Categories
Children Diversity Reading Challenge

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays Day 6

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays

6-books-of-diversity

Wow. It’s day six! Here’s a book for you: Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter & Shane W. Evans.

Lillian's Right to Vote by Jonah Winter & Shane W. Evans

 

An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky—she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery. Veteran bestselling picture-book author Jonah Winter and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Shane W. Evans vividly recall America’s battle for civil rights in this lyrical, poignant account of one woman’s fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard.

What I love about this book is that, as a picture book, it tells the story in a way kids can receive it. Probably best for early elementary grade students but the symbolic way Lillian walks up the hill and sees her history is unmistakably brilliant and probably suitable for even younger kiddos. Kids will get it. Gentle language describing the often violent situations helps to soften the harshness of the historical events.

It’s so incredibly amazing.

I love this book so hard.

And Jonah is the bomb.

Categories
Books Children

Celebrate Black History Month with Kadir Nelson Day 17

Celebrate Black History Month with Kadir Nelson

Black History Month is a great time to discover new authors and illustrators of color. I’ve been crushing on Kadir Nelson for some time now, and try as I might, he seems to allude me.  What better way to celebrate his beautifully moving illustrations by highlighting one book a day during Black History Month?

 

Big Jabe

 

Big Jabe

Jerdine Nolan & Kadir Nelson

Categories
Books Reviews Young Adult

Lea Nolan’s “Conjure”

I was drawn to Conjure by Lea Nolan because it sounded like a girl’s girl kind of book:

Emma Guthrie expects this summer to be like any other in the South Carolina Lowcountry–hot and steamy with plenty of beach time alongside her best friend and secret crush, Cooper Beaumont, and Emma’s ever-present twin brother, Jack. But then a mysterious eighteenth-century message in a bottle surfaces, revealing a hidden pirate bounty. Lured by the adventure, the trio discovers the treasure and unwittingly unleashes an ancient Gullah curse that attacks Jack with the wicked flesh-eating Creep and promises to steal Cooper’s soul on his approaching sixteenth birthday.

 

You know I love a book about a strong girl and girl power.  I don’t mind love stories so much as I need the girl to have a brain of her own even if she does like boys.  (I suppose somewhere I’m still 12.)  That’s where Emma Guthrie comes in.  She’s a young teenager with a twin brother.  Their best friend has grown into a hottie and she can’t stop her growing feelings for him.  So here’s where it gets fun; They live in South Carolina in the low country area that’s famed for its Gullah population.  The Gullahs were originally brought over as slaves and stayed in the area long after emancipation.  This culture is known for its belief in certain types of magic, called hoodoo, not to be confused with voodoo.

What’s so fun about Conjure is that she explores the Gullah and the hoodoo culture and we become experts on the subject while having fun! This book is rare because the African American characters drive the story and are not merely sidekicks.  I can already picture the stern but lovable Miss Delia in my mind’s eye.  She looks alot like Cicely Tyson from “Because of Winn Dixie.”

courtesy imdb

Miss Delia is a tough old broad and looks a little crazy but full of love.

So, not only does Nolan make Miss Delia a driving character, Maggie, who is Jack’s love interest, is also African American and none of that seems to make a bit of difference to anyone in the story.   I love it!

Another thing I love about the story is the use of the hoodoo. To be sure, I don’t like to be scared and one evil character, in particular, scared the wits out of me. It was Sabina and here’s how I pictured her to look:

courtesy The [email protected]

This nice lady here is an example of how the Gullah might have looked back in the day.  Now imagine her all angry and menacing and chanting spells.  She even scared a bunch of pirates!

Did I mention pirates? You gotta love a book that has pirates, right?

So no more blah blah blah from me.  Read the book and find out about Emma, her love interest and WHY the title is called Conjure.

And maybe sleep with one eye open.

Just in case a boo hag is coming to get you.

I give this book four paws not just because I’m scared of someone putting a curse on me but because of the full complement of African American characters in the book.

 

Categories
Children Diversity Reading Challenge

The 12 Books of #Diversity for the Holidays DAY 6 – Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter & Shane W. Evans

The 12 Books of #Diversity
for the Holidays
Day Six

6-books-of-diversity

Wow. It’s day six! Here’s a book for you: Lillian’s Right to Vote by Jonah Winter & Shane W. Evans.

Lillian's Right to Vote by Jonah Winter & Shane W. Evans

 

An elderly African American woman, en route to vote, remembers her family’s tumultuous voting history in this picture book publishing in time for the fiftieth anniversary of the Voting Rights Act of 1965.

