Ahh yes, it's that time of year again. Time to get ready to get back to work! I've been saying I need to re-read the novels for my Children's Lit class, and this morning I finally got down to business.
Since I enjoyed it so much the first time, I couldn't resist starting with Gene Luen Yang's American Born Chinese. This excellent graphic novel was a finalist for a 2006 National Book Award and won the 2007 Michael L. Printz Award. While it really rides the line between Children's and Adolescent literature, I think it'll be a great book to bridge the gap between our study of picture books and novels in the Children's Lit course. Many of my college students have never read comics or graphic novels before, and this one is a really quick, engrossing, and sophisticated bit of storytelling. I won't bore you with a rehashing of the plot since I've reviewed it before, but do take a look if you're at all interested in graphic novels, childrens/adolescent lit, or identity politics.
Yang's story reminds me of Art Spiegelman's Maus insofar as he employs stereotypes in order to critique stereotypes. Chin-kee (left) is probably my favorite character in the book because he is soooo over the top. In one panel his luggage is actually shown as Chinese take-out boxes. My hope now is that my online students will be able to tune into the ironic tone of this particular storyline without my having to tell them straight out. It's definitely a conversation starter either way!
I have several books left in the re-read stack including:
The Giver, by Lois Lowry
Skellig, by David Almond
The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett
Parvana's Journey, by Deborah Ellis
The Watsons Go to Birmingham--1963, by Christopher Paul Curtis
We'll also be reading lots of picture books and fairy tales. It's been the longest since I read the fairy tales, so I'll probably tackle those soon. The versions start to run together after a while, so I need a refresher!
I haven't decided what I'll focus my efforts on for the rest of the day. I'm really getting involved in The Hour I First Believed now, but I'm also trying to stave off a slump, so I might stick with short, quick reads. I have a copy of Dear Julia, by Amy Bronwen Zemser, on the nightstand that I started a while back. I think that one wins!
Happy Sunday Salonning everyone!