How is everyone holding up? We’ve had a rocky week with nap avoidance. Sammy is almost 3, a fact that I can barely wrap my head around. I revel in his daily naps, but I know that all good things end eventually… I just hope that he’s not giving up his nap forever right now because I don’t know how much longer we’re going to be doing the work from home thing. We try to keep things fresh by rotating toys around and such. After seeing several tea party scenes on TV (I’d be ashamed of the amount of screen time Sam is getting if it weren’t for the actual global emergency we’re living through) Sam started offering me cups of tea in his pretend play. I did the only logical thing- I bought the kid a toy tea set. He loves it, and his rotating roster of tea party guests seem to be enjoying it as well. I never really promote Sammy’s toys, but I’m kind of in love with this Green Toys Tea Set. It’s made by Green Toys which means it’s made from 100% recycled plastic (awesome) and is BPA free… And free of whatever other initials are bad for you. I can’t remember them all. The point is, I could have found a cheaper tea set, but this one came in multiple color options and it doesn’t have any lead paint hiding in it (because we all know he’s eventually going to demand I put liquid in that tea pot.) It has the added benefit of having kept him entertained and it’s really funny to watch him converse with his tea party guests.
I did manage to finish reading some books during this bonkers week. Well, OK, so technically, I finished one of them last week as I was finishing my post but WHATEVER I am an imperfect being. Let’s talk books.
SLAY by Brittney Morris- For whatever reason, despite the fact that I don’t play video games (mostly because I’m abysmal at them and my hand-eye coordination is complete garbage) I cannot pass up a book about video games. So, if The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas and Don’t Read the Comments by Eric Smith were put into a blender, the resulting smoothie might come close to describing SLAY. Kiera Johnson is a Black teenager growing up in the midst of the Seattle tech scene. She attends private school and is one of three Black kids in the entire student body. After dealing with some extremely douchey gamers while playing popular online video games games, Kiera decides to build her own damn game. A space for Black gamers to play without the overt racism or micro aggressions they’d face in other online communities. And the entire game is based on Black history, culture, and excellence. Kiera keeps her creation a secret from everyone. Her family, her friends, even her online confidants don’t know that she is both Kiera Johnson and Emerald, the elusive game developer. Unfortunately, Kiera’s utopia begins to unravel after a boy is murdered in real life over a conflict in her game. The game is suddenly all over the headlines, its players and creators labeled as thugs and online gang members. Kiera’s haven for Black folks is labeled as racist, of all things, for its exclusion of white players. Kiera must grapple with the game, its meaning in a larger context, and her own identity in both the real world and online. I think it’s just the old lady in me, but I keep being flabbergasted by teenagers in books creating apps and social media platforms and whole-ass video games. I know it happens, I’m just stuck in a 1997 mentality of teenager-dom. Which is to say, I’m definitely not this book’s target audience. It’s clearly written for a young, tech savvy, Black audience eager to see themselves represented in fiction. Just because you’re not the target audience doesn’t mean you can’t learn things by reading someone else’s perspective, though. I think this is a great choice for white readers who enjoy YA fiction and are open to the whole “shut up and listen” aspect of battling racism. Like, just shut up and read this book. Soak it in. Sit with it. Do some thinking.
The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune- Linus Baker is a case worker specializing in inspecting orphanages that cater to magical children. RULES AND REGULATIONS require that such beings are monitored, registered, and tracked, of course. Linus is meticulous in his work, and is content to remain in his low-level position. Which is why being summoned for a top secret project by Extremely Upper Management is unexpected, to say the least. Linus is sent to inspect an island that houses six magical children deemed too dangerous to live in standard housing. He has to make sure the kiddos aren’t going to bring about Armageddon or what have you. Extremely Upper Management would not approve of an apocalypse, naturally. How very messy and un-regulated! This was such a weird and wonderful book! If you enjoyed Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs and/or The Wayward Children series by Seanan McGuire, this book is right up your alley. It’s cheeky and heartfelt and just absurd enough to make it the perfect escape read. You know. If you want to escape to an island that also happens to house the child Antichrist.
What a week. Keep sending those toddler nap vibes, folks, because I am in desperate need.
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