6.10.2009

"Each word is carefully measured and gently offered."

Yesterday, between downpours, I pulled about a thousand weeds and planted 31 pink geraniums. The ground was perfect for both pulling and planting - wet and soft. I'm behind in my flower-work because of the two trips. In fact, I keep forgetting it's June. It seems like April or May to me. This wet, rainy weather makes me want to curl up with a good book. Which I did yesterday.

I finished the book I started on our last trip. I love author Karen Hesse and her Young Adult literature books. I picked up this book when I was searching for something to read that wasn't an adult bestseller filled with swear words I hate and sicko life situations. That's when I turn to old classics and YA lit. I'm going to enthusiastically recommend "A Time of Angels," but you have to remember something before you read it. You HAVE to go to the end of the book and read the Author's Note and the Glossary first. Then you can start the book. You also have to believe in angels. That's easy for me.

Here is a short review by School Library Journal: A Time of Angels is a warm, personal novel set in Boston during 1918. Hannah Gold, 14, and her two sisters live with their Tanta Rose while their parents are trapped in Russia because of the war. Although life is not easy, Tanta Rose provides for the girls as best she can. When the deadly influenza epidemic ravishes the city, Hannah's world is turned upside-down. Aspects of Jewish culture are nicely incorporated into the story, as are period details. However, some plot elements may cause confusion. The angel, portrayed as a guiding force instead of a fully developed character, interacts with Hannah on an almost subconscious level. Hesse offers readers much to enjoy, analyze, and consider in this piece of historical fiction with a mystical bent.

I just can't mention Karen Hesse without also recommending "Out of the Dust," another YA book that took my breath away. This book is written in free verse - but as you read it it doesn't seem like poetry, just like narrative in short sentences.

Here is a bit about the book from a reviewer: When Billie Jo is just fourteen she must endure heart-wrenching ordeals that no child should have to face. The quiet strength she displays while dealing with unspeakable loss is as surprising as it is inspiring. Written in free verse, this award-winning story is set in the heart of the Great Depression. It chronicles Oklahoma's staggering dust storms, and the environmental—and emotional—turmoil they leave in their path. An unforgettable tribute to hope and inner strength.

Karen Hesse must be a person with great compassion because many of her characters are filled with compassion. I loved Uncle Klaus in the first book and Louise in the second. I believe we all have a lot to learn about compassion.

4 comments:

Davieharely said...
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Stephanie said...

I've gotta go see if the library has those books. I'm always looking for good books and those look good. Thanks for sharing!

Miranda said...

Truly you must be a librarian at heart.

SW said...

I remember reading "Out of the Dust", it is wonderful and charming verse.