In July of 1944, a group of United States Navy sailors were loading ammunition at Port Chicago when a massive explosion erupted killing 320 men and inIn July of 1944, a group of United States Navy sailors were loading ammunition at Port Chicago when a massive explosion erupted killing 320 men and injuring hundreds more. The survivors, reeling from this horrific event were taken to a nearby base awaiting further instructions. Incredibly, they were told to continue loading ammunition even though it was undeniably dangerous and lives were in peril.
Fifty sailors refused to perform the job, asking for work that provided more safety. Their commanders told them if they didn't continue to load ammunition, they would be charged with mutiny. What makes this story outrageous, is the fact that all the men loading the dangerous material under unsafe conditions were black. Guided by prejudice and bigotry, the men were put in harm's way solely because of the color of their skin.
Sent to trial and even thought they were under the watchful eye of Thurgood Marshall, the men, all 50, were found guilty of mutiny, sentenced to hard labor. Because of the injustice, the story did not go away, and those who worked for these men and their freedom were tireless in their efforts. The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights is their story... And what an incredibly well-research and outlined fact-finding mission it is! These little known snippets of historical bravery and determination need to be told to give honor and glory to those who stood to wrong to find a way to make it right. ...more
Set against the backdrop of 1953 small town America, with its rampant fears of the commie-next-door, McCarthyism, and atomic bombs, Tommy Wilson is liSet against the backdrop of 1953 small town America, with its rampant fears of the commie-next-door, McCarthyism, and atomic bombs, Tommy Wilson is living in his own personal torment, right inside his own house. Wanting desperately to be like his hero, movie-star cowboy Gary Cooper, he tries to fight the bully in his house by being a bully at school and his neighborhood. His mother is suffering from the mental illness that has been exasperated by her mother's death and recent childbirth. Little things set her off and Tommy takes the brunt of her anger and his father's leather belt is the means by which her anger is appeased...taking it's toll on Tommy's bottom, legs, and his fragile self-esteem. His one defender was his older sister, MaryLou...but, now she is in the hospital with life-threatening, life-changing burns over much of her body, which were the direct result of Tommy shirking one of his daily chores. Even his own father walks away from the abuse, as he turns a blind eye to the act.
Now, Tommy is raging with anger and unjustly finds a way to silently accuse a kindly shopkeeper in town of being a Communist. The town of Downers Grove, Illinois shuns this man, who has his own personal tragedies to contend with. He bullies his ostracized classmates at school, yet Tommy gets away with it by clueless nuns at his school and his boyish good looks and charismatic ways. Yet, when neighbors in this friendly small town seem to take him under their wings, Tommy realizes that his bullying ways are not the answer to his family's troubles. He tries to make amends the best way he knows how...but, is it too-little, too-late?
The Paper Cowboy is a powerful story of mental illness, abuse, forgiveness, and redemption. It is gripping until the last page as it speaks to a way of life when troubles were swept under the rug and problems were hidden away from the community at all costs. We begin to see how these issues can affect a family, a community, and bring good people to ruin, with no means of redeeming themselves from vicious lies. Certainly, this book is for the older tween or YA, but it would be a fascinating book for group discussion or literature circles....more
Twelve-year-old Jayson Barnes finds himself living alone after his mother dies from drug addiction. He's sure he can find a way to make it work, stealTwelve-year-old Jayson Barnes finds himself living alone after his mother dies from drug addiction. He's sure he can find a way to make it work, stealing only the food he needs to stay alive and surviving day-by-day. Basketball is his passion and when he decides he needs new shoes to play his game, that's when his carefully laid plans take a turn for the worse.
Getting caught, the owner of the Foot Locker store calls the police and finally the Child Protection Services gets involved. Now, Jayson is in foster care, something he swore would never happen. Luckily for Jayson, though, he gets sent to the caring home of Dr. and Mrs. Lawson, who have both been through some bad times in their lives. But, for any of it to work, Jayson has to learn to trust again, find a way to control his anger, and accept that everything in life isn't fair.
