I have a huge stack of books waiting for postings on this blog. Summer has been delightfully insanely busy and I’ve been spending as much time outdoors as possible. But, the nights are coming earlier now and I live amongst the bears and lions, so here goes for another round of fall and winter filled with great books!

Several weeks ago, read CO author Laura Resau’s Red Glass (Delacorte Press, 2007), winner of the International Reading Association Award. See http://www.reading.org/ for more about this organization.  Visit the author’s website for more information about this title at http://www.lauraresau.com/red-glass.html. This book is considered Young Adult (YA) but all teens and up will enjoy this well written story. Resau is a super storyteller and tells a compelling story about family life, intergenerational stories, multicultural experiences, and immigration issues. For all libraries, bookstores, and individuals, consider purchasing this book for yourself, as a gift or for your collection, as the author is donating a portion of her royalties to indigenous rights organizations in Latin America.

About the story…. Each part starts off beautifully with a meaningful quote from The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The Little Prince has so much meaning on its own and each section can become a literary, religious, and philosophical study in itself. This feature of the writing style in Red Glass thrilled me and gave my mind a mental image of a character embarking a great journey of life, which is exactly the case with Resau’scharacters. Starting with 16 year old Sophie who is filled with fear and an utter lack of self confidence, Sophie’s life unfolds as the story unfolds. Her fear of everything (food, water, people, life) transforms into courage, hope, and love as she learns to let go of herself and devote her young life to loving others and giving to others. Set in Tucson, Arizona and heading into Oaxaca, Mexico, the geography of people and landscape is well worth paying attention to.  Sophie’s family takes in Mexican immigrants and through a series of coincidences, they end up caring for six year old orphaned Pablo. Sophie’s nickname for Pablo is “Principito” from The Little Prince. Sophie cares for Pablo like a blood brother and wants to be the best sister-companion for little Pablo. The other family members in Sophie’s life are interesting and humorous. Sophie’s Aunt Dika from Bosnia, who lives with Sophie’s family is by far the most comical character and elicits laughter in places that need a break from the serious story of returning Pablo to his extended family in Oaxaca. In the meantime, Aunt Dika’s new boyfriend, a Mexican immigrant called Mr. Lorenzo, and his 16 year old son, Angel, come into the story and travel to Oaxaca with Sophie, Pablo, and Dika. The journey is part destination in this story, filled with the twists and quirks of traveling by van from the US to Mexico. While Mr. Lorenzo and Angel’s history and fates were different from Pablo’s and Sophie’s, their lives are inextricably linked by the common threads of love, care, and the importance of family. With a sweet and tender love story between Angel and Sophie AND between Dika and Mr. Lorenzo, this makes the perfect silver lining and icing on the cake. While reading, the story becomes even more compelling, and the lovely little relationships make your insides all gooey and mushy. Too mushy perhaps? Nah, there’s no such thing!

Resau’s writing flows well, has serene poetic depictions, with great character development, and is enjoyable to read, keeping in mind that the writing is intended for 15-18 year olds. The author’s own experiences in Oaxaca, Mexico and with her work in ESL and cultural anthropology, there are several teachable moments throughout the book,  linguistically, socially, and culturally. Resau’s website also lists a teaching guide, a useful tool for book talks or studying the book in a group setting.

I thoroughly enjoyed and appreciated this story and look forward to Resau’s future books. Until the next book, Happy Reading out there!