The Week in Reading #imwayr 5/18/20

It was a really busy week with the summer semester starting, so I didn’t read very much, but everything I finished was a five-star read.

I’m not sure I’ve ever read a poetry collection where every single poem speaks to me in some way, where I legit love every single poem in the book. Even in a collection I really love, there are always a couple of poems that I don’t get, that don’t connect with me. But every poem in Citizen Illegal was my new favorite poem. This book is so good! Olivarez writes about growing up Mexican and American in Chicago; these are poems about culture and identity, about family and food and language and love. These are also poems with a trenchant examination and critique of race, class, and gender.
Beautifully crafted, often very funny, elegant AND hard-hitting. Just so good.

I found Lu to be such a satisfying conclusion to Jason Reynolds’s Track series. I do love a middle-grade or YA that manages to have good parents in it and healthy relationships between kids and adults. I think Reynolds writes such incredibly thoughtful and balanced kid-adult relationships, where both sides have something to learn from each other and space within the relationship to grow.

Fantastic photographic nonfiction picture book written by ten-year-old Aslan Tudor, a member of the Lipan Apache tribe, about the movement on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation to protect their water supply, agricultural land, and wetlands from the environmental devastation of potential contamination from the inevitable spills and leaks of the big oil pipelines that criss cross major water sources. An astonishing 10,000 water protectors converged on Standing Rock to try to keep the Dakota Access Pipeline from being completed. (The pipeline did end up being built and–surprise, surprise!–it leaks. The Standing Rock Nation continues to try to use the court systems to protect their water supply and the lands of their nation.) Tudor tells the story from the perspective of a young person who was there participating as a citizen activist. His book gives readers a helpful overview of the issues of sovereignty and environmentalism that are at the heart of the crisis as well as an on-the-ground look at what daily life was like in the camp.






7 responses to “The Week in Reading #imwayr 5/18/20”

  1. Beth Shaum (@BethShaum) Avatar

    Your high praise of Citizen Illegal made me immediately check to see if my library has it, which it doesn’t. So I think I might just go ahead and purchase it on Kindle. I’m not one to usually purchase a book unless I’ve read it and loved it, but for this I might have to make an exception since I have the same experience with poetry collections.

  2. Clare Landrigan Avatar

    Citizen Ilegal immediately grabbed my attention! I just ordered it –thank you.

  3. aaroncleaveley Avatar

    I completely agree with your point about parental relationships. I am reading more and more books with positive relationships but that was kind of a cliche in some MG and YA that the parents were absent or really ineffective. This was one series that got it right. Citizen Illegal does sound really interesting, thanks for the post.

  4. lindabaie Avatar

    Citizen Illegal sounds great, Elisabeth. I put it on my list, and luckily the library does have it. Now to have the libraries open. It will be interesting to see what restrictions they will have. I’ve read other Jason Reynolds’ books and enjoyed them, even have some of that track series, but just have not made time for it! You’ve given it a boost again for me! I also noted Young Water Protestors. Thank you!

  5. Shaye Miller Avatar

    I’m going to have to get my hands on Citizen Illegal!! And can I just say how happy I am to learn there’s a picture book about Standing Rock? I especially like the fact that it’s written from the perspective of a young person. Wonder if we’ll get a copy in the college library.

  6. Completely Full Bookshelf Avatar
    Completely Full Bookshelf

    These books all sound excellent! Citizen Illegal sounds great, and I’m glad that this last entry in the Track series was enjoyable. Young Water Protectors sounds excellent, both with regards to its important story and with regards to its author being just 10 years old! Thanks for the great post!

  7. cweichel Avatar

    As soon as I read your review of Citizen Illegal, I went in search of it at my library. Alas, neither of them have a copy. I too loved Jason Reynolds’s Track series, but honestly, I love everything He writes…
    I remember following the news about Standing Rock – It was like watching a train wreck. I don’t think an indigenous group in North America has ever won in their conflict with big business or government. I will be looking forward to reading Young Water Protectors.

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