From the author‘s note.
This wasn‘t quite what I had expected. Everything I‘d heard focused on Julia trying to solve the mysteries around her sister‘s death. While that is part of the story, I was more intrigued by the blunt and honest depiction of a downward spiral into depression. A bit slow at first, but I was riveted in the 2nd half.
Passing time at the library today while my car is getting fixed. This was a fun “one sitting” book that I‘ve been meaning to read for a while. Heartfelt and humorous, Bell shares her story from the kindergarten where she learned to read lips, to befriending kids in her neighborhood, to discovering her “super powers” at her Gen Ed elementary school. She includes friend drama and first crushes- material familiar to any kid.
This was a fun romp! I‘d heard the author speak a when she was promoting the sequel. In reading “mad scientist” stories of the 19th century, she noticed mentions of experiments on their daughters or creating female subjects (Jekyll/Hyde, Moreau, Rappaccini, &Frankenstein). Goss imagines a world in which these women come together to solve mysteries- with the aid of Holmes and Watson. Fans of Meyer‘s The Lunar Chronicles may want to check this out.
Another one for the list of “books I can‘t believe I waited this long to read.” Poignant and eloquently written, Coates blends personal experiences with historical and current events. This book is written as a letter to his son- to both reflect and anticipate what his life might be like. Coates reads the audio version himself, adding another layer to this already very personal work.
Zoey is a 7th grader in rural Vermont. She has much more on her plate than her more financially stable peers. This book tackles housing insecurity, emotional abuse, and much more. I appreciated the way the guns were discussed. When shots are fired in the school parking lot, a quiet boy who hunts is wrongly accused. Braden frames the debate so kids can understand but also highlights the points that get lost when we talk in all-or-nothing terms.
A bit of a slow start, but I ended up liking this one more than I thought I would. Lee survived a school shooting her freshman year of high school. Now a senior, she‘s trying to gather stories from the other survivors to set the record straight on what really happened. Lots of interesting commentary on the value of the truth, how stories are used to advance agendas, and what can happen when people try to control their own narratives.
“A comic anthology taking a stand against racism and bigotry.” I Kickstarted this one a while back. It‘s now available here:
Proceeds go to the SPLC.
The artwork and stories are beautiful. My silly photos don‘t do them justice.
Finished this one a few days ago. I loved the relationship between Merci and her grandfather, Lolo. It‘s at the heart of this story, but not the whole story. Merci must learn to juggle family and school obligations while navigating the social hierarchy of 6th grade.
As a grown white lady, I‘m probably not the target audience for this one. I still thought it was wonderful. The stories are about kids grappling with various aspects of their identity- usually along the lines of “What does it mean to be black and...?” There have always been a few black and multiracial students in the predominantly white schools where I teach. This offered some insight on their experiences.
First full day of summer break. Lounged around and did a little “Chapter 1 day fun day”- reading the first chapter of books from my TBR shelf. A few of the non-fiction ones I‘ve read a bit of before and was dipping back in.
Yes, both coffees were for me. Two different flavors at once. Such a wild kick off to summer.
From the opening piece in this collection,”The Monster at the End of this Story” by Paul Tobin and Steve Lieber. Tackles white supremacy and privilege.
I Kickstarted this one. I was so excited when it arrived today! It‘s “a comic anthology taking a stand against racism and bigotry.”
Lou is part of the Muskogee Nation. She attends a majority white school where she works on the student newspaper. The biggest story of the semester is the diverse casting choices made for school‘s production of The Wizard of Oz and the pushback from the local community. This book includes some hard truths about L. Frank Baum‘s views on Native Americans, which I was vaguely familiar with, but hadn‘t read excerpts from his editorials.
When my partner asked what this trilogy was about I started describing the story. When he started to look confused I said, “Racism and climate change.”
There were so many powerful passages in this last book. I‘ll definitively be revisiting this one a few times.
This is a fun, lighthearted read. It‘s a retelling of Much Ado About Nothing. Bit of a slow start. Hana (Hero) and Claudia (Claudio) don‘t get together until about 100 pages in. BUT it‘s a spot-on depiction of summer camp life. Most of the more ridiculous plot points come from the original play. I really appreciate how Booth handled some of the more slut-shamey aspects of play.
Solid beach read.
This was wonderful! Such a sweet story with some pleasant surprises. Frances is a seamstress who receives a mysterious job offer. She quickly discovers she‘ll be designing dresses for Prince Sebastian. Together they transform him into Lady Crystallia, fashion icon.
Stayed up late last night to finish this. So worth it! 7th grader Shayla is dealing with all sorts of middle school problems- shifting friendships, unrequited crushes, exploring new interests, all while trying to answer some heavy questions around racial identity. She is one of only a handful of black students at her school. Ramée does a beautiful job of weaving the different parts of Shayla‘s life together as she tries to navigate adolescences.
I recommend this to someone as a "great transitional book between middle grade and YA" mainly due to the character's age and a handful of her childlike traits. I was in the process of reading it. I just finished. This book gets pretty dark. It deals with abuse and some sexual situations. Still a worth while read, but it does get very heavy.
The Hate U Give was so good, I figured Thomas‘ 2nd book might not live up to it. Boy was I wrong. I love how much depth she gives her characters, even those not in the spotlight. I‘m so glad I listened to the audio version. The narrator did an amazing job with the rap parts. I listened in my car mostly, alternately gasping at surprises and tearing up when things got heavy- all while driving on the highway.
Loved this! Jemisin uses a variety of settings- from distant planets, to mystical kingdoms, to present day New York and New Orleans. I listened to the audio version, which has some wonderful performances, though the print version might be better for stories that include e-correspondence.
I used to teach LeGuin‘s The Ones Who Walked Away from Omelas. Jemisin‘s response, The Ones Who Stay and Fight, was by itself well worth getting the book.
I‘d been savoring this one for a few weeks. Now a new favorite! In each essay, a black author shares her reading experiences and sources of inspiration. It‘s a fantastic source of suggested reading material. Yes, Angelou, Morrison, and Walker are there, but so are many other authors who didn‘t make the cut for the predominantly white book lists given to English majors like myself. N.K. Jemisin‘s essay on cultural mythology is my favorite.
This story opens with Vanessa Williams winning the 1983 Miss America pageant. 13 year old Vanessa Martin is watching at home. Her family and teacher encourage her to join the middle school pageant. She‘s not sure she‘s pageant material though. This book tackles colorism, family secrets, and complex female friendships. Charles peppers the first person narrative with poems and diary entries, all of which are beautifully written. (See comments)