Tag Archive | prejudice

Friends and more – tweens look for ANSWERS IN THE PAGES, by David Levithan (MG book review)

book cover of Answers in the Pages, by David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com

What an exciting book!
Who wants to take it away?
Why can’t kids read what they want?!

The Adventurers! Donovan can’t wait to read the novel that Mr. Howe has chosen for their fifth-grade class – three young people trying to stop an evil mastermind, with danger and bravery at every turn!

But his mom’s bad habit of jumping to the end of a book halts everything. She interprets its final sentence as too mature for tweens to handle: “At that moment, Rick knew just how deeply he loved Oliver, and Oliver knew just how deeply he loved Rick, and the understanding of this moment would lead them to much of the happiness and adventure that came next.”

She calls other parents and visits the principal, making Mr. Howe take back The Adventurers until the school board can meet about it. But Donovan forgot his copy at home (way under his bed), so he gets to read it – alligators and helicopters and three amazing friends saving the world.

Meanwhile, shy Gideon is stunned to make a new friend when Roberto moves to town – a fellow lover of turtles and books. Joelle and Tucker have been his friends forever, but Roberto likes Gideon for being himself, and the pair spends more and more time together.

Can Donovan get the author to town to defend the book?
Does Oliver have to choose between help Rick escape from the alligator and capturing the villain?
Does Roberto share the same feelings as Gideon?

At the school board meeting, viewpoints clash. Some adults want to “protect kids” by banning the book. Members of the community and gay students speak up for everyone’s right to live and love.

Three stories, presented chapter by chapter – Donovan’s headed by a book symbol, Rick and Oliver’s by an alligator, and Gideon and Roberto’s by a turtle – each symbol reminding us of the characters’ essential focus.

Released in paperback on 5 September 2023 – read the first pages free here, courtesy of the publisher.

What book has revealed an important truth about your own self to you?
**kmm

Book info: Answers in the Pages / David Levithan. Alfred A. Knopf Books, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Kids start THE GREAT BANNED-BOOKS BAKE SALE to get their books back! by Aya Khalil & Anait Semirdzhyan (Picturebook review)

book cover of The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale, by Aya Khalil; art by Anait Semirdzhyan. Tilbury House Publishers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Our favorite books!
So many different faces!
Where have they gone?

Kanzi is excited to lead her class to the school library, remembering how they welcomed her from Egypt.

But they are dismayed to find their favorite shelves of diverse books… empty!

Those beautiful books about many different types of people have been banned – why? Ms. Jackson, the librarian, says “Some books are so powerful that they intimidate people.”

Now Kanzi can’t find any books with words in Arabic to share at home, and other classmates don’t see any books with kids who look like them either.

During discussion time, Kareem asks if they could raise money to buy those books to donate to Little Free Libraries around town, and the class decides on a bake sale and protest!

After school on Friday, they set out the treats featured in their beloved books and quickly sell them all.

It’s time to protest! Students hold signs asking for diverse books, teachers and parents join the chant “No banned books!” and here comes the TV reporter!

Can they convince the school district to bring back the books they love?

Unfortunately this book is based on a real incident, as Kanzi’s first story, An Arabic Quilt, is among books being removed from school libraries in the US.

During Banned Books Week (and every week), seek out books that feature characters from outside the dominant culture and hear voices often suppressed!
**kmm

Book info: The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale / Aya Khalil; art by Anait Semirdzhyan. Tilbury House Publishers, 2023. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy, sample pages, and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

pages from The Great Banned-Books Bake Sale, showing children & adults in group, saying No Banned Books. Student hands holding her poem "Books are for everyone. Am I not important? Am I invisible? Books make us think. Books make us imagine. Books make us compassionate. Books make us creative. Books make us LOVE. You have banned important books, but you can't ban my words. Books are for EVERYONE."
(c) Tilbury House Publishing

It’s not fair! Teens incite THE PEACH REBELLION post-WWII, by Wendelin Van Draanen (YA book review)

book cover of The Peach Rebellion, by Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Over a decade since coming to California during the Dust Bowl days, her tiny brothers dying of sickness and buried under a creekside tree north of here, and folks are still calling Ginny Rose’s family “Okies” after World War II, despite all their hard work.

