Wednesday, July 22, 2015

the boy in the black suit

The Boy in the Black Suit by Jason Reynolds is a beautiful look at grief and the rituals of bereavement ... listening to Tupac's "Dear Mama" on repeat or sitting in the back pew at funeral services. Seeing others grieve can remind you that you're not alone.

From NPR Books:

One of the novel's memorable metaphors comes when Matt is discussing grief and disappointment with his mentor, Mr. Ray, who has seen his share of both. Life, says Mr. Ray, is like the kid's card game I Declare War: You flip cards, and sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. What you can't do, he says, is plan ahead.
"I can lose and lose and lose and I don't know why. But there's nothing I can do but just keep flipping the cards. Eventually, I'll win again. As long as you got cards to keep turning, you're fine. Now, that's life."

The Boy in the Black Suit is a wonderful story of death and life... and how individually and differently... and, yet, similarly each person grieves. Young adult and middle grade readers will enjoy this book and reflect on the importance of community in times of deep sadness.

* Be sure to read the author's bio on the back cover flap. Jason Reynolds is crazy. About stories.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

insanely great

Have you seen the new graphic biography, Steve Jobs: insanely great by Jessie Hartland? I got mine today. It's simple and energetic and informative. I think middle grade readers will love it.

It's about success and setbacks and design and demons. It's about the impossible and the possible and all the contradictions of living an extraordinary life.

Get this book for the misfits you know... for the square pegs in the round holes. Get this book for the young people in your life who see things differently; for those who are crazy enough to think they can change the world.

If you have ever wondered about living an unconventional life in a conventional world, this is the story for you.

Monday, July 20, 2015

true champions leave their heart on the court

The Crossover by Kwame Alexander is an amazing, relatable, poetic novel written in verse. 

I want to introduce everyone to the joys of reading... but it is awesome when you can find a poet who especially wants to introduce boys to the joys of reading.

KWAME ALEXANDER: You want to reach all kids. You want to reach librarians and teachers. But you often hear that boys don’t read or boys are reluctant readers.

The Crossover is the story of twins, Josh and JB. Josh narrates his family's story; and he does it in free verse, list poems, vocabulary poems, haiku, rap... the variety of poetry is beautiful.

It's a book about brothers and family and race and sports and tenderness. 

Most importantly, this book is a model of what poetry can do. It will leave it's reader with the idea that poetry is absolutely cool.

Basketball Rule #1

In this game of life
your family is the court
and the ball is your heart.
No matter how good you are,
no matter how down you get,
always leave
your heart
on the court.

Basketball Rule #10

A loss is inevitable,
like snow in winter.
True champions
to dance
the storm.