It has been a long time since sixteen year old Carly Vega's parents were deported back to Mexico. She and her older brother Julio have been working veIt has been a long time since sixteen year old Carly Vega's parents were deported back to Mexico. She and her older brother Julio have been working very hard to get them back, with her working the graveyard shift at a local convenience store. She is studious and quiet, and not whatsoever on the radar of Arden Moss, the former quarterback of the football team. That is until one night when their lives collide and they realize they have more in common than they think. Arden is still grieving over the loss of his sister Amber, whose mental illness caused her to commit suicide, something their father (the town sheriff) will not acknowledge. Arden sees in Carly a kindred spirit, someone that not only understands him and will not lie to him, but also a partner in crime for his pranks. Will Carly be able to get her family back? Recommended for ages 14+, 4 stars.
The author did a good job of portraying a small North Florida town, and especially the conservative attitudes towards immigration. Apparently she even lived and graduated high school in Niceville, Florida (a bit north of Destin) where my brother also graduated. Having lived in the South most of my life, I have sadly met people like Arden's dad. As others have mentioned, I think Carly's character was a bit too passive (despite her explosive temper), especially in agreeing to work till the point of exhaustion every day to get a little bit of money to send to her parents so they can illegally cross the border again, and I think it was wrong of her family to do this. I mean c'mon, she's only sixteen, let her be a kid a little bit longer. I liked that it wasn't your traditional romance in that Carly didn't immediately fall for Arden, only only agreed to be friends with a lot of conditions before they eventually fell in love.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author, in exchange for my honest review....more
Spike the salamander believes he is a monster and practices at being one. The only problem is that he is small, only the size of a lily pad. So everyoSpike the salamander believes he is a monster and practices at being one. The only problem is that he is small, only the size of a lily pad. So everyone just thinks he is cute. One day a real monster, a Gila Monster, comes to the pond and all the other animals are scared and run away. Spike holds his ground and tries to scare the new monster, but only succeeds at making him laugh. The monster asks Spike for directions to his family's party as he has gotten lost, and Spike tells him the way. When the other creatures return, they are amazed that Spike has survived. Spike is actually an axolotl from Mexico and so the story is peppered with Spanish and you can't help but adopt a bit of an accent while reading it. The back of the book features nonfiction information on the axolotl, cinnamon teal duck, armadillo and vole featured in the story. My son and I really enjoyed this book. Recommended for ages 4-8, 4 stars. ...more
I've been wanting to read this forever because I love books about Frida Kahlo and Yuyi Morales is particularly talented. I just didn't like this bookI've been wanting to read this forever because I love books about Frida Kahlo and Yuyi Morales is particularly talented. I just didn't like this book at all though. The puppets Morales made were incredibly detailed and gorgeous (and the reason this book got two instead of 1 star) and it does give a very basic look at Frida and her art, but the bilingual single or couple of words per page just made it too choppy for me. It is a very unique look at the artist though, so that's probably why it won a 2015 Caldecott Honor and a 2015 Pura Belpre Illustrator award. It is obvious through the book and the author's note that Morales really admires Frida's work. Recommended for ages 3-7, 2 stars. ...more
I was looking for a book to do with Preschool DiscoveryTime storytime and found this book. Thankfully there is a pronunciation guide in the back of thI was looking for a book to do with Preschool DiscoveryTime storytime and found this book. Thankfully there is a pronunciation guide in the back of the book as some of the Hawaiian names are rather hard to pronounce. This book tells the story of the volcanic fire goddess Pele and how she came to the Hawaiian islands. I loved the beautiful acrylic/watercolor on paper collage illustrations. It's really cool that this book was written by a librarian and you can definitely see his passion for the subject in the book. Recommended for ages 4-9, 4 stars. ...more
I was looking for a book for my Toddler Storytime on dance when I came across this gem from Leo & Diane Dillon. It's a book about Bill "Bojangles"I was looking for a book for my Toddler Storytime on dance when I came across this gem from Leo & Diane Dillon. It's a book about Bill "Bojangles" Robinson, one of the world's most famous tap dancers and has a rhyming repeating text. I had heard of him before this book, but this was the first time I'd seen a children's book based on the his life and dancing skills. Recommended for ages 2-7, 3 stars. ...more
I had seen the trailer for the movie and thought it would be an interesting. So when the book came out, I was intrigued. There was next to no materialI had seen the trailer for the movie and thought it would be an interesting. So when the book came out, I was intrigued. There was next to no material about Dido Elizabeth Belle, the person about whom the book and movie is based (which was rather sad as her story is so unique), so I was curious to see how they would talk about the book. They put her in the context of the slave trade, in particular the manufacturing of sugar in the Caribbean. I knew how precious sugar was in the 18th century but not the extent to which slavers and slaves were involved with the trade. The book also discusses the Lord Chief Justice, uncle and adopted father of Dido, and his role in legislation that helped outlaw slavery in Great Britain and its Caribbean colonies. I was especially fascinated and a little bit horrified with the ideas of the 18th century in regards to African women and their sexuality, and how white men should act towards them. I had picked up bits and pieces in the past, but it was discussed with much greater detail since the main character was a black female. 4 stars...more