After her first day working at the peach cannery, a flat bike tire detours the 17 year old to Peggy’s peach farm where she meets banker’s daughter Lisette.

Wow, Papa and Mama tell Ginny Rose to keep half her wages for new school clothes and her future! Her sister Anna Mae is aghast at the idea of being left behind with their deeply depressed mother

Peggy’s big sister opens the teen’s eyes to truths about the family peach farm, very unwelcome facts that explain why Doris hasn’t brought her baby back to visit.

Lisette’s fancy new house? Her father’s bank foreclosed on his good friend’s house, then the banker bought it instead of stopping the seizure?!

Ginny Rose discovers Babyland in the cemetery, where the tiniest children are buried – could she bring her little brothers here, for good?

The three teens from very different parts of society find a common purpose as Peggy and Lisette decide to help Ginny Rose on her quest!

Told in alternating chapters by Ginny Rose and Peggy during the sweltering summer of 1947.

Which friends would help you with a challenge?
**kmm

Book info: The Peach Rebellion / Wendelin Van Draanen. Alfred A. Knopf /PRH, 2022. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Experience our Black History when you read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Our AudioSYNC 2023 summer season ends with two outstanding audiobooks celebrating Black history of recent and earlier times.

You must download either or both audiobooks into your Sora shelf by Wednesday August 2nd! Get all the details here.

Huge thanks to Audiofile magazine and the many audiobook publishers who provided these great selections to us free!

CD cover of Freedom: The Story of the Black Panther Party,by Jetta Grace Martin, Joshua Bloom, Waldo E. Martin Jr. | Read by Dion Graham. Published by Recorded Books

Freedom: The Story of the Black Panther Party (free Sora download 7/27 -8/2/23)
by Jetta Grace Martin, Joshua Bloom, Waldo E. Martin Jr. | Read by Dion Graham
Published by Recorded Books

The history of the Black Panther Party comes to life, from its founders and their stories to its work supporting African American families in crisis to its collapse and next steps of key members.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/208263/freedom!-by-jetta-grace-martin-joshua-bloom-waldo-e-martin-jr-read-by-dion-graham/

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CD cover of Not Without Laughter, by Langston Hughes | Read by Jaime Lincoln Smith. Published by Tantor Media

Not Without Laughter (free Sora download 7/27 -8/2/23)
by Langston Hughes | Read by Jaime Lincoln Smith
Published by Tantor Media

A Black family’s struggles and challenges include racially charged encounters as son Sandy grows up in 1930s Kansas.

A classic Harlem Renaissance novel, narrated to perfection.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/225993/not-without-laughter-by-langston-hughes-read-by-jaime-lincoln-smith/

What was your favorite AudioSYNC summer audiobook this year?
**kmm

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Lives lived loud and clear – historical fiction to read with your ears! (audiobook recommendations)

Our AudioSYNC offerings this week take us into different times and different places with well-crafted historical fiction audiobooks that begin with murder!

You have until Wednesday 12 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Now tell me… what did they do next?

CD cover of The Boy in the Red Dress, by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss. Published by Listening Library

The Boy in the Red Dress (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Kristin Lambert | Read by Sophie Amoss
Published by Listening Library

Murder on New Year’s Eve! In 1929 New Orleans, the Cloak & Dagger speakeasy and LBGTQIA haven features Marion in drag – who is now suspected of murder.

His best friend Millie (teenage niece of the club owner) is determined to prove his innocence and find the real killer.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/179183/the-boy-in-the-red-dress-by-kristin-lambert-read-by-sophie-amoss/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of This Rebel Heart, by Katherine Locke. Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen. Published by Listening Library

This Rebel Heart (free Sora download 7/6-7/12/23)
by Katherine Locke | Read by Kathleen Gati, Steven Jay Cohen
Published by Listening Library

After her parents are murdered in 1956, young Hungarian woman Czilla is eager to leave the country and its repressive regime.

She finds allies in a man seeking his missing lover, an angel of death, and others primed to revolt for freedom.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/213314/this-rebel-heart-by-katherine-locke-read-by-kathleen-gati-steven-jay-cohen/

Best historical fiction book you ever read?
**kmm

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Can she OUTRUN THE MOON & fate through education or luck? by Stacey Lee (YA book review)

book cover of Outrun the Moon, by Stacey Lee. Published by Penguin | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Mercy wants better for her little brother than backbreaking laundry work, but she needs more education than their poor middle school can offer so she can start a business.

