These are the books that I read this month:
- Tears of a Tiger by Sharon M. Draper
- Forged by Fire by Sharon M. Draper
- The Boat People by Sharon Bala
- Akata Witch by Nnedi Okorafor
- The Battle of Jericho by Sharon M. Draper
- November Blues by Sharon M. Draper
- Still Mine by Amy Stuart
- Unstoppable Octobia May by Sharon Flake
- The Crossover by Kwame Alexander
- And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini
- Dear Martin by Nic Stone
- A Girl Like That by Tanaz Bhathena
- C is for Consent by Eleanor Morrison, illustrations by Faye Orlove
- Deep Underwater by Irene Luxbacher
- Copper Sun by Sharon M. Draper
- Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson
- All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold; illustrated by Suzanne Kaufman
- I Am Famous by Tara Luebbe, illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff
- Dude! by Aaron Reynolds, illustrated by Dan Santat
- Ocean Meets Sky by The Fan Brothers
- Even Super Heroes Have Bad Days by Shelly Becker; illustrated by Eda Kaban
- Made for Me by Zack Bush; illustrated by Gregorio de Laurentis
- Auntie Luce's Talking Paintings by Francie Latour; illustrated by Ken Daley
- Washington Black by Esi Edugyan
- Adultery by Paulo Coelho
- The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo
- The First Part Last by Angela Johnson
- The Matatu by Eric Walter; illustrated by Eva Campbell
- Stella by Starlight by Sharon M. Draper
- Chicken in the Kitchen by Nnedi Okorafor; illustrated by Mehrdokht Amini
- Petra by Marianna Coppo
- Over and Under the Pond by Kate Messner; illustrated by Christopher Silas Neal
- A Greyhound A Groundhog by Emily Jenkins; illustrated by Chris Appelhans
Spoiler alert: What a short but mighty book. It is a story about teens affected by drunk driving and suicide. The book ends in a way that I didn't want to see coming. At times I felt that there was too much adult voice in the psychologist and coach, and eventually too many readers for this e=audiobook. However, after having read this book in its entirety, I'm happy to say that it didn't get too confusing. I liked how they got completely into the head of Andy's character while telling the story in third person. I also like how the author shows the manner in which an initial accident and death of his best friend shows the gradual deterioration of his mental health. It was very real and what made it more tragic is that there were so many people around him who wanted to help, who tried to help but couldn't pick up on his desperate cries for help. I am happy to discover this little book and looking forward to meeting Sharon Draper in a few weeks. Small way that I e-audioread the version of the book with the old school pencil crayon "rough" low budget-version of the original 1994 independent-looking cover and not this slick purple cover.
Spoiler Alert: This writing jumps off the page. Connected to the life of another character at Hazelwood High, Forged by Fire is the story of Jared. Like Tears of a Tiger, this novel also deals with loss in a big way. Jared is resilient, admirable, and a survivor of difficult circumstances. This story deals with heavy topics of child abuse, incest/molestation, drug addiction, drunk driving, and neglect. Sharon Draper does this while keeping the novel voice hopeful. It's a short read but covers a lot of ground and is the kind of novel a lot of teens would like. Jared is a child, like many in abusive family situations, who becomes the parent, primary caregiver of his younger sister Angel. Jordan Sparks (coincidentally the same name as an R&B singer) has returned from prison and lives in the home... again, claiming to be reformed. Monique, who is eerily similar to the mom in the film Precious played by an actress with the same name, is an enabler, substance abuser, negligent, abused, and abusive. She is in a state of constant denial. Despite it all, Jared and Angel are resilient, possess justified anger, and just seem like good honest kids dealt a tough hand. I also recognized a tactic Sharon Draper uses which is write everything seemingly going well and stable but then put in a whole bunch of drama out of left field in the last 15-20 minutes of the book. And it works to keep you reading until the very end! What a great read!
