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Real Kids. Good Books.

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Our children are gorgeously diverse and they love a good read. At the heart of Real Kids/ Good Books are authors and illustrators who are building a new diverse canon, book by dazzling book.

Themes include: children of color, LGBTQ, adoption, special needs, math, science and writing. And of course there is also a mishmash of miscellany and reblogged tidbits that strike my fancy as they float by.

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-Kate

Very sincere reflection by Gene Luen Yang about the origins of Level Up. 
Go to the image Source (wired.com’s geek dad blog) for a version that expands. 

Very sincere reflection by Gene Luen Yang about the origins of Level Up

Go to the image Source (wired.com’s geek dad blog) for a version that expands. 

— 2 years ago with 3 notes
#Gene Luen Yang  #Thien Pham  #Level Up  #diverse YA  #YA graphic novel  #diverse YA graphic novel  #POC  #Asian American  #kids books  #books  #diverse kids lit 
Level Up by Gene Luen Yang, art by Thien Pham (First Second, 2011). 
Here’s what Gene Luen Yang says about Level Up himself:

How do you decide what to do with your life? This question took up much of my head space when I was in my late teens, and it’s also the central question of this book. This is video games vs. med school– a tale inspired by my brother (a medical doctor) and illustrated by my brother-in-cartooning Thien Pham (not a medical doctor).

(Source—Gene Yang’s site)

Level Up by Gene Luen Yang, art by Thien Pham (First Second, 2011). 

Here’s what Gene Luen Yang says about Level Up himself:

How do you decide what to do with your life? This question took up much of my head space when I was in my late teens, and it’s also the central question of this book. This is video games vs. med school– a tale inspired by my brother (a medical doctor) and illustrated by my brother-in-cartooning Thien Pham (not a medical doctor).

(Source—Gene Yang’s site)

— 2 years ago with 1 note
#YA graphic novel  #Gene Luen Yang  #Thien Pham  #diverse YA  #diverse graphic novel  #Asian American  #POC  #kids books  #books  #diverse kids lit  #Real Kids/ Good Books Review 

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke (Lee and Low, 2010).

— 2 years ago with 1 note
#G. Neri  #YA graphic novel  #Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty  #kids lit  #kids books  #books  #diverse kids lit 
Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke (Lee and Low, 2010). 
From the introduction:

Robert “Yummy” Sandifer was a real person. He was born in 1983 and lived in the Roseland area of Chicago. At just eleven years old, Yummy became a poster child for youth gang violence in America after a series of tragic events led to his appearance on the cover of TIME magazine in September 1994. 


G. Neri and Randy DuBurke have reached back in time and beyond the headlines to create a haunting tale of lost innocence researched from public records and other true accounts. Instead of trying to make sense of a senseless situation, Neri focuses on presenting the reader with questions about gang violence, not moral pronouncements.
This book will make you think— think about Yummy himself and also others who may be older than 11 but still find themselves with too few options other than the streets.  
(Cover image Source)

Yummy: The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by G. Neri, illustrated by Randy DuBurke (Lee and Low, 2010). 

From the introduction:

Robert “Yummy” Sandifer was a real person. He was born in 1983 and lived in the Roseland area of Chicago. At just eleven years old, Yummy became a poster child for youth gang violence in America after a series of tragic events led to his appearance on the cover of TIME magazine in September 1994. 

G. Neri and Randy DuBurke have reached back in time and beyond the headlines to create a haunting tale of lost innocence researched from public records and other true accounts. Instead of trying to make sense of a senseless situation, Neri focuses on presenting the reader with questions about gang violence, not moral pronouncements.

This book will make you think— think about Yummy himself and also others who may be older than 11 but still find themselves with too few options other than the streets.  

(Cover image Source)

— 2 years ago with 3 notes
#YA graphic novel  #Yummy The Last Days of a Southside Shorty  #G. Neri  #Randy DuBurke  #books  #kids books  #diverse kids lit  #Real Kids/ Good Books Review 
Get the backstory from Vera Brosgol herself on how she created Anya’s Ghost. 

Get the backstory from Vera Brosgol herself on how she created Anya’s Ghost

— 2 years ago with 3 notes
#Vera Brosgol  #YA graphic novel  #creating Anya's Ghost 
Excerpt from Anya's Ghost →

Read an excerpt online from First Second books, then head out and get the real thing. 

— 2 years ago with 1 note
#Anya's Ghost  #Vera Brosgol  #YA graphic novel 

Anya’s Ghost trailer. Oooh, this should make you want to read it with a quickness. 

— 2 years ago with 8 notes
#Anya's Ghost  #Vera Brosgol  #graphic novel video trailer  #YA graphic novel 
Anya’s Ghost (2011) by Vera Brosgol.
I got this recommendation from some awesome Tumblr folks (hello thelifeguardlibrarian & libraryjournal) and finally got my hands on a copy. In a word… loved-it. 
The book opens with Anya and her typical immigrant teenage problems: her mom is trying to get Anya to eat her Russian cooking for breakfast (too fatty) and her supposed friend is teasing her about getting together with the only other Russian immigrant kid in their high school (too nerdy). When Anya sees the guy she actually likes making out with some other girl, she’s had enough, ditches school and heads off into the woods. She’s got so much on her mind that as she’s walking along she falls right into an old unused well, landing by an old skeleton and meeting a ghost… The rest, they say, makes for a damn good read. 
This is Vera Brosgol’s first book. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more to come. Both the artwork and the writing are top notch. I would be shocked if you were able to put the book down for a second after you cracked it open. 
There’s some smoking and kissing in the book, but I let my 8 year old read it and she keeps asking me to borrow it again and again. Whether you’re a middle-aged lady (like me) or a fresh young reader (like my daughter), the story is irresistible.
p.s. You can find Brosgol’s work on Tumblr too.  
(Image Source: MacMillan)

Anya’s Ghost (2011) by Vera Brosgol.

