Tag Archives: human interest

EXPIRED | Deal Alert: Forbidden Books Humble Bundle

banned book week posterIn honor of this year’s Banned Book Week (9/23-9/29), Humble Bundle is offering a selection of banned, challenged, and generally controversial books and graphic novels. Find out what all the fuss is about, and speak up against censorship. If you’re interested(in the bundle), you can find out more here. And to find out more about Banned Book Week itself, check out the ALA’s page on it at http://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks/banned.

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The Unfinished Angel

Author: Sharon Creechthe unfinished angel

My rating: 4.5 of 5

In the Swiss mountains, far from the noise and bustle of the cities, in the ancient Casa Rosa lives an angel. The angel has been there for hundreds of years, watching over the people of the small village, protecting them and keeping them in line. But the angel isn’t really sure exactly what it’s supposed to do, what angels normally do. It’s never met another angel, has no idea where heaven is, nothing. But it (he? she?) goes on trying to help anyhow. One day, the stillness of the mountains is interrupted by the arrival of the Americans Mr. Pomodoro, who is planning to open a school, and Zola, a girl with boundless energy and brightness. Zola is able to see the angel, unlike most everyone else around, and she quickly recruits the angel’s help with all manner of ideas she has about how things should be run around Casa Rosa. Suddenly life isn’t so still and leisurely anymore. . . .

I had never read anything by Sharon Creech before, and The Unfinished Angel was truly a pleasant surprise! It is an original, sweet, heart-warming tale of the best sort–a children’s story that looks at people from a different perspective, making us realize once again what it is to truly be human. It’s the sort of story that makes you value compassion once again. The characters are all well written; numerous individuals populate this short book, each with a unique story and personality. Zola is quite the move-and-shaker of the story, always pulling out some surprise or another, but with a sweet hidden side to herself also. And the angel is written impeccably. The entire book is told first-person from the angel’s perspective, and it’s beautiful. The angel is, as the title says, unfinished, incomplete. It doesn’t know its purpose, and it doesn’t always get its words right. This is probably one of the most noticeable charms of the book–it’s written in the angel’s own stumbling dialect, completely comprehensible but with made-up words and almost-right words mixed in all over the place in an absolutely adorable sort of way. I would high recommend The Unfinished Angel to any reader in late elementary on up; it’s really a beautiful story.

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Persepolis

Author/Illustrator: Marjane Satrapi

In this visually and emotionally stunning graphic novel, author and artist Marjane Satrapi tells of her childhood and young adulthood, growing up in Iran during the unsettled time of the Islamic revolution. Her story is in many ways heartrending, showing a government intent on stifling its people and their freedoms. But it’s also a story of the persistence and hope inherent in humanity, that spark that inspires secret rebellions against tyranny and that keeps us getting back up when we’re knocked down. I found the historical and political insights given in Satrapi’s memoir to be particularly significant, as Iran in the 1980s to 1990s is a place and time that I knew almost nothing about. It’s also really neat (although also extremely sad at times) to see life at this point from the perspective of the people, rather than from the government or a biased media. While not a story for children, I think Persepolis is an important and interesting work that is a must-read for adults, and possibly mature teenagers.

Note: This was originally published in the U.S. as two separate volumes, but is also available now as an omnibus, The Complete Persepolis, which I would recommend as it is quite a nice edition and includes the entire story.

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