44 great children’s authors, poets and illustrators create and submit prompts; each author then cultivates a response to another author’s prompt. This results in The Creativity Project, edited by Colby Sharp: 44 marvelous poems, short stories, drawings, cartoon stories and even an encyclopedia entry. My favorite, by the way, was the encyclopedia entry about the Genius moon moth, an "ideavore," which feeds off the creative energy of children. The moth’s description lists many ways to entice the Genius moon moth to your neighborhood and home.
The second half of the book includes prompts from the same creators for readers to use in building their own creations. The book is chock full of imagination!
According to the dust jacket on My Sister the Serial Killer, Korede's sister has "a very inconvenient habit of killing her boyfriends." The term "inconvenient" indicates that author Oyinkan Braithwaite will treat this grim situation with unexpected complexity.
Despite the fact that her sister, Ayoola, is also flighty, selfish, and manipulative, practical and dependable Korede comes to her aid whenever necessary. Short powerful chapters gradually and suspensefully reveal what is behind the sisters' unusual relationship. At times My Sister the Serial Killer is simultaneously humorous and chilling, especially at the moment the sisters' lives intersect at the hospital where Korede works.
Confession: I have Peter
Parker fatigue. He’s had seven movies in the past two decades, more if you
count the Avengers, and the story’s always the same: spider bite, ditch the
glasses, fight a goblin. To be
honest, I’m over it.
So last year, when I saw MilesMorales: Spiderman hit the shelves, and written by all-star YA novelist
Jason Reynolds no less, I was intrigued. The familiar hero was getting a much
need update. But after watching the
dazzling movie that introduces the new Black and Puerto-Rican web slinger to the big screen, I knew that I needed to read this novel immediately.
I was delighted to
find out more about Morales’ world—the strained and complicated relationship
between his dad and his uncle, and to see what a solid friendship he has with
his roommate Ganke. But then as the story continues to unfold it becomes clear
that this Spiderman isn’t just duking it out with a giant lizard man or
whatever. That’s too easy. The first Black Spiderman in the MCU takes on one of
the most powerful enemies facing the Black community today: institutional racism. This novel pulls
no punches and examines important issues while sacrificing none of the
excitement and action-packed antics that we’ve come to expect out of our
Your twelve year old might say they hate reading, but have they read about Miles Morales?
As 2018 winds down, its a customary tradition for staff to compile a list of those books, movies and albums that have inspired us, made us laugh, made us cry, stoked our imagination, and provoked us to think deeply about the relationship between fact and fiction, reality and fantasy and art and life. Here are a few of my favorites.
Winter, Karl Ove KnausgaardBecoming, Michelle ObamaWKW: the Cinema of Wong Kar Wai, John PowersTime Pieces: A Dublin Memoir, John BanvilleMeaty, Samantha IrbyMy Year of Rest and Relaxation, Ottessa MoshfeghThese Truths: A History of the United States, Jill LeporeThe Largesse of the Sea Maidens, Denis Johnson
It never fails.
Every year at this time, I find myself scrambling to read, before the end of the year, at least one or two more books; titles that are appearing and re-appearing on many “best of [insert year]” lists. Of course, it’s a self-imposed deadline; I can certainly read these books whenever I please. But in just a matter of weeks, we’ll be on our way to starting a new “best of” list, so I use this opportunity to add a couple more contenders to my personal “best books of the year” list.
That Kind of Mother follows the life of Rebecca Stone—white, poet, dreamer, wife, and mother—through her first twelve or so years of motherhood. A sequence of events involving the woman of color Rebecca hired to be her older child’s nanny at a time when, as a new mother, Rebecca was unsure and afraid, leads her and her husband to adopt a black son too. The result: an in-depth examination of what it means to be a mother and to be a family, and of how Rebecca makes sense of that experience at different times in her life.
If you like character-driven plots, with complicated, strained, and tender relationships all rolled into one story, I urge you to pick this one up. And yes, I consider it one of my favorites of the year.
Hungry Bunny is a fun, interactive preschool picture book about, ( yes, you guessed it), a hungry bunny. This bunny's tummy rumbles and grumbles, so he sets off to pick some juicy apples that just might be the perfect snack to appease his appetite.
