This documentary about the 2010 Deepwater Horizon drilling rig explosion and oil spill disaster in the Gulf of Mexico includes conversations, interviews, and court proceedings – dramatized by a full cast in front of a studio audience.
Sophie didn’t intend to ride out the hurricane on their Outer Banks island, especially with the guy who broke her heart by vanishing only to reappear recently – but they do want to survive! I recommended Meet the Skyhere last month (no spoilers!)
What’s your scariest humans against Mother Nature story?
Djinn of order and of chaos battle in the human world that is home to neither in this adventurous tale, while family loyalties are tested, and a young woman receives an unsought gift that can break boundaries if it doesn’t fracture her first.
Through the Name Giver, ifrits can come from their world to help humans defend theirs from the ravaging Shayateen whose dark night of slaughter left only three survivors hidden in an entire city.
But when the Name Giver is compromised in the now-repopulated city of Noor, its ifrit Emir and human maharajah face a greater peril.
How does the Fire of ifrit Ghazala come to human survivor Fatima who never knew her?
Can the Emir help Fatima navigate this unknown convergence?
What lurks in the opulent halls of the reluctant maharajah’s palace?
Each time the muezzin’s call sounds over her beloved city of a thousand nations, Fatima prays for their safety, yet again…
Happy book birthday to this extraordinary tale of magic, relationships, and the importance of being seen.
What’s in your name? **kmm
Book info: The Candle and the Flame / Nafiza Azad. Scholastic Press, 2019. [author interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
The world of books, the sisterhood of Girl Scouts, her chance for dreams to come true!
Papa’s attention went mostly to her big brother, Mama focused on little sister whose bout with meningitis scarred the whole family (not much money, lots of love), so Sylvia discovered her own best way through life, with the help of her Girl Scout troop and leaders.
This biography brings readers into Sylvia’s extended family, into the days when Latinas were just being accepted into science professions, into her growing attitude that she can plan and dream and make those dreams come true.
So excited that she is a keynote speaker this week at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in Austin!
What influences have helped you during your life journey? **kmm
Book info: Path to the Stars: My Journey from Girl Scout to Rocket Scientist / Sylvia Acevedo. Clarion Books, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
Also available in Spanish – Camino a las estrellas (Path to the Stars Spanish edition): Mi recorrido de Girl Scout a ingeniera astronáutica / Sylvia Acevedo and Isabel Mendoza. Clarion Books, 2018.
My book talk: From the rocket science lab and executive board room, Sylvia Acevedo looks back on the events which brought her here from a crowded Las Cruces neighborhood, acknowledging the hardships and help received along the way.
Moving across town from the dirt streets where everyone knows everyone’s business to a new neighborhood with air-conditioned houses in the 1960s, Sylvia fights expectations that she’s academically behind her new classmates and gets used to hearing English spoken everywhere except her home.
An invitation to a Brownie troop meeting changes her life, as Sylvia finds the perfect place to explore her own interests (instead of Papa’s limits), learn how to manage money and speak confidently (cookie sales!), and plan for her future (not a strong skill in her family).
She loves science and math and star-gazing and going to the library and dreams of going to college – determination and planning can get her there!
This true story of one Mexican-American girl’s journey from just getting by to getting rockets into space as an engineer celebrates the strength of family love, the power of positive role models during childhood, and her own persistence in learning everything she needs to move to the next step in her plans.
Subtitled “A Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement,” this informational book seeks to start conversations and remove taboos surrounding a natural body function for half the world’s population.
Look into the history of period products, the mid-20th century educational pamphlets created by their manufacturers, and modern alternatives to their current contribution to plastics pollution.
Did you ever think about the difficulties experienced by homeless persons during their periods? Of school-age menstruators whose families can’t afford period products? Of trans persons who are reminded monthly of a gender identity that is not their own?
Okamoto’s quest to destigmatize menstruation myths and misunderstandings led her to start period.org in high school, and today the Harvard student continues to advocate through this largest youth-run NGO in women’s health – you can, too!
Choose personal period product options that are less-polluting and fight against the “tampon tax“.
Keep conversations open so women and men can normalize this fact of life.
What’s your next step? **kmm
Book info: Period Power: a Manifesto for the Menstrual Movement / Nadya Okamoto, illustrated by Rebecca Elfast. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2018. [author Twitter] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
From nice house to shabby apartment, apartment to terrible foster homes, foster care to luxury hotel?!
Elle is stunned when ‘Uncle’ Masa arrives at her latest foster home (showers allowed once a week) with her new passport and an invitation from her biological father in Japan – happy 16th birthday after all.
