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Growing up female in USA: Our Stories, Our Voices – edited by Amy Reed (book review)

book cover of Our Stories, Our Voices. Edited by Amy Reed, published by Simon Pulse. | recommended on BooksYALove.comGirls have been marginalized,
belittled, abused, attacked, ignored –
time to tell the stories and fight injustice!

Strong personal essays by Martha Brockenbrough, Jaye Robin Brown, Sona Charaipotra, Brandy Colbert, Somaiya Daud, Christine Day, Alexandra Duncan, I.W. Gregorio, Maurene Goo, Ellen Hopkins, Stephanie Kuehnert, Nina LaCour, Anna-Marie McLemore, Sandhya Menon, Hannah Moskowitz, Julie Murphy, Aisha Saeed, Jenny Torres Sanchez, Amber Smith, and Tracy Walker bring a wide range of young female experiences together in this book, begun in the wake of 2016 election.

You’ll recognize some names from my recent recommendations of their fiction – like Amy Reed – The Nowhere Girls,
Julie Murphy – Dumplin’,
Maureen Goo – I Believe in a Thing Called Love,
Sandhya Menon – When Dimple Met Rishi, From Twinkle With Love
and others from books you’ve encountered in libraries, bookshops, and friends’ collections.

Meet them, hear their voices, find your voice, vote whenever you can!
**kmm

Book info: Our Stories, Our Voices: 21 YA Authors Get Real About Injustice, Empowerment, and Growing Up Female in America / edited by Amy Reed. Simon Pulse, 2018. [editor site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Growing up female in the US became even less safe after the 2016 elections, but personal essays by 21 YA authors can bring readers empathy, empowering messages, and a measure of hope mixed with sparks toward moving forward.

Intersectionality – being female and (non-white, immigrant, LGBQT, disabled, fat, bullied) – is the reality for many of these authors who may or may not have transformed their shame, anger, or sorrow into wide-open political activism.

Essays can cover subjects which are very difficult for some readers, so the Editor’s Note specifies which titles discuss abuse, sexual assault, and racist violence.

Read these experiences and seek out others, consult the resources given, be aware of the powers each of us has to steer the future, make your voice heard.

Teen tales of Love & Profanity, bullying, friendship, and more (book review)

hardback book cover of Love & Profanity, edited by Nick Healy et al. Published by Switch Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comTeen angst and adoration,
family, friends, love, work –
40 true stories from authors you know and authors you’ll want to meet.

The book’s subtitle explains it all: “a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life” and its subject index includes Stories about… Authority Figures, Being Sneaky, Friends-Bad, Friends-Good, and much more.

You can find this eclectic book at your local library or independent bookstore as the 2015 hardcover or 2016 paperback (2 different covers).

What personal story would you be bold enough to share?
**kmm

Book info: Love and Profanity: a Collection of True, Tortured, Wild, Hilarious, Concise, and Intense Tales of Teenage Life / edited by Nick Healy, with Kristen Mohn, Nate LeBoutillier, and Lindsy O’Brien. Switch Press, 2015 (hardcover), 2016 (paperback) [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Writers share vignettes from their teen years in this collection of autobiographical short stories, ranging from mild to wild, mundane to life-altering, divided into four “Love and” sections – profanity, physics, madness, and apologies.

By including YA authors we recognize like Kwame Alexander, Carrie Mesrobian, and Jon Scieszka alongside new-to-us writers like essayist Joey Franklin and science writer Esther Porter, we see a wide range of teen experiences from different genders and sexualities, regions of the US, economic and social conditions, and family configurations.

The subject index itself portrays teenage life, noting Stories About… Being Helpful (or Not), Bullying, Cars, Crushes, Romance Gone Wrong, Siblings, Struggling to Fit In, Working, and much more.

Tough stories? Listen and learn

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC bring us strong stories from real life and real-life situations.

Download these complete audiobooks from Thursday through Wednesday this week for free, then listen to them whenever you like.

If you miss the free download time, check with your local library through WorldCat to see if they have the CD (or print book or eBook) that you can borrow.

CD of The Invisible Girls, by Sarah Thebarge | Read by Kirsten Potter Published by Oasis Audio, LLC. | recommended on BooksYALove.comThe Invisible Girls (download free here from 5-11 July 2018)
by Sarah Thebarge
Read by Kirsten Potter
Published by Oasis Audio, LLC.

As a young woman remaking her own life in a new city, the author meets a refugee mother desperate to feed her five daughters in a new culture they don’t understand.
Girls Like Us (download free here from 5-11 July 2018)
CD cover of Girls Like Us, by Gail Giles | Read by Lauren Ezzo, Brittany Pressley Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.comby Gail Giles
Read by Lauren Ezzo, Brittany Pressley
Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Publishing

After graduating, Biddy (fists raised against everything) and Quinny (so timid, so very scared) are placed together as apartment-mates and must learn to navigate the world beyond their special education program.

