Tag Archive | reading

Running with Cosmos Flowers, after Hiroshima bombing, by Shizumi Shigeto Manale and Richard Marshall (book review)

book cover of Running With Cosmos Flowers: The Children of Hiroshima, by Shizumi Shigeto Manale and Richard Marshall. Pelican Publishing | recommended on BooksYALove.comAfter the A-bomb hits,
surviving winter in Hiroshima is so hard,
then flowers bloom in spring – and perhaps hope also?

Among the packages of desperately needed clothes and food sent to these Japanese schoolchildren when World War II ended were simple gifts of paper, pencils, and crayons from a church in the USA.

So they drew their thank-yous, sent back to the church which displayed and preserved them until today.

Ask for this story of war’s aftermath as seen through children’s eyes and art at your local library or independent bookstore.

The author’s documentary film “Pictures from a Hiroshima Schoolyard” includes the restored children’s drawings sent to All Souls’ Church in D.C. as well as archival footage showing life in Hiroshima in the days and months after the bombing.

War…
**kmm

Book info: Running with Cosmos Flowers: the Children of Hiroshima / Shizumi Shigeto Manale and Richard Marshall. Pelican Publishing, 2014.  [book website] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Now her turn to evacuate in summer 1945, Hana-chan arrives at her aunt’s country village shortly before her mother departs with students going home… to Hiroshima.

Struggling to travel from the mountains into the city after the A-bomb strikes, Hana and her aunt are aghast at the devastation, yet try to help where they can.

Back at school in one of the few buildings remaining upright, 7 year old Hana and her young classmates worry about whether radiation sickness is contagious and how they will cope with oncoming winter weather.

Then packages arrive from America – with clothes and food and paper and pencils.

Can small gifts of paper and crayons begin to heal these broken lives?

And their thank-you drawings are sent to the USA, seen by thousands and remembered over the decades.

Based on the author’s experiences as a young girl born in Hiroshima just after World War II ended, hearing survivors’ stories and becoming part of a rebuilding nation. As usual in Japanese fiction, quotation marks aren’t used in the dialogue, but readers will soon be caught up in the story without need of this punctuation.

The raiders are coming! Evangelina Takes Flight with her family, by Diana J. Noble (book review)

book cover of Evangelina Takes Flight, by Diana J. Noble, published by Pinata Books | recommended on BooksYALove.com Pancho Villa‘s rebels are coming!
Carry what you can and flee – or be killed!
But refugees aren’t welcomed when they cross into Texas…

So much for 13-year-old Evangelina to cope with now – a girl trying to steal her suitcase on the train (with grandfather’s secret box inside!), store signs in the Texas town that say “No Mexicans” (where can they buy food?), and wondering if they can ever go home to Mexico (is anyone safe there?).

The story is set in 1911, but many things still resonate today in the borderlands.
**kmm

Book info: Evangelina Takes Flight / Diana J. Noble. Pinata Books/Arte Publico Press, 2017. [author Facebook]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Pancho Villa and his rebel soldiers are coming? As big sister celebrates her quinceanera before the family flees their northern Mexico rancho, Evangelina worries about little Tomas’ recovering so slowly from a scorpion sting, whether grandfather can travel north with them, what they will find at her aunt’s house in Texas.

By mule wagon, with the men herding their best cattle on another trail, Evangelina’s mother gets the children to the crowded train station, but the journey onward is anything but smooth, and the Texas border town holds no welcome for refugees.

Why is wailing woman La Llorona coming into her dreams?
Will the townspeople’s prejudice keep her and Dr. Taylor from saving lives?
What is in the box grandfather gave her for safekeeping?

Evangelina might even be brave enough to attend the town meeting where rich white people are demanding that only white children can attend the school!

U = Unbreakable Code, by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman (book review) – hot book hunt or literary fire bug?

book cover of Unbreakable Code by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman published by Henry Holt Books for Young Readers  | recommended on BooksYALove.comCoded messages in books,
ships beneath buildings,
an arsonist who must be stopped!

Emily and James are always on the hunt for books hidden by fellow Book Scavenger fans, but when coded clues in particular volumes link up with revenge-fueled fires at listed hidden-book sites, they decide to solve the mystery… but the fire bug is watching them!