I got this recommendation from some awesome Tumblr folks (hello thelifeguardlibrarian & libraryjournal) and finally got my hands on a copy. In a word… loved-it. 

The book opens with Anya and her typical immigrant teenage problems: her mom is trying to get Anya to eat her Russian cooking for breakfast (too fatty) and her supposed friend is teasing her about getting together with the only other Russian immigrant kid in their high school (too nerdy). When Anya sees the guy she actually likes making out with some other girl, she’s had enough, ditches school and heads off into the woods. She’s got so much on her mind that as she’s walking along she falls right into an old unused well, landing by an old skeleton and meeting a ghost… The rest, they say, makes for a damn good read. 

This is Vera Brosgol’s first book. Here’s hoping there’s a lot more to come. Both the artwork and the writing are top notch. I would be shocked if you were able to put the book down for a second after you cracked it open. 

There’s some smoking and kissing in the book, but I let my 8 year old read it and she keeps asking me to borrow it again and again. Whether you’re a middle-aged lady (like me) or a fresh young reader (like my daughter), the story is irresistible.

p.s. You can find Brosgol’s work on Tumblr too.  

(Image Source: MacMillan)

— 2 years ago with 15 notes
#Anya's Ghost  #Vera Brosgol  #YA graphic novel  #books  #kids books  #diverse kids lit  #Real Kids/ Good Books Review 
Houdini The Handcuff King (2007) by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi. 
It’s 1908 and Harry Houdini is preparing to jump off the Harvard Bridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We see him picking a handcuff and we meet his wife Bess who has a particularly interesting role to play in Houdini’s act. We even see how Houdini dealt with antisemitic remarks, probably too common at the time.  
The introduction sets the stage well.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was of course no Internet, no radio, no DVDs or CDs— there weren’t really even movie theaters. Not yet. If you wanted to be entertained, it meant going out and seeing actual people performing onstage. If you wanted to laugh, you saw a comedian; if you wanted to cry, you saw a melodrama. But if you wanted to be amazed, your only real choice was to see a magician.

Think of Houdini as the smarter, much more elegant great grandfather of YouTube pranks and planking—but add in some handcuffs or other traps that he had to escape from and you can understand why he was the most famous man in the world at one point in time. 
My library has this book listed under YA but it’s completely suitable for middle graders too. 

Houdini The Handcuff King (2007) by Jason Lutes and Nick Bertozzi. 

It’s 1908 and Harry Houdini is preparing to jump off the Harvard Bridge in Cambridge, Massachusetts. We see him picking a handcuff and we meet his wife Bess who has a particularly interesting role to play in Houdini’s act. We even see how Houdini dealt with antisemitic remarks, probably too common at the time.  

The introduction sets the stage well.

At the beginning of the twentieth century, there was of course no Internet, no radio, no DVDs or CDs— there weren’t really even movie theaters. Not yet. If you wanted to be entertained, it meant going out and seeing actual people performing onstage. If you wanted to laugh, you saw a comedian; if you wanted to cry, you saw a melodrama. But if you wanted to be amazed, your only real choice was to see a magician.

Think of Houdini as the smarter, much more elegant great grandfather of YouTube pranks and planking—but add in some handcuffs or other traps that he had to escape from and you can understand why he was the most famous man in the world at one point in time. 

My library has this book listed under YA but it’s completely suitable for middle graders too. 

— 2 years ago with 1 note
#YA Graphic Novel  #historical fiction  #middle grade graphic novel  #books  #kids books  #diverse kids lit  #Real Kids/ Good Books Review 
The Zabime Sisters (2010) by Aristophane, translation and afterward by Matt Madden. 
There are two things to know about this book. It’s amazing. And it’s a rare treasure because its creator, Aristophane Boulon, died in 2004, way before his time. He created five books. This was his last. 
This book takes us to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and into the lives of three sisters on their first day of summer vacation. This is one of the most honest portrayals of sisterhood I’ve come across— the squabbles, the bossiness, the sticking together just because you’re sisters.
Following these three sisters around was like being transported back to my own youth. I know people say that kind of thing all the time, but in this case it’s simply uncanny how Aristophane brought these kids to life with such bittersweet authenticity. This is not the way you wished your youth was lived, where you said and did the right thing at the right time. It’s the way it actually unfolded—boredom mixed with pettiness, curiosity and not knowing any better. 
And the artwork? Confident, fresh, bold, stunning. 

The Zabime Sisters (2010) by Aristophane, translation and afterward by Matt Madden. 

There are two things to know about this book. It’s amazing. And it’s a rare treasure because its creator, Aristophane Boulon, died in 2004, way before his time. He created five books. This was his last. 

This book takes us to the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and into the lives of three sisters on their first day of summer vacation. This is one of the most honest portrayals of sisterhood I’ve come across— the squabbles, the bossiness, the sticking together just because you’re sisters.

Following these three sisters around was like being transported back to my own youth. I know people say that kind of thing all the time, but in this case it’s simply uncanny how Aristophane brought these kids to life with such bittersweet authenticity. This is not the way you wished your youth was lived, where you said and did the right thing at the right time. It’s the way it actually unfolded—boredom mixed with pettiness, curiosity and not knowing any better. 

And the artwork? Confident, fresh, bold, stunning. 

— 2 years ago with 3 notes
#YA graphic novel  #books  #kids books  #diverse kids lit  #Real Kids/ Good Books Review