Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Beam Me Up!

Oh, where is a transporter when you need one?  Or one of those nifty hourglass time thingies that Hermione sported in The Prisoner of Azkaban?.

This Saturday, in NYC (which is why I'd need a transporter) at 11 am (time thingie), Adam Gidwitz and Benjamin Bagby will present "Dragons, Troubadours and Fools: Discovering the Middle Ages with Adam Gidwitz and Benjamin Bagby", a reading of Gidwitz's recent book The Inquisitor's Tale with music of the time period played by Bagby at Symphony Space.  Read more about this event here. 

And I am busy elsewhere.   Sometimes, life is not fair.  Someone go, please, and then blab on and on about how wonderful it was.  Thank you.

Monday, March 27, 2017

More KU Children's Lit Conference

So, Kevin McCloskey, the author illustrator of We Dig Worms, The Real Poop on Pigeons and Something's Fishy just put up a colorful post on his blog, Illustration Concentration.   

Seriously, you can't miss this.  It's the best Children's Literature event in Eastern Pennsylvania.

KU Children's Lit Conference - the list

I posted my 2017 KUCLC list on Scribd for your enlightenment.  Here you go!


Since the books on my list tend to be award winners that I especially liked, I also added half a dozen Best of 2016 Book Lists for you to pore over.  I hope it helps you find good books for your middle grade readers.  Thanks.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Armstrong & Charlie

Looks like I have a new favorite book.

Armstrong & Charlie by Steven B. Frank is set in L.A. in 1975 when a boy from the projects - Armstrong - is bussed to a school in Hollywood Hills.  Charlie and Armstrong do NOT like each other.  Both are smart.  Both are stubborn.  Both have things to prove.

They butt heads.  They snarl at each other.  Charlie is afraid of Armstrong.  Armstrong is mad about having to get up at 5:30 am to go to school.  Charlie lives a life of privilege.  Armstrong has to work for every penny.  They have good families.  They are good people.  They become friends.

Things to think about:
1.  If bussing went the other way, would inner city schools have improved more quickly?  But, of course, more affluent people would simply have taken their kids out of public schools.  A lot of Charlie's classmates left Wonderland Elementary School.

2.  If this book was written by a black author, would the ending have been so hopeful?  Would the reality of Black Lives Matter intrude on the sentiment that bussing could change things?  We all thought that bussing really would change things.  It did, a bit, but not enough.

In my white-privileged haze, I think of these things and then I say,"I want fiction that gives me hope.  This book gives me hope.  Ergo, I like this book."  Done. And Done.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Saturday, March 18, 2017

The Sun Is Also a Star

One day in the life of Natasha, an illegal immigrant whose deportation to Jamaica is imminent, and Daniel, a first generation Korean American, leads to all kinds of FEELS!
COINCIDENCE (Ko-Inky-dinks) plays a HUGE part in this story.  The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicole Yoon.

 I loved it.
Look!  The cover illustration is made with thread and pins!

Natasha is trying, one more time, to find a way to keep her family in America.  She's got a LOT of anger going on, and a lot of desperation.

Daniel has to go to an interview with a Yale alum as he starts on the journey to do exactly what his parents want - go to Second Best College, be doctor.  It's NOT what he wants.

They meet.  Daniel pulls Natasha back from a near collision.  They have coffee.  Daniel suggests a scientific experiment into romance.  Natasha keeps secrets.  Daniel introduces Natasha to his ridiculous jerk of a big brother and his stiff-necked father.  Bit players have their moment in the spotlight.

Hope SPRINGS!!  Love (?) - possibly.  Will all be well?  Will kindness and happiness prevail? 

That would be telling.  So, just know this;  in a world of books that swing readers through life and death explosions of violent soaked action, a book like this is a gift.  It is no less exciting and no less suspenseful - just quieter and so much more possible.

Friday, March 17, 2017

Amy Krouse Rosenthal - 1965-2017

I have been in awe of Amy Krouse Rosenthal for years.  This is not the first time I've posted this video of one of her creative, community-building, kindness-engendering projects.  She left us long before we needed her to go.  But she left us all so much richer.  Rest in Lovely, Amy.