Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Women's History Month



Many of my feminist role models write books or are found in the pages of books. Here are some of the books that have helped shape my own beliefs about feminism and some newer books that I highly recommend for children.



Leading off is Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen. This is a must read book for all teens and adults. The many contributors to the book share their perspectives on feminism in a variety of entries including essays, artwork, playlists and more. This week Kelly is hosting a roundup of posts celebrating Women's History Month and the release of this fantastic book. My contribution is this collection of books.

Adult 
  Bad Feminist by Roxane Gay

Notorious RBG by Irin Carmon & Shana Knizhni

Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today's Feminism 
Edited by Daisy Hernandez & Bushra Rehma

My Beloved World by Sonia Sotomayor

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie


I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Another Brooklyn by Jacqueline Woodson

Americanah by Chimimanda Ngozi Adichie

A Really Good Brown Girl by Marilyn Dumont


Young Adult
 

Body Drama: Real Girls, Real Bodies, Real Issues, Real Answers by Nancy Amanda Redd


Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Crazy Horse's Girlfriend by Erika T. Wurth

Outrun the Moon by Stacey Lee


If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo

Gabi, A Girl in Pieces by Isabel Quintero

No Matter the Wreckage by Sarah Kay illustrated by Sophia Janowitz



Middle Grade


 The Birchbark House (and the rest of the series) by Louise Erdrich

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste

The Shadows of Sherwood (& sequel) by Kekla Magoon

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Handbook for Dragon Slayers by Merrie Haskell




Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

Almost Astronauts by Tanya Lee Stone

Esperanza Rising by Pam Muños Ryan

Rad American Women A-Z by Kate Schatz illustrated by Miriam Klein Stahl

Picture Books


Me...Jane by Patrick McDonnell 

Marisol McDonald Doesn't Match by Monica Brown illustrated by Sara Palacios

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales

Separate is Never Equal by Duncan Tonatiuh

Shining Star: The Anna May Wong Story by Paula Yoo illustrated by Lin Wang

Ruby's Wish by Shirin Yim Bridges illustrated by Sophie Blackall


by Sue Macy illustrated by C.F. Payne

Ada Byron Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark illustrated by April Chu

by Margarita Engle illustrated by Rafael López

Ada Twist Scientist by Andrea Beaty

I'm a Girl by Yasmeen Ismail 

The Paper Bag Princess by Robert Munsch illustrated by Michael Martchenko

Sunday, March 12, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:
at Rich in Color

Last Week in Books: 
Adult Nonfiction
Bad Feminist is an excellent collection of essays that generally center around feminism and what it means to be a woman. It offers a lot of food for thought. Like Roxane Gay, I do not believe we can be a perfect feminist. Many people will not fit someone's definition of a perfect feminist. We are probably all seen as a bad feminist by someone.
 
The New Jim Crow would pair well with the documentary 13th by Ava DuVernay. It's hard to read because many things about our criminal justice system seem so horrifying and also entrenched. There is some hopefulness, but there is so much work to do to change things.
 
Picture Books
 
The standout picture books of the week - 
Speaking of feminism, I'm a Girl! really points out that there is not just one way to express being a girl. The main character is consistently called a boy throughout the book and keeps letting people know that things like playing in the mud and being loud are awesome and they are a girl.
 
I enjoyed reading about Zora Neal Hurston in Zora Hurston and the Chinaberry Tree. This book also shows a young girl who is interested in things not generally considered to be "girlish." Zora's mother encourages her to follow her dreams though. 

This Bridge Will Not Be Gray is a simple narrative about how the Golden Gate Bridge came to be and why it is such a unique color. Having been to San Francisco many times, I found this to be very interesting. It's also fun for the architecture aspect.
 
The Coming Week:
I have a few books from the library waiting for me: The Only Road and Flygirl. I also want to get to Rad Women Worldwide for Women's History Month. I heard the author over on the Nerdette podcast last week. Have a great week filled with books!