Being so obviously hafu (half-Japanese) and gaijin (foreigner) is no big deal at her prestigious new school attended by kids of diplomats and business people from all over the world, but utterly scandalous to Elle’s new grandmother (no wonder Kenji was forbidden to marry her Native American/ African American mom).
Book info: My Almost Flawless Tokyo Dream Life / Rachel Cohn. Disney Book Group, 2018. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy from the library; cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: Swept from foster care in Maryland to a Tokyo highrise, sixteen-year-old Elle must figure out where she fits in her biological father’s family and the social order at an elite international school.
Once the painkillers hooked Mom after that car wreck, drugs took their house, Elle’s security, and put Mom in jail.
When her never-seen dad offers Elle a home in Japan with him, she’s wary but goes along – to an amazing apartment in his skyscraper hotel with 24-hour room service…and his displeased mother and sister nearby.
Elle has to work hard at school to catch up, wondering why fellow swimmer Ryuu is shunned by the popular Ex-Brat crowd who inexplicably adopted her.
Will she always see her father by appointment only? Can her new grandmother accept Elle’s mixed-race maternal heritage? What happens if things don’t work out with her family in Tokyo?
As Elle and Ryuu get to know each other at swim practice, some Ex-Brats go beyond pushy, and business pressures are affecting her dad, badly.
Analytical, the planner – Primera. Sensual, the mother – Segunda. Two wives – harmony or life-long tension?
Because one god couldn’t choose between the two women he loved, now all men of Medio’s ruling class live in luxury with two wives, while the poor of the divided island have too little, and revolutionaries are determined to change that imbalance, whatever the cost.
Dani and Carmen have been groomed for years to take their respective places as Primera and Segunda in prominent households, secure in the gated compound far above the salt-soaked lands of the poor, but their roles quickly become masks hiding their true selves and forbidden affections.
Happy February 26th book birthday to Meija’s debut novel! Her short stories have been published in collections including Toil & Trouble, which I recommended earlier this year.
When marriage is a political business, where is love? **kmm
Book info: We Set the Dark on Fire / Tehlor Kay Meija. Katherine Tegen Books (HMH), 2019. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My book talk: On their divided tropical island, the rich get richer, the poor are brutalized, and revolution is snaking through the land, even into the mansion that Dani and Carmen share with their new husband and perilous secrets!
As Primera, Daniela rules her emotions and every aspect of their husband’s household; as Segunda, Carmen will be adored as mother of his children. But the teens soon realize that Mateo is planning violence to keep the poor at bay and that their own secrets endanger them as well.
Dani’s parents escaped over the wall into Medio and sacrificed everything to get her into the Academy where society’s daughters train to become co-wives in ruling class households, where Carmen and friends teased her mercilessly for five years, where the La Voz revolution saves her from being found out and imprisoned.
With Carmen in the same household, how can Dani help La Voz? Her training decrees that Primeras don’t love – what is Dani feeling now? Her training decrees that a Segunda keeps her husband happy – why is Carmen so torn?
Fearing their husband, loving each other, Dani and Carmen may have to follow La Voz despite the dangers.
My Book Talk: Worst birthday gift ever: a cardboard box… but Cam’s widower dad took their last few cents to buy it from a strange fellow who gave them rules about how to use it. So the teen and his dad bend and cut the box into the shape of a man, a boxer who magically comes to life!
Bill the boxer-guy talks to them, will mow the lawn, wants to be a real friend to Cam – but his cardboard can’t withstand the water-cannons of neighborhood bully Marcus. Taking the leftover cardboard bits (despite the seller’s warnings), Cam creates a cardboard-making-machine that allows him to repair Bill… and tempts the very evil Marcus into wicked plans and plots that might destroy everything.
TenNapel’s detailed drawings underscore the barely-hanging-on desperation of Cam and his depressed dad, the manic gleam in Marcus’s conniving eyes, and the contempt that the rampaging Cardboard bad guys have for good-fellow Bill and the “fleshies” he tries to protect in this outstanding graphic novel from the creator of Ghostopolis. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
It’s a mysterious Monday, and fashion-lover Louise Lambert has received another invitation from the most exclusive vintage dress shop ever.
When Louise tries on an delicate blue gown for Brooke’s fancy dress birthday party, she is suddenly sent back to young Marie Antoinette’s court!
Weren’t they just talking about the French Revolution in history class this morning? If Louise could just remember those important dates from her homework… but can she change what happens to the princess?
