Books: Trouble by Gary D. Schmidt, Pedro and Me by Judd Winick and Foundation by Mercedes Lackey
Trouble by Gary D. SchmidtLife changes drastically for Henry when his older, and revered, brother is hit by a car. The driver of the car was a Cambodian immigrant and the East Coast town where they live is still struggling with racial acceptance. Schmidt skillfully weaves together several different important plot lines with his evocative language. His skill with word choice amazes me. While the topic tends to feel a little heavy-handed or overdone at times, the way in which words are chosen and fit together completely eclipses that. Schmidt has several other books published, including Lizzie and the Buckminster Boy and The Wednesday Wars. Just as a side-note, Schmidt is now an English professor at the college in the Midwest where I got my BA. I wish he had been teaching there when I was there.
Pedro and Me by Judd Winick
This touching, humorous, educational, and thought-provoking novel is also the stuff of which school board nightmares are made. Written and illustrated by cartoonist Judd Winick, this book details his time on MTV's Real World where he met and befriended Pedro, an AIDS educator diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. There is frank discussion of how the virus is spread, safe sex, and homosexuality, but also a distinct message of self-worth and empathy throughout. I will admit to being a bit of a sap; this book made me cry.
Foundation by Mercedes Lackey
This is the first book in a new series in the Heralds of Valdemar line. The plot is predictable whether you know any of Lackey’s other works or not. However, once again, her amazing ability to create characters that come to life through the words on the page makes this book worth checking out. This story is about an orphan named Mags (short for Maggot), who works in a jewel mine for a cruel man. He is rescued by the Heralds to be a Chosen one. Mags is introduced to a new and confusing life with a lot to be learned. Once he is partially ensconced in this new situation, adventures begin to build around him with a dramatic conclusion that is not a conclusion. I mentioned it was the first in a new series, right?
January 10, 2009