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 131/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 69/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 42/125
#MustReadin2017 - 11/24

Sunday, March 5, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week on the Blogs:


Last Week in Books:
 
 


There were too many books this past week for me to talk about all of them. If you want to know more about a specific title, visit my Goodreads shelf. The standout biographies were the ones about Keith Haring, Leontyne Price, Lena Horne, and Jesse Owens. I also enjoyed the two memoirs I read that were young readers editions, The Distance Between Us and Misty Copeland.

Nikko Draws a Feeling was a cool one and I loved Nope! I think we have all been in a position of fear when trying something new at some point and this book illustrates it well. Cat Knit was super cute and of course I picked it because I knit.

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin is a powerful book (not kidlit) and one I wish I had read before reading Between the World and Me. I will need to read that again now that I have read the book Ta-Nehisi Coates was referencing. I will be looking for more books by Baldwin and am hoping to eventually watch the documentary I Am Not Your Negro at some point. It hasn't been showing anywhere near me yet.

The Coming Week:
I'll be reading the graphic novel version of Kindred and finishing The New Jim Crow. I hope to start Bad Feminist also. Beyond those, I am not sure what will come my way.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 117/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 60/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 38/125

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Two Views of the Past


Today a teacher asked for pairs of books that deal with historical events. She wanted texts that presented the same basic event. Students will be looking at the ways authors can present a story or information. Here are pairs with distinctive differences (summaries via Goodreads):

Brick by Brick:  
The president of a new country
needs a new home,
so many hands work
together as one.

Black hands,
white hands,
free hands,
slave hands.

In this powerful story of the building of the White House, Coretta Scott King Award winners Charles R. Smith Jr. and Floyd Cooper capture the emotion and toil that created this incredible structure, the home of our president. The White House was created by many hands, several of the slaves', who will be remembered throughout history for their extraordinary feat. Many slaves were able to purchase their freedom after earning money from learning a trade through this work, which speaks to their unbelievable strength. The title reflects how this towering symbol of America was created by hand, human hands, working toward their freedom, brick by brick.

The House That George Built:
THE HOUSE THAT GEORGE BUILT takes readers through the process of how the president’s house came to be—starting with the contest George held to choose the perfect design for this legendary landmark, all the way to President John Adams’s move into the grandiose home. Cleverly written in the familiar format of "The House That Jack Built," author Suzanne Slade supplements her rhyming verse with lively conversational prose, describing how George was involved in this project from beginning to end, from selecting the location to figuring out how to get the thousands of heavy bricks to the construction site. Rebecca Bond’s watercolor illustrations help readers follow the steps to what became the White House as we know it today.
 ---------------
Obviously the two books come at the building of the White House from two very different perspectives. After I collected several pairs, I wondered how I would remember the titles if they were needed again in the future and decided to type it up for the blog so I can find them again and share with others too. Here are the other pairs.

 
Juneteenth for Maisie by Floyd Cooper
Mazie is ready to celebrate liberty. She is ready to celebrate freedom. She is ready to celebrate a great day in American history — the day her ancestors were no longer slaves. Mazie remembers the struggles and the triumph, as she gets ready to celebrate Juneteenth.

All Different Now: Juneteenth, the First Day of Freedom by Angela Johnson illustrated by E.B. Lewis
Through the eyes of one little girl, All Different Now tells the story of the first Juneteenth, the day freedom finally came to the last of the slaves in the South. Since then, the observance of June 19 as African American Emancipation Day has spread across the United States and beyond. This stunning picture book includes notes from the author and illustrator, a timeline of important dates, and a glossary of relevant terms.

Back of the Bus by Aaron Reynolds illustrated by Floyed Cooper:
It seems like any other winter day in Montgomery, Alabama. Mama and child are riding where they're supposed to, way in the back of the bus. The boy passes the time by watching his marble roll up and down the aisle with the motion of the bus, until from way up front a big commotion breaks out. He can't see what's going on, but he can see the policeman arrive outside and he can see Mama's chin grow strong. "There you go, Rosa Parks," she says, "stirrin' up a nest of hornets. Tomorrow all this'll be forgot." But they both know differently

Boycott Blues by Andrea Davis Pinkney illustrated by Brian Pinkney:
This story begins with shoes.
This story is all for true.
This story walks. And walks. And walks.
To the blues.
Rosa Parks took a stand by keeping her seat on the bus. When she was arrested for it, her supporters protested by refusing to ride. Soon a community of thousands was coming together to help one another get where they needed to go. Some started taxis, some rode bikes, but they all walked and walked.

