Whatcha Reading? September 2022By: Sally White Photo By: @sarahtreed
We're another month closer to the end of 2022 and heading quickly into the spooky season! Let's take a peek at what the team read and loved in September.
Leave a comment letting us know which awesome books you read in September for a chance to win a $25 OwlCrate shop gift card! The winner will be selected on Tuesday, October 11th.
Square by Mac Barnett & Jon Klassen
I know, I know, this isn't middle grade. But have you read this book or any of the others in the Shapes trilogy? I'm obsessed with them and I'm proud to say I've hooked my (very discerning) 5-year-old nephew as well, so I've read it many times over the last month. These books are weird and ambiguous and funny in a way that throws you just a little off balance.
Square is our current favorite. It stars Square, a sentient square with eyes and legs and a busy, rigid schedule. Every day he collects a block from his secret cave and moves it outside to a new pile. When his friend Circle mistakes it for a self portrait, she proclaims Square a genius and requests one for herself (she's much kinder than sneaky Triangle). But Square has no idea how to make that happen. A sleepless, frazzled night ensues while Square tries to meet his unexpected artistic deadline. Will he fail and be called out as a fraud?? Talk about imposter syndrome!
In addition to the wonderful illustrations by Jon Klassen, I love the silly and philosophical conversations we inevitably have throughout reading these stories.
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Suki, Alone by Faith Erin Hicks
This one is for all the Avatar: The Last Airbender fans. Suki has always been one of my favourites and in this story, we get a peek into her pre-Kyoshi Warrior days. This story fits in with the series continuity, taking place after the failed invasion of the Fire Nation but before Sokka and Zuko reach Boiling Rock, the Fire Nation’s infamous prison. Suki, captured by the Fire Nation during the invasion, is sent to Boiling Rock where she is determined to build a community with her fellow prisoners and to escape. To do so, she needs to put her trust in others and get others to trust her in return.
I enjoyed this quick stand alone story and think any fan would as well.
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Minor Mage by T. Kingfisher
In this short little novella we follow 12 year old Oliver, who is indeed a very minor mage. When the rains fail to come to his village though, a mob of townspeople descend, demanding he bring the rain back. With the help of his armadillo familiar (who he is, unfortunately, allergic to), Oliver goes on a journey to the far off mountains, encountering trials and tribulations along the way.
It is discussed in the author's note that her editors didn't think this was a children's book, but T. Kingfisher disagreed and pushed it to be published as such. And I agree with her! There are definitely some dark and scary elements, along with the examination of the lingering hurt that adults can cause children (Oliver wrestles with the fact that the villagers sent him away on this dangerous journey, and acknowledges that though he in a way understands, he will never again trust them fully.) And while those elements are present, it's also full of charm and wit and silliness and one very sarcastic talking armadillo.