As Lillian, a one-hundred-year-old African American woman, makes a “long haul up a steep hill” to her polling place, she sees more than trees and sky—she sees her family’s history. She sees the passage of the Fifteenth Amendment and her great-grandfather voting for the first time. She sees her parents trying to register to vote. And she sees herself marching in a protest from Selma to Montgomery. Veteran bestselling picture-book author Jonah Winter and Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award winner Shane W. Evans vividly recall America’s battle for civil rights in this lyrical, poignant account of one woman’s fierce determination to make it up the hill and make her voice heard.

What I love about this book is that, as a picture book, it tells the story in a way kids can receive it. Probably best for early elementary grade students but the symbolic way Lillian walks up the hill and sees her history is unmistakably brilliant and probably suitable for even younger kiddos. Kids will get it. Gentle language describing the often violent situations helps to soften the harshness of the historical events.

It’s so incredibly amazing.

I love this book so hard.

And Jonah is the bomb.

Categories
Blogging from A to Z Challenge Diversity Reading Challenge

Bad Girls Book Club Letter H #atozchallenge

Welcome to the Blogging from A to Z Challenge

Today’s letter is

H

The Book

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

4667024

I know I know, I’m choosing old books but you go where the Bad Girls are, right?
So today on H day we are traveling to 1960s American South, during the civil rights era. There are a plethora of Bad Girls in this book. First, Skeeter. She’s return home from college and is expected to marry. Problem is, Skeeter’s not too interested in marriage right now. Also, she wants to know the whereabouts of her beloved Constantine, who has raised her. Meanwhile Skeeter meets Abileen and Minny, two African American women who are just trying to survive in the cruel South. All of these women band together to work on a secret project and while separately they are Bad Girls (or Bad Women) together they form the Bad Girls Fight Club, voicing their opinions about how wrong the way things are in The South. And if you know this book, you know about the pie. And if you don’t know about the pie, you should read the book just for that scene. There is nothing meek or mild about these ladies. They are the epitome of Bad Ass.

Well, that’s letter H and you made it through another week of the A to Z Challenge.

Let’s celebrate!

Categories
Diversity Reading Challenge

What I’m Reading: Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I gave Between the World and Me to my son at Christmas. After the holidays I realized #1 son had left the book behind and I’ll admit I was a little glad! I had wanted to read the book but it seemed silly to buy two copies. So here was my chance to read it. I’m kind of a fast reader and the book is rather slim, so I thought I’d zip through the book in no time.

 Between The World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

I couldn’t have been more wrong. Between the world and me is not a book you rush through. Even though I’m Black I figured our Black experiences would be similar and I could simply shake my head in agreement and commiserate. Not so. Coate’s experience as a Black male is vastly different from mine. And certainly one worth listening to.

In a profound work that pivots from the biggest questions about American history and ideals to the most intimate concerns of a father for his son, Ta-Nehisi Coates offers a powerful new framework for understanding our nation’s history and current crisis. Americans have built an empire on the idea of “race,” a falsehood that damages us all but falls most heavily on the bodies of black women and men—bodies exploited through slavery and segregation, and, today, threatened, locked up, and murdered out of all proportion. What is it like to inhabit a black body and find a way to live within it? And how can we all honestly reckon with this fraught history and free ourselves from its burden?

Between the World and Me is Ta-Nehisi Coates’s attempt to answer these questions in a letter to his adolescent son. Coates shares with his son—and readers—the story of his awakening to the truth about his place in the world through a series of revelatory experiences, from Howard University to Civil War battlefields, from the South Side of Chicago to Paris, from his childhood home to the living rooms of mothers whose children’s lives were taken as American plunder.

I can’t say that I agree with every single point Coates makes. Partially ignorance, partially different upbringings, and partially different sexes have lead us in different directions. But yet, our experiences are far sides of the same coin. We are Black and have each learned a thing or two about how we are perceived and handled in the world. Coates’ book should really be taught in schools, as Toni Morrison says on the cover. I think open minded educators and students can learn from Coates’ thoughts. And students of color may see themselves in Coates’ struggle.

I plan to finish the book and have a chat with a girlfriend, who is White, and also reading it, when we are finished. It should be an interesting discussion. I don’t have all the answers but it’s a conversation that needs to be had. Again and again.

Sorry for being so deep this time. Every once in a while, I have to. When my littles are hurt and in pain, it bothers me and I have to speak out.

