To Go: 58
41. The Gift — Nora Roberts
42. A Winter Solstice Celebration — DiDi LeMay
I totally lied; I had every intention of reading Limitless first, but it’s kind of long and I wanted a quicker read. And since my superintendent’s children’s book, A Winter Solstice Celebration, has been sitting on my shelf for altogether too long, I figured it would make an excellent interim read.
A week before her town’s Winter Solstice Celebration, young Miya takes a day trip into the forest on the outskirts of the village, to feed the animals. While in the woods, she stumbles upon a group of animals meeting to discuss a pressing issue: as the town’s celebration looms, the humans will take to the forest to cut the best trees down, as they’ve done every year. Desperate to help her animal friends, Miya must approach the villagers and convince them to change their ways.
I’ve had the pleasure of talking in depth with DiDi about her two self-published books (this one, and Freddy’s French Fries Fiasco), and know that her mission has been to present big issues, like global warming and wildlife destruction, in a way that’s more accessible to a younger audience. Even if I hadn’t known that going in, it would have become almost immediately apparent, and truth be told I think it’s an excellent idea.
We have this preconceived cultural notion that children should grow up “innocent” and unaware of world issues that we’re facing every day, which is probably doing everyone a disservice. To make books for children that include a cast of silly, whimsical characters that they’ll love and come to care for, while also touching on an important problem in our society, is wonderful. It’s a great way of introducing them to issues that they’ll undoubtedly have to acknowledge and deal with in their older years, and generating interest in those problems while they’re still quite young.
Aside from that, I also really liked that the narration wasn’t patronizing or sparse. The word-count far outweighed the picture-count, and didn’t attempt to “talk down” to the reader; the vocabulary would probably challenge the target audience, which I think is a good thing — if you’re reading a book that is tougher than your current reading level, you’re forced to “read up,” so to speak. You have to rise to the book’s level, and consequently broaden your personal vocabulary and learn more. Books for children that do that are always my favourite kind.
All in all, it was a cute read with a great message. I was super impressed. If you’re interested in learning more about DiDi LeMay and her works, you can do so here.
Next book: Limitless — Alan Glynn. (I’m serious this time.)