Monday, January 22, 2018

Two Weighty Volumes

Two Weighty Volumes

I know you've seen lengthy volumes that go on and on.
Conversely some of the slimmest books pack a powerful punch and shake
even long held ideas. I spent a lot of a weekend pondering Toni
Morrison's The Origins of Others and Ta-Nehisi Coates' Between the
World and Me.
"The necessity of rendering the slave a foreign species appears
to be a desperate attempt to confirm one's own self as normal. The
urgency of distinguishing between those who belong to the human race
and those who are non-human is so powerful that the spotlight turns
away and shines not on the object of degradation but on its
creator...The danger of sympathizing with the stranger is the
possibility of becoming a stranger. To lose one's rank is to lose
one's valued and enshrined difference."
Morrison realizes that individuals and groups do not engage in
behaviors that require effort unless there is an advantage in doing
so. In The Origin of Others she looks for the payoff for creating a
color binary. After all, it's artificial. White is not a genetic
marker. Black has been defined very creatively over the centuries.
In the paragraph quoted above, she points to both payoff of othering
and an implied threat that prevents would be rebels from stepping out
of line.
Othering can be a way of belonging to a larger group, generally
perceived as a superior group. It gives permission to treat the other
in a way one would never dream of treating in group members. The
other then must be shown to be different enough to deserve this abuse
because the actor must perceive self and be perceived by society as a
good person.
Slavery is one of the examples Morrison uses. Masters whipped,
mutilated, and killed their "property", way overworked and starved
them, and routinely broke up families by selling off members. Slaves
were portrayed as being inferior, lazy, helpless beings who could not
manage without the being ruled by "superiors."
Othering requires members of the in group to keep the bounderies
drawn. To cross the line carries the penalty of losing preferred
status. An example I witnessed thanks to the media happened during
the civil rights clashes of the sixties. Some northerners were
bothered by the way black people were denied any kind of opportunity,
disenfranchised, segregated in separate and very unequal schools, and
in general treated cruelly. They travelled south to help create
change. The n****r lovers were hated perhaps even more than the
people whose cause they championed because their actions were seen as
deliberate betrayal of their own.
Morrison and Coates both discuss the pervasiveness of color
othering and the fact that, rather than race engendering racism, the
concept of race was concocted and maintained to legitimize racism.
Coates keeps referring to people who want/need to be white.
"But race is the child of racism, not the father. And the
process of naming "the people" has never been a matter of geneology
and physiognomy as much as one of hierarchy. Difference in hue and
hair is old. But the belief in the preeminance of hue and hair, the
notion that these factors can correctly organize a society and that
they signify deeper attributes, which are indelible--this is the new
idea at the heart of these new people who have been hopelessly,
tragically, deceitfully, taught to believe that they are white."
Coates wrote Between the World and Me as an open letter to his
teen age son. It is very up close and personal. It shows his life
through the lens of precariousness, the fragile hold a black boy or
man has on his body when those who need to be white, even those who
pledge to serve and protect all people, pay little or no penalty for
killing them. It also reveals the toll this takes on heart, soul, and
mind.
One of the most poignant strands of Coates' narrative is his
description of the extreme physical punishments meted out to him and
his peers by parents. His father had said, "Either I can beat him, or
the police." It's cruel to put parents in a situation where their
children live in such peril they must beat them so they won't pay a
higher cost for misbehaving. Richard Wright, coming of age about a
half century before Coates, described a similar desperation instilled
tough love.
Dear readers, I urge you to read both books and give them the
time they deserve. Then, if your epidermis is a shade close to mine,
decide that you don't want to be "white" and accept the undue
privileges that accrue to this false identity. We all need to work
together to replace a cruel binary with a just and fair world of
inclusion.
On a personal note, Amber and Brian threw an awesome birthday party
for Eugene and Adam. They served burgers and fries and a bundt cake
that looked like a pink frosted doughtnut. Katie and Jacob came all
the way from Portland and Adam from around the corner. It was
precious beyond measure to have the family together.
Today is the first day at UMaine. It's snowing, but not looking too
ominous. I got done than I'd expected over vaca while having a
wonderful time. And I'm much more organized.
And the jury is still out on grad school.
Great big shout outs go out to my wonderful family and to the students
going back to classes at UMaine and other fine educational institutions.
jules hathaway




