professornana (professornana) wrote,

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yes, back on the road

I drove from Houston to Baton Rouge today. I am in Louisiana for a couple of days talking to public librarians. Had a fabulous crawfish dinner tonight with some YA librarians in the area. One of them asked how long it takes me to read a YA book. I ventured that many of them take a couple of hours since I am reading for pleasure and do not have to take any kind of test (thankfully) at the end. There was some disbelief expressed. Determined, I came back to the hotel room this evening to do just that. Fortunately, I had brought some slim graphic novels. I finished one: TO DANCE: A BALLERINA'S GRAPHIC NOVEL by Siena Siegel with illustrations by her husband (and head of First Second imprint), Mark Siegel.

What led me to the book was my naked reader, Natalie (see story in my book, NAKED READING for more details about Nat and naked reading). From the time she could walk, Nat also had the ability to walk on her toes. It was painful to watch despite the fact that Nat is a tiny kid and still is very slim. We thought for a while she might want to take ballet lessons, but she never really got excited about them. Go figure. In any event, this is a graphic novel that is autobiographical. It tells of Siena's childhood love of ballet, her years of lessons, and her interest in all things ballet. Simple text and illustrations that glide as a prima ballerina would move across a stage relate the joys and pains of dance. Tribute to George Ballanchine, crushes on Misha, the thrill of watching from behind the curtains: it is all here in this spare, slim graphic novel.

It is wonderful to see graphic novels are appealing to an even wider audience and are available for younger readers as well. Here is a perfct gift for that aspiring dancer.

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