Hello! Welcome to “Lacey Recommends,” a monthly column updating you on some of the latest and greatest books being published for girls. Since I’m posting this column on Valentine’s Day, this month’s theme is … love!
We use the word “love” for SO many different feelings. You might say you love pizza, or that you love your mom, or that you love life. Not to mention the exciting feeling of having a crush. Did you know that in other languages, there are separate words for different types of love? For example, in Greek there are three words: Philia is the kind of love you feel for siblings or friends, while Eros is romantic love and Agape is a selfless love of all people. This Valentine’s Day, you can find lots to read no matter what kind of love you’re in!
Philia – Love of Friends
- In Wish Girl by Nikki Loftin, Peter doesn’t feel like he fits in with his outgoing family. When they move to a new city, he meets a “make-a-wish-girl” who is about to begin dangerous treatment for her cancer that could leave her brain damaged. Together, the friends plan to escape to a valley they believe is magical and make their own wishes come true.
- The Jack & Louisa series by Andrew Keenan-Bolger and Kate Wetherhead features the dual perspectives of Kate, a musical theater nerd, and Jack, a former child actor. Jack wants to leave his performing days behind him, but Kate’s insistence that he audition for the school musical may foil his plans. You can follow Jack and Louisa’s developing friendship through three musical theater adventures in Acts 1, 2, and 3 — all separate books.
Eros – Romantic Love
- You may have had your first exposure to “romantic love” through love stories in fairy tales you heard or saw on TV when you were little. Whether you loved or hated the fairy tales, you might be interested in the new spin graphic novelist Ursula Vernon gives them in her Hamster Princess series. In book one, Harriet the Invincible, Princess Harriet is convinced that she won’t give in to a silly curse that says she’ll fall into a deep sleep at age 12. And inOf Mice and Magic, Harriet tackles another curse — this one on 12 mice that can’t stop themselves from dancing all night long. Spunky Harriet is not your typical fairy tale princess!
- Have you ever had to go through changes because one of your parents fell in love with someone new? In The Secrets of Blueberries, Brothers, Moose & Me, Missy and her older brother sign on to work at a berry farm over the summer, which Missy sees as a good distraction from her dad’s upcoming remarriage. Throughout the summer, she learns how to make her family feel whole again.
- Roses are Red, Violets are Blue … you have probably heard this and lots of other “love poems.” Maybe you’ve even written a few! Edna St. Vincent Millay was known as “America’s greatest love poet,” but that’s not all she was. She was the first woman to win the Pulitzer Prize for poetry and an anti-war activist. You can learn more about this real-life heroine in A Girl Called Vincent: The Life of Poet Edna St. Vincent Millay by Krystyna Poray Goddu.
Agape – Love for All
- History is full of stories about women whose love for people they didn’t even know changed hundreds or even thousands of lives. During World War II, Irena Sendler helped save 2,500 Jewish children from the Holocaust. You can read her story in Jars of Hope by Jennifer Roy. Meg Owenson’s illustrations will make you feel like you are right there beside Irena as she evades the Nazis and rescues children.
- You can find a more recent example of world-changing love in Malala Yousafzai’s story. Malala was shot by Taliban agents for her activism for girls’ education in Afghanistan. She survived and is still fighting for the rights of girls and women. You can learn more in the illustrated For the Right to Learn by Rebecca Langston-George, or Every Day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney, which includes photographs of real girls around the world who dream of a better tomorrow.
And if your favorite part of Valentine’s Day is the candy and frosted sugar cookies, check out The Baking Life of Amelie Day by Vanessa Curtis, which is about a girl with cystic fibrosis who is committed to winning the Best Teen of the Year competition despite her illness. This book includes some of Amelie’s recipes, too — yum!
Now I want to hear from you! What are your favorite love stories? Have you read any of the recommendations listed above? Let me know in the comments!
Lacey Louwagie is an adult writer and editor who got her first editing job with New Moon Girls in 2002. She is currently a reporter for a legal news organization, which means she reads a lot of lawsuits! She has also been a teen services librarian and coordinates book-related goodies for New Moon Girls. She is the author of “Rumpled,” a retelling of Rumpelstiltskin for ages 14 and up, and the co-editor of “Hungering & Thirsting for Justice: True Stories from Young Adult Catholics.”