What memoirs and true-to-life fiction have you read lately?
**kmm

Tales of despair & hope – listen up!

So many stories of enslavement and escape – here are two to read with your ears!

Thank you to the publishers of these audiobooks for making them freely available each week through http://www.audiobooksync.com/. 

Download either or both titles by clicking on the link from Thursday through Wednesday (14-20 June 2018), then listen to them whenever you want.

CD cover of My Name is Not Friday, by Jon Walter | Read by Dion Graham Published by Scholastic Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comMy Name Is Not Friday (download here free 14-20 June 2018)
by Jon Walter
Read by Dion Graham
Published by Scholastic Audio

During the Civil War, young free-man Samuel stands up for his brother and is sold from their Northern orphanage into Southern slavery where he vows to remember his own name and regain his freedom.

Come August, Come Freedom: the Bellows, the Gallows, and the Black General Gabriel (download here free 14-20 June 2018)CD cover of Come August, Come Freedom by Gigi Amateau | Read by J.D. Jackson Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Gigi Amateau
Read by J.D. Jackson
Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Publishing

Born into slavery, talented blacksmith Gabriel is inspired by Haitian revolutionaries to organize enslaved people of Virginia to rebel in 1800 – a little-known true story.

This Juneteenth, what other historical stories of rebellion and freedom should we be hearing?
**kmm

Staying true to yourself – free audiobooks this week

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC bring us stories of being one’s truest self despite others’ prejudices.

You can download these complete audiobooks from Thursday through Wednesday (17-13 May 2018) at zero cost, then listen to them whenever you like (as long as they’re saved on your device).

Big thanks to the audiobook publishers who share these super choices all summer long at http://www.audiobooksync.com/!

CD cover of Saving Montgomery Sole by Mariko Tamaki | Read by Rebecca Lowman Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.comSaving Montgomery Sole (free download here 17-23 May 2018)
by Mariko Tamaki
Read by Rebecca Lowman
Published by Listening Library

Struggling as the daughter of two moms in their small narrow-minded town, Monty discovers that mysteries come in all forms and that true friends (and frozen yogurt) are true gifts.

 

Being Jazz: My Life as a (Transgender) Teen (free download here 17-23 May 2018)CD cover of Being Jazz, by Jazz Jennings | Read by Jazz Jennings Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Jazz Jennings
Read by Jazz Jennings
Published by Listening Library

Jazz reads her second autobiography recounting her teen years and the challenges and bullying she has faced as a prominent voice for transgender youth in the years following her family’s support as she transitioned as an elementary school child.

What other books about fitting in versus being your true self would you recommend?
**kmm

Violence and truth – books to read with your ears!

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC bring us 9-year-olds faced with violence and hard choices, on opposite sides of the world.

Download either or both titles by Wednesday (5/16/18), then listen to your selection any time you like, using the free Overdrive app.

Bookmark the SYNC site now so you can download great audiobooks all summer long: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD cover of Johnny Get Your Gun, by John Ball | Read by Dion Graham Published by Brilliance Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com Johnny, Get Your Gun (free download 5/10-16/18)
by John Ball
Read by Dion Graham
Published by Brilliance Publishing

Fight the school bully? A 9 year old boy with a gun sparks violence in his impoverished LA neighborhood as racial tensions flare during the 1960s.

 

On Two Feet and Wings (free download 5/10-16/18)CD cover of On Two Feet and Wings, by Abbas Kazerooni | Read by Abbas Kazerooni Published by Brilliance Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Abbas Kazerooni
Read by Abbas Kazerooni
Published by Brilliance Publishing

Abbas can become a soldier at age 9 in the Iran-Iraq War or escape to Turkey without money, family, or friends! Autobiography narrated by the author.

Other stories of young kids prevailing in terrible times?
**kmm

Tales of escape and hope to read with your ears

Songs of desperation and hope thread through his week’s free audiobooks from SYNC to read with your ears!

Remember that although these complete audiobooks are only available from Thursday through Wednesday, you have free use of them as long as you keep them on your computer or electronic device.

Click each CD title to reach the download site – enjoy!

CD cover of Solo, by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess | Read by Kwame Alexander Published by Blink | recommended on BooksYALove.com Solo (free download from 5-11 May 2018)
by Kwame Alexander, Mary Rand Hess 
Read by Kwame Alexander 
Published by Blink

Blade wants to escape his rock-star dad’s raucous reputation… but a family secret bursts onto the young musician’s present – a novel in verse.
 

The Devil’s Highway: a True Story (free download from 5-11 May 2018)CD cover of Devil's Highway, by Luis Alberto Urrea | Read by Luis Alberto Urrea Published by Hachette Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Luis Alberto Urrea
Read by Luis Alberto Urrea
Published by Hachette Audio

In May 2001, a group of men tried to cross the desert from Mexico into Arizona, but only half survived. Investigative reporting of a story that repeats itself often, even today.

