2015 Diversity Reading Challenge

Diversity Reading Challenge: Check Up

Diversity Reading Challenge Check Up


It’s check up time!

How has the Diversity Challenge been treating you?

I’ve seen some great posts over the interwebs of people interpreting Diversity in many ways.


Here are the books that I’ve read since January 2015  that fit the Diversity Reading Challenge:

 The Living by Matt De La Pena. Young Adult. Here’s my review.


While We Run by Karen Healey. Young Adult. Here’s my review.


Kane Chronicles: . Middle Grade.  Here’s my review.


Tiger Boy by Mitali Perkins. Middle Grade. Here’s my review.


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Warning this is NOT for children. Adult Fiction.  Here’s my review.


The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. Adult Nonfiction. Here’s my review.

The Hiding Place

Copper Sun by Sharon Draper. Early Young Adult. Here’s my review.

copper sun

The Adventures of Isabelle by Nicole Cutts. Young Adult & Adult Fiction. Here’s my review.


Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith.  Young Adult. Here’s my review.

Grasshopper Jungle

Peace, Bugs & Understanding. Here’s my review.


Trombone Shorty. Review forthcoming.


Kinda Like Brothers.   Here’s my review.


LuLu and the Very Big Meanies. Here’s my review.


 How did you do? Share some of your reads down below so we can all discover new titles!

Books Young Adult

Wind Catcher by Jeff and Erynn Altabef, A Novel Publicity Tour

Wind Catcher is my new fave book!

Wind Catcher by Jeff ALtafef and Erynn Altabef



Have I got a great YA fantasy novel for you.

Let’s make this book count toward diversity because the heroine is Native American!

Many thanks to Novel Publicity Tour for sending me this great book.

Banned Books

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop!

Banned Books Week: Celebrating the Freedom To Read

All this week I’ll be celebrating banned books week by highlighting challenged or banned books. Why is banned books week important? According to the American Library Association (of which I’m a member),

By focusing on efforts across the country to remove or restrict access to books, Banned Books Week draws national attention to the harms of censorship.

As a parent, you have a right to decide what your own children should be exposed to, but I strongly believe that you do not have the right to dictate what other children have access to. So, let’s celebrate the books that have been challenged and see if you’ve read any of them and you can make the decision for yourself. Each day of Banned Books Week I’ll highlight several of the titles that were challenged or banned last year. Let’s see how they stack up.  Also? This is a blog hop so I’ll giveaway a $10 Amazon gift card to the winner!

The Absolutely true Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

sherman alexie


There aren’t many books about Native American students so this book is important on that level. To be sure, this book is not for little kids, but I guarantee that what’s inside is no different than what your teens hear or say on the bus and at school. It’s relevant and they need to learn to appreciate Native American culture. Here’s what it’s about:

n his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Here’s why it was challenged:

Removed as required reading in a Queens,N.Y. middle school (2013) because the book included excerpts on masturbation. The book, which tells the story of a Native American who transfers into an all-white high school, won the 2007 National Book Foundation award for Young People’s Literature. Challenged on the tenth-grade required reading list at Skyview High School in Billings, Mt. (2013) because “[t]his book is, shockingly, written by a Native American who reinforces all the negative stereotypes of his people and does it from the crude, obscene, and unfiltered viewpoint of a ninth-grader growing up on the reservation.” Pulled from the Jefferson County, W.V. schools (2013) because a parent complained about the novel’s graphic nature. Challenged in a Sweet Home, Oreg. Junior High English class (2014) because of concerns about its content, particularly what some parents see as the objectification of women and young girls, and the way alternative lessons were developed and presented. Parents of the eighth-graders in the language arts classes received information summarizing the novel’s most controversial issues before the unit started and had the option of asking for an alternative assignment.

What are your thoughts? Worth challenging/banning?


The House of the Sprits by Isabel Allende


I’m fast tracking this title to my TBR list.  Based on the description I am reminded of my beloved Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Magical realism is where it is AT, y’all.  Allende is going to be my new bestie. Here’s what it’s about:

n one of the most important and beloved Latin American works of the twentieth century, Isabel Allende weaves a luminous tapestry of three generations of the Trueba family, revealing both triumphs and tragedies. Here is patriarch Esteban, whose wild desires and political machinations are tempered only by his love for his ethereal wife, Clara, a woman touched by an otherworldly hand. Their daughter, Blanca, whose forbidden love for a man Esteban has deemed unworthy infuriates her father, yet will produce his greatest joy: his granddaughter Alba, a beautiful, ambitious girl who will lead the family and their country into a revolutionary future.

At first blush it might seem like the story is about the man; but from what I’ve gathered it’s about the women of the family with the patriarch being the common thread.  Here’s why it was challenged:

Challenged in the Watauga County, N.C. High School (2013) curriculum because of the book’s graphic nature. After a five-month process, the book was fully retained at a third and final appeal hearing.

The graphic nature the challenge refers to is sexual violence. While I don’t condone that sort of thing in real life, there are many books that contain this element that students read year in and year out.  Choose for yourself.  Meanwhile, I’m grabbing this title from the bookstore tonight!

Stay tuned next time for another look into Banned Books Week. What do you think of these titles? Would you read them? Have you read them?

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway:
a Rafflecopter giveaway


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The Indian in the Cupboard

Wow, I don’t know where to begin when reviewing The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks.  I guess i should first say that overall it is a delightful story. I enjoyed the ending and of course the main character learned a valuable lesson about how to treat people of all sizes and races.  That part of the lesson is priceless and worth repeating.

With that said, I am disappointed in the details of the story.  I am unsure if the book is a product of the time period (80s) or of the author’s location (UK) or what, but the book is rife with Native American stereotypes.  What is interesting about the book is that even though the character Little Bear speaks in stereotypical Indian language, the main character, Omri, is very sensitive to Little Bear’s cultural needs.  It’s an interesting study in opposites.  Little Bear speaks in clipped English sentences such as “I not small! You, big!” during an introductory conversation with Omri.  To be sure, we will never really know how Native Americans spoke during that time period (pre 1800s) but I’m pretty sure that when learning a new language, Indians like Little Bear could use verbs, adverbs and adjectives. If you can learn the language, you can learn to speak it properly, right? And how is it that Little Bear can understand English?

I know that if Little Bear didn’t speak and understand English that there wouldn’t be a story, but if the two struggled to understand each other at first, the story might have been more believable and Little Bear’s stilted embryonic language structure would be more appropriate.

I know this story is popular with the younger set but I struggle to recommend it because of the stereotypes.  As you can see from the last book I read about Native Americans, “Part time Indian”, Native Americans speak English very well.

Although a sweet and touching story I give this book two paws.


This book is part of my YA 80s challenge, found here.