This title could definitely count toward the Diversity Challenge.

Categories
Books Diversity Reading Challenge Young Adult

Discover Black History Month with Alice Walker & The Color Purple

Discover Black History Month
with Alice Walker

The Color Purple

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Everything want to be loved. Us sing and dance and holler, just trying to be loved.

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

“All my life I had to fight. I had to fight my daddy. I had to fight my brothers. I had to fight my cousins and my uncles. A girl child ain’t safe in a family of men. But I never thought I’d have to fight in my own house. She let out her breath. I loves Harpo, she say. God knows I do. But I’ll kill him dead before I let him beat me.”

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

The Color Purple by Alice Walker

“She look so stylish it like the trees all round the house draw themself up tall for a better look.”

Categories
Books Children Non Fiction

President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House by Demi

I love this version of Abraham Lincoln’s life because it contains quotes and other information not usually found in books for kids.

President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House

President Lincoln From Log Cabin to White House by Demi

From a small log cabin in Kentucky to the steps of the White House, Abraham Lincoln rose from humble beginnings to the very height of prominence and prestige. Leading America through the momentous events of the Civil War, the Emancipation Proclamation, and the abolition of slavery, the story of “Honest Abe” is one that all children should know. Now award-winning author and illustrator, Demi, recounts Lincoln s incredible life story of courage, wisdom, and compassion as only she can. Filled with stunning illustrations, this book contains an appendix of fascinating facts and famous quotes from Lincoln s life, as well as a timeline and map. President Lincoln: From Log Cabin to White House is not only a powerful teaching tool, but an entertaining and age-appropriate introduction to a man who has become one of the most influential and admired presidents of the United States.”

For readers who need more information (I’ve been known to fact check non fiction books I read), this book will satisfy! There are his quotes:

“God bless my mother. All that I am or ever hope to be I owe to her. ”

“Cruelty to animals is wrong. An ant’s life is to it, as sweet as ours to us.”

“If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong”

 

There are illustrations, there are facts (did you know he is listed in the Wrestling Hall of Fame?), there’s a map (gotta have a map!), and there’s the Gettysburg Address (am I the only kid who memorized it?), there are dates.  There is so much to do with this book. It would take a week’s  to study it fully in a classroom. But HEY why not?

Tomorrow is Lincoln’s birthday although it is officially celebrated on the 15th of February as part of President’s Day. That means two days of cake!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories
Books Diversity Reading Challenge

Ira’s Shakespeare Dream by Glenda Armand Illustrations by Floyd Cooper

This above all…to thine own self be true

Shakespeare. Iambic pentameter. Such good stuff!

Young Ira Aldridge loved The Bard too. In the early 19th century, however, the last thing many Blacks could think about was Shakespeare.  When many people were sold into slavery or trying to make a living to feed their families, acting in plays seemed foolish.  And Ira’s father told him so.

Categories
2015 Diversity Reading Challenge Adult Fiction

Book of the Month Club: The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

Have you ever just wanted to kick yourself? Sometimes I do. And this week was one of those times.  I began reading The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman, which was my September Book of the Month Club pick. I chose it because it was Alice. Friggin. Hoffman.

The Marriage of Opposites by Alice Hoffman

I thought I would skim my way through this book and be done in a day or two. But I received no such luck! Because I hadn’t read any reviews or even the synopsis (at least very well) I figured this was just a typical book about a woman getting the love she wants. That’s why I could kick myself.

Turns out, I was kinda right and kinda wrong. I was hooked after the first chapter! Turns out the heroine is the mother of famed impressionist Camille Pissaro.  I also learned that the family were French Sephardic Jews living in what is now the US Virgin Islands.

Hoffman takes you there in the story; about how the Jews were expelled from various countries and islands, the difficulty of life on the Virgin Islands, and the difficulty of life with Rachel Pomie Petit Pizzarro as a mother, and the general difficulty of life in the mid 1800s.

The book was dense and fulfilling and I was transported to the island to see the faces of the donkeys, feel the intense heat, and feel the anger of the slaves and the Jewish people who owned them. Who knew Jews owned slaves? I sure didn’t!

I finished the book and realized it was promoted as a historical fictionalized account of the artist Camille Pisarro. I was like, DOH!

Anyway, I enjoyed this very much! Also? It became a book I finished during the Dewey’s 24 Hour Readathon and the impetus for my Mini Challenge Diversity Challenge.

Deweysreadathon

The Marriage of Opposites is the perfect book club book. Suitable for teens and adults of all ages.