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Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico, by David Bowles (book review)

book cover of Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico, by David Bowles. Published by Cinco Puntos Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comGods walk the earth,
demigods arise, humans also,
in the lands we now call Mexico.

As a single narrative, this recounting of the traditional tales of creation and learning, good and evil, progress and conquest runs from the pre-dawn of the First Age through the rise of civilization with the Toltecs, Maya, and Aztecs to the coming of the Spanish whose swords and diseases killed so many and whose religion silenced these stories.

Encounter Aztec and Maya names that you might recognize, like Kukulkan and the ancient city of Chichen Itza, and many more whom you need to meet (some from as far away as possible, like god of war Huitzilopochtli).

Other mythic traditions we should pay more attention to?
**kmm

Book info: Feathered Serpent, Dark Heart of Sky: Myths of Mexico / David Bowles. Cinco Puntos Press, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The myths threading through the ancestral memories of Mexico’s native peoples are brought together here in an entrancing narrative that spans the five ages.

World-shaking jealousy between bright-burning Heart of Sky and knowledge-bringing Feathered Serpent raged over millenia, the Hero Twins journeyed down into the lands of Death, the gods toyed with human kingdoms throughout time to turn peaceful allies into feuding neighbors – so many stories of loyalty and betrayal wind through the history of the place now called Mexico.

Discover the origin of the mosquito and spider monkey, learn how the Mixteca-Cloud People were born of river trees and challenged Lord Sun himself, wonder as eagle, wolf, and jaguar journey with Ce Acatl Quetzalcoatl as willing sacrifices to the temple where his bloodthirsty uncles await.

Weaving together separate Toltec, Maya, and Aztec traditional tales with accents from Purepecha, Zapotec, and many more kingdoms, this deeply researched story-stream begins before humankind existed and ends with the near-erasure of the peoples of Mesoamerica by Spanish conquistadors.

Real or not? Search for the Homestead Treasure, by Ann Treacy (book review)

book cover of Search for the Homestead Treasure, by Ann Treacy. Published by University of Minnesota Press | recommended on BooksYALove.comA family treasure,
a family tragedy –
which will drive his family’s future?

Not easy for Martin, moving from his town school, learning how to farm, being the man of the house at 14.

If he can just figure out the clues in his great-aunt’s diary and find the “dowry” brought by his grandmother from Sweden, then he can save his father’s last family connection and the farm from foreclosure.

Find this 2016 historical mystery at your local library or independent bookstore.

What’s your family’s treasure?
**kmm

Book info: The Search for the Homestead Treasure / Ann Treacy. University of Minnesota Press, 2016.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A year – that’s how long Martin will help Pa on the long-abandoned family farm in 1903 before he goes back to town, unless they locate its rumored treasure first.

An eternity – every heartbeat since their brother Dan died, when Ma lost her spark and Aunt Ida came to make sure Martin and little Lilly were cared for.

The summer months – how long the 14-year-old can sleep in the hayloft and read great-aunt Cora’s diary, hoping to find clues about what her mother brought to the frontier from Sweden before the war and hid in the doll house.

A fleeting moment – when Martin truly believes he can prepare the land for crops without Pa’s help, when he and Gypsy boy Samson can laugh about baseball, when he imagines finding the treasure to save the farm.

Samson becomes a good friend, the Barker boys are bullies, and Mr. Meehan wants to foreclose on the farm to snuff out Pa’s dream in the Minnesota prairie land where Martin searches for his family’s treasure.

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.

Baseball (and bullies) and The Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser (book review)

book cover of Rhino in Right Field, by Susan DeKeyser, published by Margaret K McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comBaseball practice needs a flat open space,
so the city park is a great place!
But sharing the outfield with the zoo can be beastly!

Nick and his buddies love baseball, practicing whenever and wherever they can (no Little League yet in Wisconsin in 1948). They’re thrilled when the new owner of the town’s pro team promises a chance for kids to be on the field for opening day! (or is it just for boys?)

Read the first chapter here to meet Nick and the rhino (free, courtesy of the publisher), then head to your local library or independent bookstore for the rest of the story.

