Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Have you Read: The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson, a 2018 #Cybils Middle Grade winner?

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

There is SO MUCH to love about this title! The Parker Inheritance has something for everyone:

  • Black History
  • Friendship
  • Bullying
  • Divorce
  • LGBTQ
  • A Mystery to solve

Take all of those ingredients and what comes out is an award winning book. Readers will love how Johnson took his time drawing our main characters into the story making sure to draw fully fleshed out personalities. Brandon and Candice try to solve a puzzle to clear Candice’s late grandmother’s name. And oh what a mystery it is. From learning about Jim Crow laws in the South to modern day experiences of bullying by adults and children, these two form a true friendship built on trust. And they might win a bunch of money too. What’s not to love about that?

The Parker Inheritance is having a great year: A Cybils award, my blog, a Diversity Reading Challenge feature, and Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Honor Award! Way to go Parker Inheritance!

If you’re keeping track, The Parker Inheritance ticks off the box for an African American young woman as the main character.

Bam.

 

 

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Have you Read Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson?

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

How much do we love Jacqueline Woodson? Infinity. Thats how much we love her. Her books are always timely and Harbor Me is no exception.  This thin, powerful book will hook you from word one.

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

How great is it that special needs kids can feel free to be themselves in this special classroom just for them? It’s a strange and beautiful experience all at once. So many issues to unpack with these kids and they do it too, in their own beautiful ways of understanding. I wept.

How does Woodson do it?

Another book for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

Harbor me ticks off many boxes but the one I’m choosing is Latinx person because Esteban is a main character in this ensemble cast. You could choose another category if you want. Thats the ease of this challenge. Boom.

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson a #Cybils middle grade finalist

Harbor Me by Jacqueline Woodson

How much do we love Jacqueline Woodson? Infinity. Thats how much we love her. Her books are always timely and Harbor Me is no exception.  This thin, powerful book will hook you from word one.

It all starts when six kids have to meet for a weekly chat—by themselves, with no adults to listen in. There, in the room they soon dub the ARTT Room (short for “A Room to Talk”), they discover it’s safe to talk about what’s bothering them—everything from Esteban’s father’s deportation and Haley’s father’s incarceration to Amari’s fears of racial profiling and Ashton’s adjustment to his changing family fortunes. When the six are together, they can express the feelings and fears they have to hide from the rest of the world. And together, they can grow braver and more ready for the rest of their lives.

How great is it that special needs kids can feel free to be themselves in this special classroom just for them? It’s a strange and beautiful experience all at once. So many issues to unpack with these kids and they do it too, in their own beautiful ways of understanding. I wept.

How does Woodson do it?

Another book for the Diversity Reading Challenge!

Harbor me ticks off many boxes but the one I’m choosing is Latinx person because Esteban is a main character in this ensemble cast. You could choose another category if you want. Thats the ease of this challenge.

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson, a #Cybils Middle Grade winner!

The Parker Inheritance by Varian Johnson

There is SO MUCH to love about this title! The Parker Inheritance has something for everyone:

  • Black History
  • Friendship
  • Bullying
  • Divorce
  • LGBTQ
  • A Mystery to solve

Take all of those ingredients and what comes out is an award winning book. Readers will love how Johnson took his time drawing our main characters into the story making sure to draw fully fleshed out personalities. Brandon and Candice try to solve a puzzle to clear Candice’s late grandmother’s name. And oh what a mystery it is. From learning about Jim Crow laws in the South to modern day experiences of bullying by adults and children, these two form a true friendship built on trust. And they might win a bunch of money too. What’s not to love about that?

The Parker Inheritance is having a great year: A Cybils award, my blog, a Diversity Reading Challenge feature, and Coretta Scott King (Author) Book Honor Award! Way to go Parker Inheritance!

If you’re keeping track, The Parker Inheritance ticks off the box for an African American young woman as the main character.

 

 

 

Categories
Books Children

Zoey’s Post-it Notes by Zoey Steiner

More than anything I love kids, but you know that, right? Imagine a kid who writes a book? Can anything get more awesomer than that?

I think not.