While you’re getting this September 2012 release at your local library or independent bookstore, ask about book one, The Time-Traveling Fashionista (my review here) so you can start Louise’s adventures at the beginning and join her aboard the Titanic!
Hmmm… what other fantastic history-imbued frocks do mysterious shopkeepers Marla and Glenda have in their Traveling Fashionista Shop inventory?
Book info: The Time-Traveling Fashionista at the Palace of Marie Antoinette (Time Traveling Fashionista, book 2) / Bianca Turetsky. Poppy, 2012 [author’s website] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.
My Book Talk: Oh, no! Louise’s trip to Paris with her French class is cancelled when her dad loses his job, and history homework is building up. What she needs is some time with vintage fashion to take her mind off things. But trying on an antique gown sweeps her away from the tiny shop to the court of a French princess!
It’s a bit odd to speak old French with no effort and have courtiers calling her Mademoiselle Gabrielle, but Louise does pretty well at playing along. Soon she realizes that she’s part of the entourage of young Marie Antoinette – and that she might not be the only person at Versailles with a false identity…
The princess is never seen in the same ensemble twice and demands that her ladies-in-waiting follow that fashion as well. Somehow, Louise must keep her original gown hidden so that she can wear it and return to modern Connecticut safely.
So many different experiences – beautiful palace gardens and boring waits for royal arrivals, splendid gilded ballrooms and bitterly critical letters from Marie’s mother, stunning Paris-designed dresses and the stench of Parisian streets. As time passes, Louise remembers more details from history class and wonders if she should warn the princess about the perils ahead.
Who is spying for Marie’s mother, sending detailed reports back to the Empress? Can Louise make the princess understand the suffering outside the palace walls, before it’s too late? Most importantly, can she get back to her own time before France’s nobility start losing their heads in the Revolution?
The second book of the series puts this Time-Traveling Fashionista in as much danger as she faced on board the Titanic in book one. Where will Louise’s passion for vintage fashion take her next? (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
In a conquered land, starvation fells the youngest and oldest, memories and hunger gnaw at those who can still work,
who suffer under heavy taxes, hating their English overlords.
The Welsh nobles and working folk have been thrown out of their town, forced into damp stone huts, forbidden to gather in groups or carry weapons, and the spark of rebellion still burns.
Caernarvon Castle in the late 13th century is a mighty stone structure overlooking the river and town, garrisoned by the King of England’s soldiers for the past decade.
Torn away from the land where she was born, where people speak good English, not this “tongue-pull” sing-song Welsh, a young lady is aware of only what she wants to see in her new home, oblivious to the dangerous currents of local politics that may pull her under forever.
Jillian Anderson Coats’ debut novel illuminates a small slice of history through two unforgettable voices, as Cecily and Gwenhwyfar wish their paths had never crossed, but must carry their own burdens through to the end. You’ll find this May 2012 release now at your local library or independent bookstore.
My Recommendation: Cecily isn’t happy about moving from the family estates to Wales. Nor are the Welsh happy to have their homes taken over by Englishmen sent by the King to subdue them. So many tensions and such oppression… a tinderbox just waiting for a spark of rebellion.
If only her uncle hadn’t returned from the Crusades, then Cecily would have inherited Edgeley Hall from her father, ever staying near the grave of her loving mother. But as the younger brother, her father has no land now and jumps at the chance to rise in the King’s service. As a burgess in Caernarvon, he’ll be free from forced military service and heavy taxes imposed on the conquered Welsh. Better yet, Cecily will become lady of the house and perhaps find a suitable husband someday among its English nobles.
Gwenhwyfar is Cecily’s age, working dawn to night for the Edgeleys to earn enough to keep her younger brother and crippled mother alive. Agonizing as Gruffydd falls in with men who whisper plans of rebellion, the Welsh girl despises Cecily’s snooty manners as much as she longs to take the crusts that the English girl casts aside.
How bitter to be a servant in the house which truly belongs to Daffydd, a Welsh nobleman reduced to hauling quarrystones, to see that brat Cecily sewing in the parlour where she should be as Daffydd’s wife, to know that Welsh children are dying daily from starvation as the English burgesses hoard grain in the King’s castle above Caernarvon city…
Ten years is a long time to be conquered and spat upon, long enough to make bitter plans for revenge, desperate enough to rebel despite overwhelming odds – 1293 may be the worst of times to be English in Wales.
Told from two very different points of view, The Wicked and the Just takes readers to a little-noted historical era as the age-old struggle for power roars through town and castle.
(One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)
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