman and The Mysterious Benedict Society, Trenton Lee Stewart

(Heather, Customer Service): The Book Thief, Markus Zusak…and I’m actually reading two chapters a night of The Boxcar Children (#1) to my kids.  Not a fake endorsement; they are loving it!

(Kristie, Digital & International) The Story of Stuff: How our Obsession with Stuff is Trashing the Planet, Annie Leonard and the Chinese language book We Are All Travelers, Ong Yi Hing

(Michelle, Marketing) Island Beneath the Sea, Isabel Allende and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest, Steig Larsson

(Nick, Art): The Hour I First Believed, Wally Lamb and Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim, David Sedaris

(Rachel, Editorial Intern) Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic, Alison Bechdel

(Rata, International Intern): The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, Mark Haddon

(Sue, Customer Service) The Lost Symbol, Dan Brown and One Thousand White Women, Jim Fergus

(Wendy, Editorial) American Subversive, David Goodwillie

When I’m not tending to the Albert Whitman blog, I am wading through Marcel Proust’s In Search of Lost Time, looking for literature’s longest sentence.  What writers do for an MFA!

Summer Reading