The young reader can help bunny perform his apple gathering task by shaking the tree so that the apples fall down, blow away the leaves, etc. This book also has a handy "red scarf", ( really a bookmark ribbon), to help our little buck-toothed protagonist climb the tree and even make a makeshift bridge. In the end, bunny and his family enjoy some freshly baked apple pie and share it with the reader! Imagine that!
By New York Times bestselling author and illustrator Claudia Rueda. This is an all-around wonderful book to please the fancy of the younger set!
My Beijing: Four Stories of Everday Wonder by Nie Jun is a children's graphic novel that collects four brief but fantastic stories. The tales bring Yu'er and her grandpa's neighborhood to life, all with interesting characters and a twist of magical realism. Nie Jun's art is whimsical and bright. I read this graphic novel quickly, but it stayed with me, so I'll be keeping my eyes peeled for more from this author. Although you'll find it shelved with children's books, My Beijing is for all ages of comic fans.
A really wonderful, sad and yet hopeful story, The Rough Patch written and superbly illustrated by New York Times bestselling author Brian Lies is about a fox named Evan and his devoted dog.
Truly the best of friends, Evan and his pooch do everything together. Of all the activities that they engage in, they most relish working in Evan's magnificent garden! It is almost a magical place for plants, and everything they planted there thrived.
But one day , completely out of the blue, Evan sees his beloved canine friend lying dead in his doggie bed and everything in their wonderful existence changes.Evan first shuts himself out from the outside world by staying inside his house. He then decides to vent some of his dark feelings by cutting and slashing his beloved garden to the ground and disposing of the resultant plant trash by throwing it into a large pile. In place of his once beautiful garden filled with fragrant flowers and vibrant vegetables, newly sprouted, unattractive, prickly, dark weeds grew and so this garden became a sad, desolate place which matched his now never-changing mood.
However, one day he finds a pumpkin vine had snuck under a fence from the neighboring yard. His first inclination is to destroy it, but he rationalizes that since it was fuzzy, prickly, and spidery, that he would let it be. Evan ends up watering it and caring for it and decides to enter the pumpkin in the local fall fair. His pumpkin wins third place and as a prize he gets to choose either ten dollars or a pup found inside a cardboard box. Evan's first inclination is to take the money but he then hears a scratching sound coming from inside the box and thinks it wouldn't hurt to peek inside. He ends up adopting one of the pups and drives it home in his old red truck. And the rest( as they say) is history.
A well written book on the topics of friendship, loss and redemption. Accompanied by beautifully detailed illustrations done with heart. This winner of a book is sure to please kids and many adults as well!
For all of the various ways we as readers can discover new authors and titles (amazing librarian recommended titles being a fantastic one), there are still those moments, even as a librarian, that the girth of new and exciting books to choose from overwhelms me, leading to a kind of mental paralysis. To get around this, I've recently decided that what I need is to focus my reading efforts. I am going to try my hand at reading only books published as part of the New York Review Books series (NYRB) for the next couple of months. I'm starting off this project with Arthur Schnitzler's Late Fame. From their web site:
The NYRB Classics series is dedicated to publishing an eclectic mix of fiction and non-fiction from different eras and times and of various sorts. The series includes nineteenth century novels and experimental novels, reportage and belles lettres, tell-all memoirs and learned studies, established classics and cult favorites, literature high, low, unsuspected, and unheard of. NYRB Classics are, to a large degree, discoveries, the kind of books that people typically run into outside of the classroom and then remember for life.
I've mentioned before that I like audiobooks which are narrated by the author, so when I found a new book written and read by the author of Into the Beautiful North, one of my favorite of KPL's Reading Together selections, I was doubly excited. The House of Broken Angels more than lived up to my expectations. I would recommend it in any format, but the book is so full of vivid characters and a mixture of English, Spanish, and Spanglish, that Luis Alberto Urrea's narration is the perfect way to give voice to its rich language.
The House of Broken Angels recounts a few days in the life of a large Mexican-American family, as the central character, Big Angel, is preparing to die. As morbid as that may sound, the story is tender, funny, and lively. The perspective shifts from one character to another, revealing their inner thoughts at least as much as their words and actions. The novel paints a colorful and true-to-life portrait of family life in its glory and despair, and everything in between.