Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill

A parent is telling the story to its child about the witch who wants children. They don't know why she takes them. But the town is so fearful, so sorrowful, that each year the Elders take the youngest baby and leaves it at the edge of the forest so the witch will leave their town at peace. No one in the town ever refuses. It is just how it is, how it has always been. 

Unbeknowst to this town, the witch, Xan, is actually most kindhearted, living in the forest with her friends: a giant green bog beast, Glerk, and a tiny dragon, Fryian, whom she loves more than anything else in the world. As like every year, she knows not why, (she is not one to judge) a baby is left in the woods. And again. like every other year, she makes sure to find the baby, and takes it through the forest, across the road, to the Free Cities, to make sure it gets to a loving familly. But on the way she accidentally feeds her moonlight, instead of just starlight. Xan realizes she will have to raise her, not a family in the Free Cities. Because moonlight equals MAGIC. 

I am still verklempt, and my eyes are still red, but my heart is full. First of all, isn't the title just delicious? Oh, and the cover, created by Yuta entrancing. And the words, the gorgeous. Even the chapter titles are divine. 

Another one of those books where I gasped, and cried, and laughed as I discovered the real truth, which of course involes evil, deceit, magic, and the unwavering love of family and friends. 5 stars and I predict many, many awards. I wouldn't be surprised if it is nominated for a Newbery. 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Voice of Freedom Fannie Lou Hamer by Carole Boston Weatherford andIllustrated by Ekua Holmes

Wow....just WOW! I rate a book on how it makes me feel....I wept through this book. Wept for the people, for Fanny and everything she went through, and everything she accomplished. But I also wept for my naïveté. Last Feb I visited Charleston, SC. We toured plantations. I came away with the feeling that I had never really known the depth of prejudice and racism until I heard the stories of the slaves and seeing their cemetery. My best friend has the kindest soul, and when she entered the cemetery she started coughing horribly. I know she was affected deeply by just the sight of the cemetery and the wrought iron archway at the entrance. The depressions in the ground where the rotting wooden coffins had sunk were the only indication that it was a cemetery, there were no markers of any kind. Of course now there is a sign explaining all of this. Injustice should affect people this way. In the children book world right now, talk of the need for diversity is strong, as it should be. It reminds me of when the picture book about George Washington's chef had smiling slaves on the cover. There are NO smiling slaves, and book people everywhere protested that cover. Scholastic pulled it from it's inventory after the criticism. Another book that makes me believe that reading and books can change your life. Please, please read this book, & then when you think your children are ready, read it to them.