Your close encounter with unusual animals and/or minor league baseball?
**kmm

Book info: The Rhino in Right Field / Susan DeKeyser. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: For the chance to be Mudpuppy batboy for day, 12-year-old Nick will do anything – work harder in Pop’s shoe repair shop, help uncle Spiro with mysterious errands – as the baseball team’s new owner plans an extravaganza for Opening Day.

That bully Pete thinks he’ll be chosen batboy, but Nick can win this contest based on essay-writing and baseball skills – if only his Pop would sign the permission slip… hmmm

He and Ace practice fielding with Penny (wow, can she throw!), hoping Nick’s baseball won’t wind up in the rhino enclosure (again).

His Greek immigrant father is sure that working hard in the family shop is Nick’s destiny, but Uncle Spiro wants to make his own way in post-World War II Wisconsin.

Where will Nick be on Opening Day – in the Mudpuppy dugout or listening on the radio in the shoe shop?

The raiders are coming! Evangelina Takes Flight with her family, by Diana J. Noble (book review)

book cover of Evangelina Takes Flight, by Diana J. Noble, published by Pinata Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com Pancho Villa‘s rebels are coming!
Carry what you can and flee – or be killed!
But refugees aren’t welcomed when they cross into Texas…

So much for 13-year-old Evangelina to cope with now – a girl trying to steal her suitcase on the train (with grandfather’s secret box inside!), store signs in the Texas town that say “No Mexicans” (where can they buy food?), and wondering if they can ever go home to Mexico (is anyone safe there?).

The story is set in 1911, but many things still resonate today in the borderlands.
**kmm

Book info: Evangelina Takes Flight / Diana J. Noble. Pinata Books/Arte Publico Press, 2017. [author Facebook]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pancho Villa and his rebel soldiers are coming? As big sister celebrates her quinceanera before the family flees their northern Mexico rancho, Evangelina worries about little Tomas’ recovering so slowly from a scorpion sting, whether grandfather can travel north with them, what they will find at her aunt’s house in Texas.

By mule wagon, with the men herding their best cattle on another trail, Evangelina’s mother gets the children to the crowded train station, but the journey onward is anything but smooth, and the Texas border town holds no welcome for refugees.

Why is wailing woman La Llorona coming into her dreams?
Will the townspeople’s prejudice keep her and Dr. Taylor from saving lives?
What is in the box grandfather gave her for safekeeping?

Evangelina might even be brave enough to attend the town meeting where rich white people are demanding that only white children can attend the school!

What secrets should remain hidden? Read with your ears to find out!

It’s already our final week of free audiobooks from SYNC for summer 2018!

Download by clicking the link after either title (or both!), save to your device, then listen whenever you like.

If you missed any of the free downloads, check for those titles at your local library through WorldCat (https://www.worldcat.org/).

Big thanks to the audiobook publishers who allow us to download their professionally produced works during this great program every summer!

CD cover of Monstrous Beauty, by Elizabeth Fama | Read by Katherine Kellgren Published by Macmillan Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.comMonstrous Beauty (download here free 19-25 July 2018)
by Elizabeth Fama
Read by Katherine Kellgren
Published by Macmillan Audio

Perhaps knowing more about the ancestress reputed to be a mermaid will help 17-year-old Hester figure out why love has equaled death for women in their family for generations…

The Lost World (download here free 19-25 July 2018) CD cover of The Lost World, by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle | Read by Glen McCready Published by Naxos Audiobooks | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Read by Glen McCready
Published by Naxos Audiobooks

Dinosaurs in South America? Of course intrepid British scientists in the early 20th century will journey there, facing many perils along the way! A late-career story by the author famed for his Sherlock Holmes books.

What were your favorite AudioSYNC audiobooks this summer?
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Tales of outcasts, then and now – audiobooks with shivers!

This year’s program of free audiobooks from SYNC is nearly over, so grab these eerie tales before Wednesday (19 July 2018), so you can listen to them any time on your computer or electronic device.

Click the link for either or both of these professionally recorded audiobooks, download for free, then read with your ears using the free Audible app.

