I finished The Hub Challenge just before the deadline. The nineteenth book I read for the Challenge was Annie Sullivan and the Trials of Helen Keller by Joseph Lambert.
No doubt we all have heard about Annie Sullivan and Helen Keller. They made education history when Annie Sullivan was able to break through into Helen Keller’s world, introduce her to language, and help her communicate with others. As one of the Great Graphic Novels of the year we see this transformation, in pictures with few words, from the perspective of Annie Sullivan.
It’s been awhile since I learned about Helen Keller and her teacher. Most of what I have learned until this point was about Helen Keller herself. This graphic novel puts more emphasis on who Annie Sullivan was, her challenges growing up, her forthright personality that made living in the South difficult, and her attachment to her student and companion Helen Keller. This was a fascinating read and thoroughly explores what it must have felt like for them both along their journey.
My twentieth book, The Round House by Louise Erdrich, was an Alex Award winner this year. The book is set on a North Dakota reservation and begins the day 13-year-old Joe’s mother is viciously attacked. Joe and his three friends decide to investigate the crime, and their efforts lead them to uncover evidence leading to his mother’s attacker. By the end of the summer three more people are dead and Joe’s life has been forever altered.
This was a fascinating read. There is mature content here, some of it quite shocking. Erdrich also weaves in facts about the convoluted laws and jurisdictions involved in seeking justice after such brutal crimes on reservation lands. In many ways Joe is a typical 13-year-old, but he makes a questionable decision that will haunt the readers of this book. If I had to sum this story up in two words I was say it was spectacular and troubling.
Juvenile in Justice by Richard Ross made it onto two lists this year: Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and the Alex Awards. The book is 192 pages long and is filled with 150 pictures taken of youth in juvenile detention centers. The author spent five years visiting over 1000 children and teens in juvenile detention centers in over 31 states.
It’s a quick but heart-breaking read as you learn the stories of these incarcerated children and teens. Some have been charged with horrific crimes and some have not. What these juveniles do have in common is a lack of resources and power. After reading this book I have even more respect for the folks at Pongo Publishing who work with incarcerated youth.