Saturday, April 28, 2012

REVIEW: Chopsticks (OHMYGOSH, AWESOME! One story: told in music, illustration, texts, articles and videos. Read it now!)

Anthony, J. & Corral, R.  (2012).  Chopsticks.  New York:  Razorbill.

No page numbers....but, I'd guess it's more than 300 pages.  Since most of the stories is told in images or small bits of text, it's a great read.

Appetizer:  In December of 2009, 17-year-old Glory Fleming, a piano prodigy, disappears.  But, much of the story of Chopsticks focuses on 18 months earlier, when Glory was still performing and an Argentinian boy named Francisco moves in next door to her house on Usher street in the Bronx.

A romance soon begins.

But the question is, can their romance survive as Francisco struggles with racism and bullying at school and Glory with her controlling father/manager who insists on touring.  Can the two teens find a way to be together?

This novel is shared predominantly in images, with much of the plot being pieced together by found objects like newspaper clippings, programs, family albums, text messages, etc.

And it is wonderfully done.  A relatively simple story, I found that a lot of details--like Francisco's anger with his ESL homework (pictured below) to add deeper layers and criticism.

I also loved the different forms of communication.  Throughout the text messages Francisco and Glory exchange are urls to youtube videos that, while a little inconvenient to set down the book and type into my laptop, provide a lot of secondary depth.  I liked the references to Sylvia Plath and Pablo Neruda.  The book also includes playlists of songs that the two exchange, really providing a lot of focus on music.  This story does an amazing job of using a lot of different forms to tell a story.  I approve.  I approve strongly.

Plus, there's an app version of the book.  (But alas, after already spending $20 on the book, I'm too cheap to spend another $7 on the app.  Somebody else buy the app and tell me what you think!)

If a teacher wanted to find a way to include Chopsticks into a classroom, he or she could focus on looking at a section of a text as an anthropologist, studying a person or culture through the objects they have.

Dinner Conversation:

Tasty Rating:  !!!!!

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