Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

Solo by Kwame Alexander Combines Everything I love: music AND books!

Solo by Kwame Alexander

There is SO much to love about Solo by Kwame Alexander!

…tells the story of seventeen-year-old Blade Morrison, whose life is bombarded with scathing tabloids and a father struggling with just about every addiction under the sun—including a desperate desire to make a comeback. Haunted by memories of his mother and his family’s ruin, Blade’s only hope is in the forbidden love of his girlfriend. But when he discovers a deeply protected family secret, Blade sets out on a journey across the globe that will change everything he thought to be true.

The first thing you must know about this book is that it’s told in verse. And now as more books are written in verse, young readers will become familiar with it. Prose written in verse is just another way of catching the reader’s interest and teaching them to track words. Tricky teaching, I love it!

The best thing about the book is that it is a story of a Black family so it qualifies for the Diversity Reading Challenge but it is also a story that any YA reader will respond to. To imagine life as the child of a famous person? That must be the best life, right? We’ll see.

The third best thing about this title is that it includes a playlist! At the top of every chapter is a song with the artist information; so in theory you could load up your playlist and listen to a song as it relates to the chapter. Geniusness!!

Add this to your collection ASAP!

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Rumplepimple by Suzanne DeWitt Hall, illustrated by Kevin Scott Gierman = Superdoggo!

Rumplepimple

 

Rumplepimple is a silly name for a pooch who takes care of some serious business. To be sure, his moms (he has two) think he’s a naughty little terrier. But when you look at the situation from Rumplepimple’s eyes you’ll see that he is just trying to help.

Rumplepimple gets loose and runs inside a grocery store because he hears a child crying for help. Turns out the little tyke is being tormented by her older brother and Rumplepimple swoops in, grabs the little girl’s blanked from the brother and returns it to the little girl. Now THAT’s a good doggo! No matter that he doesn’t belong in the grocery store, or that he peed on the boy’s shoes. Rumplepimple is just doing what a good dog should: caring for humans.

I love Rumplepimple and I love the easy way the diversity of the two moms is a non issue in the book. There’s no grand announcement of the LGBTQ life; they just happened to be two women who have a rambunctious terrier and a bossy chicken. I DEF want to see more Rumplepimple save the day! I almost forgot to mention that the illustrations are gloriously inclusive of people of color. Bravo!

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

2017 Diversity Reading Challenge: How’d You Do in March?

So March has come and gone; let’s check in and see how we did in the Diversity Reading Challenge, ok? Here’s what I read:

Bud Not Buddy by Christopher Paul Curtis. My review is here.

Wonderful You: An Adoption Story by Lauren McLaughlin; illustrated by Meilo So. You’ll find my review here.

The Rock Maiden: A Chinese Tale of Love and Loyalty by Natasha Yim Illustrated by Pirkko Vainio. Find the review here.

Bud Not Buddy counts as a book written by or for African American young men. Adoption, unfortunately isn’t one of the topics of this year’s Diversity Reading Challenge but since the family depicted in the book are brown skinned we will assume they are people of color; so it counts. I also think adoption counts as diversity. And finally, a book containing an Asian main character is satisfied with Rock Maiden, which is about a Chinese family.

How’d you do? Share your titles with me, I’d love to hear them.

 

 

Categories
Children Diversity Reading Challenge

Wonderful You: An Adoption Story by Lauren McLaughlin; illustrated by Meilo So

Wonderful You: An Adoption Story

Never have I read a book that so beautifully captures the dreams of young mothers for their unborn children. To be sure, Wonderful You is an adoption story, but it is about so much more than adoption. Mothers have dreams and visions of what their life will be like once a baby comes and I feel like adoptive or birth mothers have similar visions. I can only imagine that the mother giving up her child for adoption hopes the adoptive parents live up to her dreams. Both mothers want the best life for their new babies and want the babies to feel loved and supported. Wonderful You captures those feelings beautifully.