Fast Break is more than a story about a basketball, soon-to-be superstar, in the making, it is about taking the right chances, learning to trust your teammates, friends, and family, and coming to terms with disappointment. Little by little, Jayson accepts that he is worthy of the love, guidance, and support he is being shown in his new life, and when he does, thing finally fall into place. ...more
Mark Watney, on a NASA mission to Mars with 5 other crewmates, encounters a dust storm like no other. His crew assumes he is dead when a stray objectMark Watney, on a NASA mission to Mars with 5 other crewmates, encounters a dust storm like no other. His crew assumes he is dead when a stray object hits him in the chest. The crew evacuates leaving Mark's body behind...it's the only way to save the remaining crew. But, unbeknownst to them, Mark is still alive, and now he's alone, with not enough supplies to sustain him until the next mission comes to Mars, nearly 4 years away.
Armed, however, with quick thinking, an engineering & botanical background, an astronaut's critical thinking skills at the ready , and most importantly, a wicked sense of humor, Mark calmly, methodically, digs deep and figures out a way to live with an almost zero chance of survival in an unknown and unforgiving environment. Communication with NASA has been cut-off (at least for a while), and there is no one to confer with.
Weir takes us on an unforgettable, thrilling adventure as Watley is just the kind of guy you want with you in any dangerous and virtually impossible situation. His snarky, gutsy, and raunchy language will have you doubling over with laughter (yes, even me, who detests foul language... I guess in this situation, when you're stranded on Mars with no means to get off the planet, you're allowed to spew a few colorful words). Full of scientific mumbo-jumbo and astronaut-speak, your head will swim with over-your-head ratios, formulas, and modifications. These people are geniuses! Say all you want about nerds, but I, for one, am glad they're around to figure out the stuff that us mere mortals can't.
I HIGHLY recommend this book to anyone...it is un-put-down-able, riveting, and just so you know, you won't have any hair or fingernails left (having pulled your hair out and bit your nails at the tension). Lock yourself away in a closet and read without any interruptions...then, go see the movie (that's what I am going to do now!). ...more
As 12-year-old Astrid and her best friend, Nicole are drifting apart in the never-ending, age-old battle of teen-angst and growing up, one remains gluAs 12-year-old Astrid and her best friend, Nicole are drifting apart in the never-ending, age-old battle of teen-angst and growing up, one remains glued to her tom-boy image and the other is heading towards girly stuff like ballet, boys, and giggling.
Astrid goes to roller derby camp while Nicole is at ballet camp and as the summer marches on, they drift so far apart that they never see each other until a fateful day when Astrid sees Nicole with her arch enemy, Rachel and it appears now they are best friends. Sad and worried that junior high might be tough without a best friend, Astrid's insides are all torn up. She vows to make her days at roller derby camp count. She trains incessantly, hoping to win a top spot on the team, trying to forget the loss of a best friend. In the end, however, life long friendship, although it may alter and change, can still be right, if the participants put differences aside.
Not a fan of graphic novels or roller derby and its violent tactics, Roller Girl focuses way too much on a little known sport and sidesteps the most important message of the book. Friendship, compassion, and empathy should be the main focus, but it isn't. Tactics, maneuvers, and violently won points are the parts of the main message. However, the illustrations are well done and for this reason, I give it three stars. ...more
Thomas and the other munies have made it through the maze and the scorch trials, only to find that WICKED has new plans for them. Escaping their devioThomas and the other munies have made it through the maze and the scorch trials, only to find that WICKED has new plans for them. Escaping their devious plans won't be easy, but Thomas is up to the challenge. Rat man wants Thomas's brain for the final installment of blueprint plans and he will stop at nothing to get it.
This eventually takes Thomas, Mihno, Gally, Theresa, Brendan, and Jorge on a survival of the fittest battle through Crank infested cities, WICKED strongholds, and danger at every corner. These munies will end up where it all began...and that beginning will be just that, the start of a new civilization.
The Death Cure is full of sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat action, adrenaline-pumping, death-defying survival strategies that require loads of acting on the spur of the moment and quick maneuvering. Some important characters don't make it to the end, but each one is important to the story and to the reader. A thrilling trilogy, but be warned, it is full of graphic violence and mind-numbing killings....more
Once again, Amelia Bedelia takes everything literally, even on Valentine's Day, the most romantic day of the year! Wearing hearts on your sleeve, gettOnce again, Amelia Bedelia takes everything literally, even on Valentine's Day, the most romantic day of the year! Wearing hearts on your sleeve, getting stung by Cupid's arrow, and broken hearts are just some of the fun ideas Amelia will have to contend with on this hearts and flowers day. ...more
Elroy Jakes 'accidentally' insults his best friend, and he knows he'll have to make it right somehow. And, the 'somehow' is in the form of three challElroy Jakes 'accidentally' insults his best friend, and he knows he'll have to make it right somehow. And, the 'somehow' is in the form of three challenges handed down by his on-again-off-again best friend. The third challenge gives Ellray a bad feeling, especially when the whole school and parents are watching. You see Ellray has been given the role of emcee at the Winter Wonderland Holiday program and during the program Ellray has to do something that will not only embarrass himself, but bring shame to his family and 'The Community.'