What a wondrous work! Dense with research and details. A rich story about an event that I new only general details about-- the arrival of Tamil refugees on two boats arriving from Sri Lanka in 2009. Having grown up and taught in Rexdale, I had Tamil classmates who would have migrated before this time. I realize now that some of my Tamil students could have been on the real life boats or children of those who were. I found the telling of this story interesting. First, author Sharon Bala chose to use multiple perspectives to tell this story and not all Tamil characters. There is Mahindan who is a Tamil refugee. Priya who is second generation of Tamil descent but she does not speak the language yet she is a law student working on this case. Then there is Grace who is second generation Japanese-Canadian, her mother was a survivor of the Japanese internment that took place in World War II. Set in Vancouver, the book is ambitious and goes between the Mahindan's past life in Sri Lanka, fleeing the LTTE (Tamil Tigers) and moments with his young son Sellian and late wife who tragically passed away. I appreciate these flashbacks as they bring the reader back to the relevant incidents and a variety of emotions as the refugees are interned and the court proceedings continue. The whole process is painstaking but it is all relevant and everything comes full circle as Grace and Priya finds that the plight of the Tamil refugees is connected to their own family histories. I love this web affect and would love to incorporate somehow into my own writing somehow. Full disclosure, I have met author Sharon Bala on three separate occasions. Her book had received a lot of praise and accolades in the Canadian literary scene and I can clearly see why. No novel that I am aware of has accomplished all of this telling of the Tamil refugees in Canada and this novel is timely in 2018, especially regarding talks about refugees from Syria and other countries as well as Mexican migrant workers. Congratulations, Sharon! Amazing work!
Akata Witch is a middle grade novel centred around Sunny, a twelve- or thriteen-year old girl who is albino. This story takes place in Nigeria and I would call it magical realism since she lives in a modern real world but is trying to figure out her skill set. Reading this novel reminded me a lot of Children of Blood and Bone by Tomi Adeyemi, who is also Nigerian-American like author Nnedi Okorafor. Akata Witch was okay. I cannot tell if this was partly because I took almost two full months to complete reading it (a long time for me to read a book on my e-reader). Or was it because the book wasn't as exciting for me. I saw some recurring themes in this book that I have seen with other speculative fiction by African-descended people which includes a central character who "rolls deep" works magic with a group of friends-- as in Children of Blood..., The Jumbies series by Tracey Baptiste, and ShadowShaper by Daniel Jose Older. I am also working on a middle grade novel that began as a magic realism work but features a core group. I liked Akata Witch but at times it felt like there were too many characters and I started to lose track of who was who. I think a list of characters at the beginning or end of the novel might have been helpful, especially since the book is for a younger audience. Nevertheless, I appreciated how Nnedi used the conditions that the characters had, e.g., Sunny's alibinism, as a means for magic. I also liked Orlu, Sasha, and ChiChi's characters and think that they would do great in a spin-off. I am looking forward to Akata Warrior, the next book in this series.
I wasn't sure if I wanted to listen to this audio e-book. It follows lead character Jericho and the many initiation activities of the group he wishes to join, The Warrior Club. I had this dreaded feeling that something bad was going to happen and it did. I really enjoyed this book in the end and I read it before November's Blues. This novel also deals with loss as does Sharon's others however it deals with the issue of hazing rituals from a high school perspective gone wrong. I had a lot of compassion for all of the teens portrayed including Jericho and the late Josh who passes away as a result of an initiation right gone wrong. I will leave my review at this. I enjoyed the novel but how emotionally intense were the stages of initiation as I listened with suspense.
What an amazing book! I read this as an e-audiobook through Overdrive. Impressive in its depth and scope of the difficult issue of teen pregnancy but told with a refreshing spin. I laughed out loud in a few places and I wasn't sure if it was because of Sharon M. Draper's writing style, the narrator, or both. This book was definitely funnier than some of her other books and I feel like they were fewer heavy issues to deal with than Sharon's other work. I presume that the other books I read were her earlier titles as this one seems more different than the others-- it's longer, funnier, fewer heavy issues, and introduces a girl as a central character. I liked seeing the character development of Jericho, first introduced in the Battle of Jericho, as well as the interesting spin that November's life had taken with her pregnancy by her late boyfriend, Josh. Also, what a change her friendship with Arielle had gone through which was really interesting how it played out. I appreciated the character of Olivia because I could relate a lot to what she had gone through-- a feeling of invisibility despite the integrity, compassion, and sincerity she showed. She was not "a looker" by popularity standards, played in band, and had excellent grades but she grew accustomed to being invisible. I also liked seeing how this newly introduced character grew as well. In addition to Arielle and old characters like Dana and Kofi, I felt slight echoes of the Warrior Club with the football team that Jericho joined. Sharon Draper writes boys really well and in this fourth novel of hers that I am reading, as mentioned, I am happy to see that she expanded to include a girl, November Nelson, as a central character. Ironically, this story was narrated by a male voice but it still works. Also, characteristic of Sharon's other books, there are important adult figures who support, mentor, and help the teens without seeming preachy, even less so in this book than the first Draper title I read. I also think this book would appeal to people of faith as it had been mentioned that a main character prayed and there is no swearing or excessive explicit content. I am looking forward to meeting Sharon Draper next week when she comes to Toronto to learn about her writing process.
