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Someday My Printz Will Come
Inside Someday My Printz Will Come

Under the Mesquite

Under the Mesquite 203x300 Under the MesquiteThis was a late addition to our reading pile thanks to the Morris nod and a presence on one of the year-end lists. It’s not an easy book to track down; I struck out at a few bookstores and the local library system (where it is owned but in single digits). But I finally got my hands on it and read it in just a few hours.

And I’m a little underwhelmed. It’s a lovely book, and I think it’s an important one: there are not enough books like this, in which a Mexican-American family lives their life, and the focus is not on assimilation or immigration but on the family, and their duality (Mexican/American, Spanish/English) shapes them but isn’t the whole story by a long shot.

Instead, this is about love and loss and family, important and universal themes.

But it’s thin. [Read more...]

The Iceberg Watcheth

The Watch that Ends the Night 214x300 The Iceberg WatchethHappy 2012! This year marks 100 years since the fateful maiden voyage of RMS Titanic, which is why we’ve saved this book for our first post of the year.

And who doesn’t love a good Titanic tale? Haven’t we all had that moment when the scope of the tragedy, the mythology of the final moments, touched us in some way? I have two books that brought the story to life for me: First, Richard Peck’s Ghosts I Have Been. My memory of details has faded, but I remember that this was a seminal book for me and the image of Blossom clutching the wet blanket still brings me chills. And I remember the little boy. And the cold.

My second critical Titanic tale was Connie Willis’s Passage, an odd and not entirely successful—but still brilliant—look at near death experiences and missed connections which uses the Titanic to great advantage and led me to read a bit more Titanic nonfiction (Walter Lord’s A Night to Remember, anyone?)

So although I had missed most early buzz about Allan Wolf’s The Watch that Ends the Night, once I realized it was a, about Titanic and b, fiction, I was excited to read it. Plus three stars, and it made The Horn Book’s 2011 Fanfare.

[Read more...]