What We’re Reading: July

Jane —
The One Hundred Years of Lenni and Margot by Marianne Cronin

Lenni is 17 years and Margot is 83 years. Between them they have lived 100 years. Meeting as patients at the Glasgow Princess Royal Hospital they desire to recreate their 100 years in the form of art and stories. Lenni and Margot’s friendship is heartbreakingly beautiful, funny, and unforgettable. I still think of them – long after the last page was read. Other characters have remained firmly in my mind also.

I find it difficult to describe in words just what a poignant and sensitive book this is about living and dying. It is, however, so uplifting and joyous as well….and will fill your heart with warmth.

P.S. Be sure to read “An Interview with Marianne Cronin” at the end of the book!

Leela —
What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say by Davina Bell and Hilary Jean Tapper

We love looking through picture books as they arrive, and this week I found myself enamoured with What to Say When You Don’t Know What to Say. Davina Bell, as always, hits the mark perfectly. She provides children with nuanced but vital vocabulary, told purely through the phrases they can say. These include, “that happens to everyone sometimes”, “that doesn’t feel good”, and, finally, “I like you just how you are”. These phrases are brought to life by Hilary Jean Tapper’s heart-wrenching illustrations.

In a simple yet evocative style, perfectly capturing facial expressions, Tapper creates scenarios with details that little kids can decipher. These include the untouched paper and scissors of a child in a classroom while their classmates cut out stars, a cat’s collar hung above a small grave, fresh marker drawings in a room filled with moving boxes, and on the very last page, a child speaking to their bathroom mirror. Importantly, it also shows the fun we can have when we support each other, with self-cut fringes, sandcastles, and sleepovers. This is a picture book that only gets richer upon re-reading, and that is sure to delight its adult readers too.