Thursday, June 25, 2009

A Lost Week

Because I'm incredibly insensitive, I spent a little time working at home on Monday while a family member was going under the knife. (Come on. It wasn't brain surgery, and one of our nicer relatives was at the hospital with her.) Otherwise, I've been sharing post-surgical elder care this past week, including an overnight last night. I didn't get any other work done, but during those moments when I wasn't becoming incredibly friendly with a large number of residents of a senior housing complex, I did manage to do a little reading.

Among the books I completed was this year's Siebert Medal winner, We Are The Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball, which was written and illustrated by Kadir Nelson. The images are eye-poppingly beautiful, and the unnamed first-person narrator who sounds like a player from the era makes this historical work very readable. And the book uses endnotes! I can never say enough about how much I love nonfiction that includes citations.

I am not a fan of baseball. Reading about it is one hundred percent better, as far as I'm concerned, when there is a historical element.

This book is deserving of every good thing that's been written about it. I do wonder, though, as I always wonder when I read these beautiful nonfiction books published in a picture-book format, who will read them? The text is way too sophisticated and lengthy for traditional picture book readers. We Are The Ship's publisher is marketing it to ages 8 and up, but will, say, intermediate and middle school teachers accept their students reading and reporting on it? Will the adults who might be very taken with it find it in the kids' section of libraries and bookstores?

Do books like this find their readers?

A exhibit of the original art work for We Are The Ship will arrive at the Eric Carle Museum in 2012. I hope I remember.

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