With dogged feet. With dog-tired feet. With boycott feet. With boycott blues.

And, after 382 days of walking, they walked Jim Crow right out of town. . . .

Andrea Davis Pinkney and Brian Pinkney present a poignant, blues-infused tribute to the men and women of the Montgomery bus boycott, who refused to give up until they got justice.

 
Way Up and Over Everything by Alice McGill illustrated by Jude Daly:
My great-grandmama’s mama told her and she told me this story about a long time ago . . .

So begins this account of the author’s great-great-grandmother Jane, and how she meets a slave new to the plantation, a slave who would prove to have magical powers . . . created by the wish for freedom. Alice McGill remembers this story, passed down in her family through the generations, from her childhood and how her greatgrandmother told it to her “as if unveiling a great, wonderful secret. My siblings and I believed that certain Africans shared this gift of taking to the air—‘way up and over everything.’”

The People Could Fly by Virginia Hamilton illustrated by Leo & Diane Dillon:
“THE PEOPLE COULD FLY,” the title story in Virginia Hamilton’s prize-winning American Black folktale collection, is a fantasy tale of the slaves who possessed the ancient magic words that enabled them to literally fly away to freedom. And it is a moving tale of those who did not have the opportunity to “fly” away, who remained slaves with only their imaginations to set them free as they told and retold this tale.

Leo and Diane Dillon have created powerful new illustrations in full color for every page of this picture book presentation of Virginia Hamilton’s most beloved tale. The author’s original historical note as well as her previously unpublished notes are included.
-------------------------------

1621: A New Look at Thanksgiving might work with any number of picture books that have a more mythical type of storyline.

If you know of other pairings that would work for such an activity, please let me know.

Sunday, February 26, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week in Books:
Tales of the Talented Tenth: Bessie Stringfield is an entertaining YA graphic novel bio of an African American woman who criss-crossed the U.S. on a motorcycle. I enjoyed finding out about her adventures and her determination to live in a way that fit her personality and passions. Hoodoo is a seriously creepy middle grade novel and I know there are students who are gonna love it. The Education of Margot Sanchez is a YA book about family, community and more.

In Plain Sight is a sweet picture book about a granddaughter/grandfather relationship told through their daily game of hide and seek. Readers can also try to spot the hidden objects. Sleep is an older picture book created to go with a choral work. It has lovely dreamlike pictures to go with the text. Because of the Sun is a fairly intense YA book about a girl dealing with grief and some pretty emotional family history.

The Hate U Give was a re-read to prepare for a book discussion over at Rich in Color. It's a book everyone should read. It's a fantastic novel that touches on friendship, family, racism, and community. The book is so relevant to what is happening around our country right now. I loved the characters and the voice of Starr. It's a book that made me laugh and cry. A Spy Called James was interesting because I had never heard of James Lafayette before.  He was enslaved, but worked as a double agent in the Revolutionary War. It's a picture book and I would have enjoyed even more facts, but I don't think there is a ton of source info about him. Quiet Power is a young people's version of the adult nonfiction book Quiet. It's about being an introvert. I'm an introvert and found it nice to have validation for some of the things I feel and do. I think young people would enjoy it.

Pauly Wants to Doodle All the Day is a self-published book by a local author. It's not fancy, but it was nice to read it knowing that the author works in my school district. She'll be part of the author fair I'm helping co-ordinate for WEMTA in the Dells next month. ABC Pasta is another book by Juana Medina that highlights found art. The illustrations are fun though sometimes the vocabulary is quite challenging. Things to Do is a beautiful and poetic look at some of the simple things in life that bring joy.

