Tag Archive | disability

She’s no saguaro – Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, by Dusti_Bowling (book review)

book cover of Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus, by Dusti Bowling. Published by Sterling Children's Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com Arm count = zero,
Nose for mysteries and secrets = keen,
Sense of humor = boundless!

Moving to a new school can be nerve-wracking, especially in junior high when you don’t know anyone and you don’t have any arms to wave hello or shake hands… but Aven will carry on regardless of the stares.

Just released this week, Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus showcases Aven’s curiosity, self-sufficient attitude (thanks to her parents), and witty storytelling as she leaps (or tiptoes) into new situations in her new town and school.

How do you treat new folks who are different from you?
**kmm

Book info: Insignificant Events in the Life of a Cactus / Dusti Bowling. Sterling Children’s Books, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Moving across the country, 13-year-old Aven wonders whether living in Arizona will be more difficult because she has such fair skin or because she has no arms.

Her adoptive parents have encouraged Aven to do everything for herself – button her jeans, brush her teeth, play the guitar – and she can.

Dad really needs a job, so off they go to Arizona where he and Mom will manage an Old West theme park, and Aven will start 8th grade without the longtime friends who are used to her crazy stories about where her arms went, knowing she was born that way.

Eating with her feet (of course she washes them first!) in front of new kids? Yikes! Better after meeting Connor, who never eats in front of anyone because of his Tourette’s tics, and Zion, who eats by himself so kids don’t tease him about being big.

Uncovering the mystery of the missing Cavanaugh photo and the secrets in the locked shed? Just takes persistence and clue-gathering by Aven, Connor, and Zion. And a crowbar. And the right key.

Making sure that Stagecoach Pass park stays open? She’ll have to think on that a while.

Ancient saguaro cacti that guard the hilltops near the park, tarantula photos on the ice cream parlor walls, upcoming soccer tryouts – interesting opportunities for Aven, whose blog posts shout and whisper the happy and challenging parts of her new life.

Civil War dangers remain in Crossing Ebenezer Creek, by Tonya Bolden (book review)

book cover of Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tonya Bolden published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.comFreed by Yankee soldiers!
Not all believe in emancipation.
What does the future hold for former slaves?

Read this book – for the joy that freedom brings.
Read it – for the sorrow that war brings.
Read it – for our shared humanness, as Mariah and Caleb fall in love, despite all.

Every time I see Ebenezer in a church name, I will surely remember this story.

Can hope remain when trust runs thin?
**kmm

Book info: Crossing Ebenezer Creek / Tonya Bolden. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2017. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Freed by the Yankees, Mariah and her fellow enslaved persons travel along with the Union Army, but not all soldiers believe they should be free.

The young teen girl rejoices when Capt. Galloway says “You now own yourselves” and promises to keep them free on their journey – away from Miss Callie’s strident commands and slave-driver Nero’s brutal whip.

Caleb lived through the Burning of Atlanta and now forages for Sherman’s Army. Meeting Mariah and little Zeke strains his “no attachments” resolution (and the young man is secretly glad).

How can Mariah keep her simple little brother safe?
Why are some men in the Union Army if they think slavery is right?
Mariah dares to dream of a future, not alone – but what secret does Caleb hide?

Told in alternating chapters by Mariah and Caleb is the story of past slavery and longing for full freedom, but first they must survive the upcoming showdown between Union and Confederate forces.

Why so candid? Because You’ll Never Meet Me, by Leah Thomas (book review)

book cover of Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas published by Bloomsbury Teen  | recommended on BooksYALove.comElectricity flares in rainbow colors – and will kill Ollie.
Moritz has no eyes, yet is not blind.
And a doctor suggests that they correspond…hmmm

Find this penpal story like no other in hardcover or paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore. And there’s a sequel!
**kmm

Book info: Because You’ll Never Meet Me / Leah Thomas. Bloomsbury USA Childrens, hardcover 2015, paperback 2017.   [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: One is allergic to electricity, the other is kept alive by a pacemaker – two very different teen boys become more than brothers or best friends through postal mail, uncovering a secret past that endangers them both.

Ollie must stay in a forest cabin, far from any US city because the tiniest bit of electricity sends him into life-threatening seizures, and says that being 14 and alone is extremely boring.

Moritz, seeing with his ears only, lives with his adoptive father in a busy German city, has a pacemaker for his fluttering heart, and at 16 is beyond bored with his schoolmates.