I am not a reader of mysteries generally speaking however I enjoyed this e-audiobook. Like a mystery book I read about a child detective, I felt lost at times and like I missed some information that would help lead to the solving of the mystery but as the story progressed I realized that there was not that much that I missed. I also liked the story but felt confused at certain parts like how or why did the main character on the run get involved in solving the disappearance of Shayna? Nevertheless, the author does provide detailed descriptions of settings and interesting characters. I also felt hooked to the description of the mine and the secrets it held as well as the revelations that happened near the end of the story.
I will be honest. I was not the most focussed listening to this e-audiobook. I was distracted at certain points while others felt disjointed to me but from what I gathered, this was mystery. I must admit that I am not the biggest fan of mysteries. Perhaps, this is because I need to listen to every detail and not miss anything or else I'll miss the hidden clue. Now that I have read Octobia May, I have gained an appreciation for Sharon Flake's writing and how she integrated historical facts, set the story in the 1950s/early 1960s in an integrated neighbourhood, while employing a plucky intelligent young girl at its helm. Octobia May is definitely unstoppable and wants to become a writer and is a Black girl detective, solving real crimes, while kicking racist ideologies back into the Stone Age. This concept is genius. I enjoyed the voice of Octobia and hope that this book will become a series. This book was read by Bahni Turpin who is becoming to audiobooks what Cree Summer is already to cartoons.
I knew about The Crossover for some time. In 2015, it won the Newbery Award which was announced at SCBWI NYC which was where I met Kwame Alexander who was a keynote speaker there. The book was also part of my collection but went missing once I brought it to school to share it with my students. (Sadly, it was autographed too.) Nevertheless, I listened to it as an e-audibook and felt that it was too quick and short. I felt that this was a book that I wanted to slow down, to experience the emotions which I feel can be experienced more with a slow read of this "novel in verse" that chronicles the journey of a boy experiencing loss, yet he loves basketball.
What a gorgeous, epic book! This book for me was equally as impressive as his first novel, The Kite Runner which was later made into a movie. A saga following the life and generations of a Afghan family, separated and reconstructed in the context of wars, changing social regimes, and loves. This is a winding story and I read this an e-audiobook with three readers, one of which was the author Khaled Hosseini, himself. And The Mountains Echoed is only his third novel and was published ten years after The Kite Runner, which allowed him to retire from practicing medicine. I love Khaled's reading as they reflect a warmth and honesty inherent in his voice. The other voices-- one a woman and the other a man-- were spoken with the thicker accent of Afghan actors, I am guessing. However, their became clearer to decipher the longer I listened. There was a confusing part for me and that was the story of Marcos, Talia, Madeline, and his Greek family. I am not sure if this part of the story was needed so much but the other portions-- stories behind Pari (both the elder and the younger women with this name), Nabi the butler, and Abdullah-- were spun in the form of excellent storytelling thanks to Hosseini's read. The story went from Kabul to the countryside of Afghanistan to a Greek island to Paris to California and spanned an earlier timeless storytime to present day. All of the families and the different dynamics left me wondering what happened to each character but Khaled leaves no stone unturned. What a modern masterpiece! The narrations by three Afghan actors (including the author himself) were very effective and gave a sense of place. I love Khaled's voice because it is so earnest. The other's accents were a little challenging at first but after a while, I got quite used to and appreciated the range and colours they brought to the reading. Can't wait to read Khaled's other work.
