3 Books by Brian Selznick

One of the categories in the “Reading for Growth” of Modern Mrs. Darcy’s 2017 challenge is to read “three books by the same author”. I had previously read The Invention of Hugo Cabret and The Marvels and enjoyed both books immensly, so Brian immediately popped in my head as I knew he had written one more in a similar style. Upon researching what else he wrote, I saw that he wrote (and illustrated) two other books the public library had in circulation, so I checked them out. Below are the three books I read by him.

I think the things that strike me the most of interest is after reading his books are: 1) I love his pencil drawings. It’s amazing that such a simple tool can create such a cool drawing. 2) I’m a fan of his part picture, part words style of writing. Yes, picking up a 400+ page book seems a daunting read. But when you look closer and it feels that half those pages are pictures just when you thumb through the book? Doesn’t seem so daunting now. 3) This is probably something that would explain other picture books, but wow! A picture really does say a thousand words! As someone who works with kids, I’m finding myself drawn to books that are told with no words, only pictures. I think it takes talent to tell a story with just a picture, and Brian seems to take that to the next level with his style of telling a wordless story, a word story, and combining the two together in the end.

Without further ado, the books …

The Boy of a Thousand FacesThis one seemed like it could be on the scary end and not one I would normally go to (If you know me, you know I don’t do scary or horror – even in book form I avoid it). I think the only reason I read it was for this challenge. However, I liked the concept of the challenge the boy created for himself. Similar to a photo-a-day challenge, or a selfie-a-day challenge that I’ve seen.

The Houdini Box – If you aren’t familiar with Harry Houdini, he is a famous magician. This story is about a boy who is fascinated with magic and gets the chance to learn a secret from the master, but unfortunately receives a box instead. The boy leaves the box closed and forgets about magic. But by a small chance, years later, his former passion is revised and when he finally opens that box, a childhood answer was revealed.

Wonderstruck – This book features two characters who are deaf, trying to find where they belong, both ultimately finding the answer in New York City.

NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

After being on my “to-read” list for over a year, I have finally read NeuroTribes. As stated below, my husband first heard about the book while reading science articles about Autism. (He is at the present moment un-diagnosed with the spectrum disorder.) He checked the book out from the public library and enjoying it himself, purchased it from Amazon for family to read. My mother-in-law read it first, and now I can say I have finally done so.

It took me a while to actually start the book for several reasons. 1) One, it is a non-fiction book, talking about the history of Autism, and I’m generally not a fan of non-fiction, usually finding them a bit of a dry read. That was true for this one as well, but as the history lesson came into more modern times, it did pick up a bit. 2) Secondly, the size was a bit daunting, the book being about 480 pages. Granted I have read longer books (Harry Potter series for example), but as already stated, non-fiction books are a bit dry and take longer for me to consume, probably because I’m not as absorbed in the pages.

This book does fit the reading challenge I’m completing by “Modern Mrs. Darcy”. I’m putting this under the label “a book you were excited to buy or borrow but haven’t read yet” because having a husband on the spectrum does make me want to learn more about it so that I can better understand him better, and it is something that I will willingly pass on to anyone who would like to learn more about Autism themselves.


NeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of NeurodiversityNeuroTribes: The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity by Steve Silberman

It took me a while to finally get started on this book, as the size seemed a bit daunting, and I’m normally not a non-fiction fan, but after hubby and my mother-in-law read it, I figured it was finally time.

Hubby first discovered the book through science articles about Autism. Being un-diagnosed himself, hubby has immersed himself in research to find out more about Autism spectrum and if it fits him.

This book talks about the history of Autism spectrum including the two gentlemen who coined the terms we know now, Hans Asperger (from Austria, 1938, used the term autistic psychopaths) and Leo Kanner (from the US, 1943, first labeled as early infantile autism), and the start of organizations that helped define the disorder as we know it today. It also talks about the future of Autism as seen in several movements, both of those looking for a “cure” and those looking for “acceptance”.

If you or a loved one is on the spectrum or you think they might be, I highly recommend this book. I think even those not on the spectrum will see themselves in the characteristics of Autism spectrum somewhere.

