Ah, December! The days are shorter than ever, and we’ve begun to spot the odd snowflake amid the raindrops here in Vancouver. If you’re anything like me, there hasn’t been much time to absorb the impending end of another calendar year. Between end-of-term busyness, environmental catastrophes, and emergent disease variants, it’s hard to believe that the holiday season will soon be upon us. But such is life — it does, in fact, tend to go on. And as life goes, so does our monthly news roundup!
In our December author spotlight, we interview Sara de Waal, a writer and teacher from Abbotsford, BC. Sara discusses her first book, 48 Grasshopper Estates, which was published in April 2021; the impact that UBC’s MFA program had on her as a writer; and the things that she finds essential to her writing practice:
“The most essential part of my writing practice is probably reading. I notice that if I’m reading scores of funny, delightful, and poignant picture books, my motivation for learning how to write picture books goes way up, and I want to sit down and try something new, play, work out an idea. From there, sometimes a longer project will evolve and be sustained by that initial joy sparked by reading… If I feel anxious or bored or stuck when I approach the page, I’m probably hangry for a good book.” – 5 Questions for Sara de Waal
This month, our reviewers and editors are taking a well-deserved break after an incredibly successful and rewarding 2021 here at YAing. November was another milestone month for us, with more of you visiting the site than ever before! We are so grateful for the time you’ve spent with us — the editors, the reviewers, and the authors — during this strange, troubling year. And in case you missed any of our wonderful reviews in November, here’s what we published since the last time I wrote to you:
- “… [G]ut-wrenchingly real and making every fat person—including me—feel extremely seen in our collective experience of systemic fatphobia and the ways it intersects with other forms of oppression, including ableism, racism, queerphobia, and heterosexism.” Shyamala Parthasarathy reviews The (Other) F Word, an anthology edited by Angie Manfredi.
- “The politics of artmaking in 1960s China is a tense subject to handle, especially for a picture book, but the brothers’ relationship and journey never stray from the foreground of the story.” Claudine Yip reviews Flying Paintings: A Story of Art and Revolution by Amy Alznauer, illustrated by ShanZuo Zhou and DaHuang Zhou.
- “This gentle tale of first friendship reads like a seamless sequel to the now-classic original tale by author Sam McBratney and illustrator Anita Jeram, Guess How Much I Love You.” Sara Francoeur reviews Will You Be My Friend? by Sam McBratney, illustrated by Anita Jeram.
- “Shannon Takaoka’s debut novel Everything I Thought I Knew poses a fascinating spectrum of What ifs.” Claudine Yip reviews Everything I Thought I Knew by Shannon Takaoka.
- “In a childhood where books were my most reliable friends, Calvin and Hobbes were the best of them, allowing me to absorb art with almost no pretensions.” Micah Killjoy reviews The Calvin and Hobbes Tenth Anniversary Book by Bill Watterson.
- “With a surprise ending guaranteed to make readers laugh, Whose Poo? is a positive approach to teaching young readers about the mysterious world of poo.” Jocelyne Gregory reviews Whose Poo? by Daisy Bird, illustrated by Marianna Coppo.
- “An enemies-to-lovers sapphic teen love story set in Ireland, The Henna Wars features a cast of all POC characters, all of whom must grapple with the ways queerness and race interact with each other in their lives.” Shyamala Parthasarathy reviews The Henna Wars by Adiba Jaigirdar.
Even though we won’t have any new reviews for you this month, stay tuned to our Twitter account as we revisit some of the amazing reviews from earlier this year that you might have missed — and keep your eyes out for our 2021 YAing Wrapped post, coming to you on the last Monday of the month!
It’s the end of the year, which means it’s best-of list season. We love the Canadian Children’s Book Centre’s list, which includes some books we’ve reviewed — and some that you’ll see in our digital pages in the new year. We’ve also been loving the Toronto Public Library’s list of the best books of the year for readers under five.
The end of the year, of course, means that a new year is right around the corner. We’ve been eyeing Penguin Teen’s list of 2022 releases — which of these books are you most excited for? I know there are some here that I just can’t wait for our reviewers to sink their writing teeth into!
As always, please do send us your news related to children’s and young adult literature at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can feature them in future newsletters. Our newsletter is published on the 2nd Monday each month. And remember to keep up with us on Twitter and Instagram!
Take care, and happy reading,
The Young Adulting Editors