A doctor sets them up as penpals, so the guys begin telling one another their life stories through trans-Atlantic letters.

Their childhoods were quite strange, with parents gone missing and medical lab mishaps, and real-life friendships today are very difficult. Ollie misses Liz, who’s given up hiking in their woods for the normalcy of high school. Moritz finds a tenuous connection with Owen and his sister Fieke as bullies target all three of them.

These letters exchanged by Ollie and Moritz start encouraging each other to dare to live a little, even if it’s dangerous – as dangerous as the secret past that their shared memories begin to reveal.

Followed by Nowhere Near You.

Asteroid approaching?! Learning to Swear in America, by Katie Kennedy (book review)

book cover of Learning to Swear in America by Katie Kennedy published by Bloomsbury | recommended on BooksYALove.comJust ‘on loan’ from Moscow University,
till JPL can divert the asteroid…
is ‘forever’ a reasonable loan length?

Russian physics prodigy Yuri is intent on winning the Nobel Prize, but working with NASA to prevent an asteroid from wiping out the Pacific Rim will keep him busy in California for a few weeks – not his last weeks on earth, he hopes! And then he meets Dovie…

Find this funny and fierce July 2016 hardback release at your local library or pre-order the July 2017 paperback from your favorite independent bookstore (no affiliate links here – indie booksellers deserve all our business).

If the end of our world was approaching, what would you do?
**kmm

Book info: Learning to Swear in America / Katie Kennedy. Bloomsbury USA Childrens,’s Books 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Yuri will just return to Russia to continue his antimatter research after helping NASA prevent an asteroid from obliterating the US West Coast, but when the 17 year old physics prodigy discovers that they might not let him leave California…

Eighteen days to impact – Yuri meets the asteroid team he will work with…and a lovely mysterious girl.

Yes, he will take Dovie to her prom (such a strange American high school custom) and visit her odd hippie family (more strange customs) and find a way to stop the asteroid (if only his team would listen to him).

No, the young PhD won’t let anyone at Moscow University steal his research toward the Nobel Prize or be forced to stay in California against his will!

Counting down the days to impact – the math, the physics, the public doesn’t know true danger… as Yuri falls in love.

Road trip tales – time to read with your ears!

Time for a road trip? Tales of escape from and escape to are ready for you read with your ears with free audiobooks from SYNC!

If you download them before late night Wednesday (25 May 2016), you can listen to these complete audiobooks any time using your computer or electronic device.

Click on the title to get to its download site, or visit SYNC to see what’s available this summer week: http://www.audiobooksync.com/

CD audiobook cover of 100 Sideways Miles by Andrew Smith | Read by Kirby Heyborne Published by Tantor Media | recommended on BooksYALove.com100 Sideways Miles
by Andrew Smith
Read by Kirby Heyborne
Published by Tantor Media

Measuring time as the distance that the earth travels during each minute, epileptic Finn longs to escape being just a character in his father’s epic SciFi novel, so a road trip with his best friend to find Finn’s lost love is in order.
This Boy’s LifeCD audiobook cover of by Tobias Wolff | Read by Oliver Wyman Published by HighBridge Audio | recommended on BooksYALove.com
by Tobias Wolff
Read by Oliver Wyman
Published by HighBridge Audio

In this memoir chronicling his mother’s continued flight from abusive relationships, Wolff puts a darkly comedic spin on his battles with the terrible men in her life during his teen years.

What road trip would you write about?
**kmm

Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy (book review) – big heart, big-boned, beauty queen?

book cover of Dumplin' by Julie Murphy published by Balzer + Bray | booksYALove.comBeauty pageants are for Barbies,
Only perfection allowed –
says who?!

Happy book birthday to Dumplin’ as Willowdean decides that the size of her heart matters more than the size of her thighs when pageant season arrives.

Glad that the author finally made it to Texas herself, although breaking the name of our state flower into two piece for the pageant title is dang near treasonous.

Today is also “Sing It Out Day” – how appropriate! Dolly Parton‘s 40 albums and self-acceptance inspire Willowdean to “go big or go home” – what inspires you?
**kmm

Book info: Dumplin’ / Julie Murphy. Balzer + Bray, 2015.   [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A small Texas town beauty pageant gets a big shake-up as non-traditional contestants enter, led by sizeable and sassy Willowdean who’s ready for new things and her share of love.