The Marvels

Finding a book that was over 600 pages seemed like a daunting task, especially one that was in the children’s or young adult section as that fits the age group of my students, but I finally found one: The Marvels by Brian Selznick.

I had read Selznick’s caldecott winner The Invention of Hugo Cabret and I liked how that book had a lot of pictures mixed in with text.

This book was no different, the first half entirely being told in pictures. It is also worth noting that the setting is a real-life place in London … Dennis Sever’s House.

Here is my Goodreads review …

The MarvelsThe Marvels by Brian Selznick

First of all, I loved how the first half of the story was told entirely in pictures.

Second, I loved the story in a story. I wasn’t even aware of it until it was revealed. Then to read that the setting is a real place? I loved the style of writing and having already read (and enjoyed) Selznick’s Hugo novel, the rest of his books are officially on my “to read” list.

When We Collided

Another check on my reading challenge, this one for “a book by an #ownvoices or #diversebooks author”.

I wasn’t sure exactly to know if an author fit this category as the challenge creator meant it to, but when I browsed the #diversebooks website, under the resource section there is a “where to find diverse books” tab. One of the items on that list is the ‘Schneider Family Book Award‘ that is award each year to an author/illustrator that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.

When We Collided is the 2017 winner in the Teen category, so it is my book of choice. Below is my review of the book, as posted to Goodreads…


When We CollidedWhen We Collided by Emery Lord

“I don’t appreciate how often people hide their scars and doubts. Really, it’s not fair to people who are struggling, to go on believing that everyone else just has it totally together and never has one bad thought in their lives. Like, I know you people sometimes lie awake at night torturing yourself over the atrocities in this world and morality and meaning. I know you’re not just dreaming about riding a pink pony to your job as a cupcake taster.” – page 232

This main characters are either struggling with depression/bipolar or live with someone that does. But they find refuge in each other, just for the summer.

I like how the book was written where every other chapter changes the point of view so you see how both characters see the world.

Jonah and his older siblings have to take on more responsibility after their dad passes away and their mom goes into a depression. Vivi I feel is his chance to find a new normal after his father passed and the one who tells him its okay to live beyond his father’s death.

Vivi is a free-spirited girl who wants to live every moment to the fullest, but she doesn’t let the dark side of her life show, instead wanting to forget about it herself and pretend it isn’t there. In the end though, I think she realizes that it is a part of her, but that doesn’t have to mean she has to stop being her free-spirited self.

I admit, I cried by the end of the book, because I see myself and my husband in this book so much. I’m Vivi’s free-spirit and my husband is Jonah’s logical self, but at the same time, my husband is the one battling a mental health war in his body, trying to learn how to continue through live with it as Vivi was, while I’m Jonah who has to be the parent and take care of both of us it seems.

Definitely a book anyone should read, to help enforce the idea that mental health does not define the person, it is only one part of them.

March: Book Three

Another tic on my challenge list with the book March: Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell. This one is for “Pulitzer Prize or National Book Award winner”. Specifically, it won the “National Book Award-Young People’s Literature” for 2016. As well, it won the “Coretta Scott King (Author) Award”, the “Michael L Printz Award”, the “Robert F Sibert Informational Book Award”, the “YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction”, and the “Walter Dean Myers Award for Outstanding Children’s Literature-Young Adult”.

John Lewis, a congressman from Georgia, was a civil rights leader in the 60s and onward,  and became inspired to do so after reading a comic book about Martin Luther King, Jr, Rosa Parks, and the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Book Three continues after the bombing in 1963 of the church in Birmingham and includes the Selma to Montgomery marches and his trip to Africa.

Here is my review of the book, as posted on Goodreads.com:

March: Book Three (March, #3)March: Book Three by John Lewis

This book was on my list as it won or was nominated for quite a few awards. I had not read the first two books, but I feel that was okay – I was still able to follow the book.

I must admit, I didn’t know much of John Lewis before reading this graphic novel and after reading it, learned more of one of the lead people in the desegregation movement in the south. The first two books are also on my list now of “to read” to learn even more of his involvement in helping end segregation and help black folks gain the ability to vote.

