I cannot review every book I read but I do want to talk about what I've read especially since I'm posting weekly about books I've received or check out from the library. Each week or as regularly as I can, I'll share annotations about what I read for the week.
Last week, I had a good run with children's and YA fiction. Whenever I need a real boost, some inspiration, just plain good feelings, these are the books I turned to the young. I read:
A Cool Moonlight by Angela Johnson. I read this because of Alessandra's review. The simplicity of the language here is deceptive. It takes a skilled writer to use sparse and simple words and leave an indelible impression. Subtlety is an art. In this book there is an undeniable magic and hope that resonates with the reader no matter how old she is.
The Kayla Chronicles by Sherri Winston. I really wanted to like this book because I liked the premise: a young feminist committed to supporting her peers, helping them build self-esteem and find their girl power. Kayla is smart, athletic and articulate. How could you not love her? What bothers me most is what's not here. Kayla and her best friend spout off feminist quotes like boys cite sport stats. Pretty impressive except as a quote collector and black feminist myself, who the girls aren't quoting sticks out like static hair. Kayla wants to be a journalist, but she doesn't quote any notable black journalists like icons, Daisy Bates or Nancy Maynard. Kayla's grandmother and Rosalie's mother are both professors and feminists. If you know anything about women of color feminists, you know there are some rifts with the majority movement so it is more than strange that there isn't a single quote by notable black feminists such as Belle Hooks, Alice Walker or Audre Lorde. And the book reads as if Winston can't quite figure how to balance traditional gender roles and a modern feminist view of how women are defining themselves. Kayla is a teen so you expect her confusion but competing sub-plots suggests Winston isn't sure how to create a believable cast.
Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson. Lonnie Collins Motion is eleven. He was seven when his parents died in a fire. He's in foster care and a separated from his younger sister Lili. His teacher, Ms. Marcus introduces Lonnie to poetry. Writing it all down and visiting with his sister, Lonnie finds a way to cope with loss and to have hope that he and Lili will be united. I haven't read many verse novels but I am quickly becoming a fan. Lonnie says the entire book is a poem and it is. It is lyrical, fluid and affecting. Loved this.