What other stories of escape would you recommmend?
**kmm

W for Wow! It’s AudioSync time again = free audiobooks all summer long.

Free audiobooks!
Two new titles every week!
All summer long – starting today!

We’re getting a week’s headstart on summer reading for your ears, as AudioSync opens its free audiobook download season now.

Click on each CD title to reach the download site for this week’s free audiobooks from SYNC so you can read with your ears!

You only need to input your name and email address to download these complete audiobooks, then you can listen to them as long as they’re saved on your computer or electronic device.

I’ll remind you each Thursday of the new weekly selections so you can get them before their free status expires on Wednesday.

CD cover of The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items From the First World War. by David Almond, John Boyne, Tracy Chevalier, Ursula Dubosarsky, Timothée de Fombelle | Read by Nico Evers-Swindell, JD Jackson, Gerard Doyle, Richard Halverson, Sarah Coomes, Nick Podehl Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.com The Great War: Stories Inspired by Items From the First World War

by David Almond, John Boyne, Tracy Chevalier, Ursula Dubosarsky, Timothée de Fombelle
Read by Nico Evers-Swindell, JD Jackson, Gerard Doyle, Richard Halverson, Sarah Coomes, Nick Podehl
Published by Candlewick on Brilliance Publishing

Original short stories based on common things used by soldiers and civilians in World War I, narrated in Scots, British, Australian, African-American, French, and Irish accents.

 
A Study in CharlotteCD cover of A Study in Charlotte, by Brittany Cavallaro | Read by Graham Halstead, Julia Whelan Published by HarperAudio | recommended on BooksYALove.com

by Brittany Cavallaro
Read by Graham Halstead, Julia Whelan
Published by HarperAudio

The great-great-great-grandkids of Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson must work together to solve the murder of a boarding school classmate – before they are considered the prime suspects! (first in a trilogy)

What other novels of conflict would you recommend?
**kmm

B for Jerry Borrowman, author of Compassionate Soldier (book review)

cover of Compassionate Soldier by Jerry Borrowman, published by Shadow Mountain | recommended on BooksYALove.comB is for battles fought honorably,
for being merciful to wounded enemies,
for being human in wartime.

Borrowman’s research reveals the true stories of men and women who saw past the label of “enemy” to behave with honor during the American Revolution, Civil War, World War I and onward to Vietnam and Iraq.

A British rifle inventor refuses to shoot George Washington in the back during the Revolutionary War.

Rudi, an ordinary German boy who defied Hitler’s SS recruiters, was saved by a Nazi prison guard.

The best non-fiction reads like a novel, not a fact list – check out Compassionate Soldier at your local library or independent bookstore.

What other true stories of compassion to enemies do you know?
**kmm

Book info: Compassionate Soldier: Remarkable True Stories of Mercy, Heroism, and Honor From the Battlefield / Jerry Borrowman. Shadow Mountain Publishing, 2017. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

On their Lion Island, young people of Cuba dream and rebel, by Margarita Engle (book review)

book cover of Lion Island, by Margarita Engle, published by Atheneum BFYR | recommended on BooksYALove.comSongs for freedom,
words as power –
freedom from Spain, from slavery?

Did you know about Chinese immigrants who fled to Cuba, escaping racist attacks in America? They struggled for freedom from unfair indenture alongside enslaved Africans during the days when Cuba sought its independence from Spain – so many stories forgotten, lost, found, retold.

Look for this historical novel-in-verse at your local library or independent bookstore in hardcover or paperback.

Could you leave your homeland for safety, then leave again?
**kmm

Book info: Lion Island: Cuba’s Warrior of Words / Margarita Engle. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: At the confluence of Cuban, Chinese, and African cultures, poetic voices of three young people tell the stories of arrival and broken promises, despair and hope, love and the future during their island home’s early years as a nation.

To learn the proper Spanish that his Chinese mother never knew, Antonio’s African father sends him to school in La Habana city.

As he runs errands within the Chinese community for wealthy men displaced from California by anti-Asian prejudice in the post-Gold Rush years, the 12 year old meets twin sister and brother Fan and Wing.

Antonio hears stories of unfairness and change, falls in love with words, wonders if they have true power.

Fan runs away from the sugarcane fields, from forced marriage – to sing and write songs and sing true.

Wing remembers being forced from their California home, wants to help the rebels in Cuba’s mountains.

Months roll into years as the three young people help hide escaped slaves, read letters of protest sent to China and Madrid, long for power over their own lives.

Lyrically, poetically, alternating voices relate the struggles of indentured Chinese workers and enslaved African people fighting for their freedom in the 1870s as Cuba strives for independence from Spain.