In this segment, I will be sharing spoiler-free notable quotables on books I am loving the hell out of. I hate writing summaries! You can read those on any old Goodreads review or author website. You don’t need me for that. I just want to give you a peek at a passage that really stuck with me. In the case of The Good Braider, I hope I can convince you to check it out or purchase it. This was a lovely and sad and unforgettable little in-verse YA novel, and I’m glad it was brought to my attention.

At ALA Midwinter, I went around to publisher’s booths, mostly looking for new real-alouds, graphic novels, and YA dystopian fiction (hey, this girl knows what she likes). In lieu of these criteria, I asked publishers what their personal favorite was. At the Marshall Cavendish booth, the answer was The Good Braider, by Terry Farish. What a wonderful recommendation. Take a look:


A cold rain is falling, and Andrew and I watch it.
We also watch the clock in my apartment
for when my mother’s borrowed Toyota
will pull into the parking lot.
I tell Andrew,
“My mother and I are people of the rain.
We are sisters of the snakes.”
I tilt my head back and laugh.
“Sometimes the snakes are down on the floor.
We don’t hurt them. They are kind.
If somebody is dead in the house,
the cobras stay behind the bed. They stay
with the body. They mourn.
When the rain comes, so do the cobras.
Where the snake is, the rain is.
They are lucky.”
“So,” Andrew says, “you’re a good luck girl.
I’m pretty superstitious myself.”
And then I cover my mouth to hold back my laughs.
“My grandmother believes that
about the snakes,” I say.
“I believe it a little. If I found a cobra in the cupboard,
I would not be afraid.
The only thing I am afraid of here are cops.
They remind me of soldiers, like in Sudan.”
I am stretched out, curved over the couch,
my head propped on my arm.
“I would like you to see the Africa moon,” I say.
But I cannot tell him about my country’s war.
I cannot tell him about the minefields
and how no one can grow food,
only small miracle’s like Gwendolyn’s groundnuts.
He cannot know how easy it is to throw away a girl
like me.
Does he know things that bring terror?…
…Andrew’s burly face is worried as he
watches for my mother’s car.
He stands.
All I say is,
“In Africa the moon fills the sky.” 

~~The Good Braider, by Terry Farish, pages 144-145

Sigh. A book like this isn’t always the easiest sell when you’re dealing with teens. It discusses some difficult yet important issues. It’s beautiful and spare and, despite its sadness, it has a cozy and nurturing quality. When it hits the shelves in May of this year, I will find its reader. Maybe it’s time for a book display of novels in-verse?

~Love and Libraries, Ingrid

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