Hello there–Kazia here!
Although my home region of the Northeast is expected to reach a balmy 45 degrees this week, I, like Emily, can’t help but daydream of summer. Emily’s superb choices for her favorite summery media inspired me to ponder my own media picks that reminds me of that most ideal season.
1. Lilo and Stitch. Disney’s 2002 classic follows Stitch (AKA Experiment 626) as he escapes from the Galactic Federation and lands on Kaua’i in Hawaii. He quickly gets adopted as a pet by the difficult, passionate, and eccentric Lilo, a young Hawaiian girl being raised by her older sister. Their relationship soon grows into a classic Disney friendship that tugs at the heartstrings of all who witness it. With gorgeous scenes of surfing, beaches, and island life, Lilo and Stitch is the perfect movie to watch while waiting for the ice to melt (plus, it’s a great story about identity, outsiderness, and family, which is great for any season)!
2. Flora and the Flamingo. My poor, poor friends and family could not stop me from raving about this exquisite wordless picture book for the entirety of last year. Molly Idle, a former Dreamworks animator, expresses so much movement and emotion with her lovely illustrations of an eager young girl in a literal and figurative dance of friendship with a hesitant flamingo. The rhythm of the text is that of a ballet or waltz, and it’s easy to hear the music of their dance. Idle’s warm color palette, soft lines, and surprising turn-down flaps add to the warmth of this Caldecott honor book.3. Anna and the French Kiss/Lola and the Boy Next Door. Romance seems to be a quintessential staple of all things summer, so a sure way to feel the theoretical summer breeze is to curl up with a good crush-worthy read. Look no further than these two novels by Stephanie Perkins! Anna and the French Kiss features a boarding school in Paris, a lady protagonist hoping to be a film critic, and an extremely cute French-English-American boy. Lola and the Boy Next Door features a costume designing protagonist with a flare for the expressive (she wants to go to prom as Marie Antoinette) and an inventor boy-next-door who is gangly and named Cricket. Both feature cute boys (and cute girls, although the romances are totally straight), slow-burning romance that feels real, and lady protagonists who want romance but aren’t defined by it.
4. The Diviners. Sometimes, the most summery thing is not descriptions of beaches and hot, sunny days, but rather a thick, thick book filled with a dynamic cast of characters and horrifying supernatural creatures and ridiculous 1920’s slang. Such is The Diviners, the thoroughly entertaining first book in Libba Bray’s series, which follows teenage flapper Evie O’Neill as she assists her uncle (who is a curator at the Museum of American Folklore, Superstition, and the Occult in New York City, a museum I desperately wish were real) and attempts to use her strange supernatural power to catch a murderer. Clocking in at around 600 pages, it’s the bee’s knees!
5. I Capture the Castle. Cassandra Mortmain is the perfect narrator to distract you from the cold. Written as Cassandra’s journal, the first novel by Dodie Smith (of One Hundred and One Dalmatians fame) follows the extremely eccentric Mortmain family as they attempt to survive and thrive in a crumbling castle in the English countryside during the 1930s. With a breezy and unsettled feeling, Cassandra “captures” not only herself but those around her, including her artistic and moody family, the live-in sort-of servant who pines for her, and the two wealthy American brothers who move in essentially next door and catch the eyes of both Mortmain sisters. Cassandra’s voice may be the most strongly realized I’ve ever read, and her journal is like a window into a world of gently crumbling nostalgia.
Happy puddle-jumping and icicle-dodging!