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Saturday, January 20, 2018

Sachiko

Sachiko

YA/Adult nonfiction
"What happened to me
Must never happen to you.
--Sachiko Yasui--"
It's been a long time since America dropped the bombs on
Hiroshima and Nagasaki, 72 years to be exact. Most of us weren't born
when this happened. So perhaps it's not surprising that the
devastation that was unleashed seems to be fading from the collective
memory. Only we'd better start remembering pretty darn fast. With a
bellicose president and weapons that dwarf Little Boy and Fat Man in
destructive potential, a lot of us need to be informed and aware and
really care enough to act to collectively make sure we don't go this
route again. Caren Stelson's Sachiko: A Nagasaki Bomb Survivor's
Story is a good place to start. A heartbreakingly poignant and
powerful narrative is juxtaposed with historical backstory to create a
must read for people of good conscience in its target demographic and
well beyond.
Sachiko was only six. That morning, August 9, 1945, an air-raid
signal had drawn her family to the air-raid cave. When the all clear
sounded and her mother and siblings left she stayed to play house with
some other children.
A blinding light...an explosion...a fire ball. A mushroom
shaped atomic cloud...gutted, collapsing buildings...fires starting
everywhere...basically Hell on Earth.
Sachiko was the only one of the children playing house to
survive. Her three brothers also died that day: Toshi (2) by
impalement, Aki (15) from extensive burns, and Ichuro (13) from
radiation sickness. Other family members died including twenty-three
of her mother's relatives. Sachiko, her parents, and her little
sister Misa (who would die of cancer at fourteen) suffered from
radiation sickness.
"Sachiko lay in bed, hovering between life and death. She was
too ill to eat, too tired to concentrate. She spiked a high fever.
Her hair fell out. Her gums bled. Tiny purple spots appeared on her
body, spread, and within a few days grew into dots the size of peas.
Lesions opened in her skin. Flies laid eggs in them. The maggots
caused itching and excruciating pain."
Legions of people got radiation sickness and lacked treatment.
This wasn't only a matter of people having no clue what nuclear bombs
would do to the human body. Among the terms of Japanese surrender was
an especially cruel form of censorship. Terms like atom bomb and
radiation sickness were not allowed. Doctors treating patients were
not allowed to exchange knowledge. When American doctors came in, it
was to study sufferers for knowledge of long term effects, never to
treat them. I never knew this until I read the book.
What kind of people could practice this calculated cruelty?
Mine.
Misa and both Sachiko's parents died of cancer. Sachiko
suffered through thyroid cancer when she she was in her twenties.
After her operation she had to struggle for months to talk again. On
the fiftyth anniversary of the bombing she began to speak out about
the terrible toll it had taken on her and her family.
After my dentist visit I was in the UMaine multicultural center
waiting for my ride reading the book. A Japanese exchange student
came over and started studying the pages with me. We were looking at
damming evidence of what my people had done to her people before
either of us was born. She showed me where she was from on a map,
where her college was. She said, "Someday I want to go to Hiroshima
and Nagasaki to understand.". I said, "Someday I want to go to
Hiroshima and Nagasaki to understand." Our eyes met. I said, "I need
to be a peace maker, to make sure never again.". She said, "Thank you."
All people whose hearts are not full of bitterness, hatred, and
prejudice need to read and share this book. It will take gazillions
of us to honor Sachiko's mandate that the horrors she suffered never
be inflicted on others.
Sometimes I feel guilty about reading and reviewing so many
books. But when I read a book like Sachiko and realize I am making
other people aware of it, I realize this is one of the most important
things I can do with my life.
On a personal note, Maine is still in Winter Wonderland mode. The
jury is still out on grad school. I'm still calm. Today I am really
excited because my family will be together. We're getting together at
Amber and Brian's to celebrate Eugene and Adam's birthdays. Katie is
coming up from Portland.
A great big shout out goes out to my January birthday boys.
jules hathaway


