Books

Books

Friday, September 25, 2020

Just South of Home by Karen Strong

Just South of HomeJust South of Home by Karen Strong
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I read this book to my teen children. They both enjoyed it (and did NOT like Mrs. Greene though she did ultimately redeem herself). You can read their (short) reviews below.

R (13): It was really good and I want there to be a sequel. I liked the characters. The plot is very kid-friendly but still has a racial justice theme. My favorite character was Janie. 5 out of 5 stars.

J (17): I liked that it managed to be directed at children but still painted an effective picture of racial violence. Ellis is the best character. 4 out of 5 stars.

View all my reviews

The Amazon link above is an affiliate link. If you make a purchase through it, I will receive a small amount of the sale, at no cost to you. It helps me make a little money to support my book reviewing hobby. Thank you! 

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Lilac Skully and the Haunted House by Amy Cesari

Lilac Skully and the Haunted HouseLilac Skully and the Haunted House by Amy Cesari
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I love Lilac. She is definitely a character to feel sorry for... her lot in life isn't great. But she rises to the occasion and saves the day. Her work isn't done yet - be prepared to read the second book in the series as the first ends with a bit of a cliffhanger. I know I plan on continuing to read about her adventures. I recommend this book for all the "weird" middle schoolers you know... the ones who are a little different. Weird is wonderful!

View all my reviews

Wednesday, September 23, 2020

Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney

 



Me on the Map by Joan Sweeney
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers
Published: September 18, 2018
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The link above is an affiliate link. If you make a purchase through it, I will receive a small amount of the sale, at no cost to you. It helps me make a little money to support my book reviewing hobby. Thank you! 

Publisher's description:

Maps can show you where you are anywhere in the world! A beloved bestseller that helps children discover their place on the planet, now refreshed with new art from Qin Leng.

Where are you? Where is your room? Where is your home? Where is your town?

This playful introduction to maps shows children how easy it is to find where they live and how they fit in to the larger world. Filled with fun and adorable new illustrations by Qin Leng, this repackage of Me on the Map will show readers how easy it is to find the places they know and love with help from a map. 

My review:

I checked this book out of my public library. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

This edition has a different illustrator than the original print of the book. I am reading through all the books from the Build Your Library curriculum from Level 0 on up (this one is from Level 0) - at least the books my library has. This is the version my library had. It's a cute book - I loved the illustrations. 

I would recommend it for kids who like maps. It would go well with any educational unit on maps or geography. 

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu


Moxie

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: September 18, 2018
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The link above is an affiliate link. If you make a purchase through it, I will receive a small amount of the sale, at no cost to you. It helps me make a little money to support my book reviewing hobby. Thank you! 

Publisher's description:

MOXIE GIRLS FIGHT BACK!

Vivian Carter is fed up. Fed up with an administration at her high school that thinks the football team can do no wrong. Fed up with sexist dress codes, hallway harassment, and gross comments from guys during class. But most of all, Viv Carter is fed up with always following the rules.

Viv's mom was a tough-as-nails, punk rock Riot Grrrl in the '90s, and now Viv takes a page from her mother's past and creates a feminist zine that she distributes anonymously to her classmates. She's just blowing off steam, but other girls respond. As Viv forges friendships with other young women across the divides of cliques and popularity rankings, she realizes that what she has started is nothing short of a girl revolution.

Moxie is a book about high school life that will make you wanna riot!

About the author:

From the author's website: Hi! I’m young adult author Jennifer Mathieu (pronounced Muh-two, but if you speak French you can pronounce it better than that. Sadly, I don’t speak French.) I’m a writer and English teacher who lives in Texas with my family. A native of the East Coast and a former journalist, I enjoy writing contemporary young adult fiction that treats teenagers like real people. I love to eat and hate to cook. 

