Monday, November 1, 2010

Day of the Dead and Blessed, by Cynthia Leitich Smith

Sunrise will be at 7:54, sunset will be at 5:52.

Gray and dark at this time of the morning. I am writing at 7:40 and the sky has just started to gray up, barely able to discern any hillside bulk; it feels like winter. Skies are pouring buckets of rain, more water coming out of the fountain than staying in-weird to think that I may have to put more water in to keep it filled.

Halloween was yesterday, no children to our house, but plenty of them tricking and treating at the store; clouds of fairy-winged princesses and storm troopers, their keepers wearing everything from ornate full body costumes to a single black hat in black velvet and tulle.

We gave out candy, had a Day of the Dead band play in the Commons with dancers in traditional garb, and then colored, pasted and got our faces painted. The band reminded us to remember our dead today and pay them honor and thought. So: Mom, Daddy, Grandma Pearl, Grandma Vi, Grandpa Frank, Grandpa Hi, Trace: I hold you in my heart and in my thoughts, you made the rest of us who we are.

I have a remembering the dead memory I want to share: I met Linda Barry at a bookseller's trade show once. After dinner I went to get my book signed and to tell her thanks for writing what she does and she commented on the pin I was wearing. It is a small, oval pin with a sunset design made out of butterfly wings. Very old, very un-PC, but special because it was my grandmother's. When I told her that it was my grandmother's pin, she asked, "What was your grandmother's name?" I told her, "Pearl Delilah", and she shouted into the room, "PEARL DELILAH!" looked at me and said, " Her name was heard and now will never die." Some wonderful woman, that Linda Barry. Grandma, too.

Time now for some sugar skulls.

An appropriate book for this time of year is the one I just finished: Blessed, by Cynthia Leitich Smith, the third and final book in a trilogy that includes Tantalize and Eternal.

Fun books about a girl, Quincie, who owns and runs a restaurant that becomes a very popular place when it becomes vampire-themed. But, is it only a theme? Of course not. Vampires abound, it turns out that were-people exist everywhere (were-possums. How useless is that?), and did you know that angels really do exist?

Quincie, her friends and possums work together trying to figure out what to do when their little town is overrun by the undead who are using her family's restaurant to take over the world.

I loved these and now, with the series finished, you can read them all in one long gulp during the wet, dark days of winter. Tantalize and Eternal are available now in paperback for $8.99, Blessed will be out in January, 2011, hardcover only, for $17.99. All are published by Candlewick Press which is doing a bang-up job of publishing extraordinary young adult books.

Visit Cynthia's website, Cynsations, here.

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