Tag Archive | African American

I Am Alfonso Jones, student shot by police. By Tony Medina, illustrated by Stacey Robinson & John Jennings (book review)

book cover of I Am Alfonso Jones, by Tony Medina, illustrated by Stacey Robinson & John Jennings. Published by Tu Books. | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Choked, shot, beaten,
arrested, imprisoned on minor charges,
how many black men are gone now?

This graphic novel traces the shortened life of son, friend, musician, bicycle messenger, history scholar Alfonso and the stories of other African Americans killed by police brutality.

Robinson and Jennings’ black and white illustrations expand the #blacklivesmatter narrative written by Tony Medina, whose poems are recited at the Poetry Protest that Alfonso can see and hear as his ghost drifts from the train to his neighborhood and back…

Check out Medina’s article describing how he created this non-stereotypical Puerto Rican Black teen who loves his community’s history so deeply – why should a such a talented young man be dead?

Where is justice? How can everyday people stop the violence?
**kmm

Book info: I Am Alfonso Jones / Tony Medina, illustrated by Stacey Robinson & John Jennings. Tu Books, 2017. [author site] [artist Robinson tumblr] [artist Jennings interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My Book Talk: Buying his first suit shouldn’t get him shot, shouldn’t keep him from seeing Dad finally home from prison with his name cleared, shouldn’t stop him from trying out for ‘Hip-Hop Hamlet’ at his arts high school in NYC, shouldn’t prevent him from telling bestie Danetta how he really feels about her…

On a subway train filled with ghosts of other African Americans wrongly killed, Alfonso learns more than his history studies revealed – about injustice, unfair treatment, deliberate abuse and prejudice – but dead is dead…

The Black-Puerto Rican young man’s family, friends, and community rally for justice and the prosecution of the police officer who shot Alfonso dead in this too-real #blacklivesmatter graphic novel.

Authors & illustrators share their childhood works in Our Story Begins, edited by Elissa Brent Weissman (book review)

book cover of Our Story Begins, edited by Elissa Brent Weissnman. Published by Atheneum/Simon & Schuster | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Looking forward to a new year,
looking back over the past –
writers and artists do this, too!

You’ll recognize so many of your favorite authors and illustrators of works for kids and young adults in the “About the Author” section at the publisher’s webpage for this book!

So think about the stories you wrote in earlier years, the comic strips you drew, the plays that you put on for your family, the news reports that you made as a kid.

A new year, new opportunities, what will you begin?
**kmm

Book info: Our Story Begins: Children’s Authors and Illustrators Share Fun, Inspiring, and Occasionally Ridiculous Things They Wrote and Drew as Kids / edited by Elissa Brent Weissman. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [editor site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: “When did you start drawing? When did you know that you wanted to write books?” These frequent questions from young readers are answered by 25 of our favorite authors and illustrators – with examples of their very early works – in this anthology which will inspire a new generation of creators.

A grade-school photo from each author and illustrator begins their chapter which includes reproductions of their childhood stories or drawings in crayon, pencil, pen, or typing.

There’s a photo of author Elissa Brent Weissman as a kid with Gordon Korman at his book signing, then turn to Korman’s chapter to read his fifth-grade speech “How to Handle Your Parents”.

Kwame Alexander’s mom still has his first-ever poem (to her on Mother’s Day) framed in her living room. Thanhha Lai and her family fled Vietnam during her childhood, but she can still recite the story-poem “A Bird in a Cage” that she told her mother over and over.

Illustrators’ talents as kids ranged from polished (Grace Lin) to rudimentary (Jarrett J. Krosoczka – graphic novels), and several authors say that they copied their favorite writers’ styles in early stories – all continued to work at their craft and work to be published.


She is, her family is BLENDED, by Sharon M. Draper (book review)

book cover of Blended, by Sharon M. Draper. Published by Atheneum BFYR| recommended on BooksYALove.comBlack dad, white mom,
One week at Daddy’s as Isabella,
one week at Mom’s as Izzy –
but never any time for just her!

If middle school were just as easy for Izzy as playing the piano, if Mom and Daddy would just get back together again (instead of finding new partners), if racial hatred would stay away from them all!

Head to your local library or independent bookstore for this October 2018 release to meet much-loved, very worried Izzy and her blended families.

How can you add harmony to your life (piano optional)?
**kmm

Book info: Blended / Sharon M. Draper. Caitlyn Dlouhy Books/Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Isabella loves her friends and playing piano, wishes her black father and white mother would get back together, and worries about the racial hatred emerging at her Ohio middle school.

At Daddy’s fancy house, the 11-year-old has an excellent piano and teacher (big recital coming up), a waterfall shower (better for her hard-to-control hair), and Dad’s nice lady friend and her cool son Darren (another ice cream fan).

At Mom’s plain house, Izzy has a portable keyboard (better for practicing at Waffle House when Mom is working late), green bedroom walls (she prefers lavender), and John Mark who makes Mom happy (and is a really great bowler).

Alternating weeks at her parents’ houses – doesn’t Isabella have any say in this?

Official forms ask if she is white, black, other – really??

Who put that horrible racist threat in her friend Imani’s locker?

Being her blended self is as hard as dealing with two blended families, so Izzy dives into her music and tries to fix the mistakes she makes there and in her life.

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.

Riding for justice, on dinosaurs! Dactyl Hill Squad, by Daniel Jose Older (book review)

book cover of Dactyl Hill Squad by Daniel Jose Older, published by Arthur A. Levine Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comCivil War with dinosaurs,
Free black orphans eluding kidnapping slavers,
Actors, mystery, adventure – and pterosaurs, too!

Visit the book website for the Rescue Run video game and ride dinos like Magdalys and Mapper did! Cool map of their New York City, too.