Spoiler Alert: When I heard about this novel, it made me want to read it. I had seen it on a number of lists. This story started out okay. I liked the main character's Justice's conversations with Martin Luther King Junior in light of the racial injustices around him. Justice is one of few Black students at a very white private school where I believes he is the border. His best friend is Manny, although that doesn't become apparent until later. There are also SJ, his debating partner and possible girlfriend, another girl, a white boy named Jared, and a teacher/coach named Doc that brings questions around racial and social injustices to the fore for student discussion. Where the book had me: Justice being pulled over with a near passed out "white girl", named Mellow(?), in the front seat which is a Black man's nightmare, especially where racist police are concerned. The rest of the novel continues discussing varying aspects about race. But after a Halloween incident goes terribly wrong-- the boys dress as stereotypes including one as a thug and the other KKK member, my interest began to wane. Justice was visibly conflicted and Manny just seemed to go along. Some of the scenarios seemed a bit extreme like this one and then there were others like the tragic run-in with the white off duty cop who told the boys to turn down their music while they were all driving. As both Justice and Manny deal with a growing racial consciousness, the latter needs to decide about joining a gang. The gang is called Black Jihad. They kind of remind me of Killmonger from the Black Panther movie, which is to say, that they bring it with the Black consciousness and spout a lot of truths but they go about completely wrong and are crime-ridden and corrupted. I find that this combination demonizes the Black consciousness rhetoric. Then there is the discussion and concern that Justice bringing home a white girlfriend to SJ. SJ is woke and vocal and I like her but I feel that the conversation that ensues between Justice defending his relationship to his mom oversimplifies her arguments against interracial relationships. Mother is asking him why he cannot find a black girl to do the same things but given that Justice goes to an almost all-white school, I wonder about its likeliness. The "checking" of Jared's white privilege and prejudice and his emergence at the end of story, I felt needed some more development. Overall, I liked this book's concept and as a fellow Black writer, I support the author's attempt to tell really important and harsh truths that often happen when a Black youth attends an all-white school in the US, dealing with police violence, and a court system. Also, judging by the length of my review, author Nic Stone really did delve into a lot of issues and aspects. However, I felt somewhat uncomfortable with the manner in which the issues were portrayed.
An excellent work! Amazing debut novel by Tanaz Bhathena. This was a page turner. I read this book a slow read but I was impatient and could wait for it to finish, curious as to what would happen in the next page. I decided to finish reading it over the weekend. I also had this book in my Grade 8 Language classroom on display and it was quite popular with one girl who began to pass it around to other students. Having just read it, I admire the depth of research and details that Tanaz provided about the life of Zarin, a Zoroastrian Indian teenage girl living in Saudi Arabia. Zarin is also very different from her peers. She comes from a troubled past, she has her own thoughts, she smokes, and looks boys in the eye. Although it is based in another country, this novel has a lot of relatable topics especially regarding double standards for teenage girls who date a lot and sexual assault. Having met Tanaz twice and knowing about her difficulty in getting this book published in Canada, I am so pleased that she persevered. I truly feel that this book should get more accolades than what it has already received but it was published in 2018 and the year is not quite yet done.
I loved this cute little boardbook. Full of old school illustrations that I might expect to see in a 1950s book yet, they are modern with diverse people represented, different abilities, generations, skin colours, and sexual orientations. (Religions weren't represented but that would be nice too.) The language is plain, clear, and to the point. This book gives young children language and shows in simple ways that they can determine what happens to their bodies and that they have some control over that. Powerful message.
I read this book and fell in love with the deep dreamy colours. Dark... I associated it with being symbolic of depression and emerging from tragedy to find oneself, "a friend" in oneself. Complete disclosure, I know the author-illustrator of this book. Irene Luxbacher illustrated my two picture books Malaika's Costume and Malaika's Winter Carnival and now she is working on my third (all with the same publisher, Groundwood Books). I am excited to hear the voice of Sophia as she moves through the mysteries of the sea. The illustrations are in mixed media, Irene's specialty. I love the dark, heavy brushstrokes which dominate the book and make the colourful fish and sea life standout. I relate to this book on a lot of levels. I am currently writing a book about mermaids. I am learning to swim and taking adult level three for the third time so a lot of that work is in the deep end of the pool. I have also experienced depression that can also make one feel like being underwater, gasping for air, grasping for what is familiar. Great book Irene!
** spoiler alert ** Spoiler Alert: This story was okay. It is a slave narrative and in this case it is told in the voice of Amari/Mina who is an enslaved fifteen year old from the Ewe region in West Africa. The novel chronicles her life from Africa to her freedom in Florida. This book was filled with many beautiful moments that are descriptive in relation to life in the Motherland and also heart-wrenching, especially when it came to Mr. Derby's treatment of his slaves and the murders and abuses that took place. One thing I wondered about is how can this writer make the slave narrative new again... since the story has been written so much in literature. One new feature to the "Underground Railroad" tale that I appreciate that Sharon highlights another leg of the Underground Railroad, one that is not widely known and that is to Florida. I also like the fact that they included Polly, a white indentured servant. I was a little let down at the end. Amari/Mina's pregnancy seemed to come out of nowhere and her acceptance of it seemed a little to easy.
