Tuesday, August 7, 2012

First Grad School Reading List

My friend Heather Demetrios inspired me to post my reading list for grad school. As I don't have a lot of time to write in-depth posts and I won't write about the content of my grad program, I thought posting my annotated bibliography is the best way to keep everyone informed about what's going on in my life. After all, my life pretty much revolves around reading and writing now. Maybe you'll even get some hints about my current projects.

My Father’s Summers: A Daughter’s Memoir by Kathi Appelt: I’m fascinated by creative nonfiction, especially since we seem to like making nonfiction as boring as possible for kids. The prose poems and timeline of this memoir were fascinating, and I love how the author dealt with the themes of love and forgiveness.

Art and Fear: Observations On the Perils (and Rewards) of Artmaking by David Bayler and Ted Orland: This book was recommended to me because I tend to become paralyzed by fear, so this book was very much written for me. The solution I discovered? The best remedy for fear is to work.

The Elephant Wish by Lou Berger, illustrated by Ana Juan: I usually don’t read picture books unless they are recommended to me via friends, awards or reviews, but this one I picked up because I liked the illustration on the cover. While this book was imaginative, it was a little too abstract and metaphorical for the lack of content.

D Is for Dancing Dragon: A China Alphabet by Carol Crane, illustrated by Zong-Zhou Wang: Now I know why they say if you're going to rhyme in a picture book, do it well. The informational sidebars were good, and the illustrations were okay, but overall, this book is kind of forgettable.

George Washington: Soldier, Hero, President by Justine and Ron Fontes: While this book is decently written and a good overview for the intended age group, I was disappointed by some of the historical content. It glossed over some of the most important details of Washington’s life and even had some, not necessary inaccurate, but most certainly misleading information.

Rapture of the Deep: Being an Account of the Further Adventures of Jacky Faber, Soldier, Sailor, Mermaid, Spy by L.A. Meyer, narrated by Katherine Kellgren: It's fascinating how the author increased tension and developed characters in ways that are only obvious when the book is read aloud.

The Tale of Benjamin Bunny by Beatrix Potter: Potter uses simple words to convey vivid images—you almost don’t need the illustrations. And the characters practically hop off the page (bunny pun intended).

The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter: I loved how the narrator would sometimes switch to second person and directly address the reader to bring it to a personal level for a child.

The Throne of Fire by Rick Riordon, narrated by Kevin R. Free and Katherine Kellgren: Riordan utilizes all of the sensory descriptions to surround the reader with the action. His stories might not be unique or moving, but they sure are fun to read. Listening to this as an audio book is also a fun experience as the protagonists are “recording” their experience for Riordan to publish, so it lends itself to the medium.

The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater, narrated by Steve West and Fiona Hardingham: The characterization in this novel is brilliant. By using humor juxtaposed to harsh reality, Stiefvater makes Puck a unique, relatable character. I also love how she grounds us in a physical place in the present before inserting flashbacks and memories.

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