Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A Blind Guide to Skinkville & The Last Cherry Blossom: Book Reviews

I couldn't be more thrilled with the fact that Big A has become a bookworm.  For so long (or at least it felt like to us!) she showed no interest in reading on her own. Then she suddenly got bitten by the bug.  She is reading fairly mature stuff, and even gives me some of her favorites to read.

At first I was going to object. After all, there are so many adult books to read, why would I waste my time on books for kids/youth?

But then I realized it is a great way to see what she likes to read, and to be able to converse with her about it. Besides, some of the stuff she's given me is pretty good. Like Wonder, which is, apparently being made into a movie now.

Recently,  I was sent 2 young reader books: A Blind Guide to Stinkville, and The Last Cherry Blossom.
In case you're wondering, being 42 feels great. I feel great. With age comes wisdom comes knowledge of how best to treat your mind and body. No wonder most women report being happiest in their 40s and 50s!

Sadly, though I had all sorts of ideas of how I wanted to celebrate my birthday last week, none of it happened, which is entirely my fault. Between Little A's soccer tournament which consumed most of the weekend since her team made it to the finals (and finished second place!), and the tiler arriving at 3pm on Saturday to do our kitchen backsplash (though he was supposed to arrive at 11am!), it just felt like there was way too much to do around the house. As renos start to get closer to being done, the pressure to unpack all our stuff (being stored in our garage, second floor, and storage areas) and return it all to its rightful spots is increasing. The reality is, the work for us, as the homeowners, is far from over.

Fortunately, Mother Nature blessed me with gorgeous, cooler weather on Sunday as a birthday gift. Thanks woman! I am hoping, if the weather cooperates this coming Sunday, my 'celebration' can be taking the kids to Kensington Market, one of my favorite places in the city. There is a vegan restaurant that sells crepes, that I know they'll love.

Now on to the topic of one of my absolute favorite things: BOOKS!

When these books arrived for review, I initially thought The Last Cherry Blossom was an adult book, because its about the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima. Heavy stuff! But even when I realized it was for youth, I decided to read it myself. It is an historical event I would like to know more about and the book is based on the author's mother's true experience living through it.

I immediately gave A Blind Guide to Stinkville to Big A. Initially she groaned and rolled her eyes at me, assuming any book I give her is going to be lame-o, but her curiosity finally got the better of her and she started to read it.  She ended up devouring it in 2 days, and is already reading it a second time. In addition, she is demanding I buy her every other book ever written by author, Beth Vrabel. Wow, I'd say that's a pretty good recommendation.

I asked her to give me a brief synopsis and to tell me what she likes about it, so here it is:

"Its about a girl who has Albinism and how she moves to a new place and everyone stares at her. And her mom struggles with depression.  I like that its realistic, its like you are reading this family's diary and you get to learn a lot about it (Albinism)."

So there you go, this kid loves the book and is begging me to read it too. I think I may just do that!

As for The Last Cherry Blossom, I really enjoyed this book. Since it is based on a true story, it is fascinating to get a sense of what it was like for civilians in Japan who lived through the dropping of the atomic bombs.  Given the horrific nature of the event, I wasn't sure whether I should pass this book along to Big A, but the gruesomeness is limited (relative to what reality must have been like!), however, I think the appropriateness of this book really depends on your child.  I have friends and family who have kids who get tremendous anxiety when they hear about frightening world events, past or present.  Big A does not, so I think she will really like this book.

So do I recommend it? Absolutely, but again, when your child will be ready for it is a judgement call only you can make.

Overall, both these books were enjoyed by us and are definitely good choices.  I love that already, even though she's just 10, Big A and I can read the same books and talk about them. Mother-daughter book club!!

Disclosure: We were sent the books to review, but all opinions on this blog are our own.

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