Kampung Boy

Kampung Boy by Lat. 

Amazing, amazing, amazing.  This is a graphic novel that reveals a lost lifestyle of small villages in Malaysia.  Mat recounts his life from birth to when he leaves the village to go to school.  It is filled with details of rural Muslim life and brims with good humor and the grace of a simple life. 

This one belongs in all graphic novel collections.  It will be enjoyed by children in elementary school, but will be most appreciated by those older than that who will see the difference in the culture and life that Mat lives. 

I can’t wait for the next volume!

The Higher Power of Lucky

The Higher Power of Lucky by Susan Patron.

This winner of the Newbery Medal is a quiet book with a deep soul.  It is reminiscent of Because of Winn Dixie in many ways. 

Lucky is worried that her guardian is going to return to France.  Every time Brigitte’s mother calls on the phone, Brigitte cries.  Lucky is convinced that she is going to be left behind, so she plans to be the first to leave.  Of course, that means that she won’t be able to continue her friendship with the knot-tying Lincoln or the cookie-loving Miles.  But unlike being put into an orphanage, she will be able to keep her dog with her.

The glory of this book is in its staying power.  I am so happy that I didn’t have time to review this last week, when I read it, because this story stays with you and percolates in your brain.  It is such a quiet story but the setting is vivid and unique, the joys of a small town on the desert are wonderfully displayed, and the deep feelings of Lucky linger.  I enjoyed smiling at all of the great analogies in the story, reading a book that takes the show don’t tell philosophy and runs with it, and finding a heroine this complex in a children’s book. 

I agree with the Newbery Committee.  This one is a winner.  Even better, it has a lot of kid-appeal and I predict it will become one of the favorites in the Newbery units at school.