It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen and Kellee from Teach Mentor Texts (and brainchild of Sheila at BookJourney). Two of our blogging friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have inspired us to join this vibrant meme.
Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts
Here are a few of the reviews we have done last week. We are also inviting everyone to join our Award-Winning-Books Reading Challenge. We hosted the AWB Challenge last year and we are thrilled to be able to host it again. Do sign up if you are looking for exciting reading challenges with monthly book prizes. Click on the titles/images below to be taken to our blog posts.
[Photo Story/A-Z Photo Story Challenge] B is for Beauty that is Budapest
Poetry Friday: Of Loss, Desires, and Widows
Meet the Storyteller: Russell Molina
Illustrator’s Sketchpad: Sergio Bumatay III
[Book Hunting Expedition 61] Book Haul for Loss, Heartbreak, and Coming of Age
We are also joining Nonfiction Monday today. The host this week is Biblio Links.
Michael Rosen’s Sad Book
Story by: Michael Rosen
Illustrated by: Quentin Blake
Published by: Walker Books, 2004 Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
This is not an easy read. The words are hauntingly real, filled with big emotions, and aching with so much loss. The struggle for meaning, even the mere act of waking up in the morning is painful. This book also shows how a strong collaboration between author and illustrator can work so beautifully together. The artwork gives a full-bodied dimension to the gray dull ache and its massive proportions wrapping the entire body up in scales and scribbles.
As a clinician and an educator, I can not help but note that this would be a perfect read to explain clinical depression among undergraduate psychology students. However, I do feel that it goes beyond just that.
While yes, there is that gaping hole left by someone who passed away, it is also a very personal journey, a quiet reflection by candle light, and a gnawing pain that never really goes away. The book also portrays how the ache is dulled by gingerly-captured joy and fleeting smiles from birthday candles and warm hugs…
… and that there really is no neat resolution nor nicely-wrapped glittering ending. Yet life goes on, regardless.
Story By: Charlotte Moundlic
Illustrated by: Olivier Tallec
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2011. Borrowed from the library. Book photos taken by me.
In Michael Rosen’s Sad Book, one sees how a parent deals with the loss of a child. The Scar, on the other hand, shows how a child deals with the death of a parent (a mother in this case).
The colour scheme with the bright glaring reds is perfect for the child’s emotions: from anger to longing to anguish to grief to despondency.
The illustrations also have that charmingly-unfinished, sketchy quality to it that I liked.
These two books portray different faces of loneliness. There is no sugarcoating the pain nor even an attempt to minimise the loss – they show a matter-of-fact portrayal of what death does to the living and how life still goes on despite one’s misery and melancholia.
I tried reading David Levithan and Rachel Cohn’s Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist but I just couldn’t bring myself to resonate with the characters. I get impatient with the teenagers’ hangups about their ex-es. Perhaps it is just my jaded and cynical worldview and where I am with my life that makes me unable to appreciate it for what it is. And so I drown myself in zombie universe with World War Z by Max Brooks.
How about you, dear friends, what have you been reading this week?
The Scar looks beautiful. What a myriad of books to explore. Thank you!
We have a section in our store that deals with these topics. I’m glad there are books for kids that help them deal with tough issues.