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Picture Book Spree

In Books on 5 December 2015 at 8:00 pm

As I was roaming the picture book aisles of our public library I thought, “I haven’t read any new picture books in years!” and saw all the tempting offerings on display.   I scooped up some and prepared to lose myself in faraway lands and rousing times.  As I walked with my arms full of these treasures, the children’s librarian came over to say hello.  Now the children’s librarian, Jacob, is actually my best friend from high school’s son.  So we do chat when we are in the library.  I must say though that recently a number of librarians have been recommending books to me.   In fact, one of those books was about a man who owned and ran a book store but never took interest in children’s books until suddenly one day a child fell into his lap.  More on that later.

El Deafo is an autobiographical story of child who became her own superhero, all while being deaf.

El Deafo is an autobiographical story of child who became her own superhero, all while being deaf.

Jacob approached me with a twinkle in his eye, a twinkle I know very well will be followed by an enthusiastic recommendation, and he did not disappoint.  “I told Khiyali about a book, and I think you would like it too,” he began. 

Khiyali had already shown me the book, which she called a “graphic novel.”  That is what comic books are called these days.  Of course they need not conform to the comic book genre with its superheroes and stock evil characters, and so perhaps to distinguish them they are called graphic novels.  Why did he like this particular book?  “There are so many books coming out now about children with disabilities, and most of them fall flat but this one is really genuine.”  He should know.  He compiled a list of books about children with disabilities for the library and three of his own siblings are differently-abled.  So I added it to my pile and brought my total to a dozen.

The clear winner was El Deafo, which Khiyali read in a day and I finished in two, which is the fastest I have finished a novel in recent memory.  The author narrates the story of her own childhood, growing up deaf among the hearing, navigating childhood friendships, her opinion of sign language, and how her secret superpower that comes with a hearing aid helped her level the playing field with her friends.

More to come …. here’s the feast I took home last night.

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