On the blog:
- A curation of some choice online reading
- A book recommendations list of 15 diverse children’s and YA graphic novels
Austin Kleon’s creative manifesto, Steal Like an Artist, is the kind of book where there’s a quotation you want to copy down on every page. There is plenty of solid advice about being creative–learn from the artists who inspire you; write what you like, not what you know; stick to a routine. It’s also the kind of book that rewards dipping into rather than reading straight through. Somehow the advice–though good–doesn’t quite stick. I would read a chapter, really enjoy it, but not be able to quite put my finger on what I had read at the end of it. I think it’s the lack of specifics. There are lots of cool quotations from creative types, and Kleon himself is eminently quotable, but there are not as many specific anecdotes and examples. That makes sense given his purpose here, which is to write a manifesto, but as a detail-oriented reader, I missed having a bit more elaboration. I did appreciate the elegant book design: the smaller size, hand-written quotes, black pages, and photographs give the book a distinct style.
Hooray! We finished reading Once Upon the End. I should probably rely on a lesson from my Southern childhood here: if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Here’s what I can celebrate: we’re finished with this series as our read-aloud and can move on to something else. (Which happens to be Linda Urban’s Milo Speck, Accidental Agent, and I am nearly crying with relief at every well-crafted sentence.)
Yay! Another book about those crazy crayons by Drew Daywalt and Oliver Jeffers. In this companion, Duncan receives a series of postcards from crayons that have been left, forgotten, and otherwise abandoned. Well, except for Pea Green, who christens himself Esteban and decides to take off on his own adventures. I didn’t like this book as much as the first one, but it’s still pretty adorable and very clever, and hey, there’s a glow-in-the-dark page!
I have been tiptoeing around Lenny & Lucy for a couple of weeks now, scared to crack the cover and start reading. I was worried that my expectations were too high. Or maybe not too high. Just… different. Sometimes this happens with highly anticipated titles. Even when they’re very good, they’re just not quite what you were expecting. I have loved every Erin Stead book and found every Philip Stead book interesting, though not usually entirely resolved. Their first collaboration, A Sick Day for Amos McGee, is on my top-five ALL TIME picture book list (and no, I have no idea what other picture books are on that list, though now I’m curious to think about it and find out), but their second collaboration, Bear Has a Story to Tell, though lovely, seemed slight to me. I wasn’t sure what I’d be getting with Lenny & Lucy. Hence, hesitation. But this week, I decided to be brave and leap, and I am relieved to report that Lenny & Lucy is picture book perfection. It’s quiet and a bit quirky, and it has the classic feel of a picture book you’ve always known and loved. There is real elegance and depth to the writing and, of course, to Erin Stead’s artwork. Maybe my favorite picture book of 2015 so far?
#Classroombookaday continues in my college classes. We’re participating in Global Readaloud 2015, and I also wanted to follow up on Banned Books Week from earlier in the month and share the sweet and lovely And Tango Makes Three.