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Thursday, January 18, 2018

Before Morning

Before Morning

Picture book
If you live or grew up in a northern state like Maine, I bet at
least once you went to bed hoping to wake up in the morning to a snow
day. Maybe you sent up prayers or wishes. Maybe you feared talking
about the object of your desire for fear of jinxing it. If it's
predicted it won't happen. Maybe you followed a ritual like my
favorite, wearing your pajamas inside out.
If any of the above applies to you, you are going to find Joyce
Sidman's Before Morning totally enchanting.
Commuters and children head homeward. A youngster looks
longingly into a bakery window before being pulled away. Dinner is
eaten, kids tucked into bed. An airline pilot mom leaves her
slumbering family to go out into the darkness.
So far the book has been wordless. In the next pages sparse but
eloquent verses pair up with breathtaking scratchboard art
illustrations to create an aura of magic and enchantment. A vee of
birds wings across a two page spread as windborn leaves swirl and
elaborate snowflakes descend. "let the sky fill with flurry and
flight."
"How powerful are words? Can they make things happen? Stop
them from happening? Can they protect us? Comfort us? Enchant us?
This book is written in the form of an invocation--a poem that invites
something to happen, often asking for help or support. Humans have
been using invocations for thousands of years, to sooth the body and
strengthen the soul. Do they work? Maybe. Maybe speaking something
out loud is the first step toward making it happen."
[Reviewer's note: let's hope that applies to graduate school!]
Words and pictures cry out for a suspension of the mundane. The
daughter tries to hide her mother's pilot hat. The mom and a
colleague gaze out an airport window as the text says, "let urgent
plans flounder," On the next spread the yellow plows look very much
not up to the task of clearing the precip: "let pathways be hidden
from sight."
I got the feeling that the mom wanted this as much as the
child. You see her flagging down a ride home, climbing her snow
covered steps, and hugging her daughter. Their day will include
sledding and going to that bakery for treats that will go well with
hot cocoa.
The illustrations are not only enchanting and magical, but
highly intimate. Studying them is a real treat. Cats, dogs, and
other creatures abound. Squirrels are captured in mid leap. You can
tell the pigeons are bobbing and strutting. Personal items like a
menorah are seen through windows. The daughter's room features a
globe, a model plane, and a book about Amelia Earhart.
I hold very fond memories of my childhood snow days and my
children's snow days. Now that they've moved out, snow days are still
enchanting but a tad lonely. Maybe I can sleep over at Liv's or Kat's
or have a friend over some night when a blizzard is bearing down on
Penobscot County. What fun it will be to sleep in inside out pajamas,
wake up to joyous excitement, and make everyone snow day pancakes!
On a personal note, what a perfect day to post this review! Last
night it snowed. Maine looks like a picture postcard. The lace
trimmed trees are especially lovely. Eugene worked all night. When
he got home he took me to Dennys for breakfast. I had cranberry
pancakes with orange sauce, eggs, fried potatoes, sausage, and a mango
smoothie. Now that I'm back in school I'm a big fan of snow days.
When I get to grad school I know I'll need them.
And speaking of grad school the jury is still out.
A great big shout out to Eugene and his colleagues who clear the snow
to make driving safe and to my son, Adam, and his EMT and firefighter
who save lives in all kinds of weather.
jules hathaway


