It’s Monday, What are You Reading is a meme hosted by Jen from Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki from Unleashing Readers (new host of Monday reading: Kathryn T at Book Date). Since two of our friends, Linda from Teacher Dance and Tara from A Teaching Life have been joining this meme for quite awhile now, we thought of joining this warm and inviting community.
Last Week’s Review and Miscellany Posts
I like how books for children nowadays explore abstractions and philosophical ruminations – deceptively simplified through innocent queries and articulations of deep-seated fears.
Once Upon A Memory
Written by: Nina Laden Illustrated by: Renata Liwska
Published by: Little, Brown and Company, 2013. ISBN: 0316208167 (ISBN13: 9780316208161). Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
Reminiscent of Pablo Neruda’s The Book of Questions, each full-page spread in this book contains a lyrical question that would make any reader – both adult and child alike – sigh in remembrance: of things that came before – of the composition of a statue, a poem, a feather, a garden, a book.
It is a quiet whisper reminding us of how we are all a part of something:
and that we are all deeply interconnected in one way or another; no matter how alone we feel, we remain part of something bigger than ourselves. My favourite, though is this one below:
As I was reading this book, I felt a tugging sensation that tells me I know this art – then I recalled The Quiet Book and The Loud Book. Hah. I am fast becoming a huge fan of Renata Liwska’s art – it calms the soul.
What There Is Before There Is Anything There (A Scary Story)
Written and Illustrated by: Liniers Translated by: Elisa Amado
Published by: Groundwood Books: House of Anansi Press, 2006 Book Awards: Cámara Argentina de Publicaciones, Asociación del Libro Infantil y Juvenil de la Argentina. ISBN: 1554983851 (ISBN13: 9781554983858). Book borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.
This is a strange little story from Argentina about a young boy who is afraid of the dark. Every night, after his parents tuck him in, and there is absolute darkness in his room, something happens:
I like how delightfully odd his imagined creatures are. It reminded me a little bit of Shaun Tan’s Eric, but with a slightly frightening twist:
While these ones appear relatively innocuous, it is the darkness that speaks which brings the chills to this young boy – as it claims: “I am what there is before there is anything there.”
Somehow, its entire vibe reminded me of Patrick Ness’ A Monster Calls. While this book has been rightfully critiqued for lacking any kind of resolution or even a discernible growth in the end for the character, I was simply taken by the unique art of Liniers. And for some reason, I understood why it didn’t need to have any kind of resolution – in fact, there is strength about its being open-ended. It invites young readers to imagine what may happen next; it leaves spaces for one to develop their own closure to fears of a primeval darkness – one that claims to come before anything else.
Finally! I am glad to share that I finished reading these two novels: The World of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game Of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, Elio M. Garcia, Jr., and Linda Antonsson; and In The Country: Stories by Mia Alvar.
I also finished reading Maybe A Fox by Kathi Appelt and Alison McGhee – will be posting a very short review in the coming months.
I have also started reading The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell and with a measure of relief, I am glad to share that I am enjoying it tremendously.