In her book Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life, Anne Lamott says, “For some of us, books are as important as almost anything else on earth. What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you. Books help us understand who we are and how we are to behave. They show us what community and friendship mean; they show us how to live and die.”


My hope is that this is what books become to you—as important as almost anything else on earth. This blog is about helping you find the miracle in these small, flat, rigid squares of paper while you are in middle school and beyond. Once you read alongside me, you are forever a member of my tribe of readers. No matter how you old you are, when you need to be reminded of the power of a good story, you will find me here, waiting to place one in your hands.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

TAKE WHAT YOU CAN CARRY by Kevin C. Pyle


copyright date: March 2012
primarily marketed for: young adults (12 and up)

Despite the fact that the teacher in me sees so many lesson possibilities in Kevin C. Pyle’s graphic novel Take What You Can Carry, you should read it simply for the grace of its stories. 

The artwork is as striking as the stories it tells.  Using artwork in two different colors and styles, Pyle tells the stories of two teenage boys living years and miles apart.  And yet, he communicates the universality in their experiences. 

One boy is a Japanese American forced to move into an internment camp during WWII.  His family struggles to maintain their dignity and sense of peace under unbearable conditions.

The other is a rebellious boy with an attitude whose reckless behavior causes him to wind up in trouble with the law.  To make amends, he finds himself completing community service hours in the most unlikely place. 

I found myself reading and rereading pieces of these stories.  I am finding with graphic novels that there is always more beyond the surface story.  I wanted uncover the truth in the tales of these two boys.  Although there are two stories here, they really become one if you dig deep enough.

Take What You Can Carry tells a story I want to carry with me for a long time. 

Reading Threads:
Wonder Struck by Brian Selznick
Handbook for Boys by Walter Dean Myers
Notes from the Midnight Driver by Jordan Sonnenblick
Thin Wood Walls by David Patneaude
Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki

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