The teen negotiates her way into a semester scholarship at St. Clare’s School for Girls, the best in 1906 San Francisco, determined to brave anti-Chinese prejudice on the way to her dreams.

In return, Mercy promises snobby Elodie’s father a meeting with the Benevolent Association to apply for permission to sell his very fine chocolates in Chinatown…

Oh, how she longs to help her boyfriend Tom find his way into the sky instead of becoming an herbalist doctor like his father!

What if the headmistress decides Mercy isn’t worthy to be at St. Clare’s?
What if the Benevolent Association won’t consider their request?
What does her mother see when she foretells their futures?

Earthquake! The St. Clare’s girls escape to Golden Gate Park and, with Mercy’s practical skills, try to help others fleeing collapsed buildings and fires.

Her family! Their families! What now?

Outstanding historical fiction from the author of The Downstairs Girl (recommended here).

Are you prepared for a natural disaster?
**kmm

Book info: Outrun the Moon / Stacey Lee. Penguin, hardcover 2016, paperback 2017. [author Facebook] [publisher site] Personal collection; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Lady Liberty is A LIGHT FOR ALL! by Margarita Engle & Raul Colon (Picturebook recommendation)

book cover of Light For All, by Margarita Engle; illustrated by Raul Colon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

Light, hope, freedom!

The Statue of Liberty‘s welcoming presence weaves throughout this uplifting and reflective picturebook.

Children’s hopes, dreams, and memories of their birth-lands fill these pages showing the many reasons that people come to the United States.

The text also acknowledges the Native Americans who lived here first and the Africans forcibly brought here in slavery, as well as recent immigrants’ struggles to be accepted by those whose families also arrived as immigrants in past generations.

By the author of many novels in verse that carry forward the voices of non-dominant cultures, several recommended on BooksYALove here.

The illustrator uses varied color palettes to portray disaster and turmoil, community and reunion, friendship and hope.

Also available in Spanish : Luz Para Todos.

Have you visited the Statue of Liberty?
**kmm

Book info: Light For All / Margarita Engle; illustrated by Raul Colon. Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [illustrator interview] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Let’s hear it for inventors! (audiobook recommendations)

How clever! This week, AudioSYNC brings us stories of extremely sharp folks and their amazingly inventive minds.

You have until Wednesday 5 July 2023 to download either or both of these professionally produced audiobooks into your Sora shelf. Get all the details here.

Did you miss earlier weeks’ free audiobooks? Check with your local public library or favorite independent bookstore.

Get ready to read with your ears!

CD cover of Bump, by Chiara Atik | Read by Ana Ortiz, Herbert Siguenza, Alma Martinez, and a Full Cast. Published by LA Theatre Works

Bump (free Sora download 6/29-7/5/23)
by Chiara Atik | Read by Ana Ortiz, Herbert Siguenza, Alma Martinez, and a Full Cast
Published by L.A. Theatre Works

The humorous story of Claudia’s plan to deliver her baby at home (using an amateur-built birthing machine!) is bookended by those of a midwife and first-time mother in 1790 and an online bulletin board for December moms.

Includes an interview with the author and a gynecologist.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/226065/bump-by-chiara-atik-read-by-ana-ortiz-herbert-siguenza/

swirling lines clipart http://www.clipartpanda.com/clipart_images/mondays-throughout-the-day-17164159
CD cover of The Woman Who Split the Atom: the Life of Lise Meitner, by Marissa Moss | Read by Sandy Rustin. Published by Recorded Books

The Woman Who Split the Atom: the Life of Lise Meitner (free Sora download 6/29-7/5/23)
by Marissa Moss | Read by Sandy Rustin
Published by Recorded Books

It was Lise Meitner’s groundbreaking research into the behavior of atoms in the 1930s that led to understanding nuclear fission and its later use in atomic weapons, much to her sorrow.

As a Jewish woman in pre-World War II Germany, brilliant Meitner was given substandard lab facilities, saw her work attributed solely to men, was forced into exile by the Nazi regime, and never received the Nobel Prize honors awarded to her male co-researchers.

