This week, I read A Game for Swallows: To Die, To Leave, To Return, a superb graphic novel/memoir by Zeina Abirached, which I’m considering adding to the syllabus of one of my courses next semester. It would fit in Contemporary Literature, Children’s Literature, or Adolescent Literature and definitely in the Global Diversity in Graphic Novels course I’ll be teaching next year. Abirached grew up in Beirut during the period of Lebanon’s civil war, and her book tells the story of one evening when her parents went across the city to visit her grandmother and couldn’t return home until the shelling and bombing stopped. Their family has already closed off all of the rooms in their home and lives in the foyer, the safest space. On this evening, neighbors from the building gather in Zeina’s foyer to pass the evening with the two children as they wait for their parents’ return. It’s a fascinating story, beautifully illustrated in black-and-white panels, and fully conveys the horror and absurdity of living in a city under siege.
I have no idea why I picked up Mary and Lou and Rhoda and Ted at the library, but I’m glad I did, because I thoroughly enjoyed this history of The Mary Tyler Moore Show. It’s a quick and engaging read that makes a much bigger argument about social history and the forces of change. Armstrong is especially good writing about gender issues.
I’ll be blogging about Miss Hickory, which won the 1948 Newbery Medal, later in the week. What a bizarre little book!
We also read a bunch of Caldecott winners this week, which I’ll also blog about later in the week. My new obsession with Will and Nicolas continued this week with The Little Tiny Rooster. Too small to have much of a role in the barnyard, the little tiny rooster ends up saving the day. There is a lot of gorgeous art to enjoy, and the writing is fine too. I have now exhausted my library’s holdings of Will & Nicolas, so it’s time to turn to interlibrary loan.
I wish these photos did justice to A Little House of Your Own, a quirky little book written by Beatrice Schenk De Regniers and illustrated by Irene Haas. The story is simple: everyone needs a little house, some kind of space where they can disconnect from the world and be quiet within themselves. I thought the book was a tad too long, but we all enjoyed it.
One of my kids adored The Rooster Prince of Breslov, written by Ann Redisch Stampler and colorfully illustrated by Eugene Yelchin, and the other hated it. I myself enjoyed it quite a bit. It tells the story of a spoiled prince who decides he wants to give up his life and luxury and be a rooster. Why? Who knows? He strips off his clothes, starts pecking at corn, and crows and clucks instead of talks. The king and queen bring in doctors and magicians to cure him, but nothing works until a wise old man strips down and tells the prince that he, too, is a rooster.
My kids are currently obsessed with Stephen Gammell, so I’ve been grabbing every book I see by him. His art is so amazing!
Apparently The Mitten, written by Alvin Tresselt and illustrated by Yaroslava, is an older version of the same folk tale adapted by Jan Brett in her picture book of the same title. We liked Tresselt’s version and especially Yaroslava’s illustrations and coloring.