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Tuesday, January 16, 2018

This Review Is For The Birds

This Review Is For The Birds

juvenile nonfiction and fiction
Today I'm going to serve you up an ensemble review you may very
well find to be for the birds.
I like birds. OK?
The Smithsonian Institution is a heavy hitter in the natural
sciences field. Their Everything You Need To Know About Birds gives
readers a birds' eye view of these animals that have conquered every
space on earth from Antartic frozen wastes to deserts and mountains
and even man made cities. You can learn how birds help maintain the
rain forest, how scientists believe birds evolved from dinosaurs, the
mechanics of flight, bird senses, migration, and lots of other really
interesting information. Of course the pictures are amazing.
I especially enjoyed learning about the satin bowerbirds of
eastern Australia. The male carefully builds and decorates an
elaborate bower to attract a mate. When he catches a female's eye, he
does a courtship dance. How cool is that?
When Robert Bateman was an eight-year-old growing up in Canada
he spotted a black-capped chickadee. It was fascination at first
sight. From then on he spent hours looking for birds. Only he was
frustrated because he had no books to learn more about them.
Bateman's Backyard Birds can help kids have the information he
wished he had. It's very excellent for fledgling bird lovers in
northern areas like Maine. The feathered friends it features are ones
most likely to make an appearance in the most mundane of places. It
also gives information on topics like how to attract birds to your
backyard and how to help birds survive.
A good companion volume is Carol Lerner's Backyard Birds Of
Winter. Although many birds migrate south at the first sign of cold
weather, others tough it out on their home turf. Unlike mammals that
can hibernate, birds have the challenge of finding food every day
without freezing to death. Humans can help them survive and surround
their homes with beauty by putting out bird food.
Lerner gives information about the most common backyard visitors
along with beautiful pictures and maps of their usual domains. She
also gives advice on how to select foods and make and place feeders.
[Reviewer's note: if you choose to attract birds to your
backyard, please keep your cats inside. No matter how much Nine Lives
or Fancy Feast you plop in their bowls they have preditory instincts.]
Nic Bishop's Penguin Day gives readers an intimate look at
penguin family life. A baby penguin is hungry. Mama penguin joins
the other females in a arduous trek to capture fish and krill in a
treacherous, preditor filled ocean. Meanwhile Papa watches over his
little one.
Recall those birds who were credited with delivering babies to
families in the days when parents considered the facts of life
inappropriate for young minds? Kate Riggs' Storks takes readers into
their world. You can learn about the various kinds and their
lifestyles. Can you believe some are as tall as me?
Kathy Hoopman's All Birds Have Anxiety uses an amazing avian
cast of characters to talk to youngsters about a very common human
problem. Photographs of 66 amazing and often adorable avians
illustrate aspects of anxiety many children (and adults) suffer from.
Under "It's like being filled with a scream" you see a penguin with
its beak fully open. A duckling paces beside a trophy beside "We are
sure nothing we do, say or try is good enough. Even if we do well, we
are certain it was a mistake." A wide owl illustrates "Wide awake
thoughts churn in our minds." The moon over its shoulder carries many
common fears: Do my friends really like me? I bet I fail! Something
bad will happen.
Asking kids directly about how they're feeling can set defenses
up. Maybe they're afraid of getting in trouble. Maybe they don't
want to be a bother or a disappointment. But they tend to feel
strongly for animals. This book can provide a safe way to open up a
conversation with a child who realizes "Hey, that's how I feel." Kids
(or adults) caught up in the grip of overwhelming anxiety may feel
like they're the only ones with the problem...everyone else is just
fine. This can add shame and a desire to hide the problem to the mix.
In my mind All Birds Have Anxiety is a must acquire for public
and school libraries and guidance counselor offices.
Animals can bring out the best in people. Just think of St.
Francis of Assissi. Jabari Asim's Preaching To The Chickens: The
story of young John Lewis provides another example of this.
Lewis grew up on a farm where everyone had to pitch in. He was
put in charge of the chickens. There were about sixty and he knew
each as an individual. He loved church and aspired to become a
minister. Not surprisingly, his first congregation was literally his
flock.
"John's henhouse sermons became so regular that his brothers and
sisters took to calling him preacher. He didn't mind. He knew that
someday he'd speak before thousands. He hoped that his words would
stir people's souls and move them to action. For now, though, he had
his own church right here among the pine trees and rolling hills of
southern Alabama. Morning would find him in his usual place preaching
to the chickens."
[Reviewer's note: now I know I'm perfectly entitled to preach
to Joey cat. When I sing hymns he provides purrrfect accompaniment.]
Our children's librarian often presents me with must reads.
(Library volunteering does have its perks). Recently she brought a
David Shannon and its prequel to my literary attention. David Shannon
is one of the top writers in the kids will want to hear again and
again and parents won't mind obliging category.
In Duck On A Bike a farm fowl finds that he can ride a bicycle.
As he shows off for the other creatures large and small they react in
their own ways. Sheep's baaa means "He's going to hurt himself if
he's not careful." Cat's meow means "I wouldn't waste my time riding a
bike." Horse's neigh means "You're still not as fast as me, Duck."
Of course the words are anemic without the pictures. Sheep
wears a look of deep concern. Cat sprawls contentedly in the sun.
Horse twists his lips into a sneer of contempt.
Suddenly a crowd of kids leaves bikes in the barnyard. I bet
you can guess the delightful grand finale.
Duck On A Truck takes our feathered friend to a new level of
transportation competence. Somehow he manages to get the tractor
rolling and convinces the other critters, even cautious sheep, to come
along for a ride. Cruising down the main road, they catch the
attention of the people in a diner. A number of their comments will
be even more amusing to parents than to kids. The deputy's "If that
don't beat all" means "How am I gonna explain this to the sheriff?".
When the tractor runs out of gas the critters scoot back to the
barn on their own power. It's abandoned by the time the humans
arrive, allowing them to agree that the whole thing was an optical
illusion (another clever touch of adult oriented humor)
Note to parents of young kids: keep these and other David
Shannon books on hand for those inevitable days when rain cancelling a
picnic or similar unforseen obstacles cast a miasma on the day and
there's need of light hearted distraction.
Hey, if I'm counting correctly (math not being my forte with
pain killing meds in my bloodstream) that's nine fine books. Granted,
a few may be a bit of a reach. But could you do better?
On a personal note, I had the most wonderful day yesterday. One of my
church choir friends and his two delightful daughters came out to
Veazie so I could show them a really good sledding hill. After
hitting the slopes we retired to Dennys for what turned out to be
brunch. I had blueberry pancake balls with dipping sauce, fried
potatoes, and the most heavenly mango smoothie you can imagine.
A great big shout out goes out to my two chums, Mazie and Jessie, who
celebrated birthdays yesterday!!! I wish both of them an amazing and
rewarding year.
jules hathaway






