Laurie R. King’s novels of suspense featuring Mary Russell and her husband, Sherlock Holmes, are critically acclaimed and beloved by readers. The latest in the series, DREAMING SPIES, was a February LibraryReads pick.
Now, to celebrate National Library Week, Ms. King is offering a giveaway of the first book in the series, The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, to middle school libraries across the country.
Libraries are my home and my joy. Libraries were where I lived, when I was a kid. (We moved. A lot.) Now, libraries make my work possible, since I write historical novels and do a ton of research.
So for reasons both personal and professional, every April the Laurie King community celebrates National Library week—with contests, giveaways, love letters to libraries, and more, thanking “librarians everywhere, who spend their lives in battle against the forces of darkness.” (That’s my dedication to The Moor.) In 2009 fans wrote “A Love Letter to My Library”; 2010 saw “My Fantasy Library”, while 2011 gave libraries Piratical Booty—“a book club in a box”. 2012 was “Thrills in the Stacks”; in 2013 we celebrated Twenty Years of LRK with, “If a Martian asked me what a ‘library’ is, what would I tell him?”, and in 2014, readers described “How The Beekeeper’s Apprentice Changed my Life.”
This year’s Library Week fest began last fall, when two middle school teachers decided to build a study curriculum around The Beekeeper’s Apprentice, the first of the Mary Russell/Sherlock Holmes novels (most recent volume: Dreaming Spies). I’d always thought Beekeeper would make a useful introduction to the Twentieth Century: World War One, the women’s movement, roots of conflict in Europe and the Middle East, the huge social and technological changes—all that plus Sherlock Holmes & villains & hansom cabs &—well, let’s just say this is a book that I would have loved to study in school.
These two teachers had the same thought, but unlike me, they actually knew how to build a unit based on US Common Core guidelines: vocabulary lists, comprehension questions, quizzes, and tests, with supplemental nonfiction that places the novel at the center of an intriguing network of early Twentieth Century themes and events. Even better, their unit is an ongoing process, to be adapted and added to when other teachers use it and contribute suggestions of their own.
This excites me in so many ways. Not only does it bring vulnerable young minds into contact with the Russell & Holmes gateway drug—er, book (although please note, the ALA called Beekeeper both a Notable Young Adult Book and an Outstanding Book for the College Bound), it also creates another community around Mary Russell and her world: middle school teachers eager to tie a rousing good tale to a student curriculum.
That’s why this year’s Library Week giveaway celebrates the Common Core unit by sending boxes of Beekeeper to middle school libraries. Because that’s what a library is: fun and work, under a single roof.
For the Common Core unit and to nominate your favorite Middle School library (before April 17), go to www.laurierking.com.
And to all you librarians out there: thank you.
Laurie R. King
And, as OUR salute to libraries this National Library Week,
we’re offering a complete collection of our 2015 LibraryReads Titles to 10 lucky libraries.
Click to enter your library for a chance to win!