Yes, Manzanar, Heart Mountain, and the other ‘relocation camps’ where Japanese-Americans were sent – with only the suitcases they could carry – were concentration camps.
Trusting neighbors to safeguard their houses, selling cars and business equipment for pennies on the dollar, Japanese-Americans on the West Coast hoped to return home soon…
Parents and neighbors wouldn’t approve of their relationship, but after his family is sent to Manzanar, Taichi and Evalina write letter after letter, daring to plan a future together.
Happy book birthday on March 5th to Within These Lines!
Would you speak out against popular opinion in stressful times, as Evalina did?
Book info: Within These Lines / Stephanie Morrill. Blink YA Books, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: The budding romance between Evalina and Taichi becomes a long-distance correspondence when his family is ‘evacuated’ to Manzanar concentration camp in the California desert after Pearl Harbor.
Many disagree that Japanese-Americans are true citizens of this country during World War II, but Italian-American Evalina will keep writing persuasive letters to San Francisco newspapers and arguing with her political science professor.
With blankets for apartment walls and dust blowing like despair through any crevice at Manzanar, Taichi will stand against the pro-Japan Black Dragon gang to protect his family.
Even though mixed-race marriage is illegal in their home state, it’s worth dreaming of a future together…right?
Letter by letter, thought by thought, Evalina and Taichi are separated by many valleys and mountains, held together by hope.
New school year, new students, old faces… cloned teens in their first public appearance!
Darkwood Academy’s generations-strong tradition of academic excellence gets a huge shock as Emma’s junior year begins, worse for her as Levi is the clone of her best friend Eli who committed suicide during the summer.
But why did someone invest a true fortune to get these six from the “misguided lab technician” who cloned them from the umbilical cord blood of Emma’s classmates, then give them the best-possible homeschooling on his island-nation estate until just this moment to reveal them to the world?
The near-future of Darkwood’s cloned teens may be nearer than we think.
Book info: The Similars / Rebecca Hanover. Sourcebooks Fire, 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk:
Every day at Darkwood reminds Emma of her best friend’s recent suicide – because his clone is one of the new students at their exclusive school. Sixteen years after being illegally cloned, the other “Similars” are in classes with their genetic twins, competing for grades, honors, and status.
While some families embrace the chance to welcome another member into their family, virulent anti-clone rhetoric invades classes and club meetings, especially after Emma’s roommate (an Original) is brutally attacked.
Who is the mysterious man who acquired and raised the Similars in secrecy till now? Why were the clones allowed to apply to the same exclusive school as their Originals? How can Emma endure seeing Levi when Eli is gone forever?
As some Similars edge out their Originals in academic rank and status, Darkwood Academy is on edge. What Emma learns from Levi may push them over the brink!
Her mother says neighbors are wrong about her late father’s amazing abilities, the school bullies steal her tiny lunch every single day, the local stray dogs are talking to her – and she finds a special stone that makes her feel giddy with joy!
Someone else wants that stone’s power, the full power of all its pieces that Nolitye is finding….
Published after the author’s early death, this tale of myth, reality, folklore, and family is worth requesting at your local library or indie bookstore – if they don’t have it, they can get it for you!
What would you wish, holding this hidden star? **kmm
Book info: The Hidden Star / K. Sello Duiker. Cassava Republic Press, 2017. [author obituary] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Math is easy, avoiding the school bullies isn’t, but young Nolitye and her best friends are called on a difficult quest to save their South African neighborhood from an evil wizard’s control.
The lovely stone that Nolitye finds gives her such happiness. Then a mysterious woman stops time to tell her its secrets and that the eleven year old must collect its missing pieces before the wizard can gather them!
The stray dogs warn Nolitye to stay indoors one night – do they know who is stealing away children from their Soweto township?
Why does only Nolitye see that Ma Mtonga’s necklace is a living snake?
Can Nolitye, Bheki, and Four Eyes find all the pieces of the stone and stop the evil ones?
Her mother’s behavior suddenly changes, the neighbours think the mythical Zim may be the kidnapper, but only Nolitye and her friends know the truth!
17 dark hairs on her upper lip? Middle school starts Monday! What to do!?!?
