Funny Bones: Posada and His Day of the Dead Calaveras Tonatiuh, Duncan. (2015). 40 pages. Abrams. 978-1-4197-1647-8 $18.95 (Intermediate) – by Amy Bray Calaveras (“skeletons performing all sorts of activities, both everyday and festive”) are a staple image in Mexican culture. This biography, winner of the
the story. His choice of a plain background throughout the book gives readers a chance to really focus on the characters’ words and facial expressions rather than an elaborate background. This trend continues until Piggie finally reveals his big surprise and then the page is taken over by an abundance of stars. This transition from a simple background to an extravagant one makes Piggie’s surprise that much better, truly emphasizing the theme of the story. This book is sure to remind children that while sometimes waiting may not be easy, in the end it may be worth it.
Reading Matters Literature Matters
Gone Crazy in Alabama Williams-Garcia, Rita. (2015). 293 pages. Amistad/HarperCollins. 978-0-06221-587-1 $16.99 (Intermediate) – Brittany McCollum Cultural differences play a huge role in Gone Crazy in Alabama as the Gaither sisters, Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern, leave their Brooklyn home to visit the very southern state of Alabama. There
2016 Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award, explores the life of an artist named José Guadalupe Posada (called Don Lupe) and how his love for art developed into these images that are still seen today in Mexico and around the world. Don Lupe used lithography to create many beautiful images, but he was most famous for his images of calaveras. One double-paged spread demonstrates the step-by-step process involved in lithography. During the time around the Día de Muertos, Don Lupe and his friend Don Antonio created literary calaveras, “short rhyming poems that featured a skeleton and made jokes about him or her” (p. 16), for people to buy on the street. Numerous illustrations incorporated throughout the book feature literary calaveras. The illustrations complement the storyline by depicting the life of Don Lupe as well as cultural and historical events taking place in Mexico. The book concludes with an explanation of the Day of the Dead followed by a glossary of both Spanish and English words, a bibliography, art credits for the art that was not done by Duncan Tonatiuh himself, an index, and information about where Don Lupe’s work is located in the United States. From beginning to end, this book keeps the reader informed and intrigued through both the artwork and text.
they learn that not everyone fights against oppression in the way northerners in Brooklyn do. What seems to be just a visiting vacation turns into a time to come together as a family, despite past events, when disaster strikes them in Alabama. On this summer trip, the girls discover their hidden family history through over-the-creek conversations. While visiting their grandmother, Big Ma, and their great-grandmother, Ma Charles Trotter, they learn they aren’t the only set of sisters with differences in this family. The feuding Trotter sisters, Ma Charles and her sister Miss Trotter, who lives over-the-creek, have many disagreements and a hurtful past that leads to an estranged relationship. It isn’t until a tragedy strikes this family that they finally decide to come together and put their differences aside. This novel with a serious topic, lightened by a comical edge with the three sisters, should be read by all. It is sure to spark conversations about cultural differences and the importance of family. Gone Crazy in Alabama serves as an engaging read for those of all ages that only gets better when paired with the other two novels ( One Crazy Summer , 2010 and P.S. Be Eleven , 2013) in this award-winning trilogy.
Waiting Is Not Easy Willems, Mo. (2014). 57 pages. Hyperion. 978-1-42319-957-1 $9.99 (Primary)
Have you ever heard the expression, “It was worth the wait?” Well, in Mo Willems’s book, Waiting Is Not Easy , this saying is put to use in the most amusing way. The story begins by Piggie telling his best friend, Gerald, that he has a BIG
surprise for him. Gerald, being the worrier that he is, absolutely cannot wait for this surprise and must find out what it is right away. However, Piggie puts Gerald’s patience to the test and makes him wait, wait, and wait some more for this supposedly incredible surprise. Gerald groans and pleads for Piggie to just tell him right away, but Piggie simply tells him that “It will be worth it” (p. 37). After pages and pages of Gerald’s impatient behavior, the surprise is finally revealed to be the most spectacular night sky. In the end, Gerald learns that some things are truly worth waiting for. Mo Willems adds comic elements to this cartoon book allowing the reader to see the distress Gerald feels throughout