Monday, March 19, 2012

BoB flows on

Drawing from Memory by Allen Say is victorious in SLJ's Battle of the Books.  I was right again.  For some reason, I am a bit nonplussed.  I wish there was some way that The Grand Plan to Fix Everything could get the recognition it deserves.  Well-written FUN books lack respect in the world of books.  And that is not right because the fun books, the so-called "light" or "fluffy" books, are what keep a LOT of kids reading.

Anyone who has ever watched and delighted in the coincidences of a Bollywood film (or "fillum") will understand what is happening in The Grand Plan.  The heroine MUST reunite with her jilted lover.  The friends MUST stay tight.  And the lovely postal worker on his honeymoon MUST find a job in this Eden like village.  Barbara O'Connor, the judge in today's BoB match-up, mentioned these coincidences and I think she was not sure she liked them.  I LOVED them. These coincidences lifted me from my rather coincidence free humdrum existence to a place where the sun shines and birds sing and the crowds break into dance with colored scarves and bells on their ankles.

HOWEVER, Drawing from Memory is, as Barbara O'Connor so aptly puts it, an "experience".  I had tears in my eyes as I closed this book about Allen Say's journey to become the great artist that he is.  I felt enriched and enlightened after I read Drawing from Memory and I feel it would best almost any other book on this list.  But I am at a loss for words to describe it.  It needs to be read and studied and felt.

Both books take American readers into other cultures and climates.  Imagine!  A twelve-year-old is given his own apartment so he can go to school!!!!  Monkeys take over a bakery!!!  Reading is the cheapest way to travel. 

Tomorrow's match is between Kadir Nelson's Heart and Soul and Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai.  My vote goes to Inside Out and Back Again.  Let's see if I am right.

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