Book reviews...from picture books to adult books, as well as books-to-movie info, and other stuff I think is interesting. Note: Not all books reviewed or recommended are appropriate for all ages.
NOVEMBER 23, 2009
Powerful book discussion
At LOL last week, the high school students who read A Long Way Gone: memoirs of a boy solider by Ishamel Beah had the opportunity to discuss this book with visitor Karen Jennings-Boland, who has traveled several times to Sierra Leone.
Students expressed having to pace themselves in reading this painful, yet very engrossing account of Beah growing up at the height of a time of extremely violent conflict between rebels and the standing government in his country, with both sides showing utter disregard for civilian life.
Beah leads you down the rapid path where he, in his words "lost his humanity," then the much slower road of re-gaining it, in a story that ultimately speaks to the power of forgiveness, and triumph of the human spirit.
This is not an easy book to read, nor does it provide easy answers to the issues of war, responsibility, or healing...rather it gives a genuine voice to children and youth affected by war and violence that deserves to be heard.
When author Sarah Prineas was here this fall, she recommended Savvy by her friend Ingrid Law, who won the Newbery for this title in 2008. I recently listened to this title on CD, and think this is a great story for anyone of any age.
In the Beaumont family, when a child turns 13, he or she comes into their own unique "savvy"--an ability or gift that he or she must learn to manage and balance (or "scrumble" as they call it.) Mibs has her 13 birthday while her father is lying far away in Salina, KS, in a coma from a recent car accident...and she is convinced that she needs to travel to Salina so her new savvy can help Papa come back to his family.
Stowing away on a pink bible-delivering bus driven by bumbling Lester, Mibs, two of her brothers, her one and only friend, Will,his angsty teen sister, Bobbi, and Lil, a waitress rescued from a broken-down car, set out on an "Oz-like" journey that takes them further and further away from home.
With lessons about the Savvy in each and every one of us, this sweet and wacky adventure is a story that will stay with you for a long time.