One of the books I looked at for a Toddler Storytime on Imagination, I rather enjoyed this one. It could also be used in a Reading/The Library theme aOne of the books I looked at for a Toddler Storytime on Imagination, I rather enjoyed this one. It could also be used in a Reading/The Library theme as well. Little Lola loves getting books from the library and hearing the stories read to her by her parents. Everytime she is read to, she uses that story to influence her play afterword, like her mother reads to her about tigers and she spends the next afternoon chasing her friend through the jungle. Recommended for ages 2-6, 4 stars. ...more
The story starts off in 1919 and finishes up in 1965 in an Ohio town called Medallion, more specifically in the African-American section called the BoThe story starts off in 1919 and finishes up in 1965 in an Ohio town called Medallion, more specifically in the African-American section called the Bottom. We first learn about Shadrack, a shell-shocked Veteran of WWI, who is returning to his hometown. The main part of the book focuses on two families, the Peace family and the Wrights. Helene Sabat marries Wiley Wright and they have a daughter named Nel. Respectability and a high position in the community are of utmost importance to Helene, something she tries to pass on to her daughter. Eva Peace is the one-legged head of the other family. She is abandoned by her husband BoyBoy early in their marriage and must raise her two children Plum and Hannah, along with adopted children The Deweys (three boys) on her own. Hannah is considered a bit of a harlot by the community, and they think even less of her daughter Sula. Sex is very loose at their house, a complete opposite to that of the Wright's home. Despite all this, Sula and Nel become fast friends. Their relationship makes up the bulk of the story, or rather the consequences of their friendship.
I picked this story out of Toni Morrison's bibliography because it sounded the most interesting, and it definitely didn't disappoint in that regard. I would be curious to read some more of her work in the future for comparison. The author won the 1993 Nobel Prize. The book is narrated by the author and she has a very quiet voice, so much so that I had to crank the volume way up to even be able to understand what she was saying (and even had to re-listen to some parts). I will admit that I've been putting this review off for awhile because it was such a bizarre story, at least in my opinion, and I wasn't 100% sure I knew exactly what it was really about. I will also admit that my exposure to African-American writers has been limited to poetry, "The Color Purple", and some children's books. Overall, I enjoyed the story but there were points that I was pretty shocked at and not at all sure what the author actually meant by them (especially the episodes concerning Sula's mother and uncle). 3 stars. ...more
When I saw this book in the library, I just had to pick it up. Famous graphic designer Saul Bass, who created the opening sequence for the movies "VerWhen I saw this book in the library, I just had to pick it up. Famous graphic designer Saul Bass, who created the opening sequence for the movies "Vertigo" and "North By Northwest", as well as the logos for famous name brands. This is his only children's book, originally printed in 1962 and reprinted in 2012, the story was created by former librarian Leonore Klein. I loved the illustrations, but wasn't a fan of story.
Henri is a small boy who lives in Reboul, France just outside of Paris, and dreams of visiting the famous city. His town is small and only has one bus and park, and a small population. After reading a book on Paris, he decides to go there with some lunch. After traveling for awhile, he stops in a wood and falls asleep. He gets turned around and thinks he is heading towards Paris, which looks remarkably like his town (it is) and then returns home. Recommended for ages 3-6, 3-1/2 stars. ...more
I picked up this book at the library for myself because of the subject matter and the illustrations, which I adored. It is a very simplified version oI picked up this book at the library for myself because of the subject matter and the illustrations, which I adored. It is a very simplified version of the epic Hindu poem, the “Mahabharata”. Ganesha is a young elephant-headed god (always one of my favorites in Indian art), who along with his friend Mr. Mouse, loves Indian sweet called laddoos. Ganesha especially wants to eat the super jawbreaker laddoo, with which he promptly breaks one of his tusks on. He is so embarrassed by his broken tusk, but Mr. Mouse says it doesn’t matter. Shortly after this, they happen upon the poet Vyasa, who asks Ganesha to write the “Mahabharata” with his broken tusk and it takes a really long time. Mr. Mouse occupies himself with lots of sweets in the meantime. Finally they are done. The illustrations give a brief visual description of what happens in the poem, but I think it would be better to hear an audiobook version of the tale (the author mentions that it is not a 100% accurate view of the actual poem). The illustrations were fabulous and really drew my eye to the book, despite the semi-complicated storyline (especially when you’re trying to explain it all to a 3-year-old). You can tell the illustrator is also an Pixar animator. The book totally made me crave Indian sweets while reading it. Recommended for ages 5+, 3 stars. ...more
o Dr. James Murray has come to the University of Turin in 1867, to become the assistant of Professor Cesare Lombroso, who is teaching the newly-establo Dr. James Murray has come to the University of Turin in 1867, to become the assistant of Professor Cesare Lombroso, who is teaching the newly-established field of criminal anthropology. This was the era that science first started to be used in criminal investigations, and James assisted with that in Edinburgh before coming to Italy. His father was involved in the study of the criminal brain, so this field is natural to him. James left behind a sister with a religious aunt as since his parents died, he has been the breadwinner and needs a proper job to do that. Right in the middle of his interview for the assistant position, the carbinieri (police) come in and inform Professor Lombroso of a gruesome murder they would like his assistance with, as his name has been mentioned in a note left by the killer.
