There are few things I love about airports and flying. Yesterday had two rare exceptions. The first was a chance to visit with Tim Ditlow, the new head honcho at Brilliance Audio. We talked the Odyssey Award winners and other stuff until my flight was called. Then, another wonderful surprise. Don Gallo's new story collection, OWNING IT, was my first book for the flight home. I opened it up, took a look at the table of contents and dove right in. When I came up for air, we were a good 2 hours into the flight. Wow, what a collection. I say every time I finish one that it is the strongest collection to date. Ditto this one. From David Lubar's story about a teen drinker to Crutcher's roller coaster ride inside the head of Eddie Proffitt (yep, the same kid who stars in SLEDDING HILL) to Alex Flinn's touching story of a brain injured teen who is trying to piece her life back together and Rene Saldana's FATBOY AND SKINNYBONES, this collection about teens facing disabilities of all kinds is funny, bittersweet, poignant, humorous, and altogether perfect.
Story collections are too often neglected in classrooms and in libraries (IMHO). When shelved under SC, they do not tend to circulate at all. And some teachers have failed to see how they could turn kids on to this genre just by using a story written sometime in this century. So, grab a copy of OWNING IT (due out in February) and share some stories with teens. Not only will some teens finally find themselves in a story, other teens just might develop some empathy for others. Thanks, Don, for all you have done and continue to do to bring the genre forward. Now what I would love is for someone to record these stories and make them available in audio format.