CD cover of How to Hang a Witch, by Adriana Mather | Read by Adriana Mather Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.comHow to Hang a Witch (download here free from 12-19 July 2018)
by Adriana Mather
Read by Adriana Mather
Published by Listening Library

A teen descendant of witch-persecutor Cotton Mather moves to Salem and is taunted by girls who are Descendants of those witches and haunted by a centuries’ old ghost – a curse? or worse?

 

The Scarlet Letter (download here free from 12-19 from July 2018)CD cover of The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne | Read by Donada Peters Published by Listening Library | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Nathaniel Hawthorne
Read by Donada Peters
Published by Listening Library

The classic tale of personal strength in the face of societal expectations – Hester Prynne won’t name the father of her child and must wear the A of adultery in 1642 Boston.

Other Massachusetts-based stories to recommend?
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Witches, curses, tragedy dark and deep – to read with your ears!

Dark tales for stormy summer nights in these two free audiobooks from SYNC!

Or listen to these tragic stories in bright sunlit days later by downloading either or both now and saving them on your computer or electronic device.

CD cover of Macbeth, by William Shakespeare | Read by Josh Cooke, JD Cullum, Dan Donohue, Jeannie Elias, Chuma Gault, James Marsters, Jon Matthews, Alan Shearman, André Sogliuzzo, Kate Steele, Kristoffer Tabori, Joanne Whalley Published by L.A. Theatre Works | recommended on BooksYALove.comMacbeth (download here free from 28 June- 4 July 2018)

by William Shakespeare

Read by Josh Cooke, JD Cullum, Dan Donohue, Jeannie Elias, Chuma Gault, James Marsters, Jon Matthews, Alan Shearman, André Sogliuzzo, Kate Steele, Kristoffer Tabori, Joanne Whalley

Published by L.A. Theatre Works

“The Scottish play” of three witches, murder, and dark tragedy – recorded by full professional cast with live audience.

The Curse of Crow Hollow (download here free from 28 June- 4 July 2018) CD cover of The Curse of Crow Hollow, by Billy Coffey | Read by Gabe Wicks Published by Thomas Nelson | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Billy Coffey
Read by Gabe Wicks
Published by Thomas Nelson

When four teens encounter an old woman who laid a curse when her husband died, a sickness begins striking folks in Crow Hollow – Appalachian witchcraft or worse?

Have you read either of these spooky titles before?
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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

Listen, listen to maker-stories – free this week!

This week’s free audiobooks from SYNC include stories about young women creating something personal and important.

Download these complete audiobooks from Thursday through Wednesday 24-30 May, so you can listen to them using a free Audible app, as long as they’re on your computer or electronic device.

Click on the link for either or both books to start the simple download process.

CD Cover of When Dimple Met Rishi, by Sandhya Menon | Read by Sneha Mathan, Vikas Adam Published by Dreamscape Media | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhen Dimple Met Rishi (download here free from May 24-30, 2018)
by Sandhya Menon
Read by Sneha Mathan, Vikas Adam
Published by Dreamscape Media

Dimple wants to win the app development contest, Mom wants to arrange the ideal Indian marriage, and Rishi wants Dimple to agree with their parents that he is the one for her! Was a summer after graduation ever so complicated?  (I recommended this fun book last May at https://booksyalove.com/?p=8797)
 
Baker’s Magic (download here free from May 24-30, 2018)CD cover of Baker's Magic, by Diane Zahler | Read by Tavia Gilbert, Michael Crouch, Stephen DeRosa, Kenneth Cavett, L.J. Ganser, Robin Miles, Stina Nielsen, Elisabeth Rodgers Published by Live Oak Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Diane Zahler
Read by Tavia Gilbert, Michael Crouch, Stephen DeRosa, Kenneth Cavett, L.J. Ganser, Robin Miles, Stina Nielsen, Elisabeth Rodgers
Published by Live Oak Media

Bee discovers that her baking reflects her moods, a rare gift that takes the 12 year old orphan from small village to castle to pirate ship as she helps a new (and royal) friend escape an evil mage.

What stories about creating and making would you recommend?
**kmm