Saturday, November 18, 2017

The Book Itch

The Book Itch. Vaunda Micheaux Nelson. Illustrated by R. Gregory Christie. 2015. 32 pages. [Source: Library]

First sentence: "This house is packed with all the facts about all the blacks all over the world." That's what it says above our door. We own this place, this house--the National Memorial African Bookstore. It's our home, just about, because we spend so much time here.

Premise/plot: The author imagines what it was like for Lewis Michaux Jr. to grow up as the son of Lewis Michaux Sr. in this environment. Lewis Michaux opened the store in the 1930s, I believe, but the story is set in the 1960s with Lewis as a young boy watching the civil rights movement unfold before him. It is a book celebrating knowledge, ideas, books, and families.

My thoughts: This is definitely a picture book for older readers. Is it fiction? Is it nonfiction? Well, it's certainly based on real people, real events, real situations. But I think the author's imagination is at work to make one cohesive story. The end covers are worth paying close attention to. The end covers feature quotes: "Knowledge is power. You need it every hour. Read a book!" "Words. That's why people need our bookstore." "Don't get took! Read a book!" "Books will help him clear the weeds and plant the seeds so he'll succeed." "The House of Common Sense and the home of Proper Propaganda."

It's worth pointing out that Lewis Michaux let customers read books at his store. They didn't necessarily have to buy books in order to read them. Also, customers could stay past closing time.

Text: 4.5 out of 5
Illustrations: 3.5 out of 5
Total: 8 out of 10
© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

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