Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Tangles by Sarah Leavitt

Book Information
Leavitt, Sarah. Tangles: A Story About Alzheimer’s, My Mother and Me. Calgary, Alberta: Freehand Books, September 2010.

My Review
Tangles is Sarah Leavitt's first book, and is a current finalist for the Alberta's Reader's Choice Award (to be awarded in June, 2011). Leavitt's decision to describe her family's odyssey with Alzheimer's in the graphic novel format is quite inspired -- readers can easily see and begin to understand the changes that Alzheimer's causes.

The drawings are black and white and simple, but quite demonstrative. The way in which Leavitt drew "holding hands" by drawing two connected arms is a visual demonstration of the family's love for one another. This book is filled with the many moments of frustration, love, sadness and humour that are experienced by families who care for people with memory challenges. Sarah Leavitt's mother, Midge, was really blessed to have a family who loved and cared for her so deeply.

More Reading for Caregivers/Families of Individuals with Alzheimer's/Dementia

The Sunshine On My Face By Lydia Burdick is a picture book designed to stimulate conversations with older adults who have Alzheimer's or other forms of dementia.

My Notes
This book was difficult for me to review (in several drafts!), particularly because I cared for my grandmother, who had dementia. Sarah Leavitt has done a wonderful job of depicting the frustrations (and the few joys!) of memory challenges.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Children and Young Adult Literature

Book Information
Parravano, Martha V. and Roger Sutton. A Family of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Childen's and Young Adult Literature.

My Review and Summary
A Family of Readers is a thorough guide to children's and youth literature from the editors of Horn Book, a publication whose articles and book reviews focus on children's and youth literature.

This is a must-read for parents who want to become actively involved in their children's reading, and for professionals who want to further their knowledge of children's literature. This book addresses many subjects in children's literature, from "boy" books, board books and biographies to young adult literature. There are many brief essays written by children's authors and subject specialists.

Reading materials recommended in A Family of Readers extend beyond the classics; it features contemporary recommended reading lists by grade level. A Family of Readers often discusses childhood development, from how to choose board books based on the developmental needs of babies, to providing reading selections for teens who need "private reading" space.

A comprehensive, enjoyable book.

My Notes
I particularly enjoyed reading "Unlucky Arithmetic -- Thirteen Ways to Raise a Nonreader".

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Mr. M: The Exploring Dreamer

Book Information
Meister, Soizick. Mr. M: The Exploring Dreamer. Vancouver, Canada: Read Leaf, 2010.

My Summary and Review
The enigmatic Mr. M explores his thoughts and a Canadian Surrealist landscape.

This book is poetic and beautifully illustrated (acrylics on wood or canvas). A deliciously slow read: savour each sentence, and have a dictionary close at hand.

My Notes
Generally, I expect picture books to have rhyming couplets, or at the very least, to star children. At first, I only gave this book a brief glance before sharing it with others, who enjoyed it. I gave it a second chance, and was better able to appreciate the symbolism and the art!