My review:

I checked this ebook out of my public library. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

I love the message of Girl Power in this book… and that you can be a “nice” girl and still affect positive change and inspire people! We see girls grow and join together to be stronger together than apart. I also appreciated that the author explored some of the challenges that even a feminist boy will face when trying to understand what it’s like to move through the world as a girl/woman. 

The extremes that the jerky boys went to with their sexist behavior at times almost seemed TOO over the top - a caricature of a sexist teen boy - but it’s been a few years (cough - decades - cough) since I actively dealt with teen boys. Upon further reflection back to my own high school days in the Deep South, the behavior didn’t seem quite as out there. I remember not being able to wear ANY clothing with snaps on it because the boys would try - and usually succeed - at unsnapping the snaps at some point during the school day.  

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys young adult fiction with a women empowerment and social justice bent, ESPECIALLY young girls in high schools with “bump and grab”, “make me a sandwich” sorts of boys who make their life hell. Even if they don’t feel the courage to stand up and make changes in their own lives, at least they could feel not quite as alone when they read about the everyday girls in this story making a difference. 

Fun stuff:



Monday, July 27, 2020

Adventures in Opting Out by Cait Flanders




Adventures in Opting Out by Cait Flanders 
Publisher: Little, Brown Spark
Publication Date [expected]: September 15th, 2020
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

The link above is an affiliate link. If you make a purchase through it, I will receive a small amount of the sale, at no cost to you. It helps me make a little money to support my book reviewing hobby. Thank you! 

Publisher's description:

Opt out of expectations and live a more intentional life with this refreshing guide from the national bestselling author of The Year of Less.

We all follow our own path in life. At least, that's what we're told. In reality, many of us either do what is expected of us, or follow the invisible but well-worn paths that lead to what is culturally acceptable. For some, those paths are fine -- even great. But they leave some of us feeling disconnected from ourselves and what we really want to do. When that discomfort finally outweighs the fear of trying something new, we're ready to opt out.

After going through this process many times, Cait Flanders found there is an incredible parallel between taking a different path in life and the psychological work it takes to summit a mountain -- especially when you decide to go solo. In Adventures in Opting Out, she offers a trail map to help you with both. As you'll see, reaching the first viewpoint can be easy -- and it offers a glimpse of what you're walking toward. Climbing to the summit for the full view is worth it. But in the space between those two peaks you will enter a world completely unknown to you, and that is the most difficult part of the path to navigate.

With Flanders's guidance and advice, drawn from her own journey and stories of others, you'll have all the encouragement and insight you'll need to take the path less traveled and create the life you want. Just step up to the trailhead and expect it to be an adventure.

My review

I received a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. All opinions shared are 100% my own.

I read Cait Flanders's first book, The Year of Less, three times... well, read it twice and listened to it once. It certainly is the book that planted the seed of minimalism into my brain. I'm FAR from a minimalist in my home yet... I have YEARS of stuff to get rid of first - not only my own stuff but multiple family members' stuff that got foisted upon me from their estates. I come from a long line of packrats and magpies. After having been nearly 100% responsible for cleaning out TWO giant houses filled with "things" now, I am NOT going to do that to my children... or continue to do it to myself! I think this book is an excellent followup to the intentional living mindset Ms Flanders laid out so well in her first book. I also think this book stands alone.

I will say it took me a bit to get into the groove of her hiking analogy she uses throughout the book. I will likely reread this book as well and, I'm sure, get even more out of it the second time through. The thing that really sticks out to me though is how much I want to gift this book to all the young people I know! I followed the path my family taught me was safe for too long and came to my life's passion much later than I would have liked. I love that she paints a realistic, though also optimistic, picture of "opting out"... taking YOUR own path even if no one has taken it before. Ms Flander's life and my own can't be much more different and yet I still get so much out of her words for myself. I especially think some of the vibrant young adults I know would get even more from this book... and hopefully (if they actually read it), it will spark a fire in them to find or continue on a path that is right for them and not just the one everyone else tells them to follow.