What delicious writing! I loved the cast of characters featured. They really came to life especially as an e-audiobook partly because children read for each character. Rarely do we give children the chance to speak together about their problems. Yet, here we had a teacher that made a group of six of her students stay behind the art room to speak. What really struck me was how much author Jacqueline Woodson wrote each character and made them sound so authentic and realistic. They covered issues like parental imprisonment, deportation, racial profiling, special needs, and white privilege-- all from a child's perspective. What a caring teacher, as well! She sounds like teachers that I know. Excellent work, Jacqueline Woodson-- as always.
I saw this book being promoted on my Twitter feed and a lot of teachers were using it in their classrooms. I love this book. The illustrations are inclusive and reflect different types of families. The diversity of skin tones, religions, abilities, and relationships are all reflected. The rhyming scheme, rhythm, and pace are all done well and work well in this context. Amazing book!
Fun and creative. I love the illustrations of the fictionalized superheroes and some are similar to established heroes. (A Storm-looking character is named Typhoon). The people depicted are diverse. Her rhyming scheme is consistent and rhythmic and fun.
This book is fun and has a fun interpretive spin on celebrity and her own family and parents. It reminds me a lot of the Fancy Nancy picture book and series except the protagonist is Black. I think children will find this book humorous as well as the adults. The ending was a bit abrupt though.
Dude! was written in a very minimalist style. How do we tell a story with just one or two words repeated? I liked it. Not necessarily my type of picture book but a fun read for kids. I've also seen illustrator Dan Santat's name on a few SCBWI events as well as an award-winner but I hadn't know why. Now I do.
Dreamy landscape. Delicious photos. A book you want to dive into.
What a heartwarming book! I am glad that they portrayed it ]from the perspective of a father (and a happy smiling chuybby round one at that), as opposed to me. (We are usually used to seeing it the oher way around.) The book reminds me of I'LL LOVE YOU A FOREVER, a beloved famous picture book, except with a male parent.
Gorgeous illustrations. Amazing story. Rich history. An ode to Haiti.
** spoiler alert ** Spoiler Alert: Congratulations, Esi Edugyan! #Victoria, BC and surrounding west coast community, today I was interviewed on CBC Radio at 7pm EST today about author Esi Edugyan's recent $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize win for the second time on November 19 (only the third person to do so). I put Esi's photo in my journal on Saturday, October 22, 2011 as someone whose writing I admired and who inspired me. On November 20, I interviewed Esi with her University of Victoria professor and author, Bill Gaston on the show, All Points Due West. I've been reading her award-winning novel, Washington Black, for the last four days via audiobook. As I mentioned during my interview, like Esi's other books, she highlights rare and not widely known experiences in the Black diaspora. In Washington Black, she focusses on a fugitive slave who essentially uses his intellect and contacts to free himself. This story is epic and full of appeal as the main character travels from Barbados to the United States to the North Pole to England to Amsterdam to Morocco. The story mildly reminds me of Frankenstein by Mary Shelley as Washington pursues Titch to the very ends of the earth as did the Prometheus to Dr. Frankenstein. In essence, Washington became an intellectual marine biologist/artist under Titch's tutelage, at first, and then he is abandoned to the great danger of himself both as a fugitive and as a person living with a disfigured face. I found the book exhilerating and the momentum moving forward great. I would have liked to see "Wash" go back to his people somehow or find a way to re-connect with the enslaved people that he left behind or return to them but then again, I am not the author of this book. I am mega-proud of Esi and this very intelligent work. It is well-researched and it shows. The worldbuilding is exceptional and full of rich detail of the time and geography. Did she go to all of these locations to research? I wonder... Amazing work, Esi, and hopefully I'll meet you one day.
This book is everything. Fire in every breath. I started reading it on my kindle but then I realized, once I saw Elizabeth Acevedo's youtube videos and her recent National Book Award (NBA) win, I wanted to actually here the book read in her voice. I loved it. In some ways, culturally, it reminds me of I'm Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter-- which also centres on a Latina young woman's experience of dealing with strict mothers. I can completely relate. I am also working on a young adult novel with students also experiencing some of these issues. What I love so much about Poet X is the strong sense of voice, the authenticity, the vibrance, and the passion. This novel works on so many levels. It is a novel in verse but is so complete. It infuses culture and languages-- both Spanish and English. The protagonist Xiomara deals with grappling with cultural expectations, her own Catholic faith, first love with Amad, and what it means to be a woman in her culture. Not very many books focus on how the messages that young woman receive about their bodies does not match their intentions and how they navigate these difficulties. I am so very glad to have heard this book read but I also want to continue to sift through the printed words. Poet X is much deserving of this major award and worth every accolade. Stellar!!!!
