Saturday, June 27, 2015
Katie Friedman is an expert multitasker. She's the kind of tech user who would have ALL THE TABS open. As we begin she is texting her friend Hannah, posting a pic of her dog, receiving some texts from Becca, and sending texts to bff Charlie Joe Jackson. This is all before breakfast. During breakfast she gets some texts from Nareem, Eliza, Hannah, and Becca. Then on the bus ride to school Katie is texting with Charlie Joe, and her mom. Whew! Exhausted yet?
The thing is, it's pretty easy to send a text to the wrong person. Especially if you are texting multiple people at the same time. Lots of times, it's kind of funny to send the wrong text to the wrong person. But sometimes it's really not. Especially when you're texting about something personal. Something like not liking your boyfriend so much anymore...and sending it to your boyfriend.
Hitting send changes everything for Katie. Not only has she gone and really hurt Nareem's feelings, but she begins to realized how far into their phones her friends are. She thinks about the fact that it just seems easier to text people instead of actually talk to them.
Inspired by her musical heroine, Jane Plantero, Katie sets out on a quest. A quest to live without her phone for a while. And Jane says if Katie can convince 10 of her friends to give up their phones for a week, she will come and play a show for them. The twist is that Katie is not allowed to dangle to carrot of the concert.
How hard will it be to convince a bunch of middle schoolers to give up their phones?
Tommy Greenwald has tackled the topic of kids and phones without making it seem like a "topic". Gweenwald nails the voice as usual, and if I didn't know better, I'd say he was a teacher. Charlie Joe pops up throughout the book to lend his sarcastic wit with segments like, "Charlie Joe Jackson's Guide to Why Texting Is Awesome". Where Greenwald shines is in writing the relationships. They are messy and fickle and constantly shifting ... totally like in middle school. Katie isn't all good, just as Charlie Joe isn't all snark. This is a book that should just show up on library tables, and in living rooms all over the place. I think this would make a fantastic book club book, and the kind of classroom read that will get kids talking.
Sunday, June 07, 2015
DJ is just an average kid in the middle of an above average family. The one thing he was really good at was being a good friend to Gina, but Gina moved away 3 years ago.
DJ is sitting on the roof of his club house when he sees something crash out of the sky. Imagine his surprise when a blond boy in silver undies climbs out of the newly formed crater in the earth. This kid has a lot of energy and even more questions since his "memory is a busted book" and he's not quite sure where he's from or what he's doing on earth. DJ takes Hilo in without much of a plan, and quickly finds himself with his hands full.
DJ is surprised when Gina ends up back in town, and notices that she's changed quite a bit in the 3 years she's been out of Berke County which makes DJ notice that he hasn't really changed. At all.
As Hilo's past is revealed to him in his dreams bit by bit, it soon becomes apparent that danger is on the way. And now maybe DJ will realize he's not so ordinary after all.
This outstanding graphic novel needs to be purchased in multiples. Winick has created lovable, funny and real characters that readers will laugh with and cheer for. The movement in the art is reminiscent of both Watterson and Gownley and I defy anyone to read Hilo without feeling moments of joy. While reviewers have pegged this as a 9-12 title, I'm saying all ages. I know we will have kids from 6 to 14 eager to check this one out, and my adult self enjoyed every moment!
I heart Hilo.