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Monday, May 30, 2011

Luna by Julie Anne Peters

A heartfelt, respectful story about a transgendered boy and his family. Gives readers a lot of background and a way to understand the difference between being gay and being transgendered. As a middle school teacher-librarian, I have known a number of teens over the years who struggle with all kinds of issues. Even though many teens self-censor their true feelings while in public (school), Luna is a reminder of the "back-story" the "unseen" faced by these teens-- a struggle those around them are too often not cued into.

I especially appreciated the portrayal of the family dynamics and the unintentional damage loved ones can cause when their personal expectations are faced with a differing reality. This story was hard to read at times, the pain is palatable and a couple of times I felt like cringing (sort of like watching an impending train-wreck). As valuable and well told as this story is, the subject matter makes it a book for mature teen readers. I plan on ordering a copy for my library because the opportunity to safely explore the topics of tolerance, gender, self-acceptance and respect for differences is too important to pass up.

My rating:      Great story...perspective is everything

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Once upon a Marigold by Jean Ferris

As an adult reader of this book for teens, I must say I enjoyed it a LOT. The "fairy tale" nature of the story was fun and well done. I especially liked and was amused by the use (misuse) of common sayings.   I'm not so sure that all my middle school readers would "get" the humor and some readers might instead, be a bit confused or be oblivious to the subtlety,(but what a great way to show kids playing with language can be fun). Book would make an AWESOME read-aloud even for students in younger grades (3rd grade on up). Using the book as a read-aloud would also give opportunity for discussion of the sayings and possible expansion activities beyond sheer enjoyment of the story. While this is a good solid story presented in a humorous straight forward manner, the book also touches on more "meaty" ideas such as class, work and gender roles. These ideas are presented in a seamless way and do not in any way detract from the overall story nor the reader's enjoyment.
My rating:
 A fun story with a fairy tale feel