Sunday, April 4, 2010

New Crayons: What's New On Our Shelves

Remember when you were a kid and getting new crayons was a big deal? Getting new books holds the same kind of magic for some of us big kids. Every week on Sunday, I post what's new in our box. I think crayons is a pretty cool metaphor for multicultural lit. Every week we receive a book at Color Online is a good week.

This week turned out to be equally plentiful so I'm blogging here and at Color Online about the wonderful donations we received. Check these out:

Rattlesnake Mesa: Stories form a Native American Childhood by Ednah New Rider Weber
I have rediscovered children's books. Thanks to Debbie Reese at American Indians in Children's Literature, I'm interested in finding positive and authentic Native titles. I'm looking forward to reading this.
After her beloved Grandmother dies, EdNah, a seven-year-old Pawnee girl, goes to live with a father she hardly knows on a Navajo reservation miles away. Heartbroken but resilient, she begins to create a new life for herself in this unfamiliar place.

Born Confused by Tanuji Desai Hidier
This is funny and smartly written. The combination of Hidier's artistic sensibility renders a fresh, face-paced read for a mammoth of a book. No character was a prop and Hidier manages to touch on budding sexuality, romance and sexual orientation without be stiff or didactic.
Not quite Indian, and not quite American, Dimple unsuccessfully tries to blend in, riding on the coattails of her blue-eyed, blonde best friend, Gwyn. The author nimbly describes the shared outsider status that drew together the two, "the rich little girl who lived like an orphan and the brown little girl who existed as if she were still umbilically attached to her parents." During Dimple's 17th year, however, the tables suddenly turn when Dimple's parents introduce her to Karsh Kapoor, the son of their close friends from India. Through their meeting, the author reveals Dimple's mother's own secret creative aspirations (to become a dancer in her youth) as well as another first-generation teen's attempt to straddle both cultures.

Aya by Magurerite Abouet (GN) I read this first volume and I can't say enough of how pleased I was to see a modern African society with characters today's teen could relate to. The graphic novel is so entertaining, the reader could easily fail to realize the informal way the author relays a cultural and history lesson.
spinning a multifaceted romantic comedy that would satisfy even without any political agenda behind it. Set in 1970, Aya follows the travails of some teenage girls in the peaceful Abidjan working-class neighborhood of Yopougon (which they call "Yop City, like something out of an American movie")

Aya of Yop City by Magurerite Abouet (GN) and Aya: The Secret Comes Out by Magurerite Abouet (GN). I've been looking forward to the sequels. Thanks to Olugbemisola, I'll have a chance to read these before sharing them with others.

What did you get this week in the mail, at the book store or on trade? Post a link to your Crayon post at Color Online, and your name is entered in a monthly random drawing. Kristi at the Story Siren also hosts In My mailbox.


the story siren said...

Born Confused sounds really good. I've been watching Price of Beauty with Jessica Simpson, and although I don't really care for Jessica, I do like the show. They recently visited India and it was so interesting to see the brief glimpse into some of their culture. And I've started mentoring a blogger from India so my interest has really piqued. Although if it's a mammoth book, it might be on my tbr pile for a while, lol. But i'll still have to check it out. Thanks!

susan said...


It's a big book but the pace of the novel and the style makes it a page-turner. It doesn't read like a long book at all.

I have more South Asian titles here. You might want to read Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins or Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman. These are shorter and very good as well. These are also set in India.

ck.twilighter said...

Great blurbs=)!! I will be adding to my list!=)

Enjoy your reads this week and come by my blog:
Chasity @
Lovin' & Livin' Life in the 808

Aths said...

Born Confused sounds good! The Aya books have been on my TBR for some time, but I haven't been getting these books at my school library. Need to check out the public library!

Lori said...

Nice selection of books. I hope that you will enjoy them.