Happy book birthday to The Unbreakable Code! You can read this second adventure in the series by itself, but will enjoy it even more if you get the full background in book one, Book Scavenger (my no-spoiler recommendation here).

Be sure to visit the Book Scavenger game website if you want to report a found book or register a book to hide yourself – there are hundreds hidden all over the USA!

What ‘lost treasure’ from a favorite author would you like to find?
**kmm

Book info:The Unbreakable Code (Book Scavengers, book 2) / Jennifer Chambliss Bertman, with illustrations by Sarah Watts. Holt Books for Young Readers, 2017. [Book Scavenger site]  [author site] [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher, via Edelweiss.

My book talk: The unbreakable code? As Emily and James seek out hidden books in the Book Scavenger game, the middle schoolers discover a secret message that sets them hunting for information on Gold Rush ships buried beneath San Francisco’s skyscrapers and the code that author Mark Twain said could never be broken.

But someone with a grudge is setting fires at Book Scavenger hiding places and doesn’t want the young teens to discover the next fire site…ever.

What does their teacher (and fellow Book Scavenger) know about the code – and the fires?
Why must they help with the school dance now when they want work on this mystery?
Ciphers, codes, clues – which ones to follow?

As the fires strike closer to what’s important to Emily and James, they must decide who to trust and how far they can go on their own. Second book in the Book Scavenger series, following Book Scavenger.

S for San Antonio and so many authors!

logo of Texas Library Association 2017 Annual Conference txla.org

TXLA2017 logo courtesy of Texas Library Association

By the time you read this post, I will have

– listened to Cory Doctorow, Carmen Agra Deedy, and Chelsea Clinton speaking to thousands of enrapt librarians at the Texas Library Association Annual Conference in San Antonio,

– toted dozens and dozens of ARCs (advance reader copies) all over the gigantic convention center and to my hotel, as I asked publishers’ representatives which forthcoming books they adored in-house, but might get overshadowed by the season’s “big books” and blockbusters,

– and even succumbed to the lure of acquiring a few completed books signed by authors, both brand-new and deservedly famous, despite the extra weight of hardcovers and acid-free paper.

Life in the world of books and ideas and imagination is very good!

But the libraries that serve us all are threatened by drastic funding cuts at the national and state level.

Please, please, click on those links to find ways to tell legislators how libraries make a difference in your community and your life – it will take all our voices to change their minds.

What’s your best library story?
**kmm

D is My Diary From the Edge of the World, by Jodi Lynn Anderson

book cover of My Diary From the Edge of the World by Jodi Lynn Anderson published by Aladdin  | recommended on BooksYALove.comDragons, mermaids, Sasquatches,
the earth is flat,
every school textbook says so.

If only Gracie’s family can get to the edge of the world and cross over to the The Extraordinary World, that mythical globe-shaped Earth where they can find a cure for her little brother’s illness before the Cloud takes him from them forever…

Recently released in paperback, Gracie’s travelogue told through her Diary (chapter 1 here, free) should be at your local library or independent bookstore; if not, ask for it!

When have you seen a Dark Cloud and wondered?
**kmm

Book info: My Diary From the Edge of the World / Jodi Lynn Anderson. Aladdin, 2015 (hardcover), 2017 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When a Cloud comes for Gracie’s little brother, the 12 year old’s family packs up the RV and goes searching for the mythical ‘Extraordinary World’ to find a cure.

Leaving their Maine hometown, the Lockwoods (plus Oliver, recently orphaned by a Sasquatch attack) visit a witch (Gracie’s grandmother), then head west where they encounter a strange circus, gamble against a genie in Luck Town, and hire a guardian angel on the coast for the perilous voyage to the far south edge of the world.

Can’t they outrun that Dark Cloud?
Will her big sister ever stop complaining about the trip?
How far is it to a miracle?

AtoZChallenge starts tomorrow – no foolin’

image of April A to Z blogging Challenge badge from http://www.a-to-zchallenge.comEvery spring, I fret about whether I should really participate in the April A to Z blogging challenge.

Can I really write 26 (great) posts in 26 (overscheduled) days in alphabetical (so structured) order?

