Friday, February 8, 2013

Beatles on Sullivan: Books About the Fab 4

On this day in 1964, the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show. I am old enough that I don't have to reveal my age, but young enough that I wasn't around for the Fab 4. That doesn't mean I haven't adored them for most of my life. Luckily, I'm not the only one!


Baby's in Black: Astrid Kirchherr, Stuart Sutcliffe, and The Beatles in Hamburg by Arne Bellstorf. Before Sullivan, the Beatles played in Hamburg. But, it wasn't just John, Paul, George, and Ringo. Stuart Sutcliffe was still a part of the band then. Then he met photographer Astrid Kirchherr. This graphic novel is Astrid and Stuart's story.

Paul Is Undead by Alan Goldsher. This documentary novel tells a different version of the story. John, Paul, and George are zombies. Ringo and Yoko are ninjas and Mick Jagger is a zombie hunter... a very fun and different look at the British Invasion.

The Beatles: An Oral History by Alan Lysaght and David Pritchard. If Paul is Undead is a documentary novel about the Zombie Beatles, this is one about the actual Beatles. This title offers one of the more balanced looks at the band-- not as wonderful as their fans say, not as awful as their critics claim, but just four real guys who know how to write songs and perform them, with the added pressure of changing the face of popular music as we knew it.


Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan. Nick and Norah pretend to be an item for a few minutes, just to fool Nick's ex-girlfriend (who just happens to be someone Norah knows.) What follows is a long night around Manhattan as the two fall in love. It gets a place on this list solely because of the wonderfulness of Nick's soliloquy about the perfection of "I Want to Hold Your Hand."

I Am (Not) the Walrus by Ed Briant. Zach and Toby are best friends with a Beatles cover band. But, before they can play their first gig, Zach finds a note in his brother's guitar case and learns it might be stolen. A caper that's complicated by an intriguing girl named Michelle (of course.)

The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizath Eulberg. Penny Lane (yes, she's named after the song) is done with boys. So, she starts the Lonely Hearts Club (yes, named after the album) and it quickly turns into something more popular that she expected. While Penny enjoys the support and camaraderie of the club, the "no boys" rule may be a bit of an issue...


The Girl Who Became a Beatle by Greg Taylor. Regina has a band (The Caverns), but they've broken up. She wishes that they hadn't, that they had been as famous as the Beatles. But, when her fairy godmother grants the wish (via IM) and everything the Beatles have done is attributed to The Caverns, can Regina keep her wish?

Pepperland by Mark Delaney. Star's mother has died of breast cancer, and she and her step-father are trying to find their way through the grief. Armed with her mother's Beatles records, guitar, an letter her mother never sent to John Lennon, and her best friend Dooley, Star may just find a way.

John Lennon: All I Want is the Truth by Elizabeth Partridge. Balanced and non-judgemental, Partridge offers a fresh, clean look at Lennon's life and legacy. Filled with gorgeous photographs, it's worth the number of awards and accolades it has won.

What are your favorite teen books about the Beatles? What's your favorite Beatles song? I'm partial to "Two of Us." You?

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