Archive for November 2011

OKAY FOR NOW by Gary D. Schmidt

November 13, 2011

It’s 1968, and Doug’s family has just moved to a small town in upstate New York because his father lost his job. It’s not your typical happy family: one older brother is in Viet Nam, the other is a bully, and the father keeps the whole family on edge with his outbursts. Doug must learn to navigate both his difficult family and the new town he has landed in. There is so much in this book: colorful town characters, a little romance, hard family situations, the sad reality of war, the importance of art and creativity…check it out if you want a beautifully written story about a real boy’s growth and survival.

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WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick

November 5, 2011

I just finished reading WONDERSTRUCK by Brian Selznick. Like his last book, THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET (which won the Caldecott Award), it is a huge book  (600+ pages) that is half gorgeous pencil drawings (not a graphic novel: rather, an illustrated novel). The book tells two different intertwined stories – one in words and the other in pictures –  that the reader just knows are going to come together somehow. Ben’s story is in 1977 and Rose’s is in 1927. Both Ben and Rose are unhappy children who make a daring decision to change their lives, and the way their two stories come together is something I wouldn’t want to spoil for you. Let me just say that it is a beautiful book, both the story and the illustrations, and the ending, which celebrates friendship and family,  will leave you WONDERSTRUCK.