Books

The Thursday Book Beat: Bookish Nerds Are Ready to Be Disney’s Guests in Beauty and the Beast

Happy sunny week, dear readers! I’m fresh off a holiday long weekend here in Canada, and with Memorial Day coming up for the Americans, it’s bound to be a quiet week for book news.

That said, Disney did set the internet ablaze this weekend with the teaser trailer for the live-action Beauty and the Beast film, starring Emma Watson.

We’re introduced to familiar settings–the castle, a glimpse of the West Wing–as well as a peek at Belle herself as she contemplates a mysterious rose. I know I’m probably not the only one who got a little bit emotional as the soft notes of “Beauty and the Beast” played over the last few seconds. After all, Belle’s pretty much the Patronus of book nerds everywhere, and I look forward to seeing what Disney’s done with the story.

Speaking of changing up stories, Dan Brown announced last week that an abridged YA version of The Da Vinci Code would be hitting bookstores this fall. It’s a rather peculiar choice, considering the number of teens who likely read the book back in 2005 and onwards, but Brown has defended it, explaining:

It is my sincere hope that this adaptation of The Da Vinci Code sparks in young adults the same thrill of discovery that I feel while exploring hidden history and the mysteries of the world we live in.

Considering I was a teen myself around the time The Da Vinci Code reached peak popularity, and the “general fiction” label didn’t deter me from reading it, I’m not sure that the YA version will hold any more appeal to already voracious readers. Where it might help is with reluctant readers, so it’ll be interesting to see what kind of reception it gets from kids.

What is getting some amazing buzz is Just Like Me!, a new subscription box service that is bringing books starring black kids to the readers that need them: black kids. Tamara Mcneil started Just Like Me! after struggling to find books for her own son in Atlanta. For $25 a month, McNeil and her team will send out boxes with 2-3 books featuring black main characters, providing young readers with characters that look like them and live like them. The package will also include materials for parents to use as their kids develop their reading skills further. Props to Tamara McNeil for her amazing work!