That’s why I decided to read and review Zoey’s Post-it Notes

Zoe is a girl who is getting bullied in school. I don’t know why bullying is still a thing but it IS. I wish it weren’t. I know schools work hard to make it stop, but since sometimes kids can be jerks, it still happens. Zoey didn’t seek help, though but managed to figure out a way to help herself.

Zoey created positive post-it notes and posted them around her room. I’m pretty sure this was the original intention of 3M when they invented these, don’t you? What a more perfect way to inspire or remind yourself of something than to post encouraging notes where you can see them and be helped by them. Zoey had good days and bad days at school but she managed to find a way to make a bad situation good through a post-it note.

I strongly believe in the power of self talk and I have often posted uplifting sayings to myself; usually on a computer at work. It really does work.

I’m so glad Zoey found a way to help herself and is now visiting schools helping other kids improve their self esteem.

I have one note to share with Zoey:

Zoey, if you’re reading this, I think you are AWESOME!

If your child is struggling with bullying perhaps this book will inspire them to seek help.

For more books on bullying click here.

Please get help if you’re being bullied. You don’t have to put up with it and you’re not ugly, stupid, or uncreative or any of the mean things a bully says to you.

 

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Blogging from A to Z Challenge Diversity Reading Challenge

#atozchallenge Bad Girls Book Club Letter Y Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Today’s letter is

Y

The Book

Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

Yacqui Delgado Wants to Kick Your Ass by Meg Medina

I’ve had this book on my radar a while and I’m anxious to read it. Our heroine, Piddy, arrives in a new school only to become the subject of Yacqui Delgado’s harassment. As you can imagine, the bullying escalates and it affects Piddy’s life completely and Piddy has to figure out how to get help and get Yacqui and her bullies to stop.

Anyone who survives bullying is awesome in my book.
And a total Bad Girl.

Go Piddy Go!!

If you are someone you know is having trouble with bullying please GET HELP.

StopBullying.gov

Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Bad Girls Book Club: Liars and Losers Like Us #atozchallenge

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Today’s letter is

L

The Book

Liars and Losers Like Us

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I’m going out on a limb with this title because #1 of the tiara and #2 because there might be something surprising within the book. It’s on my TBR list.  This seems like a typical teen romp: high school, prom, girl fights, parties, boys, tears, etc. But a girl commits suicide because of bullying and her friend Bree, who was left behind must decide how to best avenge the death of her friend.
While I don’t condone revenge, I think choosing to stand alone against the popular crowd at school shows us that Bree is a Bad Girl: doing what’s right no matter the cost.

Bad Girls in tiaras?

Rock

Hard

Liars losers like us

Letter M is up next, yo!

Categories
Books resources

You Can Be a Cool Kind Kid by Barbara Gilmour, an anti bullying book for the littles

Although October is winding down, it’s still important to remember that it’s Anti-Bullying Awareness month. I’m a firm believer in anti-bullying campaigns. Is there anyone who is pro-bullying? If so, I want nothing to do with them.

But I ramble. Here’s an anti-bullying book for the littles. It’s actually a series of books along with items that can be used for a school curriculum: a cd, wristbands, bookmarks, word charts, flash cards (yay!), etc.

You Can Be a Cool Kind Kid by Barbara Gilmour

In the first book, we meet Tanner, he thinks everything is cool. Except bullying. Bullying is not cool. Neither are bad words or being rude. During the rest of the book, Tanner illustrates ways to be cool, by using good manners, helping people, being polite, etc.

The book is a great way to teach self-respect and respect for others. Little ones will get it AND the characters inside the book are a good diverse representation!

BTW I ADORE their slogan: Social Skills that break the cycle of bullying by redefining cool.

SO MUCH AWESOME.

Check out their website: CoolKindKid.com

Teachers, get you some of this!

 

 

 

Categories
Books Children

Interview with Maggie Mitchell Author of The Big Stink

I love having friends who write books for ME! I have a friend, Maggie Mitchell, who among other things is a children’s writer. She wrote a lovely

book called the Big Stink, which I will be reviewing later.

The Big Stink by Maggie Mitchelle

Mags graciously sat down with me for a lil ole interview.  Let’s step into the mind of Maggie Mitchell, shall we?

UNCONVENTIONAL LIBRARIAN: Welcome to our interview! Let’s get started. Do you drink coffee?

