Chandra Prasad’s Damselfly

A few kids. A crash landing. An island that may or may not be inhabited (or possessed). It’s the stuff of a story we don’t seem able to stop telling.

William Golding’s 1954 version, Lord of the Flies, lives on in our collective imagination, resurfacing in songs by Iron Maiden and on random television shows like The Simpsons. Golding’s take was inspired by The Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean, an 1858 book by R. M. Ballantyne. In Ballantyne’s version the kids who crash on the island are moralistic cherubs with a penchant for converting cannibalistic barbarians (yes, it is racist). Golding wasn’t buying the moral simplicity proffered by Ballantyne and created a dystopian parody emphasizing human nature as well as the relationship between humans and nature. Continue reading

Jen Wojtowicz’s The Boy Who Grew Flowers

The Boy Who Grew FlowersI love the cozy, whimsical, slightly melancholy, illustrations in The Boy Who Grew Flowers (2005), which is cleverly written by Jen Wojtowicz and beautifully illustrated by Steve Adams. The cover depicts a pinkish boy with blushing cheeks, flowers in one hand, green shoes in the other. This is a love story about two children who are equally kind and, as we learn at the book’s end, share one of the same differences, which makes them perfectly normal to each other, and perfect for each other.

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