And just like every spring since 2012, I decide to take the plunge – highlighting 26 wonderful #YAlit books during April.

So get ready – amazing reading ahead!
**kmm

New year, new books!

photo of striped cat sleeping in square of sunlight on carpet

writing assistant Max, in supervision mode

Back online at last!

When it comes to staying on my recommendation write-up schedule, the holidays are always a challenge.

Then major woes with WordPress updates and borked website database… finally resolved after many, many days and phone calls.

So onward into 2017 and a whole slew of books just-published and on the horizon to recommend to y’all! I’ve done lots of reading, even if I haven’t done any writing.

Any upcoming titles that you are waiting for?

**kmm

Indies First – shop local, buy books, repeat!

indieboundSaturday is Indies First, encouraging us to shop first at our local independent booksellers – and to continue shopping there during the holiday season and beyond.

Check the map here for your nearest independent bookstore and take your BooksYALove wishlist with you when you shop!

Prefer shopping in your pajamas? You can buy books – and eBooks – online from indie bookstores on the group website or a local bookstore found through their Zipcode search.

Buying largely through huge online stores truly hurts your community’s economy – check this infographic for some alarming statistics.

If you are giving gift cards, remember that your local indie will sell and honor their own gift cards all year long.

As always, I receive no money or goods from links – just trying to get y’all to the good stuff!

What’s on your book wishlist these days?
**kmm

Language of Stars, by Louise Haws (book review) – poetry or pre-med prose?

book cover of The Language of Stars, by Louise Hawes published by Margaret K. McElderry Books | recommended on BooksYALove.comWhat Mom wants, what Dad demands,
What her boyfriend plans,
When is it her turn to decide?

Mistakes – telling Fry about the Baylor House, trying to please Dad at work, imagining that Mom would allow her off the pre-med career path.

Possibilities – writing poetry with Rufus Baylor himself, finding the ‘me’ instead of only ‘us’ with Fry, discovering her own poetic voice.

So many wonderful (and on-their-way-to-better) poems in this book!

Got a poem to share in the comments?
**kmm

Book info:  The Language of Stars / Louise Hawes. Margaret K. McElderry Books, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Sarah should have talked Fry out having a party at remote historic house in their North Carolina coastal town, but after the house is terribly damaged, her dad is even angrier at her than usual, and the partying teens are sentenced to summer school plus house restoration, she is startled to find their class taught by the reclusive poet whose summer home was wrecked and that she has a gift for words, a gift that may take her far from the med school future that her mom has planned out for her.

Filled with poetry – from the first written in many years by “the Great One” to those created during class together to the gems that Fry texts to Sarah while she’s working at her dad’s fancy restaurant – and revelations, The Language of Stars speaks love, second chances, redemption, and hope.

Sword and Verse, by Kathy MacMillan (book review) – ink + paper = death??

book cover of Sword and Verse by Kathy MacMillan published by HarperTeen | recommended on BooksYALove.comTaught to write by her late father.
Captured, now teaching the future king,
A slave in danger… and in love.

This land where higher order writing is reserved for the monarch has indeed rewritten history after conquering her home islands, Raisa discovers, as her good memory of Father’s lessons and her terrible curiosity reveal hidden scrolls’ secrets – but no one would believe what a slave says, even if she is the heir-apparent’s tutor!

Read an excerpt here for free, courtesy of the publisher, then look for this suspenseful January 2016 tale at your local library or independent bookstore.

Love or justice – which is the better choice?
**kmm

Book info: Sword and Verse / Kathy MacMillan. HarperTeen, 2016. [author site]  [publisher site]  Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Suddenly a royal tutor in the conquerors’ land, slave Raisa must be careful not to show that she knows how to read, not to betray other Arnath slaves as they plan to escape, not to let Prince Mati see how she feels about him, even as she finds shocking information in old scrolls that could overturn everything.

Why can only the King use higher order writing to communicate with Qilara’s gods?
What treacheries are being plotted in the palace?
How can Raisa stay calm during Mati’s betrothal ceremonies?

As the slave Resistance gains strength and outside enemies threaten Qilara, Raisa must balance what she wishes for and what she has discovered in the history of the gods if she hopes to keep her head attached to her neck or any shred of Mati’s affections. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)