Friday, June 18, 2010

Guy Friday

Schwartz, John. Short: Walking Tall When You're Not Tall At All.
I'm 5'2", which is nearly as tall as most of my uncles (who were all about 5'4") and much taller than my grandmother, who was 4'10" (the same height my brother was when he entered high school and was put on steroids because of this. He's 5'10" now). When Surly Teenage Boy reached my height, I was thrilled, so I read this book with extreme interest. This is a different kind of nonfiction book; it looks like a novel and is in a very conversational tone, but presents all the facts that teenaged boys who might be worried about their height will find vey interesting. Schwartz (who stands 5'3") is a science writer for the New York Times, and covers the science, psychology and philosophy of being short. Studies are discussed and debunked, and the whole book is a useful, optimistic look at how being short affects people's lives... or doesn't. STBoy read this and also found it amusing, and I need to personally thank Mr. Schwartz... STBoy has agreed to eat a bacon wrapped chicken breast every night (we negotiated from bacon wrapped chicken nuggets) to get some extra protein, and he's walking about ten miles a day (back and forth from summer school and the public library) in order to stimulate his growth plates. We're hoping for 5'6".

Flake, Sharon G. You Don't Know Me At All: Poems and Stories about Boys.
Again, this is an odd sort of book-- short stories and poems can be hard to sell, even though it seems like a perfect mix for reluctant readers, since they don't have to read the whole book. The stories cover a range of topics, from a boy who gets married at 16 to a boy who is HIV-positive, and have an oddly authentic "boy" voice for having been written by a woman. My older daughter especially liked the poem "Look": Go ahead/ look/ I would too /If I saw what you see /Me /Sixteen / Sexy as can be". (Again, in my world this is not a poem, but I'm losing this battle.) Since I have put all the story collections in with the regular fiction, they are easier to circulate, so I will buy this one, largely because of the African American boy in a hoodie on the front cover... holding a Physics notebook. Yes.


Charlotte said...

Hi Ms. Yingling! I just gave you an award...

Jennifer said...

Glad to hear Short is good - it's on one of my wishlists somewhere, but now that I know it's good for teens I can make the adult services librarian buy it!

I can't remember why I bought the Sharon Flake book, but it has circulated quite well just in the couple months we've had it, so that's good.

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