Sofia, one of Lombroso’s servants intrigues James with the way she has no problem looking right at him, far different from the reserved manner of Scottish women. Lombroso is having a symposium at the university and has invited scholars from all over Europe to assist him. James is excited to be invited to go because he will finally get to meet all the people whose work he has read about. As the symposium continues, more and more people are being killed as a “Tribute to Lombroso”. Will they ever be able to figure out who the killer is and why he or she is doing this? To find out read this fascinating book. 4 stars.
I had never heard of Cesare Lombroso, although I had heard of Dr. Bell. Forensic and criminal anthropology have been fascinating to me for awhile, as is true crime, so I was interested, after reading the book, to read the author’s note at the end which described the field and its champion. My biggest gripe with the book was the middle part, which really dragged, and nearly made me lose interest. Another thing to mention about the book is that the killings were pretty horrific, and definitely not for the faint of heart.
Disclaimer: I received this advanced reader’s copy book via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. ...more
This volume starts with the twin girls Laila and Leily from Volume 4 getting married. So much preparation was needed to decorate, make sure the bridesThis volume starts with the twin girls Laila and Leily from Volume 4 getting married. So much preparation was needed to decorate, make sure the brides were properly decked out, that enough food was prepared not just for each of the families involved but their neighbors and even strangers. The wedding preparation and ceremony reminded me of a Pakistani wedding I’ve gone to, at least in the length and the rituals involved. The twins cracked me up because they got so bored they made their husbands-to-be sneak them food and help them escape as they had been sitting under heavy veils for hours. The twins cry when they finally realize they are no longer part of their father’s house. Mr. Smith and Ali sneak away in the middle of the celebrations and head towards Ankara. Amir and Karluk and his family come back into the story in the second half of the volume. Yay! It also seems that they are to be the subject of the future books. My favorite story was the “Queen of the Mountain” where Karluk’s grandmother uses a goat to climb the side of a mountain to save a stranded child. Amir is further settling into her duties as wife. There was also the cool story at the end of the book where Amir is out hunting with her bow and kills a large goat to bring back home. While she is out there, she discovers a wounded hawk and takes it back home. Since the men in her family take care of the hunting hawks, she’s not exactly sure how to proceed, but starts spending a lot of time with the injured hawk. This makes Karluk jealous for the first time in his life and Amir must attend to him. In the end, the hawk has to be put down, but Amir and Karluk grow closer because of it. Recommended for ages 13+, 4 stars. ...more
After devouring the first three volumes in the series, I was anxious to get my hands on the fourth volume. This story was a little bit different fromAfter devouring the first three volumes in the series, I was anxious to get my hands on the fourth volume. This story was a little bit different from the rest, mostly because there weren’t as many things going on. It starts out with Mr. Smith heading with Ali to Ankara (sp?) but they get sidetracked after he falls off his camel into the Aral Sea and is rescued by twins Laila and Leily. When they realize he is a doctor, they immediately take him to their grandfather, who has a dislocated shoulder. He quickly fixes that problem and soon everyone in the village is waiting for him to help them. Laila and Leily are trying to catch rich handsome husbands, but not having much luck in their small fishing village. Eventually, their father and his friend decide that they will be just fine for their father’s friends’ sons, Sarm and Sami. They’ve all grown up together but never really thought much of each other until they are forced into the situation. The twins decide that these boys aren’t so bad after all, and pick which one best suits them. They are preparing for the wedding at the end of the book.
My favorite part has to be a tie between the twins’ grandmother hoodwinking them into working hard, pretending she is giving them a “charm” for future suitors, and when their mother gives them a crash course in being wives. These girls look so young to me, way too young to get married or even thinking about it (though I know the average age was probably 12-14 years old). Recommended for ages 14+, 3 stars. ...more