TAKE FLIGHT If you’ve never heard of it Jacqueline WoodsonI’m not sure I can help you. But I will try. She is such a prolific writer of fiction and poetry for young people and adults, a reader should be seriously committed to becoming a Woodson Completist. The company may need a spreadsheet, but it would be well worth the time. The author of “Red at the Bone”, “Another Brooklyn”, “Before the Ever After” and “Harbor Me” (among others) is the recipient of so many awards, prizes and accolades, some of her book covers have been almost completely overtaken by metal seals. (See “Brown Girl Dreaming,” with its National Book Award bling and the Newbery Honor and Coretta Scott King Book Award.) In short, Woodson is to the bestseller list what Norm Peterson was to “Cheers” — a beloved fixture.
Now she has a new title on her menu: “The Year We Learned to Fly,” which complements “The Day You Begin,” currently at number 10 in the picture book’s second week. Vividly illustrated by Rafael López, who makes a bolt of lightning look like a tree you might want to climb, Woodson’s story revolves around a pair of trapped siblings trying to entertain themselves during a season of endless rain. They wisely decide to follow their grandmother’s advice: ‘Raise your arms, close your eyes, take a deep breath and believe in something. Somewhere, at one point, someone was just as bored as you are now.” Imagination and family history become wings that lift these children out of the doldrums.
PAY IT FORWARD Another reliable presence in the bestselling world, Elizabeth George is back with “Something to Hide,” which enters the hardcover fiction list at number 3. Not only did George publish her latest Inspector Lynley mystery last week, her foundation announced a round of grants for poets, emerging playwrights, short story writers, unpublished novelists and organizations that benefit underprivileged children, particularly in the field of of art. “I’ve always been an advocate of both giving and giving back and I founded the Elizabeth George Foundation to do both,” George writes on her website. “I wanted to give aspiring writers the opportunity to see if they could develop the discipline needed to complete a writing project over a year where they would receive full financial support, and I also wanted to return to the world of reading and readers something I had taken out of it for a long time: the pleasure of sitting down with a book.”