- May 26 & 27 - All libraries CLOSED for Memorial Day
I loved Ann Patchett's Bel Canto and Run is just as good. Race relations, politics, faith, family loyalty and death are just some of the major themes. Every character is so well drawn - from the emotionally spent former mayor of Boston to the young girl who stalks the mayor and his two adopted sons. A couple of passages are so memorable and full of meaning, that I've read them over and over: the inner thoughts of the old priest in the retirement home ("It would be possible to overlook just about anything if you were trained to constantly strain forward to see the power and the glory that way waiting up ahead. What a shame it would have been to miss God while waiting for Him."), and of the poor young black girl sprinting around the track at Harvard ("She no longer felt like touching all the dirt and the muck she had so patiently submitted herself to so that people would think she was a very nice girl. She was not such a very nice girl. Nobody who was very, very nice would ever work this hard to take something they wanted only for themselves.").
From the opening page, K.L. Going gives the definition for liberate: to set free and to release from control, and from the first page we are introduced to Gabriel, who, according to his best friend Frita, needs some "liberatin'", because he is afraid of everything, including the 5th grade. He is terrified of the 5th grade, and he does not want to be promoted. He says, "I'd rather be alive in the 4th grade than dead in the 5th," for in the 5th grade are Duke and Frankie who pick on him and make his life miserable. So, the summer after 4th grade, his friend Frita, who ain't afraid of anything, takes the matters into her own hands and decides to "liberate" Gabe. He is to write a list of all his fears, and they are going to face them one by one. Leave it to Frita to force him to face spiders and sentipedes, Frita's brother, Terrance, the Evan's trailer, and swinging off a rope swing into a local swimming hole, but little does he know that Frita had her own list and that she might need some "liberatin'". For children grades 4 and up, The Liberation of Gabriel King is a heartwarming story about two children who conquer their fears.
I read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian while on a visit to Boston and I found that I could not take a break from it! Junior, a disabled Native American boy, finds the courage within himself to break away from tradition. His tale is truly inspiring for teens who find themselves in a horrible situation.
Despite enduring tremendous personal tragedies, Junior never gives up on himself. His saving grace is his art, which is on display throughout the book.
If you like uplifting stories, make sure that you read this book!