If I Was Your Girl

One of my goals this year is to complete a reading challenge. Click here to see the details of the challenge.

Below is my review from Goodreads for the book If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo. This book falls under the “book nominated for an award in 2017” as it is one of the Stonewall winners in the Children’s and Young Adult Literature category.


If I Was Your GirlIf I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A YA novel about a transgender girl, written by a transgender girl, but still a message anyone can relate to, about realizing that everyone is hiding something, and we all deserve the chance to love, and be loved, both by ourselves, and by others.

I liked how every few chapters the author would go back in time in Amanda’s life. Our past may hurt, but the good and bad things help shape our future self. I don’t think Amanda would have been as strong her senior year in her new town if she had an easy process.

Here’s some quotes/passages I liked in the book that I think are universal to anyone …
1) “Everyone around me, I realized, was living some kind of lie…Maybe secrets and lies were a part of life; maybe everyone had something they were lying to themselves about, or something they were hiding.” -pg 89
2) “You can have anything…once you admit you deserve it.” – pg 180
3) “For as long as I could remember, I had been apologizing for existing, for trying to be who I was, to live the life I was meant to lead. … I realized, I wasn’t sorry I existed anymore. I deserved to live. I deserved to find love. I knew now-I believed, now-that I deserved to be loved.” – pg 273

View all my reviews

2017 goals/plan

It has been 7 months since I last posted. To those still subscribed, thanks for sticking around. As my website title suggests, this blog is a sneak peak into my life, and for the last seven months, you experienced the “lack of interest” or ability to follow through part of it. Yep, there are times where I am so gun-ho about something, but somewhere along the way I fall off and never get back on. I’m improving in some areas, but in other areas (like this blog) I still need work.

Okay, so as the post title suggests, this post is putting my 2017 thoughts on paper for some accountability. I mean, if I write them down and put them out for the world to see I’m more likely to stick to them, right? Here’s hoping.

It is worth noting that the plan is a general outlook, not much in specific detail. Resolutions are notorious for failing after the first month, which is part of why I’m so late coming forward with this  – I wanted to give it time to mull over and be sure of what I wanted to put out there. As well, I don’t want to set myself up for error. The details of how each goal would look will vary by month and day, but the overall goal should be accomplished by the end of the year.

So without further ado, my goals/plan for the new year …

  • Reading – I work in a library, so I should be reading for fun (not just books I read to my library classes). I found a few lists I like, so I’ll be compiling them into one master list (I’ll share that once I’m done, probably its own tab). I hope to also be sharing what I’m reading on here, but also through “goodreads” website. Hopefully this year my mind will be broaden by reading books I’ve never read before as well as books out of my comfort zone.
  • Exercise/Health – I would love to lose weight, but overall I hope to be ‘healthy’. Also on the list is completing the CIM (California International Marathon) in December. This was part of the plan for last year, but injury put it on hold. By training earlier and slower, hopefully this will finally be achieved. (The idea of a marathon has been a few years in the making.)
  • Photography – I will continue to utilize Chantelle’s  photo a day challenge to capture the world around me and seeing it in a new way. However, if I should not hit 365 days in photos, I need to forgive myself.
  • Writing – So, if you follow my instagram, you’ll see that I published a short story/novel. I want to continue this hobby. Stories will be from my own head, though I also did purchase a writing journal prompt book to help with ideas. As well, I will continue to be part of NaNoWriMo. For those wondering, the story falls into the erotic romance category, but I will make sure anything I publish here will not fall in that category.
  • Blog – Of course I will continue this blog, with hopefully more captures in my life than last year, featuring my writing, photography, reading, as well as some posts about my library world.
  • Personal projects – Hubby and I are in the process of turning his childhood home into a home we can call ours. As well, I started a photo letter project last year (thanks in part to one of Chantelle’s photo months) and hope to have it ready to send to family by christmas (I will share the finished project, but don’t promise anything in the middle).

What goals or plans do you have for 2017? Here’s hoping the year is one you can look back in a positive light at the end.