A Review: Brave Little Bones

In November 2015, Kayla Hollatz released a series of poems that I got the pleasure of reading and reviewing. 

    Broken into four parts, she takes her readers on a journey of self-discovery and love. 

    The first part of the book, Hollatz focuses on different parts of childhood. She tries to understand different parts of life especially the difficulties she faces being a female. She describes these parts as boomerangs to friends, a person blooming into someone beautiful, and falling in love in a way that is beautiful and powerful. 

    The second part of this book is called “A Haiku For Every Boy”, and is broken down into twenty haikus. Each describes a different boy and her experience with them, starting from the first in first grade. Through the meter, Hollatz's vulnerability leaps from the page, allowing the reader to feel the little pains within each experience.

    In the third part of the book, Hollatz’s first poem describes falling in love. She describes the feelings of entanglement of one another and how it’s like you’re floating. The next poem talks about how a relationship could fall apart, not knowing who is going to end it although both parties in this relationship feels it falling apart. Within the next few poems, Hollatz builds intensity, describing different kinds of pain such as physical pain. The poems paint a clear image of the scars that are left behind. In “The Girl On Fire”, you can feel the physical pain of hurt gradually coming to this big end but have it finish on a confession, an admittance of who the person is. The last few poems of part three speak of being vulnerable and broken. The feeling of how a person can use others and be used by them. Hollatz writes of how the feeling sticks to your skin and of trying to figure out what had gone wrong, just like we would in every other situation. Hollatz has described perfectly the struggle in trying to understand a situation. The reader can feel the pain and hurt in losing someone and having to deal with the memories of the person once they’re gone. The very last poem in the section is finally admitting that this person is broken. This is the point we’ve all hit, a point where we finally admit to ourselves that we feel like we are beyond repair, a place that we know all too well when we have felt it before. 

    The very last part of the book is about self-discovery and trying to fix ourselves. Hollatz describes the journey we will take--we will sometimes slip and fall back into a place that we thought we would never end up again. The second poem in this last part lists nineteen ways of trying to love yourself...again. It is empowering and something we all hope to do someday. It is a road to self-recovery and discovering who we are as a person without anyone else. The eighteenth way of loving yourself is one that speaks so loudly in just one line: become the person you’d like to fall in love with. There are so many people out there who don’t know where they stand or who they are, but once they find the person they truly are, they are unstoppable because they love themselves. When you finally love yourself again, you will see yourself for what you truly are: beautiful. 

    The illustrations done by Hannah Lewis adds more to this work of art. Each sketch is done so well and beautifully. Lewis captures the essence of this book of poetry, sketching along to so many poems that don’t need a visual but that are intensified when accompanied by her illustrations. Each drawing is sketched so carefully and with such detail that I was able to feel even more with each poem. 

Brave Little Bones by Kayla Hollatz with illustrations by Hannah Lewis shares a chilling story of self-discovery, love, and a journey in life. These two worked together to share an experience through words and sketches. It is beautiful--just like the writer and illustrator.