On the blog:
- A slice about the coffee shop where I write on Tuesdays
Jarrett Krosoczka’s Hey, Kiddo will certainly be one of my top ten favorite graphic novels this year. It revisits the territory of his popular TED Talk and develops the outline of his life that he shared there into a memoir that’s by turns heartbreaking and hopeful. The audience is young adult rather than the juvenile audience Krosoczka usually writes for. The subject matter is often difficult, the tone at times quite bleak. At times, I wished Krosoczka had used fewer words: this is often a really wordy graphic novel, and his images are so powerful that I thought they should have been allowed to do a little more of the work of storytelling in some parts. He’s outdone himself with the art, from the muted palette (be sure to read the author’s notes in the back to find out why he chose that orange) to the various styles that capture his artistic development to the emotional resonance of nearly every image. The back matter is equally compelling and moved me to tears a couple of times. His is just such a powerful story of finding your way and surviving through art.
I read Waiting aloud as one of our #classroombookaday titles this week. (Sadly, I’m entirely blanking on the other title I shared. If I don’t write it down immediately after class, it’s gone forever.) I’ve read the book several times to myself, but this is the first time I’ve read it aloud to a class, and I was reminded of what a difference experience a book is read aloud. The pacing, cadence, repetition, and compression of lines made this poetry. We don’t have time to talk about our #classroombookaday reads, but they must be having an impact because several students have chosen picture books as their models or mentor texts for teaching demonstrations, which is very pleasing.
Richard Van Camp’s We Sang You Home is an exceptionally beautiful and moving board book belonging to that “welcome to the world new baby” category. I don’t read many board books and don’t like them as a tactile experience, but the two that I read this week make me think I should reconsider. This one is especially well-written with lines that I wanted to return to and enjoy all over again.
Little You is another Van Camp-Flett collaboration celebrating the arrival of a new child, also beautiful, and may be preferred by some to We Sang You Home, but my rhyme-phobia got in the way of my enjoyment here.
And just a little more Julie Flett for you: Owls See Clearly at Night is a bilingual alphabet book sharing words and phrases from the Michif language of the Metis people. The words and art celebrate the Metis culture and strongly evoke a particular place and setting for me as well. Flett’s art is exceptional: I wanted to frame nearly every spread. There are informative author’s notes as well.