BOOKED by Kwame Alexander

20-bookedWell, hello there.⠀

Thing’s are a bit overwhelming, aren’t they? At least more so than they were before, and they already pretty dang whelming. I’ve certainly been feeling it, which is why I’ve been more or less neglecting this blog. I’m still reading, but haven’t felt enough creative energy for writing out my thoughts, much less for taking and editing pictures. I’ll get back on it soon enough, I expect.⠀

In the meantime: read more books by Black authors. The current discourse focuses mostly on non-fiction and understandably so: one of the many things the BLM movement has taught us is that most of us have so much to learn, still. Non-fiction works are crucial. But I am a firm believer in the power of fiction to help us see the world through the eyes of people who are not you, and I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the importance of reading it, too. Stories are, after all, the ultimate empathy engine.⠀

Kwame Alexander’s Booked is a particularly lovely example. I finished it back in April, and I liked it so much I read it again before the month was out. It’s about Nick Hall, a smart young Black kid who lives and breathes soccer, and how he deals with having his world turned upside-down after some turmoil erupts in his home life. Helping him deal with this is an eccentric, decidedly uncool, hip hop loving librarian who is constantly giving Nick books he thinks will help. I loved the emphasis of words in the story, too: Nick’s overbearing father is a linguistics professor with “chronic verbomania.” So much so that he has written a book of obscure words that he makes his son read every day. Nick resents this, of course, but he also very clearly loves words, as he is constantly using them in sly, clever ways. It’s a novel written in verse, which I had never read before, and I found the experience highly enjoyable. It’s very specifically a book about language, and about how words can hurt us just as much as they can heal us. Which is something we all need to be reminded of from time to time. ⠀

It also happened to round up the trifecta of sports books I was picking up at the time. That was another fun little reading detour for me.

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