Tuesday, April 17, 2012

More books.

Another book very much about death: A Monster Calls, by Patrick Ness--our main character, Conor's mom is dying of cancer. But a monster comes to help him out--not to save his mom, but to help him, as the monster puts it, heal. And the monster does help him heal. Which doesn't mean he doesn't hurt--but he starts to heal.


And I read Chopsticks, by Jessica Anthony and Rodrigo Corral. I found this at my school library--I'd never heard anything about it, and it's a fascinating variation on the graphic novel--some drawings, lots of photos--both of the main characters, and of objects. It has blurbs on the back from Junot Díaz and Daniel Handler. And when I finished reading it, I was reading the Acknowledgements, and both of the authors thank Ben Schrank--Corral calls him "his favorite publisher" and Anthony says, in part, "A great deal of thanks also goes to Ben Schrank, a true visionary at Razorbill, for the idea in the first place..." Well, Ben Schrank was the editor who bought my first published story, at Seventeen magazine--it was published in 1996, sixteen years ago. Wow that's a long time.

Anyway. Chopsticks is an interesting book--told through IMs and images and notes and postcards and newspaper clippings and brief excerpts of conversations.

Razorbill is the publisher, an imprint of Penguin. Schrank is apparently the "President and Publisher."

I'm embarking on another independent reading project with my students, but I'm hesitant to recommend Chopsticks--it's so limited in text! But I have so many students who might actually read it, who otherwise will fake it or not turn in a project at all... So I might hand-sell it to someone, but not let someone else use it for their project... if you should be reading Jane Eyre) or at any rate something at that level of challenging), then by all means, read Chopsticks, but not for Ms. Nelson's class. Differentiation is so hard! I hope I'm getting better at it--I think I am--but man is it hard.

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