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  • Chopsticks

    Chopsticks

    by Jessica Anthony and illustrated by Rodrigo Corral
    272 pages

     

    Chopsticks Chopsticks by Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral told a story of beauty, fear, love, and madness all framed through photographs, images, and objects with the text being there to simply add another layer. A visual feast, the reader is drawn in so deep you’ll feel as if you lived in the book.

     

    The story is emotionally charged. It is the characters that make the plot evolve. Glory is a piano prodigy. Starting at a young age, she plays for hundreds, and is the next “wiz kid” of the classical world. But after the death of her mother, Glory starts to break down, dissolving further and further until all she can play is “Chopsticks.” During this time, a young artist named Frank moves in next door with his family. Glory and Frank find each other, connecting in a way that transcends the ordinary, working to balance the madness that threatens to consume Glory.

     

    Now you may think you figure all that out right away, but I found you have to read through the book several times before parts of it start to click. The ending of Glory and Frank’s journey is left up to the reader to decide. There are clues in each image and photo, in each text message and note, but you have to decipher the meaning behind it all. This is what makes the story so real. It is just as if you were watching someone’s life; you never get the whole meaning at once and sometimes things will always be hidden. At times I was frustrated, but I kept going back with the promise of finding something new.

     

    There are several layers, not only to the story but also to the books, as there is an interactive digital version for the computer and iPad. Through the app the reader gets added videos, as well as additional images that create an even more intimate view of the book. With this type of multi-format storytelling, Chopsticks is the start of a new way to write books, perfect for such a technology driven time. Living in such a visual and fast-paced world, the innovation and time it took to create such a unique experience is appreciated. Beautiful and haunting, Chopsticks Jessica Anthony & Rodrigo Corral is not to be missed!

     

    Notes to Teachers: . While never explicitly said there are illusions to self-harm, depression, and sex, so this book would be better for older teens. The complicity of the story, using very little written clues, may also be too complicated for younger students.

    Suggestions for Possible Concepts: Loss, Personal Limits, Self-Discovery, and Mental Health.

     

    Elizabeth Weibley is a current graduate student in the Library and Information Science Program with a focus in School Media at the University of South Florida. Her passion is Young Adult Literature, and she can’t imagine working in any other field!
     

     

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