Today Ethan received a birthday package from his Uncle Peter & Aunt Robin: a nice variety of excellent books! The stack stood as a gleaming tower of knowledge, promise, and delicious literature. After dinner just an hour after opening them, Ethan started The Green Ember by S. D. Smith, while I had picked up Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson. The latter author was familiar to me because of her book Each Kindness that my younger son has and is part of a book club at their school. Woodson writes about her life in chapters of lovely poetry. I am only a few chapters in and already swooning. Here is just an excerpt from her 2nd chapter entitled “Second Daughter’s Second Day on Earth.”
the nurse says to my mother.
Already, I am being named for this place.
Ohio. The Buckeye State.
My fingers curl into fists, automatically
This is the way, my mother said,
of every baby’s hand.
I do not know if these hands will become
Malcolm’s–raised and fisted
or Martin’s–open and asking
or James’s–curled around a pen.
I do not know if these hands will be
and fiercely folded
calmly in a lap,
on a desk,
around a book,
to change the world…
You will probably want to get your own copy not just because it is a Newbery Honor Book or National Book Award winner or Coretta Scott King Award recipient or because we need to continue supporting diverse books and authors, but because you will be glad that you (and your children when they are able to pry it from your hands) read it. At least, I think this will be the case once I actually read the rest of the 300 pages. But I am taking the gamble this early and predicting a winner.