Especially captivating are the watercolor illustrations. They make you feel dreamy, like you’re in the heads and hearts of both families. And the fact that the adoptive parents are multicultural are an extra bonus!

Wonderful you is a lovely  book but it’s not just for adoptive families; it’s for every family that wants to show their child that they, too are Wonderful.

Categories
Children

What’s In My Ear? Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth

Thanks to the generosity of Audible.com (LOVE) I’m enjoying Kinda Like Brothers by Coe Booth.

kindalikebrothers Collage

Stay tuned in a day or two for my review!

 

Categories
Adult Fiction Books

Towne Book Center Book Club Pick: The Light Between Oceans

I heard this idea on NPR one day a long time ago and it stuck with me: whenever I hear the title of the book somewhere in the book it makes me think: gagggggggggg. I don’t know why. It feels hokey or something. And seeing as I’m a fan of very strange sounds, gagggggggghhh is not a sound I like to make when reading a book.  It’s kinda like that mushy feeling you get when there’s too much kissing going on in a book. blech.

13158800

Where was I? Oh . The Light Between Oceans. The title is NOT in the book and for that I love the book.  I didn’t love the book; didn’t hate it either.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE learning about lighthouses and Australia, but the story took too long to develop.  But when it did develop, it was nice.  What’s interesting about the book is that the human struggle post WWI in Australia is strikingly similar to that all over the world: PTSD, break ups of families, sadness, loss, new beginnings, etc.

The life of a lighthouse keeper is a lonely one. And while I’m not a swimmer or a fisherman nor do I enjoy breezy ocean sprays, there is something about being alone with a lighthouse (and it’s dangerous mercury) and the magnificent ocean view that intrigues me. Hours of solitude and being alone with my thoughts sounds like a pretty pleasurable way to spend my days.  It’s completely romantic rubbish, I’m sure but the introvert in me likes at least the idea of it.

Thanks to the magic of the internet I found a photo of a lighthouse that might have been the inspiration for the lighthouse in this book.

courtesy http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/WA/Eclipse%20Island/Eclipse%20Island.htm
courtesy http://www.lighthouses.org.au/lights/WA/Eclipse%20Island/Eclipse%20Island.htm

Not nearly as romantic looking as imagined in the book but gives you an idea of what the terrain might have looked like.

So, the great thing about reading books is that you get to travel. For this book I traveled to Australia and learned about Tasmania too, while googling Australia.

I wonder where I’ll travel to next in my readings?

Have you read The Light Between Oceans? What are your thoughts?

 

Categories
Books

The Perfect Dog by John O’Hurley

Here’s a book that combines two of the things I hold dear: books and dogs. The Perfect Dog is written by John O’Hurley.  Take a look!

 

Well, what did you think?  What’s your perfect dog? Tell me below!

Categories
Adult Fiction Books

Towne Book Center Book Club October Pick: Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

flightbehaviorThis past month our book club took a departure from death and aliens to discuss an author who I’m sure, is a favorite of book clubs around the world:  Barbara Kingsolver. Her latest book, recently out in paperback, Flight Behavior was this month’s pick.

Here’s a bit about it:

Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman’s narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel’s inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Characters and reader alike are quickly carried beyond familiar territory here, into the unsettled ground of science, faith, and everyday truces between reason and conviction.

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.

I had mixed feelings about this book.  I kinda felt “meh” about the whole story line, although I could totally relate to the pentecostal church and Dellarobia’s feelings toward using covenant as a verb.  Also delicious was Dellarobia’s best friend, Dovey, without whose support, I’m sure, our heroine would have withered and died.  A funny discussion between the two occurs when Dellarobia tells Dovey about the scientist who visits her.  “Girl, it’s Barack Obama” made me giggle out loud.

Unfortunately, the rest of the book left me feeling meh.  That does not mean that the book is not for you.  It might be, especially if you enjoyed The Poisonwood Bible.

