Review: Blind by Rachel DeWoskin

blind

Blind by Rachel DeWoskin

When Emma was 14 watching fireworks with her family, a rocket backfired and hit the crowd, burning Emma across her eyes and leaving her blind.  Emma has to learn how to live as a blind person, pitied by everyone but mostly by herself.  She learns to walk with a cane after months of sitting on the family couch not doing anything at all.  She is sent to a special school where she learns to read braille and yearns to be back with her best friend at normal high school.  After working hard for a year, Emma manages to progress enough to be allowed to return to normal high school, but everything has changed.  Not only is it difficult being blind there, but a classmate has been found dead.  Now Emma has to figure out how to process the girl’s death without becoming the PBK – Poor Blind Kid again.

DeWoskin has written a complex book here.  The heart of it, Emma’s blindness is brilliantly captured.  Readers will learn about the limitations of being blind, but also how it makes to listen differently and with more attention than before.  The small coping mechanisms are fascinating, such as always wearing a tan bra so that you know it won’t show through any of your shirts and the fact that blind girls still wear makeup, but theirs has to be labeled in a way you can touch. 

Emma is a great heroine.  Her grieving process is clearly shown as is her determination to return to normal.  She is strong but not too strong, so that she is fully human on the page.  When Emma creates a group of students who meet secretly to deal with the girl’s death, the book slows.  While it is an interesting device to show how teens can come together to help one another grieve and heal, it is far less compelling than Emma’s own journey. 

A book that will reach beyond those interested in visual impairment, this teen novel shows the resilience of a girl suddenly blinded but who discovers an inner strength she had never realized she had.  Appropriate for ages 13-17.

Reviewed from ARC received from Viking.

Review: Tickly Toes by Susan Hood

tickly toes

Tickly Toes by Susan Hood, illustrated by Stephane Barroux

This playful board book looks at infants’ interest in their own toes, whether it is when they are being tickled by someone else, or when they see them in the bubbly bath water.  Written as if a parent is addressing the baby directly, this book will read aloud well to the smallest of listeners.  With illustrations that invite counting, this book is also an invitation to count baby’s own toes right now.

Hood avoids being too sing-songy in her rhyme, instead keeping it jaunty.  Even when baby pulls of his booties and flings them away, the tone remains entirely positive and encouraging as baby finds his feet all on his own.  The illustrations by Barroux are bright and large.  They show the ten toes on many pages as well as a loving family environment around him.

Get your toes wiggling with this bright and bouncy board book.  Appropriate for ages birth to 2.

Reviewed from digital galley received from Kids Can Press and NetGalley.

This and Last Week’s Tweets, Pins & Tumbls

Here are the links I shared on my Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr accounts this week that I think are cool:

Keep calm... seriously, you're in a library

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Angry parents criticise Julia Donaldson for ‘inappropriate’ smoking scarecrow – Telegraph http://buff.ly/1ouooGZ #kidlit

Author and illustrator Ashley Bryan comes of age – The Portland Press Herald – http://buff.ly/1u0YNco #kidlit

‘Creepy’? New ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ book cover confuses readers – Books http://buff.ly/1okdAM8 #kidlit

George R.R. Martin’s children’s book gets re-release http://buff.ly/1o8gzae #kidlit

It’s time to rethink what children’s non-fiction could be – Telegraph http://buff.ly/V1Q3mS #kidlit

J.K. Rowling reaches out to shooting survivor who quoted Dumbledore – CNET http://buff.ly/1r67xsS #kidlit

Picture a Novel from Lane Smith http://buff.ly/1xwhxOm #kidlit

Starred reviews, September/October Horn Book Magazine – The Horn Book http://buff.ly/1y61Cq7 #kidlit

Top Ten Novels in Verse by Katie Strawser | Nerdy Book Club http://buff.ly/1ouoD4I #kidlit

What are the best books for children who feel ‘weird’ or different? | Children’s books http://buff.ly/1ugyOec #kidlit

http://lisnews.org/how_a_new_dutch_library_smashed_attendance_records

LIBRARIES

Macmillan’s Full Catalog of Ebooks Now Available to Public Libraries | American Libraries Magazine http://buff.ly/1nnUlfl #ebooks #libraries

The Way Upward | Design4Impact http://buff.ly/1rWn0Qj #libraries

PUBLISHING TRADE

Google partners with Barnes & Noble for same-day book delivery | The Verge http://buff.ly/1ogxg4m

James Patterson: If I were Amazon’s Jeff Bezos (Opinion) http://buff.ly/1u1wE4T

TEEN READS

How Rainbow Rowell Turned A Bomb Into A Best-Selling Novel http://buff.ly/1nw59bq #yalit

WILS WORLD

"Attention is a scarce resource in this century" #wils14

Don’t just do things right, do the right things. #wils14

Don’t sacrifice good for the perfect. #wils14

If you aren’t risking failure, you aren’t moving the library forward enough. #wils14

Innovation can happen in a time of reduced funding. You don’t need additional resources. #wils14

Measure success via serendipity rather than productivity – look at things in other ways than industrial measures. #wils14

People overwhelmed by choice and full library shelves. #wils14

Relationship with publishers – do libraries pay more or walk away? #wils14

Start very small and very quickly to hear immediately from potential customers and react and reprioritize – #wils14

Your library catalog is very expensive real estate so use it to promote library events. #wils14