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A belated sadness

andrea-cheng

Super Shuttle buddies!

I just learned that children’s author Andrea Cheng passed away in December 2015. She was probably best known for her Anna Wang books-a series about a Chinese American girl and her family. I loved her books and her writing style. Something about the way she wrote strikes a sweet, simple chord in my heart whenever I re-read her books. She had a lifelong fan the minute I started reading The Year of the Book.

I was lucky enough to meet Andrea on the Super Shuttle en route to my TLA hotel. Besides the driver, we were the only passengers on the van that day so it’s not improbable that she struck up a conversation. As soon as I learned her name I am not ashamed to say that I fangirled left and right over her. It is so hard to believe that, during that van ride, I learned so much about her and her family. She was so kind and personable, that I was not surprised she was able to create such genuinely authentic characters. I have had the privilege of meeting several authors over the years, but I  must say that, for all my fangirling, I didn’t feel nervous or awkward around her. She was just so easy to be with. It is definitely my most favorite Super Shuttle ride ever!

During the conference, I was sure to make time to visit Andrea during her booth signing. I was so humbled when she told me that, since this was her first Texas Library Conference (it may have been her first Library conference ever), she wasn’t sure how it was going to go.

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Book signing!

She went on to say that she was having a great time and part of it she attributes to our meeting on the Super Shuttle. She said something along the lines of it being a wonderful conference and that she believed that it got off to a great start because of our visit on that van.

I regret that I never kept in better touch with Andrea. I have, even within the last few months, thought about sending her a quick hello, but I never followed through. I regret that I never sent her the pictures that we took together, or a picture of my kiddos with the book that she signed for them. I regret that I never told her how much I loved The Year of the Baby. Right now I’m feeling beyond blessed that I, not only had the chance to meet this wonderful woman, but that I was able to tell her how very much her work meant to me. Thank you for all your work, Andrea Cheng. Every time I read your books, my world shines a little bit brighter. I’m honored and glad that I met you.

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A Silent Voice vols. 1-3 by Yoshitoki Ooima

First of all, I want to thank YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens Selection Committee for selecting Yoshitoki Ooima’s A Silent Voice as one of the Top 10 Great Graphic Novels of their 2016 list. (The whole series counts as one entry, in case you questioning my math.) There’s a good chance that I would have read this series eventually because one of my anime club officers suggested it, but it moved to the top of my reading list as part of the Hub Reading Challenge and boy am I glad.

A Silent Voice is a moving story about bullying, forgiveness, and redemption. When hearing impaired Shoko enters ruffian Shoya’s elementary school class, the students must deal with some changes to their everyday routine. Shoya, in particular, does not handle the disruption very well.

A daredevil who gets his kicks by jumping off bridges, Shoya is a physical, live life out loud kind of a guy. Since Shoko can’t speak, he can’t figure it out and that pisses him off. For Shoya, this means acting out physically with Shoko as his target. And so the bullying begins.

Ooima’s depiction of Shoko’s treatment is humbling. Shoya is so mean to Shoko, the whole class is. It’s the kind of mean that breaks your hearts and makes you sob and sob and sob for all the bullied people everywhere. It’s enough to make you want to quit the book, if anything because Shoko is so unwavering, so persistent in her kindness despite all the unkindness. But you can’t quit the book because you really want to see how it pans out. And so you do. NOTE: Slight spoilers follow…do not move on if you care about being spoiled.

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It’s that time again…

It’s that time when I post something on my blog! Talk about good intentions! No, really it’s time once again for YALSA’s annual HUB Challenge in which I attempt to read 25 books over a fiveish month time period. The 25 books I can do, the writing about them not so good. I’m not going to make any promises but I hope you’ll check in to see how I’m doing. Wish me luck!!

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It’s on AGAIN!

2015_reading_challenge_logo-300x241I don’t intentionally only intend to update this blog when the YALSA Hub Reading Challenge comes around, I swear! Things happen! Writing reviews gets HARD. That and I’m lazy. That is no excuse, I know so this year will be different…maybe.

I am once again participating in the YALSA’s Hub Reading Challenge! Fearless readers will try to read and/or listen to at least 25 titles from YALSA’s Awards and Top Ten reading lists. The challenge started today and runs until June 21st. Twenty five books sounds like a lot some day and other days it doesn’t. The real challenge for me is starting and finishing books that I wouldn’t normally read.

But it’s SO worth it! Last year, I discovered so many wonderful books that I wouldn’t have picked up otherwise. And, I’m proud to say that I finished! I did, I truly did. Here’s the proof:

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They only give these out to finishers, folks! 🙂 Actually, I probably wouldn’t have come as close if Strobe Edge hadn’t counted for several books but hey, they ALL made the Top 10 Great Graphic Novels for Teens list, so lucky me!

I participated in the Hub Morris/Nonfiction Challenge so I already have five books read. I think twenty more books is highly doable. Right? RIGHT! Anyway, please continue to check back for reviews and other musings. I’m hoping to write reviews for all the books I read so…here’s hoping!

What about you? Are you participating in the challenge too? Have you done any other book/reading challenges? I’d love to know!

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Strobe Edge vols. 1-5 by Io Sakisaka

So at first I thought I’d do individual reviews on each volume of Strobe Edge but I read them so quickly I forgot what happened in which volume so…yeah, I’m going to lump several together in one review.

So the series has really grown on me! The characters are now developing and things started getting interesting for me, probably at around volume 3. Rather than spoil certain plot points for others, I’m going to warn you that, if you don’t want to know what happens next, you probably shouldn’t read on. I’m trying not to reveal anything huge and, let’s face it, if you’ve read any shoujo manga in your lifetime you probably know what’s coming up, but better safe than sorry. 🙂

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