Knock Down Your Reading Walls
Hello, Swoon Readers!
We all have our own reading habits, genres or topics or types of characters that we love reading about over and over again. For me, its magic—looking back over my “Read” shelf on Goodreads, almost 90% of the books I’ve read in the last year have involved some form of magic. Whether it’s bad boy romances or time-traveling sci-fi or magical high fantasy, it’s easy to find something you like and stick with it. This month, however, we’re asking you to go outside your comfort zone, just a little bit, and join us in the Reading Without Walls Month Challenge!
This campaign, started by Gene Luen Yang, a Macmillan author and the current National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature, issues a simple challenge: Read a book you might not normally read. The criteria are as follows:
• Read a book about a character that doesn’t look like you or live like you
• Read a book about a topic you don’t know much about
• Read a book in a format you don’t normally read for fun (a graphic novel, a book in verse, etc.)
We hope you’ll join us in trying to read something a little different this month! And once you’ve completed the challenge, use #ReadingWithoutWallsMonth to challenge your friends on social media!
Here are some suggestions to get you started!
When the Moon Was Ours by Anna-Marie McLemore
This is a spellbinding tale that follows
best friends Miel (a girl who has roses growing out of her wrist) and Sam (a
boy who paints moons and hangs them around town) as they struggle against the
Bonner girls (four sisters that everyone believes are witches), who covet
Miel’s roses for their rumored ability to make boys fall in love. Written in luscious
prose, this book will quickly earn a permanent spot on your bookshelf.
Pick this one if you’re looking for diverse characters (LGBTQ, Pakistani American, and Latinx) or if you want to try reading magical realism!
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
In this book, three seemingly-unrelated plot lines following Jin Wang (a new student who soon realizes he’s the only Chines American kid in his whole school), the Monkey King (a powerful hero from one of the greatest Chinese fables), and Danny (whose cousin, Chin-Kee, the epitome of the negative Chinese stereotype, comes to visit and subsequently ruins his life) come together unexpectedly to create a poignant, and often hilarious, story about the Chinese American experience.
Pick this one if you’re looking for diverse characters (Chinese American) or if you want to try reading a graphic novel!
This is an incredible series that covers a bunch of science topics from dinosaurs to coral reefs. Beautifully illustrated, endlessly entertaining, and deceptively informative, these comics do a great job of giving you a thorough introduction to the topic of your choice! This is an on-going series that will cover a wide variety of topics, from animals, to machines, to natural processes, so there will always be a reason to come back for more.
Pick one of these if you want to learn about a new topic or if you want to read a graphic novel!
Every Heart a Doorway by Seanan McGuire
We all know about the stories about children that disappear into other worlds, be it through rabbit holes or wardrobes or twisters. But what happens when the adventures over, and the children have to return home? This book follows Nancy, a girl who has newly returned from her own magical adventure and is having trouble coping with the real world. She is sent to Eleanor West’s Home for Wayward Children, a place where children like Nancy can start process what has happened to them and try to find their way to a normal life. But soon after Nancy’s arrival, a tragedy occurs, and it’s up to the kids to find out what’s really going on. . .
Pick this one if you’re looking for diverse characters (LGBTQ, characters of color) or if you want to try reading a fantasy novel!
Killer of Enemies by Joseph Bruchac
In a post-apocalyptic world, after a mysterious event that destroyed the advanced technology on which society depended, teenage Apache hunter Lozen is doing whatever it takes to keep her family safe in a world run by sadists and psychopaths. She has become the Killer of Enemies, using her survival skills to hunt the various genetically enhanced monsters that roam the countryside, at the behest of her cruel captors, the Ones. If she doesn’t, her family will be killed. But Lozen is planning an escape . . .
Pick this one if you’re looking for diverse characters (Native American) or if you’ve never read a dystopian novel!
Primates by Jim Ottaviani
This book details the careers and discoveries of three of the greatest primatologists in recent history: Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey, and Biruté Galdikas. All remarkable scientists, these three women made deeply impactful contributions to the study of our closest relatives and, in the process, taught us a little bit more about ourselves. A perfect read for Earth Day as we celebrate the natural world and the sciences that help us to understand it!
Pick this one if you want to learn about a new topic or if you want to read a graphic novel!
Queens of Geek by Jen Wilde
Swoon fans may know about this one already, but with a cover like that, I couldn’t resist! This book follows best friends Charlie, Taylor, and Jamie as they head to SupaCon. As Charlie tries to show her vlog fans that she’s over her ex and discovers her long-time crush of Alyssa Huntington might in fact be requited, Taylor, whose anxiety makes change extra-terrifying, decides to take a chance when she hears about the Queen Firestone SupaFan Contest.
Pick this one if you’re looking for diverse characters (LGBTQ, neuro-atypical, characters of color) or if you’ve never been to a Con before!
Every Day by David Levithan
This book is a little hard to explain, but trust me, it’s 100% worth the read. The story follows A, who wakes up every day in a different body. A doesn’t know how or why, but every day, he somehow “borrows” someone else’s life—there’s no telling who it will be—and he does everything he can to keep disruptions to a minimum. No getting attached, no interfering. After all, he’s just a visitor. Until one morning A wakes up in the body of Rhiannon’s boyfriend Justin and, after swiftly falling for Rhiannon, A doesn’t want to just be a visitor in someone else’s life anymore.
Pick this one if you’re looking for diverse characters (characters of color)!
So what do you think, Swoon Readers? Are you up to the challenge?