Review: On That Day, Everybody Ate

“Just outside the city, as the sky seemed to expand and the barren mountain range came into full view, we pulled over to buy two stalks of sugarcane from a street merchant.” p. 122

On That Day, Everybody Ate: One Woman’s Story of Hope and Possibility in Haiti by Margaret Trost.
Koa Books, Kihei, Hawai’i, 2008.
Non-fiction/memoir, 143 pages. n

The story of Margaret Trost’s experiences with Haiti which led to her developing a charity to feed and aid children in partnership with a parish there.

On That Day, Everybody Ate

Although I’m trying to focus on Africa this year, I went down a rabbit hole because I got interested in Haiti after seeing Rebecca’s Caribbean reading goal.  I’ve seen lots of books around about the earthquake and have even read a few, but I really wanted to read books written before 2010.

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Review: The Poet X

“He is an award-winning bound book, / where I am loose and blank pages. / And since he came first, it’s his fault. / And I’m sticking to that.” p. 99

The Poet X: A Novel by Elizabeth Acevedo.
HarperTeen, HarperCollins, New York, 2018.
Novel in verse, 378 pages.
Lexile:  HL800L ( What does HL mean in Lexile? )
AR Level: not yet leveled

Dominican-American teen Xiomara Batisa is one half of a pair of miraculous twins – their birth to older parents caused her philandering father to change his ways and reaffirmed their mother’s devotion to her Catholic faith.  Her genius brother Xavier skipped a grade and is living up to their miracle status, while she defends his comic book collection and feels inadequate.

The Poet X by Acevedo

Target seems to be shelving more and more diverse novels that I’m interested in reading.  There’s been some buzz about this one, but I didn’t know many details.  I think because of the title, I assumed it had to do with Malcolm X and just wasn’t interested.  But that’s not what this book is about at all.  This book is about poetry and love and family and the power of being who you really are.

But let me back up a bit.  There is a love story in this, but don’t get turned off by the heavy romance early on, because this is not a love story.  Rather, this is about Xiomara’s sophomore year of high school, and how she learned to be more confident in herself, and how her family relationships completely changed.

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Review: Making of a Psychologist

“Many other strong people came before us and they never got a chance to know what freedom was. They sacrificed their lives so that we could have a better life and we must not forget to pay homage to them in all that we do.” page 37

The Making of a Psychologist by Dr. Earl Bracy.
RoseDog Books, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2010.
Memoir, 268 pages.
Not leveled.

The life story of Dr. Bracy, told by himself.  Technically an autobiography (told by the author in chronological order) but written with more of an anecdotal memoir style.

The Making of a Psychologist by Dr. Earl Bracy
The Making of a Psychologist by Dr. Earl Bracy (with owner’s name and label blurred off of this borrowed book cover).

I came across this book quite randomly when looking for a very different (not diverse) book.  If it wasn’t for this blog, I probably wouldn’t have finished it.  Bracy’s life is interesting, but this book needed a heavy editor’s hand.  I had to stop myself from grabbing a pencil and marking up the margins several times.  If this was a purchased book (rather than borrowed), I’d have done so simply for my own peace of mind.

The formatting is also troublesome with justified margins and a font that doesn’t do the book any services.  The book cover isn’t appealing with the tilted landscape, awkward fades, and random American flag.  All of that’s too bad, because this could have been a very readable book.

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Review: We Are Family

“Each family is different; it may be large or small. / We may look like each other – or not alike at all.” p. 21

We Are Family by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Ryan Wheatcroft.
Tiger Tales, Caterpillar Books Ltd., Wilton, CT, 2017.
Picture book, 22 pages.
Not yet leveled.

A sweet vintage-style picture book depicting similar moments in the lives of ten very different families.

We Are Family cover

This British book is a bit off the beaten path.  I think I was looking for family books that were inclusive of foster and adoptive kids, and this certainly fits that mold.

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Review: 20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Parents Knew

“One of the most sacrificial acts of love adoptive parents can do is to give up their preconceptions and agendas.” page 16

Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew by Sherrie Eldridge.
Delta, Bantam Dell, Random House, New York, 1999.
Nonfiction, 224 pages including index and recommended reading.