Spoiler alert: This was not my favourite Paulo Coelho book and I was surprised that it was a bestseller. I suppose it has more to do with the author than the actual book. At points, I wanted to say, "Please make it stop" as the main character seemed like she was immature and bratty at times. I thought she was either being melodramatic or very, very childlike. I also found it a bit didactic at the end, like, the moral of the story is... which I did not like. I know that is part of Paulo Coelho's writing style and signature maybe but I didn't feel like it worked for this book. The lead character is 32 and bored with her marriage. She sounds like someone who married at a very young age when they were not yet mature mentally. She begins an affair and then the rest of the book shows how she recovers from the affair. There are a lot of words spent on her internal mental conflict as she goes back and forth and second guesses herself constantly. She is extremely self-centred and becomes desparate. She WANTS this affiar and she is intentional about pursuing it while on the outside, she seems to have a "perfect" life. The narration of this audiobook was satisfactory. I did not expect the graphic explicit descriptions of sex. In that way, in the ruminating self-punishing mental way, this book reminds me of Landline by Rainbow Rowell which was also a bestseller but I don't understand why. I guess, there may be something that I don't completely understand when it comes to bestsellers.
Spoiler Alert: The emotional intensity of this short novel was felt in my gut. Not every story has a happy ending but a "what if". I wondered if this was a cautionary story against teen pregnancy as it ended in an unexpected way. I realized that it was written in an alternating timeframes. Before Feather was born and after. Before Feather was born, Bobby is a typical teenager, looking at the things that were directly in front of him. He liked video games, basketball, parties, and girls. Then after, so much tragedy with his girlfriend Nia and some very adult decisions. I would like to read the first book in this series. I felt that this could have been a longer work. The voice of the teens portrayed was very authentic and effective.
This was my first time listening to an e-audiobook of a picture book. I am not sure if this one works. First of all, Eric Walters is not Kenyan however I appreciate the foreword and afterward which gives credit to the sources for this story. But all is lost with the very Anglo-Canadian sounding white (?) narrator. I felt that it should have been read by someone from the region, a Kenyan, East African, or someone from the continent. I have seen this approach used effectively in several narrations including Khaled Hosseini's And the Mountains Echoed, "Reading Lolita in Tehran", and several Indian books. Eva Campbell is the illustrator for this book so I will do my best to access a copy so that I may see the visuals too for this work.
This was a wonderful book. It was spiritual, historical, and funny. The character reminds me of Octobia May in Sharon Flake's novel about a plucky detective. Both novels feature a lead African-American girl. Stella is lovely and she owns the night. She longs to be a writer and she asks a lot of questions. She also knows what to do in emergency situations. I love this about her. I like how author Sharon Draper, writes Stella's process of typing and self-editing. She comes face to face with the Ku Klux Klan as well. It is the first time in which I have seen the Klan's activities and its impact on Black communities handled so well in a middle-grade novel. The e-audiobook seems quite real to me. The story feels like it is made from family lore. Although there is no reference to the song "Stella by Starlight" in the novel, there are songs sung by the narrator. A wonderful and delight historical fiction set in North Carolina in what I believe to be the 1930s (The Great Depression).
This story was okay. It shed some light on the Yam Festival and would be a good introduction for kids as to what that is as well as the masquerades. For me, the illustrations were a highlight of the book but I felt that the story seemed unfinished.
ReviewThis picture book has an adorable cover. I have seen it around. I honestly thought it was a whale but a friend told me that it was about a rock which makes total sense. D'uh! It's called Petra. The story is funny and I love the illustrations but the text seems a bit sparse and minimalist for my taste.
Gorgeous illustrations. A sleepy type of picture book. Out on the pond. Looking above and below. Everything is so descriptive and I love the safety that the boy and his mother experience. Both characters are portrayed of African descent. It's lovely to see this.
I love the playfulness, poetry, play on words of this book. A greyhound, a groundhog. The characters play amidst the words and the words play amidst the characters. I loved it. A different kind of picture book.