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

Ruth Lehrer’s Being Fishkill

Ruth Lehrers gritty realism is reminiscent of Dorothy Allison, as is her exploration of poverty, abuse, neglect, miraculously strong girls, and the failure and promise of family. But, Lehrer’s pace and unrelentingly complicated descriptions of young teen subjectivity set Bring Fishkill firmly within the field of YA literature.

*A few spoilers but nothing major.

Being Fishkill, by Ruth Lehrer, is the story of Carmel Fishkill, a thirteen-year old girl growing-up in poverty. Carmel is mistreated by both family and society. She spends the first twelve-years of her life in a rundown home with a violent grandfather and incapable mother. When her grandfather dies and her mother disappears, Carmel reinvents herself in order to survive. Continue reading

Demand Inclusive Children’s Culture, Get it from Flamingo Rampant

Flamingo Rampant is a small-press committed to producing racially and ethnically inclusive, feminist, and LGBTQ*-positive children’s picture books. The press was founded by S. Bear Bergman and j. wallace skelton. Over a dozen books are now available!

Flamingo Rampant is currently raising money through a Kickstarter campaign for their next set of six titles to be published August 2019.

Continue reading

Courtney Carbone’s This Makes Me Sad

This Makes Me Sad, written by Courtney Carbone and illustrated by Hilli Kushnir, is one of several books in Rodale Kids’ Dealing with Feelings series. This easy reader does a great job teaching emotional literacy through simple sentences that build an accessible and engaging story about a boy and his lost dog.

The story is told in the first-person by a little boy who accidentally left the gate on his fence open, which allowed his dog, Kit, to escape. His parents try to reassure him that everything will be okay, but he is anxious and sad. Continue reading

Only 5 Days Left to Nominate Your Favorite #kidlit and #YA Books for a Cybils Awards!

https://i2.wp.com/www.cybils.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/Cybils-Logo-2018-Slogan.jpgThe 2018 Nomination categories include:

Follow this link to nominate your favorite books in all our categories. You have until October 15th.

I’m a judge for Easy Readers and Early Chapter Books. Put me to work!

(Please, retweet a lot)!