Thursday Book Beat: YA Writers Against Trump Rhetoric, New B.J Novak Book, and How to Survive the Holidays

Hi book lovers! Hope your week has been snowy and magical or tropical and dreamy, whatever floats your happy boat. I have my last exam Friday, and I can feel the freedom. I’s so close. I also saw Fantastic Beasts on Tuesday and was very surprised at how much I liked it. I have a lot of issues with J.K Rowling and her use of colonial tropes, exclusion of LGBTQ characters, and racist undertones, but I marvel in her imagination. I would have been happier if it was just a movie about the actual animals to be honest.

I love Mindy Kaling a lot, and I love when people compare me to her, because it’s like you’re telling me I’m the funniest, quirkiest person you know. But I like B.J. Novak just as much. His humour, especially when he was on the office, was dry and witty, and I loved it. I was surprised when he came out with a best-selling children’s book, The Book With No Pictures, that was imaginative and creative, the first of it’s kind. So I was ecstatic when I read in the LA Times that that Penguin Young Readers will publish a second book, The Alphabet Book With No Pictures. The books he writes are creative, and engaging , meant to be read out loud and with someone else.

When Trump won, the first thing that came to many people’s minds were what to do we tell children, what is going to happen to the next generation, and what does this mean for the way our young people interact. In fact, students have been one of the sub-groups strongly advocating for inclusion and protesting against racist discourse. Young adult authors have come together to write literature for those teens experiencing hate and need a book to escape into. So when I read about thirteen different young adult authors’ hopes for the future of YA, which you can check out here, I teared up. Language is powerful, the way we interact with language is powerful, and I remain hopeful for our future generations when I read articles like this.

As a social work student, it’s with great sadness that I heard about E.R. Braithwaite’s death. The author of To Sir With Love, an autobiography based on his experience as a black teacher (later turned social worker) trying not to internalize self hatred, died at the age of 104. The book is a great work depicting the immigrant experience, what it means to be black in America, and that while you may even be a privileged black person you always hold a coloured body as a marker. You can read more about the author and his life here.

I know the holidays are coming up, and for many it’s not always a jolly time. It comes with stress, isolation, and a lingering sense of belonging for many. My solution is to volunteer, and I will be heading to a youth shelter, Covenant House, on Christmas Day or spend time with the families I have made for myself. And you can read! Every year I read the T’was The Night Before Christmas and watch my favourite holiday movies and it thaws my heart out a bit. Happy Thursday!


Ashley Ash

Ashley Ash

Ashley is a proud Torontonian, third year social worker student, full time child advocate and national award winning writer. She will defend Anakin Skywalker and Jon Snow till she dies.