A poem and illustration about each of 28 different African-Americans of historical note, in honor of Black History Month. Mostly I liked the illustrations (great!) better than the poems (reasonably good!), but some of the poems were AMAZING.
The Book Itch, by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie
I was hesitant to read this picture book because I'd already read the author's (excellent) middle grade book about the Mich(e)aux family and I was wary of boredom setting in. But I'm so glad I read it! It is GLORIOUS, all the things I liked about the middle grade book and some new things too. Most of all, the illustrator is a FREAKING GENIUS who brought the story of Lewis Michaux and his African National Memorial Bookstore to gleeful, vibrant, powerful life in a way that the text alone couldn't have managed. Such a gem!
Sail Away, by Langston Hughes, illustrated by Ashley Bryan
Sadly, most of the illustrations in this compilation of Hughes' poems about the sea didn't really work for me. Also, while I loved some of the poems (I reread one of them 8 times), I also found myself thinking "Who is the audience for this?? The pictures are for young kids and the poems talk about sex and death!?!?" That said, there were a couple of pages where everything pulled together and there was magic happening. Just wish that could've been the case throughout.
Love Is My Favorite Thing, by Emma Chichester Clark
Sweet picture book about a misbehaving dog, told from her perspective. Didn't totally work for me, but I was charmed enough that I requested the collection of illustrated blog posts about the same dog through interlibrary loan.
The Penguin Lessons, by Tom Michell
This was actually one of the first books I read this year (just forgot to log it right away), and I absolutely loved it. Michell writes in exactly the way I like about his relationship with a FREAKING RESCUED PENGUIN, and then to top that, it is ALSO a story about a British expat living in South America, and it is ALSO a boarding school book, and it is ALSO full of frankly acknowedged ambiguities. Another one of those books where I feel like the author was playing "things that will delight Maribou bingo," and won on 5 or 6 sheets at once.
How to Be A Person, by Lindy West et al
Ennnnnnh to this supposed guide for teenagers about to head off to college. Lindy West shows signs of being a writer I will frequently enjoy, and so I wanted to delve into her back catalog. Except this isn't just by her, it's by a ton of people who were writing for the Stranger at the time. And it isn't (mostly) earnest a la Incomplete Education, it's mostly tongue in cheek and snarky and mean and people thinking they are funny when I very much think they are not. That said, there were some excellent chapters, just not enough of them.
Let it Snow, by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle
Perfect anotidote for the previous book - teen romance novellas, Christmas, a blizzard, connected plots / overlapping characters, and I was reminded (yet again) that I really dig Maureen Johnson and should provide my inner teenager with more of her books. (I already knew how much said teenager loves John Green, and Lauren Myracle was ... out of her league compared to the other two, but perfectly acceptable.)
Lola Levine Is Not Mean!, by Monica Brown
Early reader chapter book with spark and verve enough that I'll be reading the sequel. Lola is no Clementine or Ramona (at least not yet), but who is?
Louis Comfort Tiffany: Treasures from the Driehaus Collection, by David A. Hanks et al
Sooooooooooooooo many pretties. Got interested the Driehaus Collection after some friends visited the mansion/museum where it is housed. Excellent, creative photography of the collection (which is more lamps and vases - including some vases I'd never seen anything like before - and not so many windows), and satisfying accompanying text.
The Story of Diva and Flea, by Mo Willems, illustrated by Tony DiTerlizzi
Cute picture book for slightly older kids. The author's love of Paris and the illustrator's love of the tale the author is telling both shine through. High marks for fun.