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Girls Standing on Lawns Hardcover – May 6, 2014
"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Pre-order today
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From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—Vernacular photography is, as this book describes, photographs taken without artistic ambition. That is what a traditional snapshot is, or in this age of Instagram and digital photography, what it was. Who snapped the photos is unknown. The people and places are long gone, but these photographs of girls standing on lawns remain. Found, anonymous, and removed from their original context, these snapshots have now been given a new life. With text by Handler and paintings by Kalman based on snapshots from collection of the Museum of Modern Art, this is a short, beautiful, and nostalgic book. The spare text ponders the matter-of-factness depicted in the snapshots and the occasional colorful paintings are as playful as the original black-and-white source material. A girl with her arms awkwardly crossed is accompanied by the statement "My whole life I have not known where to put my hands." Another photo of a girl standing on a sidewalk instead of the nearby lawn is accompanied by the answer to the obvious but unasked question, "Because I didn't want to ruin my shoes, is why." The minimal text has the rhythm and simplicity of a children's book, but there is a thought-provoking complexity present that will appeal to teens and adults. This title can also help to inspire creativity, as the idea of using found photographs as the basis for a narrative provides endless possibilities for young adults, teachers, and programming librarians.—Billy Parrott, Mid-Manhattan Library, NYPL
This first in a series will delight some fans of Handler and Kalman’s Printz Honor Book Why We Broke Up (2011), but it may leave others scratching their heads. Serious and humorous historical photographs of girls and women, drawn from the vernacular collection of the Museum of Modern Art, are presented with enough white space to evoke an exhibit. Kalman supplements the mostly black-and-white, anonymous, amateur snapshots with colorful paintings inspired by the photographs. Handler adds alternately wry, pithy, poignant—and always succinct—commentary to most spreads, inviting readers to ponder the people and scenes as well as their own family photos. Is this book a curiosity? An invitation to creative writing or art? Maybe even a call to action? “Stand for something, stand for something!” writes Handler. “Otherwise what do you stand for, why are you even standing?” Ultimately the best audience may be MoMA visitors hoping to extend the existential feeling of a museum visit, and who might want to gift it along with their own vintage family photo of people on lawns. So, where do you stand? Grades 6-12. --Cindy Dobrez