Review: The Jumbies

“She pitied people. She went inside the ships and saw that some of the people were chained below. She helped them escape and swim to the island.” page 116

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The Jumbies by Tracey Baptiste.
Scholastic, New York, 2015.
Middle grade fantasy, 234 pages.
Lexile:  680L  .
AR Level:  4.6 (worth 6.0 points)  .

Corinne La Mer and her father have always lived near the forest, and she’s never questioned that… but she’s never entered it either.  Until one day two boys tie her mother’s necklace to a forest creature and she can’t help but follow.

Jumbies resized

When this was first published, I had just started reading diversely.  Most diverse books still flew right past me, but this book was published by Scholastic!  And it’s a retold tale – one of my favorite genres!  How did I ever miss this one?  It might have been marked as horror.  Recently I saw the second book in the series in this blog post by Shenwei.  Seeing the cover of the second book made me realize that it was fantasy, not horror.

In an odd twist of fate, later that day I stopped by a library book sale, and snagged a used copy of the Jumbies for 25 cents just before closing!

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Review: Push

“I wanna say I am somebody. I wanna say it on subway, TV, movie, LOUD.” page 31

Push by Sapphire.
Vintage books, Random House, New York, my edition 1997, orig. pub. 1996.
Adult fiction incorporating poetry, 140 pages plus the Life Story Class Book (not paginated).
Lexile: not leveled.
AR Reader: 4.0 (worth 5.0 points)
NOTE: This book is not intended for children, whatever the reading level may be.

16-year-old Precious is pregnant with another one of her father’s babies and has been kicked out of school.  Her mother feels there’s no point and what’s the use, since she can’t read anyway?  But Precious, fierce, determined, angry, and sad, misses school and is going to try again.  Maybe her baby can have a better life than her.

Push by Sapphire

I came across this book in the most roundabout way.  I’d heard of it before and the movie Precious which is based on it.  But it wasn’t on my TBR, just one of those books you hear about and nod, “yes, I’ll read that some day.”  Then I was at the summer clearance at Barnes and Noble, and they had a copy of the 2011 sequel, The Kid in hardcover for a dollar.  That’s been sitting on my shelves for a year now, and I finally picked up a copy of Push.

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Review: Un-Ashamed

“I started spending time in the library, researching books on religion and philosophy.” page 56

Un-Ashamed by Lecrae Moore, with Jonathan Merritt.
B&H Publishing Group, Nashville, Tennessee, 2016.
Autobiography, 204 pages including notes (211 pages including blank note space).

The autobiography of a “Christian rapper” who successfully transitioned to general rap spaces and overcame many personal challenges.

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Un-Ashamed by Lecrae.

This one is from the library.  I knew it was somewhat religious, but didn’t realize just how Christian it was.  There definitely were points that could apply to everyone, but it also was very heavy on religion.  For example, his conversion experience takes up most of a chapter, while other aspects of his life are given much less detail.  Lecrae sees his life through the filter of Christianity and views everything with God’s purpose in mind.

I’ve reviewed other books that deal with religion: with a religious main character, attempting to educate others about a misunderstood religion, a character discovering their religious identity, and even tackling a non-fiction topic from a religious perspective.  After some debate, I elected to review this book, since I did finish it, and it fits the main objective of my blog (to review books by/about marginalized groups).

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Discussion: Microaggressions in Fiction

A look at several books to try to articulate different ways of approaching microaggressions in literary texts.

Here’s a loaded question for you: When are microaggressions okay in literature?

This question came up today as I was reading a book review over at Sinead’s blog.

After I had written several paragraphs in the comment box, trying to clarify my thoughts on the subject, it made sense to just write my own post and ask for feedback on this question.

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Review: The Lost Kitten

Brilliant artwork, yet the execution of this elementary school mystery flummoxed me.

Katie Fry, Private Eye: The Lost Kitten by Katherine Cox, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.
Scholastic, New York, 2015.
Mystery, 32 pages.
Lexile:  450L .
AR Level:  2.2 (worth 0.5 points)  .

Katie Fry loves to solve mysteries.  This may be the first book starring her, but it’s not her first mystery.  She’s solved the mystery of the early bedtime and found the lost glasses!  Now there’s a lost kitten.  Can she solve this new mystery too?

Katie Fry the Lost Kitten cover resized
Katie Fry, Private Eye #1: The Lost Kitten by Katherine Cox, illustrated by Vanessa Brantley Newton.

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Storytime: Two Boys and a Van

This is the story of when my heart caught up to my intellectual understanding.

Today I’m going to bring you something a bit different.  I’ve written before about how I came to start my blog and how I’ve gotten educated on various topics.  You can read more of those under the about me tag.

Most of the moments I write about have at least a tangential relationship to books or education, but this one does not.  For that reason I’ve debated sharing this here, but ultimately decided to do so.

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Review: The Kids Got It Right

“Bill Bradley was not afraid to show his goodwill toward black people. His father raised him that way.” page 143

The Kids Got It Right: How the Texas All-Stars Kicked Down Racial Walls by Jim Dent.
Thomas Dunne Books, Saint Martin’s Press, New York, 2013.
Sports nonfiction, 288 pages including index.
Not leveled.
NOTE: For international readers.  As an American, I use the word football for American football, the team sport with helmets and tackling.  For books involving the team sport with cleats and goals with nets, see the tag soccer.

This is a story of small-town Texas football, particularly those involved in the 1965 Big 33 game.  It’s the story of high school stars Jerry LeVias and Bill Bradley, an unstoppable duo who changed football at that game in Hershey, Pennsylvania.

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It’s pretty clear within the first ten pages that this was written by a white man.  The subtitle notwithstanding, this book is not about race.  This book is about football, and specifically one football game in which an All-Star team began to be slightly integrated.

I picked up this book at the dollar store and after reading and reviewing, will be passing it along.  Elsewhere I’ve seen this recommended to fans of the TV show Friday Night Lights and high school football fans.  I am neither.  Sports in general are not my thing, but in particular high school football holds little interest to me unless I personally know the participants.

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