Which dino or ptero would you ride?
**kmm

Book info: Dactyl Hill Squad / Daniel Jose Older. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2018. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Civil War, New York City, dinosaurs everywhere – everyday life for Madgalys and friends at the Colored Orphans Asylum is shattered when riots break out and kidnappers attack!

The wonderful theater for black actors is torched, the orphanage is next, so they escape on a brachyosaur, heading for the free black neighborhood across the river, and the Afro-Cuban girl discovers that she can hear and understand the dino’s thoughts!

Riding pteros to gather information, each kid’s skills will be needed as they work together with Dactyl Hill residents to rescue kidnapped orphans from the corrupt judge who’ll send them into slavery.

Who’s this Mr. Reed noted in the orphanage register?
Can Magdalys really communicate with all types of dinos?
Will she see her soldier brother again?

First in an alternative history series, with youth fighting for justice, despicable villains opposing them, and dino battle beasts on both sides of the war between slave states and freedom.

Change is risky – Letting Go of Gravity, by Meg Leder (book review)

book cover of Letting Go of Gravity, by Meg Leder, published by Simon Pulse | recommended on BooksYALove.comAccepted to Harvard? Check.
Chosen for prestigious medical research internship? Check.
Eager and ready for these great opportunities? Nope.

Parker’s meticulous life-plan to cure the cancer affecting her twin brother goes way off course during the summer after graduation, as the introvert finds herself in charge of senior citizen pottery painting classes, is amazed by new friend Ruby’s open-heartedness, and just might find a connection with artistic Finn from grade school.

Happy book birthday to Letting Go of Gravity ! Have you read Leder’s 2016 novel The Museum of Heartbreak ? I recommended it here.

Is it time for you to fly away from expectations?
**kmm

Book info: Letting Go of Gravity / Meg Leder. Simon Pulse, 2018.  [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A decade of hard work and Parker is accepted to Harvard! After twin Charlie was diagnosed with leukemia when they were kids, med school has been her sole goal (especially after last year’s relapse).

But she can’t stomach the internship at the hospital where Charlie was treated and finds another summer job at a pottery studio where she reconnects with Finn from elementary school.

Her best friend is in Europe for the summer, Charlie is acting so recklessly, and Parker isn’t sure how long she can put off telling her parents about how things have changed.

If Charlie is just flirting with Parker’s new friend Ruby…

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

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

A is for Alcott, in The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl (book review)

book cover of The Revelation of Louisa May, by Michaela MacColl, published by Chronicle Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhy does she have to run the household instead of writing?
And keep their Underground Railroad stop functioning (and secret)?
And discern a suitor’s true nature without her mother’s guidance?

Yes, this is that Louisa May, author of Little Women and Little Men, as a teen tasked with keeping house for her sisters and philosopher father during the summer when her mother worked away from home to support the family, rather than writing.

MacColl’s historical fiction about literary women, like Emily Dickinson in Nobody’s Secret (my recommendation here), is worth adding to your list.

Which author or poet would you like to read more about?
**kmm

Book info: The Revelation of Louisa May: a Novel of Intrigue and Romance / Michaela MacColl. Chronicle Books, 2015. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Computer game, deadly peril – what are The Lost Tribes? by C. Taylor-Butler (book review)

book cover of Lost Tribes, by C. Taylor-Butler, published by Move Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comHe dreams of NBA fame,
not math or astronomy,
but suddenly, he must use every skill…to stay alive!

When an explosion hits their neighborhood, young teens must get over old disagreements and pool their talents so they can escape the danger and find their parents, using a new computer game that calls into question everything they ‘know’ about their families and themselves.

Ask for this 2015 release and its sequel, The Lost Tribes: Safe Harbor, at your local library or favorite independent bookstore for Multicultural Children’s Book Day (I’m participating for my fifth year) or any day, as you #readyourworld.

Would you run for safety or stay to find your family?
**kmm

Book info: The Lost Tribes (Lost Tribes, book 1) / C. Taylor-Butler; illustrated by Patrick Arrasmith. Move Books, 2015. [author site]  [illustrator site] [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy from author for MultiCultural Children’s Book Day 2018; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Life on their boring California street explodes into adventure as Ben and his friends work together on an amazing quest computer game, just before all their parents go missing!

Ben and younger sister April seize Uncle Henry’s challenge to solve the game in one week, bringing in neighbors Carlos (great at programming, bad at basketball), Grace (best friend since kindergarten, even if she’s a girl), and Serise (codebreaker deluxe, super snob) as the 3D interactive missions invite them to “find 8 keys” all over the world.

The five encounter puzzles and codes and stinky bird poop (almost as bad as the goopy smoothies Mom makes Ben and April drink) in Egypt, Easter Island, China – it’s so real!

But their parents are acting weirder than usual, a huge satellite dish appears near Carlos’ house then vanishes, and a nighttime attack sends all the families fleeing, kids separated from the adults!

Can the game help the teens get to the “harbor of safety” in reality?
Who would target their easy-going scientist and doctor parents with bombs?
What did Uncle Henry mean about “introducing them to the family business”?

This first book in the Lost Tribes series takes readers on a wide-ranging adventure as the five youths of different cultural backgrounds must use their individual talents together to keep the universe in balance.
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Multicultural Children’s Book Day (27 Jan 2018) is in its 5th year and was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom.

Our mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in home and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2018 is honored to have some amazing Sponsors on board. View our 2018 MCBD Medallion Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/mcbd2018-medallion-level-sponsors/ View our 2018 MCBD Author Sponsors here: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/2106-sponsors/2018-author-sponsors/

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also works tirelessly to spread the word of this event. View our CoHosts: http://multiculturalchildrensbookday.com/about/co-hosts/