Having recently relocated to a new school, Ellray is painfully aware that he is in the minority with only two students with brown skin. His father constantly brings up the fact and expects Ellray to make them proud.
Ellray Jakes Rocks the Holidays is overtly didactic and its dialogue is unrealistic and uncharacteristic of young children. Its 'diversity' lesson is taught with 'in-your-face', constant repetition. Not sure who this book would appeal to, but it in no way is a light and fluffy holiday story, as the title seems to indicate, but more of a lesson on race which is handled awkwardly and without any justification. ...more
Finally escaping The Maze, Thomas, Minho, Newt and Teresa find themselves seemingly safe in a dorm full of food, clean clothes, beds, and showers. TheFinally escaping The Maze, Thomas, Minho, Newt and Teresa find themselves seemingly safe in a dorm full of food, clean clothes, beds, and showers. The safety and idyllic surroundings don't last long though, and they find themselves in a burnt out city full of zombie-like humans who have the deadly disease, the flare, and have nearly lost their minds. Now, they've learned they are onto a new set of tests in The Scorch Trials,and have to make it through all sorts of dangerous tests to walk hundreds of miles to the safe haven where they will be given the 'cure'.
Of course, there new surprises at every turn, friends become betrayers, and enemies align. Thomas is the reluctant leader who will not die by unexpected or unplanned hands. Confusing and troubling, WICKED is once again playing tricks on their minds. Who will make it? And, what will they really find once they get there? Will they be treated to another set of tests in order to test the variables, patterns, and define a blueprint? What ever all of this means, we are about to find out in The Death Cure. ...more
Michael is a gamer and a great one...so good, in fact, the government needs his help. They are out to find a gamer who's gone beyond what's right, inMichael is a gamer and a great one...so good, in fact, the government needs his help. They are out to find a gamer who's gone beyond what's right, in fact he is causing incredible harm to other gamers, and the mystery is his motive and how he is accomplishing it. Kaine is that evil gamer and is a cyber-bully at its best.
Michael, along with friends Bryson and Sarah, take on the difficult and dangerous task of getting to Kaine. Agent Weber, who works for VNS, is their contact and she tells them about a hidden file in VirtNet, which is causing irreparable harm to both VirtNet and the real world. It is called The Mortality Doctrine. They delve deep into games, the likes of which most gamers have not seen or even heard of before. Evil and danger are at every turn. What Michael discovers is beyond comprehension. His world is shattered, his life is up-for-grabs, and he and his friends have been told a lie...the question is for what purpose? Michael will find some answers, but they likely won't be what he thought.
The Eye of Minds is a sit-on-the-edge of your seat thriller. Living inside a gamer's world is eye-opener (for a non-gamer, like me). Just when you think you have it all figured out, bam...a unbelievable truth hits you in the face. ...more
A beautifully illustrated story about the real-life Winnie-the-Pooh who was rescued by veterinarian, Captain Harry Colebourn, as he made his journey tA beautifully illustrated story about the real-life Winnie-the-Pooh who was rescued by veterinarian, Captain Harry Colebourn, as he made his journey to England and WWI. There, the Captain, would be caring for the war horses. On route, a captivating cub caught his eye, and the two traveled across the ocean. He named him Winnipeg after the place he loved and left.
Captain Colebourn realized that the war was too dangerous for Winnipeg, he left her in the care of the London Zoo. Happenstance and serendipity came Winnie's way, as A.A. Milne brought his son Christopher Robin to the zoo and the boy fell in love with Winnie. This friendly, cuddly cub was the inspiration for the classic story of Winnie-the-Pooh.
Finding Winnie: The True Story of World's Most Famous Bear is a heartwarming story of love, bears, and stories. ...more