Wednesday, January 02, 2008

McDonald and Draper

Janet McDonald's last book (the author died last year), Off-color, was very interesting. Cameron has a bad attitude about life (many of McDonald's characters do), which I found irritating as a teacher, since she doesn't seem to suffer very much from it. What does bother her is finding out that her father was black. Coming as it does after her mother moves them to a neighborhood where she is around a lot of black girls, it gives her a lot to think about in terms of identity. Since there are a lot of multiracial students, and not much literature that shows them, this is a good book to add to many collections.

Probably the best book I read all break was Draper's November Blues, a sequel to The Battle of Jericho. November's boyfriend died at the end of the first book, in an awful hazing accident. She is starting to comes to terms with that when she realizes that she is pregnant. While Josh's death certainly figures largely in this book (his parents want to adopt the child until they fear that she might be brain damaged after a premature birth), it is really a book about teen pregnancy told in a very delicate way. Like One Good Punch, it shows choices and consequences in a realistic way.

For whatever reason, this sort of book is starting to hold more appeal to me. Held up against something like Jan Slepian's Back to Before, it seems much more relevant. No one has picked up the book about time traveling cousins the whole time it has been at my library, and I can't say that anything about it compels me to make sure that anyone does.

Back to school tomorrow, to see how the students liked the new shipment of books that came in the day before break!

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