Jason Reynolds is a New York Times bestselling author who writes poetry and novels for young adult and middle-grade readers. Reynolds’ books are also multiple award winners. My latest read, As Brave as You, was a Kirkus Award Finalist, Schneider Family Book Award Winner, and Coretta Scott King Author Honor Book.
As Brave as Youis the story of a multigenerational family and their ideas of love and bravery across those generations. Genie and his big brother, Ernie, are spending the summer with her grandparents all the way in Virginia. Their parents are driving them from Brooklyn all the way down to the country in Virginia. Genie has never done anything like this before, so he’s both excited and nervous. When the family finally arrives in Virginia, Genie is surprised. His grandpa is blind! Grandpop can’t see, but he covers it so well, especially by wearing a pair of cool Ray-Bans.
Being an ever-curious kid, Genie has so many questions for Grandpop so he just starts asking whatever pops into his head. The more Genie learns, the more he thinks that Grandpop is the bravest person he knows. The only flaw: Grandpop NEVER leaves the house. Grandpop finally allows Genie to go into his secret room: a place filled to the brim with songbirds and plants. It’s a wonderful room that looks like the outside has been pulled inside. Genie starts to think if Grandpop is actually as brave as he presents.
Genie deals with complicated thoughts around bravery the closer it gets to Ernie’s fourteenth birthday. Grandpop has a tradition for all the men who turn fourteen: in order to become a man, you have to learn how to shoot a gun. Genie thinks this is incredibly cool, but Ernie isn’t really interested at all. That also throws Genie’s idea of bravery into freefall. Is being a man really about proving something? Or is it about being responsible for your own decisions?
This book is also available in the following format:
Homer’s Odyssey by Gwen Cooper is a closely observed tale of a tiny black kitten who lost his sight early in his life.
Beginning his life as a stray in South Beach, Homer’s eyes became so infected that his eyes had to be removed when he was eventually rescued and treated by a vet. The vet, after many failures, finds Gwen who instantly bonds to Homer, only a few weeks old.
His new owner has her own set of challenges, not only adapting her household physically (eliminating obstacles and clutter and padding sharp corners) but also integrating the kitten with the two already ensconced feline inhabitants.
The author clearly adores the newest member of the family, but also studies Homer with a scientist’s eye for detail, as she works to understand the needs of her new kitten. She describes how his sense of hearing and touch compensate for his lack of sight.
Parts of the story are heartbreaking but Homer is the very essence of resilience. The author is careful not to attribute human attributes to her cats but obviously admires Homer’s bravery and his will to survive and thrive.
The book, Cooper says, is written for “those who think that normal and ideal mean the same thing.” They will come away with an appreciation of the “slightly left of…normal.”
Rita brings us this terrifying recommendation for Horror Week at Davenport Library.
This movie is the reason I NEVER go to scary movies. Wait until Dark was produced in 1967. It starred Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin and Richard Crenna. It was being shown at the Capitol theater in downtown Davenport. A fellow worker and I went to see it as we both enjoyed the work of Audrey Hepburn. It scared the beejebees out of me. The scarest for me was you thought Audrey Hepburn had finally killed Alan Arkin, and the only light on the screen was from the refrigerator door. All of the sudden Alan Arkin leaps out of the dark into the light of the refrigerator door. I remember everyone in the Capitol theater gasped!!!!It took me weeks to sleep at night, as every time I closed my eyes I saw this scence.
Wait Until Dark is an innovative, highly entertaining and suspenseful thriller about a blind housewife, Susy Hendrix (Audrey Hepburn). Independent and resourceful, Susy is learning to cope with her blindness, which resulted from a recent accident. Susy is terrorized by a group of criminals who believe she has hidden a baby doll used by them to smuggle heroin into the country. Unknown to Susy, her photographer husband Sam (Efrem Zimbalist Jr.) took the doll as a favor for a woman he met on an international plane flight. Alone in her apartment and cut-off from the outside world, Susy must fight for her life against a gang of ruthless criminals, led by the violent, psychotic Roat (Alan Arkin). The tension builds as Roat, aided by his gang, impersonates police officers and friends of her husband in order to win Susy’s confidence, gaining access to her apartment to look for the doll. The climax of the film, a violent physical confrontation between Susie and Roat in her dark kitchen, is one of the most memorable and frightening scenes in screen history. All performances are outstanding, particularly those of Audrey Hepburn who plays a vulnerable, but self-reliant woman, and Alan Arkin, in perhaps his best role, as the ruthless, manipulative Roat. Allmovie.com
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