On the blog:
Clap When You Land is a verse novel told in two voices. The tragic event happens right at the beginning: a plane from New York bound for the Dominican Republic crashes, and all the passengers die. The two voices are two sisters: Camino, who lives in the Dominican Republic, and Yahaira, who lives in New York. Yahaira’s father has left for his annual summer visit to family in the Dominican Republic, and Camino is waiting at the airport to pick up her father for his annual summer visit. Only it’s the same father! Each tells her story and grieves separately, until they discover the other’s existence. I liked the way their stories eventually come together, and each character felt well-developed and real to me. I didn’t love this book as much as Acevedo’s other novels, but I still liked it a lot and look forward to book talking it this fall.
I don’t know why I read Eleanor Coppola’s Notes on a Life. I do like journals and diaries, and I’m always interested in the lives of women artists. There were parts that I found interesting in a celebrity gossip way. And there were parts I did find deeply moving as she describes her grief after her son’s death. But so much of this book shows an almost unimaginably privileged person fussing in ennui and regret. It’s hard to know what to do with an artist who wants to work on her art but feels she has to supervise the construction of a new mansion or the latest winery event instead.
This was a fascinating look at the history of that endless game, Monopoly, which turns out to have been designed by a woman who later had her intellectual property stolen and whose purpose in creating the game was to critique the actual monopolies that were creating such economic distress for so many! (Also, it turns out that people have been hacking the rules of Monopoly virtually since the game began. And for good reason!)
Kate Messner’s Tree of Wonder describes the thousands of lives that one almendro tree in the Brazilian rain forest can support and nourish. Very thoughtfully put together with an engaging story plus a detailed informational description on each page, as well as thorough back matter. (And attractive illustrations!). Terrific mentor text for informational writing.
Some of you are no doubt familiar with Gyo Fujikawa’s work, but I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of her picture books. And now I’m annoyed because she made over 50 of them! And they’re important! But thankfully, since I never miss a Kyo Maclear or Julie Morstad title, now I know about her life and her work. This is an excellent picture book biography of a children’s book artist who was also a quiet activist.
What are you reading this week?