On BooksYALove here, you’ll find my recommendation of Hidden Powers: Lise Meitner’s Call to Science, by Jeannine Atkins – a biography of Meitner in verse.

https://www.audiofilemagazine.com/reviews/read/229657/the-woman-who-split-the-atom-by-marissa-moss-read-by-sandy-rustin/

Which invention has most improved your own life?
**kmm

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PIGSKINS TO PAINTBRUSHES: football-playing artist Ernie Barnes, by Don Tate (Picturebook review)

book cover of Pigskins to Paintbrushes: the Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes, by Don Tate. Published by Abrams Books for Young Readers | recommended on BooksYALove.com

His pencil never stopped drawing,
his heart was filled with music and images,
some day he would show the world!

On the sidelines as he played professional football, Ernie kept drawing. After all, art had long been his escape from bullies as he grew up in segregated North Carolina.

In high school, Ernie was a big guy, so his mother convinced the football coach to let him play – and Ernie hated it! Only when the weight-lifting coach encouraged him to get stronger did the young Black man find his rhythm on the field and on the track team, leading to college scholarship offers

Oh, how Ernie loved the art studio at his all-Black college, learning oil painting and perspective and art history. His professor encouraged him to use his own experiences as inspiration for his work, and Ernie began painting about football as he kept playing.

His NFL career cut short by injury, Ernie proposed that the American Football League hire him as their official artist. He painted for the New York Jets, exhibiting 30 vibrant and exciting works to great acclaim in the mid-1960s.

Ernie’s paintings of Black Americans reflected joy and community, and his art career came full circle when they were exhibited in 1979 at the North Carolina Museum of Art, where he wasn’t allowed to enter as a child during segregation.

Movement, muscle, memory, and heart made Ernie Banks an art superstar. Watch the book trailer here!

What sport-related artwork is your favorite?
**kmm

Book info: Pigskins to Paintbrushes: the Story of Football-Playing Artist Ernie Barnes / Don Tate. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

Neighbors at war, peril under THE WEIGHT OF OUR SKY, by Hanna Alkaf (YA book review)

book cover of The Weight of Our Sky, by Hanna Alkaf. Published by Salaam Reads | recommended on BooksYALove.com

Underdogs win in an election,
Status quo pushes back –
Deadly fighting in the streets!

The small good-luck counting actions of childhood became full-blown obsession when her father died. Now 16-year-old Melati protects her mother through counting rituals as the djinn within her shows gruesome images of how Mama will die if the teen doesn’t do them perfectly (always in threes, always).

These days, in 1969 Malaysia, she and best friend Saf love new music, enjoy the street food in their Malay neighborhood, come home when the sunset call to prayer sounds. They’re at the movies when fighting about the recent election turns violent with Chinese and Muslims and Indians attacking each other’s communities – run, run home!

Improbably rescued by a Chinese auntie, Melati is panicked at Mama not knowing where she is, at leaving Saf behind, at being with Chinese people she’s always been warned not to trust…

The djinn inside Melati reproaches her constantly, Auntie Bee’s two college sons Frankie and Vincent argue about who started the fighting, and Uncle arrives home after seeing fires all over Kuala Lumpur.

Oh, 24-hour curfew! Rioters are burning everything, and soon Auntie Bee’s house is packed with her neighbor of all faiths – how long will the food last?

Frankie is eager to fight against the Malays; Vince loves music and understands a little about how it helps Melati drown out the djinn’s terrible words.

Is there any way to get back to Melati’s mom? Wherever she and Vince travel on his motorbike, one of them will be the outsider and in danger!

Malay, Chinese, and Indian groups all worked together to declare independence from Britain 12 years ago – why can’t they govern together now?

In Melati’s time, mental illnesses like OCD were ignored, not treated, so she is doing the best that she can during unbearable stress.

The debut novel by the author of Queen of the Tiles (recommended here).
**kmm

Book info: The Weight of Our Sky / Hanna Alkaf. Salaam Reads / Simon & Schuster, hardcover 2019, paperback, 2021. [author site] [publisher site] Personal copy; cover image courtesy of the publisher.