Song in a Rainstorm: The Story of Musical Prodigy Thomas “Blind Tom” Wiggins by Glenda Armand, illustrated by Brittany Jackson
I requested this book at my library after reading Glenda’s recent Straight from the Source interview. Tom, who was born into slavery, had an extraordinary musical talent. Glenda said telling his story was her hardest book to write. In her own words:
“It would be a difficult story to tell because, although there were kind people who helped him realize his true potential, there were many bad actors in Tom’s life. How to tell his story? And tell it as a children’s picture book at that! How could I tell it without seeming to dismiss the cruelty of slavery and exploitation, and the realities of having disabilities? His life story was definitely “muddy,” but I knew that it was a story that should be told. I lived with the story for over ten years before I started writing it.”
Glenda tells Tom’s remarkable story with both truth, beauty, and tenderness. A joyful, wonderful celebration! Please find a copy of this beautiful book! And click through to listen to more of Tom’s story and hear recordings of his work.
The Love of My Life by Rosie Walsh
If you’re looking for a twisty page-turning thriller, this is it!
Emma and Leo have been happily married for years. When Emma is diagnosed with cancer, Leo, an obituary writer, copes with her illness by preparing a stock obituary for her — something that would run at a later date. But the more he researches, the more he realizes the woman he married isn’t the person he’s uncovering. There’s a lot in this book about trust and risk, and the decisions we make on behalf of others thinking they’re for their good. A heads up: it’s a pretty sad read, but I found it ultimately was hopeful. It was fun to settle into the book and go along for the ride. I learned interesting bits and pieces about marine biology and writing obituaries — who knew!
Ten Thousand Tries by Amy Makechnie
When I finished Amy’s latest middle grade, I sent her an email saying something like, “You slayed me in the most beautiful way.”
Eighth-grader Golden Maroni is convinced he can master anything if he puts in the effort. He’s going to be soccer captain and get his team to the championship, he’s going to keep his best friend and neighbor from moving away, and he’s going to help his dad beat ALS — all he has to do is try hard enough. I loved Golden’s totally kid-like impulsivity, his big heart, his realistic relationship with his siblings and friends, and the way he slowly comes to terms with his father’s progressive and fatal illness. Soccer fans will gobble this up. Kids who have a family member with a difficult diagnosis will find comfort and so much love in this story.
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