The Coming Week: I'm looking forward to getting the graphic novel version of Kindred. For the month of March we're going to be focusing on young women in graphic novels over at Rich in Color. That's going to be one I read for review there. I'm wanting to see the movie I Am Not Your Negro, but it isn't playing anywhere around here so I think I will try to read some of James Baldwin's books while I wait. Also, next weekend I get to see Carole Boston Weatherford at the Zolotow Award reception so I may re-read some of her books.


Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 85/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 41/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
ReadPOC Challenge - 27/125

Monday, February 20, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?


It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Last Week on the Blog:

Last Week in Books:
 
 

I read a lot this week, but there were several that really stood out from the rest. Juliet Takes a Breath by Gabby Rivera was amazing. I loved Juliet and really appreciated hearing her voice and watching her grow. She is figuring out her cultural history and finding out what feminism means for her. As she meets new people and researches women from history, she navigates ideas, vocabulary and relationships. I will definitely be recommending this one and re-reading it too.

Wonders of the Invisible World by Christopher Barzak was intriguing. I went into it thinking it was a simple contemporary romance between Aidan and Jarrod. It has a whole other plot going on though. There are stories within the story and supernatural happenings. I loved that it was complex and really delved into the idea of story.

For our African American Read-In, I read I, Too, Am America illustrated by Bryan Collier with my fourth and fifth grade students. In just a few words Langston Hughes conveys a powerful message. The book is also gorgeous and the excellent author's note teaches some history of the Pullman Porters. It's a book I use and revisit almost every year.

The final two that really made an impression are both about sound and the absence of sound. The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet written by Carmen Agra Deedy and illustrated by Eugene Yelchin is a fabulous story that is exactly what I was looking for this week. I wanted to find a good picture book to introduce freedom of speech. This is about a village that has been very noisy. The new mayor creates increasingly strict rules that require residents to be quiet. The rooster defies the rules even when the consequences become more and more restrictive. It's a story that will inspire much discussion.

The other book about sound is The Sound of Silence written by Katrina Goldseito and illustrated by Julia Kuo. In it, the young child is trying to find silence, but when listening, always hears sounds everywhere. It speaks to mindfulness and inner peace.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 72/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 33/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
ReadPOC Challenge - 22/125

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Review: American Street

Title: American Street
Author: Ibi Zoboi  
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages:336
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Review copy: ARC via Edelweiss
Availability: On shelves now

Summary:  On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life. But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own. Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

Review: American Street and Joy Road cross each other in Detroit. Fabiola's cousins live near this intersection of streets that would seem to bring happiness and the answers to dreams. Fabiola is finding the reality to be very different than what she had expected though. She was coming with her mother from Haiti, but her mother was detained by immigration officials so she had to meet her cousins and her aunt on her own. There are new people to meet and many adjustments to make, but Fabiola holds onto her faith and her inner strength as she settles into the new family and culture. This is very much an immigrant story. Readers see the challenges Fabiola goes through and the balancing act she has holding her values and history close while still trying to find her way in this new life.

This is also a story of family ties and sisterhood. What are sisters willing to do for each other? Fabiola's cousins may fight among themselves sometimes, but they always have each other's back. The majority of the story is told from Fabiola's perspective, but we do get chapters in between from the sisters and other characters so we get their point of view sometimes.

Faith plays a role in the story too. Fabiola believes in Haitian Vodou and is not about to let that go. In American media, Vodou can often be portrayed in a negative way or is included only to add something exotic. This isn't the case in American Street. It's unique enough that her cousins ask questions about what she's doing, but it is an important part of Fabiola's daily life.

Her faith is something Fabiola appreciates about her Haitian culture. She doesn't just accept the narrative that everything about the U.S. is better. She knows that there are good things about being in the U.S., but also acknowledges the things about her home that were superior - like the support of her family and community and her feeling of safety.

Recommendation: Get it soon. This novel packs quite a punch and Fabiola is someone you will be glad you met.