I feel like I am usually so bogged down with books I need to review that I never get around to reading a lot of the children's books that are on my TBR.
This past weekend I camped out on the couch with a cold one morning and enjoyed two fantastic books.
Cloud and Wallfish by Anne Nesbet was a book I had heard about as a possible Newbery contender a few weeks ago. Upon reading it, I implore the Newbery committee to consider it. I loved it.
Set in 1989 Noah and his family move from the United States to East Germany where the Berlin Wall is still standing. Noah's parents change their names as they leave the United States and now Jonah (as Noah is now known) is told to keep quiet in his new home. Noah has a stutter which makes him stick out a bit everywhere he goes, and this is also the case in his new home.
He meets a neighbor his age, Claudia, and gets to know her. But when her grandmother refuses to let the two spend time together, they are devastated.
There are lots of secrets and the East Germans are very suspicious of everyone fearing for their own safety. The 1989 setting is also important as it is near the time when the Berlin Wall comes down.
I felt a bit as though I was watching an episode of The Americans while reading this one and loved the way Nesbet incorporated so much history in this book without it coming across as preachy or educational.
Ghost by Jason Reynolds was my second great read of the weekend. Ghost tries out of the track team one day. He's got talent but he doesn't have running shoes or any clothes to wear to practice except jeans that are baggy and belted tightly. The coach decides to take a chance on him, telling him that he can be on the team as long as he stays out of trouble.
Which of course is impossible for Ghost since there's a kid at school who feels the need to pick on him. Ghost is dealing with some heavy stuff: his dad's absence, not having very much money, and not feeling like he fits in.
Reynolds does such a great job of creating Ghost's character. I loved Ghost. I loved the coach and I loved that Ghost got to be part of an amazing team.
This is another one I couldn't put down.
I've already passed both books on to friends and can't wait to hear what they think. And I am hoping that the Newbery Committee takes a long hard look at these books, too.