Monday, March 17, 2008

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson

"It was hard to read anything about Tupac dying and not think about D. Seems D was right--you listen to Tupac's songs and you know he's singing about people like D, about all the kids whose mama went away, about all the injustice."

When D Foster walks into Neeka and her best friend's lives, their world opens up. D doesn't have a "real" mom constantly telling her what to do, and the girls envy her independence. But D wants nothing more than to feel connected, and the three girls form a tight bond--and a passion for the music of Tupac Shakur. Di's the one who understands Tupac's songs best, and through her, his lyrics become more personal for all of them.
Woodson's compelling story for older teens shows how music touches our lives and translates our challenges, how much life can be lived in a short time, and how all-too-brief connections can touch us to the core and remain a part of us forever.

And What Comes After A Thousand by Anette Bley

Otto and Lisa are special friends. Otto may be old, but he can still spit cherry pits, make slingshots and grow delicious raspberries. He and Lisa share a fascination with numbers, tell stories of brave Native Americans, and gaze at the stars.
But when Otto becomes ill and then dies, Lisa struggles to understand. Her rage, confusion and mourning are reflected in the illustrations as she slowly comes to know that, while people die, memories last forever.
This picture book, translated from the original German, is a gift to any young child and caring adult struggling to make sense of loss, particularly the loss of a loved and aging parent, grandparent or other special person. The illustrations, by the author, are especially skillful in their depiction of Lisa keeping company with Otto as his life ebbs away.