Review: On the Edge of Gone

“My good hand flaps against my thigh as we walk. I keep my eyes averted all the way, like if I don’t see other people, they might not see me.” p 57

On the Edge of Gone by Corinne Duyvis.
Amulet Books Imprint, Abrams, New York, 2016.
YA apocalyptic science fiction, 456 pages.
Lexile:  HL640L (What does HL mean in Lexile?)
AR Level: Not yet leveled.

Teen Denise just wanted to work in the cat shelter and make it through her daily life.  But then they found out about the comet.  Since then, she’s been trying to figure out how to survive the apocalypse – and bring her family with her.  But it isn’t easy.  Her sister is missing, her addict mom is running so late they can’t get to the shelter, and her autism makes all these changes even more confusing and distressing.

On the Edge of Gone resized

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Wisconsinite Review: Amina’s Voice

Amina’s Voice is a great new Muslim #ownvoices MG novel. Here’s my take on the Wisconsin references in the book.

Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan.
Salaam Reads imprint, Simon & Schuster, New York, 2017.
Middle grade realistic fiction, 197 pages.
Lexile:  800L .
AR Level:  Not yet leveled.

Amina is shy and a little afraid of some of the big changes coming with middle school, like a chance to enter a singing contest or her uncle coming to stay.  Her best friend is Soojin, a Korean immigrant who’s finally becoming an American citizen and wants to change her name.  They find that their different cultures have some cultural norms in common, and they bonded over having unusual names.  But if Soojin changes her name, is she also going to change her best friend?

Amina's Voice resized

There are going to be lots of reviews of this book, so I thought for my review, I’d take a different perspective. Kirin at Notes from an Islamic School Librarian reviewed Amina’s Voice and had only one issue with it, which confirmed my idea that this #ownvoice novel is a great representation of Muslim culture.

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Review: Donavan’s Double Trouble

“Maybe, Donavan thought, he wasn’t the only one who felt uncomfortable about Vic’s homecoming dinner.” page 43

Donavan’s Double Trouble by Monalisa DeGross, illustrated by Amy Bates.
Amistad, HarperCollins, New York, 2008.
Realistic fiction chapter book, 180 pages.
Lexile:  550L .
AR Level:  3.8 (worth 4.0 points) .
Note: Donavan’s Double Trouble is the sequel to Donavan’s Word Jar.

Donavan’s got all kinds of troubles lately.  Heritage Month is coming up, and he doesn’t know anyone to ask.  He’s struggling with math and his younger sister is overtaking him.  His favorite uncle is back, but no longer a firefighter.  He doesn’t play basketball or teach dance moves anymore, because Uncle Vic’s National Guard unit was called up, and he came home without his legs.  Donovan’s not feeling good about these changes – he just wants his old uncle back.

Donavan's Double Trouble

When I was trying to find books about PoC with disabilities, one word was overwhelmingly used to describe this book: sweet.  Having read it, I would certainly agree.

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Review: Fledgling

“I found that I almost envied his pain. He hurt because he remembered.” page 74

Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler.
Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, New York, 2005, my edition 2007.
Modern vampire fantasy, 310 pages.
Lexile:  730L .
AR Level:  Not leveled.
NOTE: This book is recommended for adults only.

Shori wakes up in the woods with a ravenous hunger and a taste for blood.  She doesn’t remember who she is, where she came from, or even what she is, but after she bites Wright, he’s willing to help her find out.  The only clues they have to start with are a burnt property and Shori’s own instincts and half-remembering.

Fledgling
Fledgling by Octavia E. Butler

I came across this novel because Butler was recommended to me as a major speculative fiction author of color.  Science fiction and fantasy are two of my favorites, although I’ll read any genre but horror.  It was continually bothering me that I hadn’t read any speculative fiction by PoCs, so I wanted to try one of her books.

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Review: Shine, Coconut Moon

“I’ve watched Apu at least a dozen times before with Mike and never had this feeling. I never thought it was uproariously funny like some of the kids at school or Mike did, but it never really bothered me either. Or did it, and I just ignored it?” page 127

Shine, Coconut Moon by Neesha Meminger.
Margaret K. McElderry Imprint, Simon and Schuster Children’s Publishing Division, New York, 2009 (my edition 2010).
YA historical fiction, 247 pages.
Lexile:  HL740L  (What does HL mean in Lexile?)
AR Level:  5.0 (worth 9.0 points)
NOTE: not suggested for elementary school students despite the reading level.

Samar, or Sam has never known much about her Punjabi heritage and never needed to.  After her father left, her mom cut all contact with her traditional Indian family.  So when her turbaned uncle shows up at the door after 9/11, Sam has no idea who he even is.

Shine, Coconut Moon resized

This is a coming-of-age young adult debut novel by an #ownvoice author.  I purchased this book as soon as I read Shenwei’s review.  I work with a number of Sikh and Indian students, and my original thought was to get this for one of my students.

However, after reading, I don’t think it would be suitable for that particular student.  She’s still in middle school, very sheltered, and quite devout.  I don’t think that the violence would be more than she can handle, but I think the underage drinking would bother her and keep her from getting to the parts more relevant to her life.  Perhaps when she is a little older.

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Review: The Memory of Light

“There’s something fragile about all of them, like they’re holding on to what the world expects of them by some brittle branch that could break at any moment.” p. 24

The Memory of Light by Francisco X. Stork.
Arthur A. Levine Books Imprint, Scholastic, New York, 2016.
YA realistic fiction, 326 pages.
Lexile:  HL680L  (What does HL mean in Lexile?)
AR Level:  4.4 (worth 12.0 points)
NOTE: This book is not for 4th graders.

We meet Vicki in the most intimate and vulnerable time in her life – after she’s just attempted suicide and is now hospitalized for severe depression.

The Memory of Light

I got this book through a branch loan (CSviaS) after Naz recommended it to me when we were discussing the sad lack of books about disability with intersectionality.  It took a while to come through with holidays interrupting ILL services and me being on vacation, so during that time, I thought of one book in my collection and accidentally encountered another at the store.  I’ve also been hitting up Google with the idea of reviewing a number of books about disability by people of color and generating a list for kids, parents, and teachers.  Just like early readers, this is one of those little niches of the book world that we need to diversify.

This book is beautiful.  That probably seems like a strange thing to say about a book about depression, but the writing is just lovely.  It reminded me of To Kill a Mockingbird, not in any way the content, but the writing style.  I was quickly immersed in Vicki’s world and wanted her to heal and live.

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Review: Pizza Party!

“It cooks./We look.//We read a book.//It’s done./What fun!” p.22-24

Pizza Party by Grace Maccarone, illustrated by Emily Arnold McCully.
Cartwheel Books Imprint, Scholastic, New York, 1994, my reprint edition 2003.
Rhyming realistic fiction, 30 pages.
Lexile:  BR (What does BR mean in Lexile?)
AR Level:  0.5 (worth 0.5 points)

Five people gather for a pizza party and work together to make, then eat a pizza in this diverse early reader for children who have just mastered the basic sight words.  This is the third book of my thrift store finds.

Pizza Party cover

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