On the blog:
- A poem slice of life about South Dakota
I took at least a week to finish reading the last 20 pages of Euphoria because I simply didn’t want it to end. I read a page or two a night, and then picked up something else so that I could make Euphoria last a little longer. The story is inspired by Margaret Mead’s experiences in the field in the 1930s, though things do not end as well for Lily King’s main character, anthropologist Nell Stone, as they did for Mead. (Not really a spoiler–it’s pretty clear from the first page of the book that something bad is going to happen in this novel!). The novel wears its research lightly, and it’s easy to forget that it’s based on some real events. The characters and story take on a life of their own. I’ve had a book hangover all week after finishing this one–nothing feels quite right to read afterwards.
Marilyn Hilton’s Full Cicada Moon is a historical verse novel about Mimi, whose family has just moved to Vermont. It’s 1969, and Mimi is obsessed with the space program and dreams of becoming an astronaut, even though that’s not considered an appropriate dream for girls. It’s challenging enough to be the new girl in a small, insular community, but Mimi has an additional challenge: she is half Japanese, half Black, and she and her family encounter prejudice and racism in their new community. Full Cicada Moon is a surprisingly gentle book, given its themes. Its appeal lies in its rich character development, reflective tone, and strong writing.
I have a whole pile of picture books to read right now but only got through Imaginary Fred this week. Oliver Jeffers’s illustrations are the usual delight, but the text by Eoin Colfer didn’t entirely work for me. It’s a bit too long, which messes with the pacing of the story. Perhaps I’m just burned out on the imaginary friend theme? There have been so many good imaginary friend picture books published over the past year or two, I feel like a new book really does have to offer something fresh and new, and I’m not sure Imaginary Fred does. Still, several of my students liked it well enough to vote for it as the winner in the early brackets of Picture Book March Madness.