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Sunday, January 14, 2018

How Dare The Sun Rise

How Dare The Sun Rise

YA/adult
"The smoke began to choke me, and I needed to run. I managed to
crash my way through the burning debris of the tent. I emerged in the
decimated camp, standing for a moment froze. Limbs, bones, and bloody
bodies lay everywhere. I smelled burning flesh. I saw men with guns,
machetes, torches. They were marching around the camp, looking for
survivors to kill. They slashed my people with their machetes. They
set my people on fire. They shot my people in the head..."
Sandra Uwiringiyimana, author of How Dare The Sun Rise, was only
ten when she experienced that man made version of Hell on Earth. She
wandered through the night, fearful for her family. When she was
reunited with surviving family members, several were badly injured and
her beloved little sister was dead and thrown into an unmarked mass
grave.
A distant relative took the family in. Their hosts didn't know
how to talk to people who had gone through such horrific experiences.
Sandra often woke up in the night shaking and crying. She had lost
the ability to feel safe.
Emigrating to America carried its own challenges: the cold
weather, the strange foods, and the fearfulness of the neighbors. And
then there was American middle school which was nothing like schools
in Africa. You must read the book to learn about all the family
endured and overcame.
Sandra suffered on the inside but never let her family see her
pain. In the culture she was born into parents and children didn't
share their challenges and struggles. They did not even have the
words to do so.
If there was a book I want the people who think people come to
America to get welfare benefits or ruin our way of life to read, it is
How Dare The Sun Rise. How can we turn people away who have survived
events no sentient being should have to experience? How can we betray
the promise of the Statue of Liberty?
On a personal note, tomorrow we will commemorate the life of Martin
Luther King Jr. While we celebrate his achievements, we must never
lost sight of how very far we have to go to realize his dream. We
can't just wait for someone else to do the work. My opinion piece on
white privilege that appeared in the Bangor Daily News earlier this
month was one of the things I could do. What can you do?
A great big shout goes out to all who hunger and thirst and fight for
justice.
jules hathaway


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Friday, January 12, 2018

Eyes Of The World

Eyes Of The World

Adult/YA nonfiction/herstory
"This is what Capa, Taro, and Chim are too: refugees, exiles,
living on their wits, with no real home. Capa does not even have a
passport or official papers anymore--he is not Hungarian, not German,
not French--just a man with a camera in his hand in the midst of a
war. That rootless condition is rapidly becoming the condition of
thousands in Spain. It's as if these photographs are a warning:
millions will be driven from their homes across the whole continent of
Europe if the world does not do something now."
Probably the pictures pioneering photojournalist Robert Capa is
best remembered for are the ten that survived from the D-Day invasion
of World War II. He had jumped from a transport boat into the ocean,
being sprayed with morter and machine gun fire alongside the soldiers
making a desperate assault on Hitler's forces. Wading through red-
stained waves and around dead bodies, in mortal peril himself, he had
taken pictures that carried the war into millions of homes thousands
of miles away.
Capa was a solo act by then. However, and this is a BIG
however, during previous important years he was half of a twosome. He
and Gerda Taro, a woman he loved dearly enough to propose to,
pioneered the essence of the photojournalism we know today. Marc
Aaronson and Marina Budhos' Eyes Of The World: Robert Capa, Gerda
Taro, And The Invention Of Modern Photojournalism gives readers their
long overdue story.
Capa (then Andre Friedmann) and Taro (then Gerta Pohorylle) met
in Paris in a Europe reeling from the war to end all wars (WWI) and
the Great Depression. Both were emigres fleeing Nazi danger. In a
place where they were unknown it was possible to adopt new names that
would protect them from Anti-Semitism and help them establish
themselves as professional photographers.
Much of their work was done in Spain during the Spanish Civil
War. Working sometimes collectively and sometimes solo they pioneered
two dimensions we have come to take for granted in photojournalism.
One was the dangerous up close shots that bring an event like a war
right to readers. (Both were killed while covering war in this way).
The other was photographing average people whose lives are devastated
by events. Their refugee and orphan photographs tug at the heart
eighty years later.
Eyes Of The World is a great read on so many levels! It gives
the story of the evolution of modern photojournalism. It conveys the
very complex and down to earth love story of two people creating their
own path in a changing, challenging world. It gives insights into the
Spanish Civil War (which much of America seems oblivious to), how it
led up to World War II, and its relevance to the situation in Syria
today...
...and the photographs are nothing less than amazing.
On a personal note, I made my mall trip Wednesday. I got Eugene's
birthday gift. For myself I bought two school practical items: a 2018
datebook and a darling watch. I indulged in a yummy hot pretzel.
Yesterday I volunteered at Orono library and picked up 24 books.
A great big shout out goes out to the brave journalists who put all on
the line to bring us inconvenient and unpopular truths that are often
threatening to those in power.
jules hathaway





