SLJ Battle of the Books: The Myth of Safety

As expected, today's Battle of the Books was fantastic: The Storm in the Barn vs. Tales from Outer Suburbia. I didn't have a clear favorite here - I love them both - but I was really excited to hear what Shannon Hale had to say. Mostly I adore her because her enthusiasm for books always shines through and this was no exception.

Here is my Fire quote for today:

Go safely. Go safely, she thought to him as he left the building and his convoy pounded through the gates.

What a silly, empty thing it was to say to anyone, anywhere.
Ah, this one hit home for me. Each reading of this book and this line has brought a different meaning for me.

The first time I read this, it reminded me of Kate McClelland and Kathy Krasniewicz. I remember before ALA Midwinter in Denver, I signed off all my emails to fellow attendees with "Travel safe and see you there!" And, really, who ever thinks twice about signing off emails like that? I certainly didn't. And it was awful afterward to think about how flippantly I said it - it was just a way to sign off emails. After their deaths, "travel safe" did indeed feel like a silly and empty thing to ever say to friends on journeys.

This time, I thought of Bug. Oh god, how many times a day do I tell her to "be careful" or "be safe"? It still doesn't prevent her from falling off counters or tripping on the sidewalk. The sheer number of bruises on her calves are proof enough that "go safely" is a ridiculous thing to say to her, or any child.

Which all comes back to Fire (I swear, it does). Cashore regales us with tales of flying raptors, wars, political intrigue, and people with special powers. And yet fantasy can have so much to say about the real world we live in. We read these stories because there is something escapist about them. Except when there isn't. Except when they have so much to say about the here and now. About motherhood, friends gained and lost, tragedy, love
We're nearing the end, folks. Tomorrow Megan Whalen Turner (squee!) is sharing her thoughts on Charles vs. Emma and The Lost Conspiracy. This is a little nervous-making, seeing how Megan is either going to lay the hurt on A Chair, A Fireplace, & a Tea Cozy ("Team CharMa!") or on Fuse #8 ("LoCo! LoCo!"). Hearts will be broken. Dreams will be shattered. But it's Megan Whalen Turner. I'll adore her no matter what, and I have no doubt she'll rise to the occasion.

Game on!

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