July 2006 Archives

Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton, 2004, Annick Press is well written.  It shows the volatility of people's emotions--one minute Chanda loves her neighbor Mrs. Tafa and the next she is totally mad at her.   The setting is Africa   the problem is Aids.  


16-year-old Chanda and the rest of her family and neighbors don't talk about people having Aids, but say they have cancer or something else.   Yet Aids is rampant and many people are dying from it.   This brave teenager not only survives her own grief, but speaks out about the problem which gives the people around her the chance to speak openly.


Sidney Sheldon says, "You get your readers emotionally involved in your characters by being emotionally involved yourself. Your characters must come alive for you. When you are writing about them, you have to feel all the emotions they are going through--hunger, pain, joy, despair. if you suffer along with them and care what happens to them, so will the reader."   Allan Stratton must have suffered with his characters.   No wonder this book has won so many awards.


Read about Allan at his publisher's website:   http://www.annickpress.com/ai/stratton.html

Want to help fight the battle of AIDS in Africa?   Help a caregiver serving the sick by participating in assembling Caregiver Kits.  Learn more by calling 866-962-4453 or go to www.worldvision.org/kits/caregiver-kits.html.  (I've been involved with World Vision for over 20 years--mainly through their Child Sponsorship organization--it's a trustworthy organization.)

"The worth of a book is to be measured by what you can carry away from it." -James Bryce

I read so many children's books that sometimes worth is measured in how long I can remember the story.  If my mind keeps coming back to the book, or if it is one I know I'll want to read again sometime, or if a book makes me want to read more books by the author, then it makes my "good book" rating.

 A recent read I recommend to anyone interested in children's literature is DEAD GIRLS DON'T WRITE LETTERS by Gail Giles, published in 2003, from Roaring Brook Press.  This book was a very compelling read.  There were several twists that left me picking my jaw up off the floor.  I recommended it to several people and then after they read it, we discussed and "argued" over the book.  "I think ..." "Maybe, but don't forget about..."  "What about..." 

The story is done, but I keep thinking about Sunny, the main character.  I wonder what is going on in her life now.  Her family is so disfunctional that I ache for her.  Yeah, yeah, I know, she's a made up person, but she felt so real.  I hope some day someone will feel the same about one of my characters.

Here's a taste of the story:  Sunny's sister Jazz dies in a fire and Sunny is trying to hold her depressed mother together.   (Her alcoholic father has already moved out.)  Then Sunny gets a letter from Jazz.

To find out more, you'll have to read it yourself.  Although, if you insist on knowing more first, you can go to the author's website:  www.gailgiles.com.