Today is the last day of the #CybilsReadDown! I will have to wait until tomorrow to post my current TBR pile – but I did pretty well over all, reviewing 11 of the 13 books I had read but not reviewed when this started, reading and reviewing 11 out of 12 books from my primary TBR pile. I read and reviewed 4 and read without reviewing 3 of the 9 books that were on my Libby hold list. (I still have several months on my hold for The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemison.) And I read and reviewed the only book by a POC on my back-up list, as well as purchasing several new books… but we’ll talk about those tomorrow. All told, I reviewed 27 books from my original list, not counting a few that got added to my pile and reviewed also. I think this was the right challenge for me!
This Place: 150 Years Retold by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Read from library copy.
I first heard of this book because it was a Cybils teen graphic novel finalist, and then bought a copy for my library. Ten stories – all with different authors and illustrators follow the history of Indigenous people in Canada, beginning with Annie of Red River, set in 1850. The stories range from uplifting to heartbreaking to horror, and the art from very realistic to sketchy and stylized. In the final story, an Plains Cree girl from the far future is sent back in time through ritual to see the past history of Indigenous Canada in hopes that she will be able to help the Returners, who fled a broken Earth three centuries earlier, to be able to live gently with the planet, as she and the other Indigenous people who stayed do. Too often, if we think about Native or Indigenous cultures at all, we view them as monolithic and dead. This range of voices show it to be the lie it is. I read and enjoyed all of this, while my son (15) read up to the last story, though he wasn’t able to articulate why he’d lost interest. There is a lot of violence and some sexual references, so it may be better for teens and up. Still highly recommended.
Guts by Raina Telgemeier. Graphix, 2019. 978-0545852500. Read from purchased copy.
It wasn’t until quarantine that I got around to reading this book that my daughter (10) got for her birthday several months earlier. Telgemeier does it again (see my review of Sisters), with a winning, instantly relatable book, this time looking at her issues with anxiety. This is increasingly common among kids today, so it would be a must-have even if Telgemeier’s books weren’t auto-buys.
I asked my daughter what she would say to a friend she wanted to read this book; she said she wouldn’t have to say anything, because they have all read it already.
Best Friends by Shannon Hale and LeUyen Pham. First Second, 2019. ISBN 978-250-317469. Read from purchased copy.
This was another birthday book of my daughter’s. Shannon Hale’s stories and LeUyen Pham’s art work together so well. In this sequel to Real Friends (both based on her own childhood), Shannon is now part of the in crowd, one of the most popular girls in school. But this takes an enormous amount of work – figuring out the right music to listen to and TV shows to watch. And while her story-telling skills have always been a major way she relates to her friends, now her friends consider her fantasy stories too childish. Along the way, we see excerpts of the story she’s writing – an over-the-top story of a beautiful, lonely rich girl who looks much like her and finds her way to a magical island. That brought back so many memories of similar stories I (over)wrote as a child and young teen! And while I was never in the in crowd, her struggles with friendship and knowing when to be flexible and when to hold to your own interests are real and just as important for kids growing up today.