FRANKFORT, Ky. – In an effort to increase youth readership, First Lady Jane Beshear today announced her Top 10 Fall Reading as a part of the First Lady’s Reading Recommendations Initiative.  The theme of the 2012 autumnal list is Thanksgiving.

“The Thanksgiving holiday is a time for reflection, celebration and gratitude,” said Mrs. Beshear.  “It is an excellent opportunity to teach students lessons of cooperation and how to respect the environment.  Many of my selections on this list highlight Native American culture and emphasize the art of storytelling and the importance of nature in our lives.”

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

2012 Fall Reading List

  1. “Brother Eagle, Sister Sky” by Susan Jeffers (Ages 4 – 8) – “The story is an adaptation of a speech delivered by Chief Seattle at treaty negotiations in the 1850s.  The chief’s message of embracing nature and respecting the land are especially relevant in today’s culture.  This story’s eloquent and imaginative words are paired with emotive color drawings that will help instill the importance of environmental consciousness in young readers.”
  2. “The Last of the Mohicans” by James Fenimore Cooper (Ages 12 & up) – “First published in 1826, this classic novel is an outstanding fictional depiction of the early American frontier.  Set during the French and Indian War, the story follows a white woodsman named Hawk-eye and his Mohican Indian comrade Chingachgook, as they join forces to help the daughters of a white military officer travel through hostile territory in upstate New York.”
  3. “Corn is Maize” by Aliki (Ages 4 – 8) – “In this story, the author gives a simple description of how corn was discovered and used by the Indians, and how it came to be an important food throughout the world.  This book combines science and history through words and colorful illustrations that will not only entertain young readers, but also help them learn.”
  4. “Ten Little Rabbits” by Virginia Grossman (Ages 1 & up) – “This spirited book celebrates Native American traditions of weaving, dancing and storytelling as it teaches very young readers how to count from one to ten.  The detailed, vivid illustrations of the rabbits and their blankets are truly eye-catching and the simple, rhyming text helps expound the numerical lesson.”
  5. “If You Were At The First Thanksgiving” by Anne Kamma (Ages 6 – 10) – “Told from a child’s viewpoint, this book portrays what it was like to be a part of the first Thanksgiving day.  It tells how the Native Americans and Pilgrims came together for the historic harvest celebration and offers an account of what it was like to live in America in the 1620’s.”
  6. “The Journal of Jasper Jonathan Pierce: A Pilgrim Boy, Plymouth, 1620” by Ann Rinaldi (Ages 9 - 12) – “Jasper Pierce is a young Puritan boy who travels on from England to America on the Mayflower.  This story is an account of Jasper’s distinctive experiences on the boat and his first year in the ‘New World.’  This book puts an inventive, historical twist on a classic coming of age story.”
  7. “Arrow to the Sun” by Gerald Dermott (Ages 3 – 6) – “This Caldecott Medal book is filled with bold and stunning pictures that capture the spirit of Pueblo Art.  The story expresses the classic tale of hero’s quest and depicts Native Americans’ respect for the sun and life.”
  8. “Arilla Sun Down” by Virgina Hamilton (Grades 9 - 12) – “This young adult novel follows 12-year-old Arilla Adams on her journey to discover and understand who she it.  Arilla is used to standing in her older, successful and talented brother’s shadow.  Like her brother, Arilla is part Native American and part African American, but unlike her brother, she struggles to find her place in the world.  I know many adolescent readers will identify with Arilla and her path to self-discovery.”
  9. “One Little, Two Little, Three Little Pilgrims” by B.G. Hennessey (Ages 2 – 5) – “This story follows 10 young pilgrims and 10 young Wampanoag children as they hunt and gather food for Thanksgiving dinner.  When they all come together for dinner, everyone gives thanks, eats and celebrates.  The rhythmic text paired with vibrant autumn colors will keep very young readers engaged with this Thanksgiving tale.”
  10. “The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush” by Tomie dePaola (Ages 4 – 8) – “Filled with beautiful and vivid illustrations, this book describes the spirited legend of a young artist and how the sunset came to be colorful. The story’s protagonist is a young boy named Gopher who is not skilled enough to be a warrior in his tribe, but becomes a talented artist.  He learns to use the resources and environment around him to recreate the magnificent colors of the sunset in his work.”




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