Excellent Blog
2007 Inspiring Blog
Rockin' Girl Blogger

“Drawing Deena,” “A Bite Above the Rest” and my M.E. Kerr

March 17th, 2024

scary kitty
(My spooky Baby; photo by Rawley/use with permission only, please)

Welcome back to the World of Books, folks, where we read and read and then read some more.

  • “Drawing Deena” is an outstanding new book from author Hena Khan (“Amina’s Voice,” “Amina’s Song”). When it comes to mental health-themed books for children, there are some great non-fiction, fiction and picture books on the shelves now. (And all I can say to this is… thank you.) Authors address anxiety, LGBTQ+ issues, PTSD, suicide and ideations, drug/alcohol issues, grief, family stuff, any and all topics you can think of. “Drawing Deena” does a great job of dealing with what worry and anxiety looks like for Deena, a Pakistani middle-school student whose family is struggling with bills and life. (Salaam Reads/Simon & Schuster, 2024, grade 4 and up, 232 pages, $17.99). Great cast of supporting characters, too, including Deena’s parents, aunties, little brother and cousins. This is an extraordinary book, with believable dialogue and settings.
  • “A Bite Above the Rest” isn’t scheduled for release until August of this year, but add it to your list if you’re a fan of Halloween, books about weirdos and vampires, and off-kilter, fun reads. (Aladdin/Simon & Schuster; scheduled release date Aug. 6, 2024; grades 3-7.) After losing his father, Caleb and his mom move to Samhain, Wisconsin, her hometown, for a fresh start. Awww… I like do-overs, don’t you? Only wait, yikes. The mayor of the town keeps City Hall open only from sundown to sun-up. Because he might be a vampire? And the kids dress in costume for school every day, because it’s always Halloween… OK. Slow down, folks. This doesn’t look like Hometown, U.S.A., at all. This is Virnig’s debut novel, and is a great read.
  • I happened upon “me me me me me,” M.E. Kerr’s memoir, on my bookshelf, and went on a beautiful trip down Memory Lane. No, I’m not coming back. Speaking of dealing with real kids, and real issues — M.E. Kerr introduced readers to kids of all sizes and shapes, ethnic and economic backgrounds, all of it. Kids who loved school, kids who didn’t, kids whose families were there for them, kids who were so alone. Teen sexuality, violent parents, unrequited love, no topic was off limits, and as a teen? You know I needed this and loved it. Judy Blume, S.E. Hinton, Norma Klein and M.E. Kerr were my A-Team.  I never knew Kerr’s back story, I just knew I loved her books. Go look her up and read about her illustrious and somewhat wild writing career. (“The Son of Someone Famous,” “Dinky Hocker Shoots Smack!”, and “If I Love You, Am I Trapped Forever?” are my top faves, and there are so many excellent other titles under her various pen names.) She was the only queer kid she knew, and what she created from her loneliness and fierce and gorgeous nature? MARIJANE MEAKER FOREVER. Peace. (And yes, Louise Fitzhugh swiped the name/character “Harriet the Spy” from her — they were BFFs.)

All titles used by permission.

Have a superfine day, talk soon, now get out of here.


No Comments

No comments yet.

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.