Crossover: graphic novel by Kwame Alexander

5 stars Graphic Novel

This was fantastic!  You could really feel the energy and the emotions in this graphic novel which is an adaptation of the original novel with the same name.  I think kids will love this book.

This is not your typical graphic novel with text boxes, this graphic novel’s illustrations and text fill up the entire page.  Whether the page includes one illustration or four, it is the exact amount that is needed to get the point across.  With varying sizes of text, you will find yourself catching the rhythm of the book, as the story unravels. Using only shades of orange, black, and white, throughout the book, it’s amazing how captive you will become to Josh’s story.

You see, they were twins, Josh and Jordan.  Great basketball players who did a lot together.  Their father was a legend, on the court, many years ago.  Lately though, Jordan’s eyes have not been on the ball so much.  His eyes are on a girl and Josh feels ignored/left out/abandoned. Josh wants his father to intervene but his father won’t. Dad has some health issues that mom has been riding him on but dad says he’s fine.  I love the word play this couple speaks to one another. 

You can feel the energy soaring through the pages, the pain that’s growing inside of Josh, and witness the relationship that’s building between Jordan and his new friend.  The words were carefully chosen, they fit, they fit like a glove to make this graphic novel pulse.  

Then, he does it.  Josh unleashes his frustration and I hope that he feels better because everyone else doesn’t.  He’s done more harm then good and the repercussions of his anger, he’s paid a price for it. 

Excellent graphic novel!  Very powerful and is one that is definitely worth reading.   

Instructions by Neil Gaiman

4 stars Children’s

I had to read this book twice to fully appreciate it. The first time through, I think I got half the messages that this book wanted me to get. It also a book that I couldn’t rush through but I had to stop and fully absorb what I read on each page. The illustrations stopped me in my tracks a few times, as I thought they really didn’t match what I thought should go with the words on the page nevertheless, I enjoyed what I read. This book to me was a words-of-wisdom book as each page(s) was about making your way in the world.

The illustrations were just as great as the words in this book. They were fun to look at as they contained a lot of detail and there was the fantasy aspect of them. How can you go wrong with trolls, cats, and beasts? Written by Neil Gaiman, this is what brought me to pick up this one.

Go the F*** to Sleep by Adam Mansbach

5 stars Fiction

This is definitely not a kid’s book so please don’t leave it lying around so kids can peek inside its pages because the language inside is not for their eyes. I laughed as I read along and at times, I had trouble keeping up with the rhymes that made up this story but that was okay, because I totally understood exactly what the author was trying to get across. Why won’t my child go to sleep?

What I found so funny in this book was the mixed message located in the text that I read it. I liked how the author mixed the sweet, tender and picturesque moments of childhood with the exasperation of an adult. The adult uses some harsh language in the book and his frustration builds as the evening grows longer as the child continues to stay up. Adding to that, I remember all too well, having the same experiences that the author is referring to in this book.

The book begins with sweet cats and their kittens and sheep with their lambs nestled down to slumber with the adult wondering why their child will not sleep in their warm, cozy bed. The adult’s frustration is emphasized with a swear word on that page, which grabs your attention, as that line didn’t follow the previous gentle tone.

The adult does many things in the book to get their child to go to sleep, like many of us have, all the while getting more frustrated as their child prolongs going to bed.

I loved the part where the adult actually nods off as their child runs down the hallway. Who is guilty of this, raise your hand? Then it finally happens, their child has fallen asleep and all is well until, what? Oh no! the nightmare continues…….

It’s a very funny book and I raced through it the first time and then, I read it a couple more times just enjoying it for the moments it took me back in time to when my children where little. There are quite a few swear words but the laughs I had were well worth it. The illustrations were different, they weren’t what I expected. They definitely didn’t take-away from the text. A few individuals I know people have heard this book before, as a few famous individuals have read it out-loud on TV and/or on radio. I hadn’t heard it before until now.

You Tube video of Go the f**k to sleep, read by Samuel L Jackson on 6/4/16

Rebound by Kwame Alexander

5 stars Middle School

I loved the grandparents in this novel especially the grandfather.  I felt that I could almost hear what he was going to say before he even said it.  Charlie thought his life at home was rough but when he found himself spending his summer with his grandparents, he soon realized that living at home wasn’t so bad.

Perspective, it was interesting to see how Charlie’s perspective changed throughout the novel.  Great relationships in the novel and there’s not a lot of “preaching” in this novel to get the points across. His objective nature began to change by itself.  A powerful, motivational novel that uses sports and friendships to reach its audience.    

Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson

5 stars YA

If you have read Speak, you know how Laurie can write.  You know that she writes from the heart and what’s real, and this novel is no exception.  This novel is not one that can be power-read at least, not for me.  Laurie talks to us now about her own personal life, about her own issues and her stories are no different.

You can’t help but feel the emotions that are present in each of the pieces that Laurie writes. There were a few pieces that I reread as they really spoke to me.  I enjoyed the whole novel but I felt that her work in the second part of the novel was exceptional.  These poems felt emotional charged and the energy flowing through them, surged.  A fantastic novel by Laurie and I appreciate that she shared a personal side of herself with her readers.