Shame Pudding

Danny Noble. Street Noise, $16.99 (192p) ISBN 978-1-951491-02-4
Noble (Junkyard Jack and the Horse That Talked) grew up in England with two irrepressible Jewish grandmothers, “both descended from Russian and Polish Jews who fled the pogroms.” Her paternal grandmother, Min, is portrayed as a dumpling-shaped woman with a perpetually sunny disposition; and her maternal grandmother, Ma, vinegary and lovingly tough, called Noble and her brother “Shame Puddings,” a mangling of the Yiddish endearment shayna punim. Noble is plagued by nightmares and existential crises as a child (“How can I be sure you see what I see?” she tearfully tells her mother late one night) and engulfed by self-doubt as a young woman. But even amid profound insecurity and classic adolescent rebellion, she has emotional touchstones in Min and Ma, giving her the courage to cultivate gifts in music (Min even gives Ska a go at her granddaughter’s suggestion), drawing, and social activism. She discovers that having a happy family isn’t an inoculation against anxiety and depression, but it can be a source of strength. Noble immediately establishes an authentically intimate voice, confessional but also self-aware and generous; her endearingly scratchy, impressionistic ink drawings feel like she’s trusting readers with pages from her diary. Ages 16–up. (May)
Reviewed on : 02/20/2020
Release date: 05/01/2020
Genre: Children's
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