On Mondays, I share books read for children and teens and link up with Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Kellee and Ricki at UnleashingReaders. Others link to share adult books with Sheila at Book Journeys who started the meme a long time ago.
Come visit, and tweet at #IMWAYR. Thanks to Jen, Kellee, and Ricki for hosting!
Behind The Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope In A Mumbai Undercity - written by Katherine Boo
This book won the National Book Award for 2012, among others, and meets the criteria for the award challenge at Gathering Books. Click on the badge on the right for more information.
I really wish I could just give link after link of the glowing reviews of this book, long on my list of books to read, and I finally did take time to read slowly, savor the beauty that Katherine Boo shared of these people in circumstances hard to imagine. And I find it hard to see how they did/do survive. While there may be better circumstances here in the U.S., there are equally terrible places for children who are trapped in them with few ways to change. Boo follows several families, especially the children of those families, the way they start work early, at seven sometimes, the way they learn to scavenge and steal, then sell the goods for what seems like nothing, but to them, IS something. They live and survive in cobbled-together shacks in a slum named Annawadi, in sight, but fenced off, from the wealthy and beautiful Mumbai airport and its hotels. It is humbling to read this, trying not to judge my own life and others, wondering if I do enough to help. There is such need here and in other countries. Here are some words that made me pause, among many others: “In America and in Europe, it was said, people know what is going to happen when they turn on the water tap or flick the light switch. In India, a land of few safe assumptions, chronic uncertainty was said to have helped produce a nation of quick-witted, creative problem-solvers.”
Among the poor, there was no doubt that instability fostered ingenuity, but over time the lack of a link between effort and result could become debilitating. “We try so many things,” as one Annawadi girl put it, ‘but the world doesn’t move in our favor.’”
Two books discovered at a fabulous Sanibel Island bookshop (there happen to be three) named MacIntosh Books and Paper. Both are by local authors and signed! If I didn’t have to pack all the books home in my suitcase, I would have purchased more! These two are for the granddaughters.
For Imogene, readying again for school, last year before kindergarten, and who loves monsters.
Go To School, Little Monster - written by Helen Ketteman and illustrated by Bonnie Leick
Who wouldn’t be a bit intimidated when you arrive at school, and find out that the teacher is named “Mr. Drool”. And now I’ve imitated the way this story goes, in rhyme, with all the silliest monsters Bonnie Leick can dream up, adding funny details like worms coming out of the apple on the teacher’s desk, and strange icky things sticking out of sandwiches at lunch. But there are dragons and ogres to ride on the playground, and a new classmate who is a bit scary at the beginning, but by the end, becomes a new best friend, and all have a great first day. The story is funny, just right for younger kids who love the monster ideas, and it brings up a few anxious times on the first day of school, like getting to know that “monster” who is sitting beside you.
For Ingrid, one more manatee book, the animal she studied all year in her school, and saw here for the first time. What a joy it was to see her see this mama and two babies. Here's one of the pictures.
I Am A Manatee, Yes, I Am - written by Rosalie Tagg Masella and illustrated by Kimberlee C. Alemian
Here lie the basic facts, and perhaps a few new ones not known, like manatees have “marching molars”, growing new ones when the old ones wear out. I’ve never heard this term and wonder if Ingrid has. The book is filled with gorgeous watercolor illustrations that match the facts page by page.
Two found and enjoyed at the Captiva Library
Emmanuel’s Dream - written by Laurie AnnThompson and illustrated by Sean Qualls
Finally I found this book and got to enjoy it as so many others have shared its joy. An inspiration throughout, starting with Emmanuel’s mother, who wouldn’t give up her son just because he was born without the use of one leg. She insisted that he figure out how to do things to help, like carry water, and he did. No one would play with him, so he saved his money and bought a soccer ball, said he was to be allowed to play if anyone else wanted to use the ball. He played! Emmanuel may have been born using only one leg, yet showed more persistence and endurance than others with two. He became disgusted with the way the disabled were treated in his country, Ghana, so set out on a cross country ride to show how much is possible. He wore a t-short with the words The Pozo, meaning “disabled person”. He now continues to fight for the rights of the disabled all over the world. This story is a must for everyone to read, not just teachers to children, but for all to learn that having a disability is just one part of what someone is, not all the parts.
Saltypie, A Choctaw Journey From Darkness Into Light - written by Tim Tingle and illustrated by Karen Clarkson
What a wonderful book I found. Tim tells the story of his grandmother, who taught him that whenever a bad thing happened, she called it Saltypie. She moved with her family to a little house in Oklahoma, stepped out on the porch the first morning to enjoy the beauty, and was hit on the head by a rock. Part of the story relays the family closeness brought by his grandmother’s attitude. Saltypie is what sometimes happens, but then how you deal with it is the important part. Tim Tingle’s great, great-grandfather was part of the group of Choctaw Native Americans who walked the Trail of Tears. His biography on the flyleaf shows him to be an important storyteller, and this is a story I enjoyed very much. There is a part of the story toward the end that shows the grandmother having an eye transplant, surprising him because he had never known she couldn’t see. It’s a story told with love, and beautifully shown in the portraits drawn by Karen Clarkson.
There is an important piece by Tingle at the back concerning the question, “How much should we tell them?” This means that sometimes when people tell too much of the injustices they face every day, others don’t believe them, so they tell only a part of it. He speaks of the stereotypes faced, that they never used buffalo skins, nor lived in teepees, but lived in houses, had gardens and farms, just like the white people. It is an important piece, reminds me of the words used by the Wampanoag Native Americans who are in the Plymouth area: “We are still here.” They share how people are surprised that there are still Native Americans living today.
Next: I'm reading The Scorpio Rules by Erin Bow, from NetGalley. So far it's intriguing, and I suspect will be exciting. I'm just starting to discover characters, the way this future society works, etc.