Saturday, July 31, 2010

Last day of July already? This month has flown by, probably the result of being so busy both at home and at work (see previous post). Despite my busy life, I can't get through summer without some great books. In addition to Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert, pictured above, this month I read:
  • A Year by the Sea by Joan Anderson
  • The Middle Place by Kelly Corrigan
  • Mockingbird by Katherine Erskine
  • Fortune's Magic Farm by Suzanne Selfors
  • Technically it's not my fault by John Grandits
  • Blue Lipstick by John Grandits
Eat Pray Love and A Year by the Sea both happened to be about women on their own for a full year, reconnecting with themselves and getting back on track. I enjoyed them both. The Middle Place was also quite enjoyable and uplifting, despite the fight against cancer by both the author and her lovable father. The last four books in the list are categorized as children's books and run the gamut from middle grade books to Young Adult books. I think Mockingbird was probably the most well written and moving of the group. It's written from the point of view of a ten-year-old girl with Asperger's syndrome, who has lost both her mother (to cancer) and her older brother (to a random shooting). I know, doesn't sound very appealing, does it? But because you see everything from the girl's point of view, it's almost like experiencing what it's like to have Asperger's, to overload on sensory perceptions, to be unable to interpret others' facial expressions, to learn to use manners and feel empathy for others. It's on the "suggested summer reading list" for the middle school for our district, which is why I read it, and I can see why.
The final two books by John Grandits are Concrete Poems, poems that have physical shape on the page. These books in particular are great for the middle school readers (I have two in the house!) because they are funny, hip, accurate portrayals of this age group and their lives and thoughts. One is written from the point of view of an 11-year old boy, the other from the point of view of his older sister. Both my middle schoolers loved them and finished them in an evening.
Seeing and reading John Grandits' poems has given me some inspiration for my sketchbook. I'm pretty sure I want to include both words and pictures in my book, so illustrated poems or concrete poems would be perfect. I'd love to actually make poem collages, which would be a fusion of a poem and an illustration. I have even written 2 or 3 I'm sure would work for this format. The next question I have to answer for myself is Paper or Fabric? Do I want to keep the book as it is and create collages with paint, paper, and glue, foregoing the stitching? Or do I want to make pages out of fabric, so I can incorporate a little more texture and add stitch? If I do, will I hand-write the words, stitch them, stamp them, or what? Somethings to ponder...

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