This book of advice, information, and deep thought aims at communicating with the next generation of adoptive parents so the adoptive experience can be better.

20 Things Adoptive Kids etc

This was probably the most helpful book I read before becoming a parent.  (One was great for general parenting but not especially relevant to this blog.)  Sadly, this isn’t a book recommended by a social worker or from one of our required classes.

Some of my adopted friends reminded us to consider the child’s perspective.  At the used bookstore this was the only book by adoptees I could find.  Rereading it for this review was an unexpectedly emotional journey.

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Hello Again

First, I just want to thank you for your patience.  The plan was to be away for only a month, however some health complications kept us in the hospital longer than I planned so everything was delayed.  That also meant my careful schedule of posts went out the window…

Many thanks to everyone who continued to read even as I missed several weeks.  It appears that some external links to my reviews went up while I was gone, so a warm welcome to any new readers!

For new readers, I review anything diverse from board books to academic works.  If you’re looking for a particular topic, reading level, or format then your best bet is to check the page with my tags.  I tag all of my reviews with the reading level, diverse content included (the only exception being black main characters as that is the majority of what I read), how I got the book, genre, and any other topics that apply.

If you’re here for board books, they have their own page as well as a tag.

If you’re looking for a particular book or an author who doesn’t have a tag, the search page is probably your best bet.  I also keep pages for all the books I review in a particular year (roughly sorted by fiction/nonfiction and picture/chapter) and a master list of all my reviews by author and illustrator, but those are only updated as I have time.

For continuing readers, thanks again for sticking around.  I’ll probably be fairly quiet on the blog, and liking and commenting less than usual as we adjust to our newest family member, but I’m trying to finish a few theme weeks and Fiction Friday is back again.

I appreciate every comment, view, and like.  It’s brings me great joy that my reviews are of help or use to others.

Review: Mochi Queen

“In the kitchen, the rice cookers set on timers were already steaming, filling the kitchen with the smell of rice. My mouth watered.” p. 53

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen (Jasmine Toguchi #1) by Debbi Michiko Florence, illustrated by Elizabet Vukovic.
Farrar Straus Giroux, Macmillian, New York, 2017.
Elementary fiction, 115 pages.
Lexile:  560L  .
AR Level:  3.6 (worth 1.0 points)  .

Jasmine and her Japanese-American family are getting ready for the New Year.  That means lots of cousins, mochi-tsuki, Obaachan coming to visit, and two more years before Jasmine is old enough to make mochi with the women.  Rather than wait two whole years, she has an idea…

Jasmine Toguchi 1 Mochi Queen

In the last few years we’ve been seeing a big rise in the number of early elementary chapter book series featuring diverse characters, and I am over the moon about it.  As you’ve heard me rant before, it’s crucial to have diverse books at every reading level, including the very earliest.  Working a little understanding of different cultures, cuisines, and lifestyles into early fiction also helps students out when they later encounter the same topics in middle school or high school, and it sets a foundation for tolerance and acceptance.

Series like this one are particularly great because they can be read aloud to children over a range of ages, and information about Japanese-American culture is seamlessly woven into the storyline.

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Board Book Review: Rain Feet

Our 25th board book is a must-have for early education and preschool programs.

Rain Feet by Angela Johnson, illustrated by Rhonda Mitchell.
Orchard Books, Scholastic, 1994.
Board book, 10 pages.

A young boy dresses for and interacts with rain and puddles on his street in this simple and joyous spring board book.

Rain Feet cover resized

When I was looking specifically for #ownvoices board books about black boys, this series kept coming up.  I purchased this book because it was recommended as the first in the series, but taking a look at the author’s website, it appears that they can be read in any order (which is good, since this isn’t the first book).

This series is called the Joshua books, but in this particular book the protagonist isn’t named.  In fact, much like Peter of The Snowy Day, he is alone exploring his wet urban world and wearing distinctive (in this case yellow) seasonal gear.

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