Editor’s Note: Introducing SNOW

Special Feature 1: SNOW

Writing from the northernmost reaches of the globe

Though I live now in a place of mild, drizzly winters where the trees stay green and the sidewalks clear even in the middle of January, as a child I spent nearly six months of every year trapped inside, gazing out the window at a landscape of ice and snow. I was raised in northern Vermont, about an hour south of Montreal and a few hours north of anywhere notable, and I still remember vividly the slate grey winter sky, the long sheets of black ice over asphalt, the high, squeaking sound of boots against snow when the temperature dipped below zero and even the packed ice screamed from the cold. Continue reading

Recommended Reading: Diversity in YA

by Rebecca Valley

You may or may not know by now that I work during the day as a middle school librarian. Back in September, I challenged myself to read 20 young adult books before the end of 2016, and as of this morning, I completed my goal — with a comfortable two week cushion, I might add.

I work at a Title I school, and my students were one of the primary inspirations for our Droplet series on young adult and children’s literature. In my school district, about 30% of the students speak Spanish as their first language, and a huge percentage are first generation immigrants from Guatemala and Mexico. Continue reading

Droplet: The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place

 

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The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place #1: The Mysterious Howling by Maryrose Wood (Balzer and Bray, 2010)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

For more on our Droplet series on young adult and children’s literature, click here.

When I am lonely or sad, I often find solace in a strange little book called Horseradish, a collection of quotes gathered from Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events. The quotes are parsed out by category – for example, “Family,” “Travel,” and “An Overall Feeling of Doom that One Cannot Ever Escape No Matter What One Does” – and because Daniel Handler authored them they each contain just the right balance of absurdity and poignancy, so that after skimming the book you don’t feel better about your circumstances, but you do feel like you aren’t the only sad and lonely person in the world. Continue reading

Recommended Reading: Women in Translation


by Rebecca Valley

#WITMonth snuck up on me. I was busy tying up all the loose ends from our August 1st launch, and when I finally resurfaced I discovered that my Twitter feed was inundated with a library’s worth of books by ladies from around the world. Among the stacks of recommendations were old favorites like Silvina Ocampo and Isabel Allende, and acquaintances like Han Kang, whose book The Vegetarian has been on my to-read list for months. What truly amazed me, though, was the sheer number of authors I’d never discovered — women whose names I had never heard, whose titles I had yet to uncover. Continue reading

Review: Spook by Mary Roach

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Spook: Science Tackles the Afterlife by Mary Roach (W.W. Norton and Co., 2006)

Reviewed by Rebecca Valley

Mary Roach’s name has been floating around in my brain for years. I own (but haven’t yet read) her book Stiff, and about two years ago I listened to an interview with Radiolab about her book Gulp: Adventures on the Alimentary Canal, where she talks about sticking her hand through an incision in a cow’s side and feeling around in its intestines while it stood there, very much alive. I discovered Spook in a used bookstore in the basement floor of Pike Place market — it was my first long-term foray into Roach’s brand of investigative science journalism, and I devoured the book over the course of a few evenings. I loved this book so much I even brought it to the gym. Continue reading