Her big brother wants a mustache, not 11 year old Karma, but it looks like she is taking after her Punjabi father instead of her blonde mother – and the boys in her grade won’t stop teasing her about it!
The author grew up in an Ohio neighborhood like Karma’s before traveling the world and now lives with her Sikh husband and their children in Singapore.
What can we do as individuals to keep teasing from becoming bullying? **kmm
Book info: Karma Khullar’s Mustache / Kristi Wientge. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2017, paperback 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk:
My book talk: Karma is the only girl at middle school with dark hairs on her upper lip, the only person who brings dal and chappatis for lunch, the only one with a stay-at-home PhD dad – and now her best friend has moved into the popular crowd… so alone with her problems, her worries about the mustache, her sadness after grandmother’s death.
Her blonde mother won’t have advice about getting rid of this mustache, even if she weren’t so busy with her new job.
Her big brother is too busy arguing with Daddy about not becoming a doctor to ever see Karma’s problems.
Half-Sikh, half-Methodist, all confused when her teacher asks Karma to tutor the new girl who stole away her best friend!
This is really not what quiet Eric or popular Silvia envisioned when their gifted class graduation trip was announced – and then comes the earthquake!
What’s your ‘worst field trip ever’ story?
Book info: A World Below / Wesley King. Paula Wiseman Books/ Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Book Talk: Trapped in Carlsbad Caverns by an earthquake, a group of eighth graders encounters people living its depths as the young teens struggle against obstacles and their own fears to reach the surface.
Routine field trip a few hours from their New Mexico town, bring some water and a snack for the short tour, simple – until the rumbles begin and the kids are separated from their teacher and chaperones!
Silvia tries to keep them together after an icy river carries them far from the Big Room, but these passageways make her claustrophobia flare up.
Quiet Eric finds himself alone in a forest of glowing mushrooms, crossing paths with a giant rat and wondering about the carved M in this “unmapped” part of the Caverns.
Trespassers in the Midnight King’s realm! And not the renegade Worms who have rejected one hundred years of tradition…
Can the classmates find their way to safety?
Why would anyone choose to live deep in the earth?
This unexpected adventure is recounted from the viewpoints of three different young people far below the surface, as well as the rescue personnel and anxious parents above ground.
His earbuds are filled with opera, His neighbors are druggies and the jobless, Just like any middle-school boy, right?
Bart does love his mum and is sure that someday she’ll be able to keep a job so they can move out of their slum apartment… not so sure about keeping away from the bullies at school.
What advice would you give Bart as he searches for his long-gone dad?
Book info: The Ballad of a Broken Nose, by Arne Svingen, translated by Kari Dickson / Margaret K. McElderry Books, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Maybe 13-year-old Bart’s opera singing talent comes from the American father he’s never seen.
Who in his Norwegian town knew that John Jones was such a common name in the world?
Maybe his mom will finally keep a job so they can move out of the slum apartments.
Why is it so hard for her to stay sober?
Maybe learning to box will keep the bullies away or impress Ada.
What made her volunteer Bart to sing at the school show?
Maybe he’ll shake his stage fright… anything can happen, right?
Middle school years are different for each person, but this translated novel shows how common some things are.
His late father’s voice lends advice,
His late mother’s spirit appears in silence.
Can he honor his promise to keep the family together?
No social safety nets in Mor’s Senegal village, just fishing nets, small boats, and the gang of bullies who ran away from home and threaten to steal any food he is given or money the 11-year-old can earn for his sisters’ schooling.
When resources are scarce, how can you be resourceful?
Book info: One Shadow on the Wall / Leah Henderson. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2017 hardcover, 2018 paperback. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Guided by his parents’ spirits, eleven-year-old Mor strives to keep his family together, braving bullies, the sea’s perils, and well-meaning neighbors in their Senegalese fishing village – will it be enough?
So little food left when they are orphaned – how to feed his sisters?
Men also seek work – who will hire a young boy?
His brilliant sister’s school fees are due – can he stop the bully gang from stealing what he can earn?
When his former best friend tells Mor that joining the gang is the only way to keep his sisters safe, he must make a hard choice and live with its consequences.
Teen 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.
What personal story would you be bold enough to share?
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.
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