Mom relives her Miss Texas Blue Bonnet days each year, helping slim cheerleaders prepare for the pageant as her own daughter enjoys being fat and almost happy.

Dumplin’ (oh, Mom, drop that nickname, please!) moons over handsome Bo at work and wonders if she’ll get stuck in this small town like recently deceased young Aunt Lucy whose size finally kept her housebound.

Willowdean and Lucy loved Dolly Parton’s songs and self-acceptance, so when classmates say the pageant isn’t for her, the teen decides it’s time to challenge the system – and so do other not-gorgeous girls from school!

Hone your talent? Time for a roadtrip to Aunt Lucy’s favorite music venue!
Find the perfect dress? Hello, vintage stores!
Get an escort for the pageant? Oh… maybe Bo?

She’s not entering the pageant to piss off Mom, but this sassy sweetheart and her new friends have read all the rules and know it’s their right to try – in front of the whole town.  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Displacement, by Lucy Knisley (book review) – cruising with grandparents, dry-docked by aging

book cover of Displacement A Travelogue by Lucy Knisley published by FantagraphicsCaribbean cruise during winter – yay!
Being with long-lived grandparents – good!
Traveling with them on the cruise – ummm…

Yes, Lucy did volunteer to go with her grandparents on the cruise, but dealing with dementia, body control problems, and boredom at sea weren’t quite what she’d planned on.

Enjoy an excerpt of this autobiographical travel graphic novel at the publisher’s site here. Get your copy soon – you won’t want to miss her grandfather’s actual WWII memoir which Lucy includes as she reads it during their unusual journey.

Lucy chronicled her growing-up years in Relish (my review here) and has written/illustrated other travelogues of her recent years, too.

**kmm

Book info: Displacement: A Travelogue / Lucy Knisley. Fantagraphics, 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [video preview] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When Lucy volunteers to travel with her 90-year-old grandparents on a cruise, she encounters much more than a change from winter weather as she deals with failing memory, family history, hope, and mortality in this graphic novel autobiography continuing the Relish artist/author’s life story.

Why her grandparents signed up for the cruise is a mystery as they have limited mobility, bad hearing, and no interest in gambling, swimming, or tours. But someone must go with them on planes and shuttles, through TSA security, and aboard the gigantic ship, so away the young woman goes, carrying her granddad’s memoir of WWII along.

Yes, flying with multiple connections, dealing with her grandmother’s dementia and grandfather’s failing health, and trying to find something to do for a week at sea are very difficult for Lucy, as every day brings more glimpses of mortality and the infirmities no one can control. Each day, the chapter title shows the sea level rising and rising, like Lucy’s stress and worry levels.

No, it wasn’t time wasted, as reading the memoir, coaxing her grandmother into the warm pool, and learning how folks stay married for over 65 years are gems that she will treasure. “Good or bad, it’s important to feel connected sometimes. Even if that connection can be painful,” Lucy writes, as she phones to check on how her grandparents are settling in after the trip is over.

 

D is Dane & dads & other Dead Ends, by Erin Jade Lange (book review)

book cover of Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange published by BloomsburyNo dad – no big deal or no rest until he’s found?

If his single mom would start cashing in her winning lottery tickets instead of framing them, Dane wouldn’t be the poor kid in school, so ready with his fists.

If Billy D’s dad had stayed with his family, everything would be wonderful, believes the teen with Down syndrome.

If Dane and Billy D had listened to their friend Seely, they wouldn’t be in trouble as they hunted for Billy D’s dad – big, big trouble.

Listening to Dane explain everyday sayings to so-literal Billy D makes for some light moments in this very tense story.

When do you decide that it’s time to finally stop searching for something?
**kmm

Book info: Dead Ends / Erin Jade Lange. Bloomsbury, 2013. [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: A school-assigned partnership leads to a road trip with huge consequences for bully Dane and bullied Billy D.

If walking the new special ed kid to school will keep Dane from being expelled for fighting, he’ll do it. If showing Dane and Seely the clues in his atlas will help him find his dad again, Billy D will do it.

Dane gave up on finding his dad long ago, Seely’s two dads have taught her freedom and responsibility, and Billy D is utterly certain that his dad left those atlas clues so he can be found.

After traveling with Seely uncover more information, Billy D insists that Dane take him one more place to look for his dad… but forgets to share some vital information.

Expectations, high and low, create anxious situations for these teens and their families – will all their searching just lead to Dead Ends?  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)