Monday, January 23, 2017

Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes

Above all else, Garvey just wants to be accepted. While he can deal with the rejection from his peers (they don’t know the real him anyway), his father’s indifference is harder to accept. Garvey’s father longs for the kind of son who plays football, roughhouses and likes to run around. But, Garvey doesn’t and can’t live up to those expectations. Instead of being the “man-boy” his father had hoped, Garvey is just the opposite.

When the new school year starts, Garvey feels like he can handle the taunts and teasing from his classmates, as long as he and Joe are together. When Joe gets transferred to a new lunch period, Garvey must face the long school day alone. The days seem endless until he meets Manny, another social outcast with big dreams. Manny and Garvey form a unique friendship and Manny teaches Garvey that the only person holding him back is himself.

Nikki Grimes delivers this honest, touching story through a series of tanka poems. Due to the sparseness of the text, each word carries great meaning and mood. This beautifully written book weaves together Grimes’ carefully chosen words creating a lasting narrative of acceptance and self-belief.

Garvey's Choice by Nikki Grimes

Friday, January 13, 2017

The Poet's Dog

I think for most people Patricia MacLachlan is one of those authors where you love everything that she's written. Sort of like a Kate DiCamillo or Andrew Clements. You know when you pick up one of their books what you are getting into.
I had seen The Poet's Dog pop up on my Amazon recommendations several times. I hadn't purchased it because I honestly don't have time to read. But, a colleague ordered it and I was in charge of unpacking the box. When I pulled it out of the box, I was surprised to see how short it was. Of course, I dropped everything I was doing and immediately sat down to read.

The Poet's Dog is a short but emotional tale. Teddy, an Irish wolfhound, finds Nickel and Flora all alone during a terrible snowstorm. He takes them back to the cabin where he lived with Sylvan, a poet, until a few days ago. The children are able not surprised that they can talk with Teddy and they spend several days in the cabin together, getting to know one another.

MacLachlan weaves several stories together, combining Teddy's past, present, and hopeful future. This is a delightful book for readers of all ages.

The Poet's Dog by Patricia MacLachlan