MAGGIE MITCHELL: I haven’t had any caffeine in 5 weeks! I don’t need a medal or a parade for that feat, it’s just something I wanted to do for my own personal health. Prior to that point, however, I did enjoy coffee ‘drinks,’ but I never got into a cup of joe from a countertop coffeepot. Say that three times fast.

UL. coffeepot coffeepot coffeepot. I win!  Do you like donuts or cookies? Do you dunk?

MM: No dunking. I like my beverage & carbohydrate entities to remain separate, unless there are Oreos and milk involved. I love to bake cookies…and eat them…but if I had to choose, I’d go with a donut that someone else made!

UL: Donuts for the win! We’re kindred spirits. How did your book get started?

MM:  After my daughter was born in 2010, I had a great compulsion to write. I wrote The Big Stink as a response to a particularly profound stink bug invasion that fall, coupled with sad, sad stories I was hearing on the news about the outcomes of bullying in schools. I took something serious and something not-so-serious and developed a story. I love that inspiration can just strike! I was open to it and it found me and I have a book to show for it as the proof!

UL: That’s the great thing about inspiration; it STRIKES! So, tell me, what else have you written?

MM: I wrote Kacey the Papercat in 2012, which is a poetic ode to our big male Tuxedo cat. He’s actually laying at my feet as I type this. I used to write my own blog, but as my daughter got older and when my son was on his way (he was born in December 2014), it became clear to me that blogging was not the way I wanted to use my “extra” time, so I went off the grid. I like it off the grid. I think I’ll stay.

UL: (singing: “Kacey the Papercat…something something where it’s at.”) I hope you like the theme song I just wrote for you. If you could have any superpower what would it be?

MM: Since I am a mom, I can already read minds and predict the future, so those are out. I’m going to have to say flying. If I’m going to be up high, though, I like going fast. I am not a fan of ferris wheels. My superpower would have to be fast flying.

UL: YES!! Flying! What makes you happy?

MM: I think most moms out there would agree with me when I said that seeing my children happy makes me happy. However, I’m going to come right out and say that being alone also makes me very happy. There is nothing so lovely as taking a nap in the middle of the day and waking up naturally to a quiet house. Or sitting on the beach for as long as I like without interruption. I think I’ve done those things before, perhaps in a past life.

UL: hmmmm I can agree.  Something about being alone with your thoughts is glorious. Wrapping up now, anything else you want to tell us?
MM:Wear sunscreen, don’t be afraid of color & mixing patterns, and, from Death of a Salesman, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Because personality always wins the day.”
UL: Well said, Mags.

Isn’t Maggie just the coolest? Stay tuned for my review of her anti bullying book on this channel!

See you soon!

Categories
Books

Five Reasons Why You Should Read Press Play by @eric_devine

Press Play

 

In the spirit of full disclosure I want to say that I agreed to read and review this book because even though the main character is a white male and there’s been a lot of white male protagonist dissing going on in the diversity community I feel this story is important to tell.  And here’s why this story is important;

  1. Overweight hero
  2. Hazing (need I say more?)
  3. Bullying
  4. Sexual harassment
  5. Suicide

Now if those topics don’t merit attention then I don’t know what book should! Devine is a high school teacher, so he knows the minutiae of a high schooler’s day. Having high schoolers of my own, I know that high school is more difficult today than it was when I went.  Our “hero, Dun the Tun, is an overweight kid who documents his weight loss through film. He inadvertently captures some pretty violent hazing on the boys’ lacrosse team.  As Greg is a frequent target of bullying from this group of kids, he struggles with what to do with this new information.

I must warn you that the book is graphic. There is graphic language and violence. It’s difficult to imagine that kids can be so cruel, but left unchecked by equally cruel adults, this is what kind of world we would live in.  I must also warn you that Greg is an unreliable hero. He makes mistakes and he lies and that’s all part of what makes this story so gripping. It’s not always easy to do the right thing when you’re angry and you’ve got a debt to repay.

I stayed up late to finish this book and then I couldn’t turn my brain off. There were so many thoughts running around in my head. So many thoughts.

So many.

Good read for anyone who likes gritty realistic fiction. Think Fight Club for teens.

And we all know what the first rule of Fight Club is, right?