Hello Universe Read-along Part 1

We've heard the phrase WE NEED DIVERSE BOOKS over and over again.  And it's true.  No matter how many times you hear it, or if you're sick of hearing the same things in conferences.  When I was growing up, I NEVER saw myself in the books I read.  Ever.

I was so excited that Erin Entrada Kelly won the Newbery that I did this read-along a little differently: I distributed ten copies of Hello, Universe to my fellow bibliophiles and colleagues who love to read.

First Pages: The Little Prince

“Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest. It was a picture of a boa constrictor in the act of swallowing an animal. Here is a copy of the drawing.

In the book it said: “Boa constrictors swallow their prey whole, without chewin it. After that they are not able to move, and they sleep through the six months that they need for digestion.”

~First Lines of The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery

Mermay 2018

Just like last year, I’ve followed the #Mermay phenomenon on Instagram, which was originally started by Tom Bancroft, a Disney animator veteran. This year’s favorites include many crossover mash-ups and though there were too many I admired to post in one spot, I’ve wrangled up a few of the ones that inspired me the most.

Escargot

I have this huge affinity for snails that started when I was little.  There's a great video of my cousins, sisters, and me playing in the backyard with snails.  I think theoretically we are rescuing and clearing the garden from them.  I also remember putting them in jars and watching them kiss. 

The Crossover

The Crossover centers around Josh and his twin, Jordan AKA JB, who are two middle schoolers who play basketball, just like their dad.  The family dynamics are spelled out easily, and the interaction between (mainly) the three of them is heartfelt and wonderful.  At its heart, this novel is about a family.  But, yes, it's about basketball too, and relationships, and coming of age.

First Pages: Little House in the Big Woods

“Once upon a time, sixty years ago, a little girl lived in the Big Woods of Wisconsin, in a little gray house made of logs.

The great, dark trees of the Big Woods stood all around th ehouse, and beyond them were other trees and beyond them were more trees. As far as man could go to the north in a day, or a week, or a whole month, there was nothing but woods. There were no houses. There were no roads. There were no people. There were only trees and the wild animals who had their homes among them.”

~ Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder

The Theater

There was some point in my life when I couldn't stand musicals, didn't understand why the actors would burst out into song, seemingly out of nowhere.

Much like my eventual love of Shakespeare though I had been skeptical (and I saw ALL the RSC Shakespeare production shows the summer of 1994), I grew back to love musical theater.

Doctors as Teachers

Earlier this month, the world lost an amazing doctor.  The thing is that it's not only a loss for the children's hospital that he tirelessly advocated for and for the patients and families he took care of, it's a huge loss for the doctors he was training.

Kat Writes a Song

In Kat Writes a Song by Greg Foley, Kat works hard to create a song, and then she second-guesses herself.  We've all been there. Thinking we're creating something fantastic, especially as a writer, and then we start to let the doubts creep in.  What I admire about Foley's story is that he shows Kat persevering through the creative process, and then sharing her joy.

Seb and the Sun

In Seb and the Sun, we follow Seb and Walrus through their very specific coastal town and community.  And as we follow this close-knit community, Seb realizes that something is missing and he knows exactly how to go find it.  Gigot contrasts the brightness and darkness in her illustrations, creating a beautiful reflection of each other.