Librarian: Thad Gembczynski, youth librarian, Deborah Rawson Memorial Library, Jericho
Book: Road Trip by Gary and Jim Paulsen
Age range: 11 and up
Gembczynski's summary: Three-time Newbery Honor Award-winner Gary Paulsen and his son, Jim, wrote Road Trip through a series of emails to each other. Their editor tied the exchanges together into this fast-paced, humorous story about a father-son relationship.
The story follows 14- year-old Ben, who's on the outs with his overzealous father. Both love dogs, so his dad plans an epic trip to rescue a border collie pup and make amends. Their journey starts at 5:17 a.m. on the first day of summer vacation. It includes their old dog, Atticus, who shares his wise, summarizing thoughts at the end of every chapter, as well as Ben's "hoodlum" friend Theo. Later, they're joined by Gus, a cranky mechanic with a well-oiled yellow school bus, and Mia, an aura-reading waitress.
Why I liked it: Despite a series of setbacks, Ben and his dad find common ground in this optimistic story. For me, it brought back memories of my teenage relationship with my dad. I thought I knew everything when I was 14, but I'm glad my dad had the patience to teach me even more.