Monday, November 10, 2008

Two Books I Can't Wait to Get My Hands On!

On my first look through the New York Times' Children's Books Fall Special Issue, two books caught my attention right away. The first is Wabi Sabi by Mark Reibstein (Illustrated by Ed Young). Intended for younger readers (although the reviewer thinks older Elementary students would be a better audience), Wabi Sabi is the story of a cat searching for the meaning of her name and discovering along the way a concept rooted in Taoism and Zen Buddhism. The story is interspersed with Haiku verse, and could be a great lesson in this kind of poetry.

I must confess that I had never really read any Japanese authors until this summer, when my boyfriend got me hooked on Haruki Murakami. This story seems to elicit the same sort of feelings that Murakami did in me, a sense that beauty can be found in examining the simple, imperfect ways that things just are, without judgement or reading anything extra into them. I'm thinking about buying this book as a Christmas gift for my godson (who is 5), and sneaking a quick read myself before I wrap it up. There are three copies available at CLP-Main, all checked out at the moment.

The second book that caught my attention, Skim by Mariko Tamaki (Illustrated by Jillian Tamaki), is a graphic novel intended for an older teen audience. This one was available from CLP-Main, so expect a more in-depth review soon. The Times review declares that Skim "offers a startlingly clear and painful view into adolescence ," and "is a convincing chronicle of a teenage outsider," but it seems to be more than that. The title character is a self-described goth and practicing wiccan at an all-girls high school. She is struggling with her blossoming sexuality as she falls for a teacher at her school (which certainly brings more issues to the table), and an aquaintance has just committed suicide.

It sounds depressing, and Skim is depressed, but these sorts of things happen to 16-year-old girls, and a realistic depiction of one dealing with it all and coming out stronger can only be beneficial to readers. I can't wait to read it when it comes in (and return it quickly so that others can as well!)