Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Books That Are Real Animals

Here's today's Holiday Break Reading Challenge:

Think back on all the books you've read dealing with animals. What are your favorites. You can choose one or more than one. It doesn't matter to me. BUT, please make these REAL animals. No werewolves or other fantastical creatures.

1. On your blog, list the book cover(s) with author information.
2. Use Mr. Linky to link back to the Holiday Break Reading Challenge blog.

So, I have to admit that I'm not super excited about reading books about animals. But, I love animals, especially dogs and monkeys and owls. I mean, that's weird, right? But, there are some books that feature animals that are in my tippity top of favorite books. They are:

There is no book more heartbreaking than Life of Pi by Yann Martel. It is one of the best books ever written. As I was reading it, a dear friend told me not to read past a certain point in the book, to just put it down after that page and walk away. I realized after I read the entire book that she was trying to save me from the horrors of the world, from the darkness sometimes exists in humanity. Better to stay with the animals. She was right, but I'm glad I read it anyway.

Like Life of Pi, books with animals as main characters sometimes seem to allow readers to travel places and see the world and history from a new vantage point. Two of my all-time favorite graphic novels use animals to help readers understand important historical events with actual people removed. Somehow, this leads to an even more powerful tale. They are:

Maus by Art Spiegelman and Pride of Baghadad by Brian Vaughan. I'm planning to teach Pride of Baghdad this year for the first time. Maus is one that I have yet to teach, but plan to someday. I think that both of these graphic novels are brilliant pieces of literature, despite their animal pro and antagonists and their seeming lack of verbiage. If you have not yet read these books, you need to!


Anonymous said...

I love Brian Vaughn's RUNAWAY Graphic Novel. Thanks for posting.

Cathy (Minding the Middle) said...

I forgot about Maus, but loved it.