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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The Same Stuff As Stars

The Same Stuff As Stars

Juvenile fiction

"When she heard the first yelp, Angel was at the sink washing
the supper dishes. She thought the sound had come from the couple in
the upstairs apartment beginning their nightly fight. She was late
washing up, having waited supper, hoping that since it was Friday,
Verna would get home in time for the three of them to sit around the
table and eat together as a family."
Angel, narrator of Katherine Paterson's The Same Stuff as Stars,
is only eleven. You can see from the first paragraph that she has far
too much responsibility and has carried it for quite awhile. But it
hasn't burned her out. She still has visions of making her kin into
what she sees as a real family.
This would be a formidable task. Her father is in jail. Her
mother, Verna, is one of those people who probably shouldn't have been
fruitful and multiplied. Unpredictability is her modus operendi.
Angel has to carry cab fare for in case Verna just leaves her and her
little brother, Bernie, somewhere. Again. And she must protect
Bernie from Verna's anger. The children have already had two stays in
the foster care system.
Verna takes the children to what she claims will be the family's
new home, the house of her own grandmother. Grandma is as surprised
as the kids when they show up on her doorstep. Angel suspects
something is not right. She's overheard Verna telling her great
grandmother they'll be with her no more than a week.
"Something woke her up. It was pitch dark with no streetlight to
shine through the window. There was the sound of a car. No--the
sound of a pickup engine starting. Angel sat up in bed. Suddenly she
realized that the clothes in the big suitcase were all Bernie's.
Verna hadn't brought any of her own clothes. She listened until the
noise of the motor died away in the distance."
Rather than a responsible caretaker, Angel has been given
another person to be responsible for. Her frail great grandmother is
not all that good about taking care of herself. Angel has to cope with
everything from making the scanty food last to enrolling herself and
Bernie in school without making people suspicious and calling in the
authorities. Foster care might seperate them, and Angel is all Bernie
has.
But there is one bright side to her life. And if you want to
see what it is...
...read the book.
Actually read anything by Katherine Paterson. She is one of the
most important pioneers to persistently, consistently, and insistently
bring child characters from less privileged backgrounds into juvenile
literature.
Although Angel is a fictitious character, her plight is all too
real for a lot of kids. Awhile back we had an eleven-year-old
neighbor who took care of her two younger siblings and their house.
She also had to extricate her drug addict mom from the difficulties
and men she got herself into. The kids were taken into custody
shortly before the mom died of an overdose. When I saw her on the bus
in Bangor, she said "I finally get to be a kid."
On a personal note, I went back to UMaine for the first time this
year. It's gearing up for a new semester. It was nice to see
friends. Today I'm going to the Bangor Mall and environs to get
Eugene's birthday gift and a couple of things for his next week's
birthday supper and some embroidery floss I need for my cross stitch.
I may have to check out Goodwill to destress from shopping retail
stores and playing real life Frogger in the pedestrian hostile streets
surrounding the mall.
A great big shout out goes out to my future son-in-law, Brian, who
celebrated his birthday yesterday. I can't imagine anyone being more
perfect for my Amber.
Brian, you're a very good person. I'm toasting you with my coffee--
wishing you a terrific year and a long and healthy and rewarding life.
jules hathaway






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