This week was fantastic in terms of blogging and the mail. Color Online was nominated in 8 categories and I'll have a short guest spot at Amy Bowllen's column at School Library Journal thanks to Zetta Elliott. Kristi at Story Siren created In My Mailbox. Marcia hosts Mailbox Monday and I focus on multicultural lit with New Crayons at Color Online. Special thanks to Colleen at Chasing Ray and Shalonda for two boxes full of goodies Here are a few:
Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Lani Taylor. Didn't know anything about this but Jen's review convinces me it's worth checking out.
Dreamdark is as colorful and wondrous as the Jinn-crafted tapestry that gives it life. If the cover art didn't tip you off, this book isn't the gag-me-sweet faerie world of little people who flit around and make things grow (there is one in the book, but you can't help but like her). It's the brilliantly conceived tale of Magpie Windwitch, granddaughter of the West Wind, who hunts devils that have been released back into the world by meddling humans who keep opening bottles hoping to have their wishes granted. She's tough, she's good, and she's endearing from her foxlick to her crow feather skirt. Read Jen Seegmiller's review here.
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr. I have enjoyed interacting with Sara, but have not read her work. Looking forward to this.
What I found most interesting about Sweethearts was how it doesn’t go for an either/or dichotomy when it comes to Jenna's identity. Perhaps the most obvious solution would be for Jenna to return to being Jennifer, her "true self", stick to the friends who loved her for that, and learn not to care about what everyone else says. But as time passes, people, especially teenagers, do change. And Jenna isn’t really Jennifer anymore. So what happens is that she realizes that her life isn’t completely artificial after all; that people have a better idea of who she really is than she realizes. It turns out she wasn’t acting all the time. See Nymeth's review here.
If A Tree Falls at Lunch Period by Gennifer Choldenko. Saw the title once before but no clue what it was about. Now that I know, I'm definitely interested.
On the surface, seventh graders Kirsten and Walk couldn’t be more different. Kirsten is an overweight secret eater who hides her unhappiness over her parents’ constant fighting behind mountains of candy bars and bags of potato chips. Walk is a smart loner trying to make it as one of the only black students in Kirsten’s mostly white private school... What looks like a benign school story from its innocent, colorful cover is actually a pretty deep read that will challenge the way you think about race and economic class, and help you understand that even though they often try to convince you otherwise, adults mess up too. Read full review at Reading Rants.
So Punk Rock (and Other Ways to Disappoint Your Mother) by David Ostow. I recently read some comments by Micol that says I need to check her out. Now I learn she's married to an artist. Very cool. Read interview here.
So Punk Rock totally rocks. I dig this hybrid novel. It's funny, it's thoughtful, and it's just plain cool. It will definitely appeal to teen guys AND girls. It reads like a 'normal' book, with chapters and Ari's first-person narration, plus it has black-and-white illustrations: sidebars, pictures of the band members, doodles and lists. Read full review at Guys Lit Wire.