Remember the Michael Rosen book, Going on a Bear Hunt – can’t go around it, can’t go under it, can’t go over it, gotta go through it…and that’s what I’m writing about. Two books – just finished over the front part of the holiday – exhibit the kind of writing that just makes sense: no hype, imperfect people with perfect moments and reality that seems palatable and about going through adversity not over, under or around it. The ‘it’ is bullies. The first title by Frances O’Roark Dowell is The Second Life of Abigail Walker and is a story for the 4th-6th grade reader I would think. It’s about Abby, who used to be a part of ‘the group’ ( even if her part was barely attached) until she crossed the line to speak up against the group’s ‘leader.’ Now she is the object of their subtle and diggy scheming to make her feel less than nothing, an overweight girl who has no control or friends. They do some nasty, under-handed stuff to her. But Abby has a center that holds and she finds friends that will have a genuine attachment to her. Abby is a ‘crosser’ of lines, and through the friendship with another outsider and his family of grandmother and a wounded war vet father, she realizes her impact on herself and others by the choices she makes. This story shows the feminine (younger) side of bullying which is straight to the head often. The second book – Everybody Sees the Ants by A.S. King – is a high school read. A story about Lucky Linderman, a kid in HS, who is the object of one classmate’s physical and vicious bullying. His mother is a person who sees but doesn’t act and his father still is recovering from losing a father in the Vietnam War and remains ever averse to confrontation. Lucky has a secret, though. In his dreams he sees and speaks to his grandfather, a POW who never came home, and through this dream life, Lucky discovers a world that allows him to vent. In the end these dreams play a very important part in the resolution of the Bully Crisis. Parents learn lessons and so does Lucky, but that’s not necessarily the main point, the lesson learning. I actually had to jump around a bit to finish the book, I don’t know why, but I did. I am struck with the two titles and the representation of ‘bullying’ on the part of girls and boys. And, if everything doesn’t work out perfectly for all of these characters of the two books, the main characters are still strengthened and much wiser for passing through the bully gauntlet. Both great books for the heart and mind.
It took our Director to point it out – so embarrassing. A few great teens had spent a Saturday hour or so painting the images on the windows in the Teen Reads Area (Thank you very much.). Two days later, I was asked, ”So why all the Mercedes-Benz logos in the TRA?” Duh, I had forgotten the all important ‘last line’ that creates the ‘peace’ of the matter rather than the ‘corporate’ of the matter. Is there a metaphor here? Probably. That last line reps what anyone could choose to do to make something occur. Rather like, ‘You’re lookin’ good, now what about putting it into action?’ Yeah, I know, a bit preachy and both are just images; neither the real thing. So, to keep this short, have a peaceful end of the year. Oh, the best book I re-read this year was The Hunger Games and the best new book for me was John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars. Happy New Year. See you at First Night! (in Sandwich, no less!)
Thursday, January 31st…that’s 2013! I’ll be doing a workshop for those lonely knee socks we all have. Based on Brenna Maloney’s Socks Appeal, we’ll start simple. Join us! Bring one or two knee socks (with toes intact). Needle, thread, embellishments will be provided. Patterns handed out. Go home with a Friend! Please register at www.sandwichpubliclibrary.com.
TRUE LIFE ACCEPTANCE
JUST FUN FICTION
The STORY and LETTERS are not dead. Witness these 3 titles I just prepped for their SPL shelf debuts. And how different they all are. Mary Downing Hahn’s Mister Death’s Blue-eyed Girls is a story about an event which took place in her own history, the deaths of two teen friends, still ‘unsolved’ murder to this day. An author known for her haunting, other worldly story lines, in this compelling novel inspired by a true crime, she writes of real-life ghosts who have haunted her for most of her life. The Letter Q: Queer Writers’ notes to Their Younger Selves, edited by Sarah Moon, is the Letter, specifically ‘the letters to a younger self’ written by a boatload of incredible authors. Much like the David Savage book, It Gets Better, these are letters that were written to say, ‘Been there, done that….and lived.’ Encouragement for the GLBQT teens from some of our favorite authors. And, THEN….there is just the FUN read from Heather Frederick’s next ‘The Mother-Daughter Book Club’ series title, Wish You Were Eyre. Merry mix-up, clanging competition and totally social chaos…until all is well again (I hope). DIVERSITY? CHOICE? DEPTH AND FRIVOLITY? These books are here sharing their stories which transmute in your story-making mind and you use them whatever way you feel like using them.
I just like to say, ‘Three books walk into a library and then…..’
Available as e-book as well.