Have you read anything by Kingsolver? What are your thoughts?

Flight Behavior transfixes from its opening scene, when a young woman’s narrow experience of life is thrown wide with the force of a raging fire. In the lyrical language of her native Appalachia, Barbara Kingsolver bares the rich, tarnished humanity of her novel’s inhabitants and unearths the modern complexities of rural existence. Characters and reader alike are quickly carried beyond familiar territory here, into the unsettled ground of science, faith, and everyday truces between reason and conviction.

Dellarobia Turnbow is a restless farm wife who gave up her own plans when she accidentally became pregnant at seventeen. Now, after a decade of domestic disharmony on a failing farm, she has settled for permanent disappointment but seeks momentary escape through an obsessive flirtation with a younger man. As she hikes up a mountain road behind her house to a secret tryst, she encounters a shocking sight: a silent, forested valley filled with what looks like a lake of fire. She can only understand it as a cautionary miracle, but it sparks a raft of other explanations from scientists, religious leaders, and the media. The bewildering emergency draws rural farmers into unexpected acquaintance with urbane journalists, opportunists, sightseers, and a striking biologist with his own stake in the outcome. As the community lines up to judge the woman and her miracle, Dellarobia confronts her family, her church, her town, and a larger world, in a flight toward truth that could undo all she has ever believed.

Flight Behavior takes on one of the most contentious subjects of our time: climate change. With a deft and versatile empathy Kingsolver dissects the motives that drive denial and belief in a precarious world.

Categories
Take Control of Your TBR Challenge

Take Control of Your TBR Pile: Y by Margorie Celona

March is winding down and so is the Take Control of Your TBR Pile Challenge hosted by Kimba.

takecontroltbr

Another book from my TBR pile is Y by Marjorie Celona.  Here’s a pic of Bailey checking it out.

An Unconventional Librarian

 

I didn’t know what to make of y (lower case) upon reading the first few pages.  The story darkly tells the story of a baby left outside of a YMCA somewhere in Canada.  This poor, helpless baby has strange and traumatic ordeals in several foster homes until she is finally adopted by a single mother.  Interwoven is the story of this baby’s mother, who’s life is also traumatic, and why she has come to deliver and abandon this newborn at the doorstep of the Y.

The reader can almost predict the drug abuse and toxic relationships that both characters encounter during their lives.  What the reader cannot predict is how these young women survive.  To be sure, the baby, now named Shannon, is very much loved by her latest adopted mother, Miranda.  Miranda gives Shannon all the love and support that she can to help the child thrive.  Shannon, however, is broken and knows it, not sure how to fit into the world.  Thanks to a few helpful people, Shannon decides to investigate her past and see if she can find her parents.

I loved learning about life and the scenery of Vancouver.  The author carefully flavors the people in Shannon’s life: the broken, the sick, the tired, the drug addicts, the street people, and the First Nation people.  I especially liked that the First Nation characters were not singled out as right or wrong, they were simply people living in the world, no different than the Chinese take out or the guy playing drums at the park. What I especially love about the novel is that Celona made sure that even though none of these people were perfect, in fact, most were struggling in some way, there was a sensitivity to them toward Shannon that is indescribable.

Y is not an easy book to read.  But it is thoroughly worth sticking with to see what this young and very strange looking heroine makes of herself.

I give the book 4 paws for lots of multi ethnic characterization.

Unconventional Librarian 4paws

I still have 5 more days left of March! How many more books can I get cleared off of my TBR pile??

Categories
Children

It’s Okay to Be Different by Todd Parr

I love the book It’s Okay to be Different because it shows the lils just exactly what different is: having no hair, to having different moms and dads, to having a dog as a friend, there’s no end to what being different is.  The point Parr makes is that it’s ok.  And sometimes the lil ones need to hear that from a book with pictures that make sense to them.

Here I am reading it.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

 

What did you think of the book?