Review: Gloria Rising

“Maybe the people in line behind us thought Dr. Street and I were mother and daughter having a serious conversation, because they left some space around us.” page 13

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Gloria Rising by Ann Cameron, illustrated by Lis Toft.
Stepping Stones, Random House Children’s Books, 2002.
Realistic fiction, 98 pages.
Lexile:  640L  .
AR Level:  3.9 (worth 1.0 points)  .
NOTE: Technically part of the Julian/Huey/Gloria series, but works as a stand-alone.

Before the start of fourth grade, Gloria has an unexpected encounter with a celebrity astronaut who looks like her and answers all her questions about space!  But at school, her teacher doesn’t believe she met Dr. Street, and worse, thinks she’s a troublemaker.

Gloria Rising

I got this book at the dollar store back when I first started reading diverse.  That was part of the reason that I grabbed it, as was the cover.  A young black girl in space with an onion?  So many questions.  I regret to inform you that this book is not science fiction (as the cover would indicate).  However, it’s still worth reading!

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Review: Dave the Potter

“To us / it is just dirt, / the ground we walk on. / Scoop up a handful. / The gritty grains slip / between your fingers.” page 3

Dave the Potter: Artist, Poet, Slave by Laban Carrick Hill, illustrated by Bryan Collier.
Little, Brown, and Company Hachette Book Group, New York, 2010.
Picture book biography, 40 pages including end notes.
Winner of the Coretta Scott King Illustrator Award, 2011.
2011 Caldecott Honor recipient.
Lexile:  AD1100L (What does AD mean in Lexile?)
AR Level:  6.0 (worth 0.5 points) .

Dave the Potter was a real-life African-American slave and artist.  He must have been incredibly strong, because he was able to successfully make pots as large as forty gallons.  He knew how to read and write, because he marked poems into the sides of some of his pots.  Beyond that we may never know many of the details of his life.

Dave the Potter Cover resized

This book came up several times before I bought it.  The first time, it was mistakenly labeled as fiction.  Later I realized it was non-fiction and added it to the bottom of my TBR.  After reading When the Beat Was Born by the same author, I decided to purchase this book, knowing that the writing would be excellent.  And I loved it!

Since so little is definitively known about Dave, this book focuses on the process of making his pottery that Dave would likely have gone through, using sparse poetry, detailed and realistic images of the process, and collage backgrounds imagining the world he inhabited.

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Web Wednesday: Updates

Gosh, it feels good to be book blogging again!  I’ve still been reading, but not at my normal volume, and not all diverse, but I do have some reviews to start going up again.  We are still in the thick of things, so I didn’t have much time to read OR post, but if you have any posts you’d like me to read link them in the comments!

If I add anything that is backdated I will let you know by adding to this post or (if it’s a long time after this post) making a new one with links.  Thanks for continuing to read even as I didn’t have much new content in July.

Meanwhile, today I read a post by Kristen Twardowski about Carla Hayden, the Librarian of Congress.  She points her readers to an interview with Carla by the New York Times.

What jumped out at me the most while reading this interview was this question:

Is there one book that made you a reader?

I often talk about my favorite book, which is “Bright April,” by Marguerite de Angeli. It was about a young African-American girl who was a Brownie with pigtails. And that was me. It was the first book I remember where I really saw myself. I think books are so important as windows to other worlds, but they can and should also be mirrors. For young readers to see themselves in something important like a book, that really makes an impression.

I’ve never heard of this book before, but you can believe it’s high on my TBR now!  Amazingly, there doesn’t seem to be a modern reprint of this 1946 classic, so it’s not widely available.

After a little searching, I was able to discover one branch library that does have this book, however it is marked library use only (unusual for a fiction book), so I suspect that it is in the rare book collection.  This will take a bit more investigation to see if it is possible for me to read it in the library, or if I would need to arrange an appointment to see it, or if it’s not available to the public at all.  It would involve some traveling and a time commitment on my part, so it may be a while before you hear more about this.

In the meantime, I did discover a sweet blog with many pictures from the book, to whet your appetite as we wait for the favorite book of the Librarian of Congress to be reprinted.

Another fascinating website to peruse is the National Library Service, an initiative to provide library services to the visually (and in some cases physically) impaired.

 

Hiatus

Dear Readers,

ColorfulBookReviews will be on hiatus until August, as my family currently needs me.

I do have some reviews scheduled to go up, but they need final editing and/or photos, and I’d rather spend my limited computer time reading your posts and commenting than stressing about trying to meet my normal posting schedule.

Most likely I will back-date the posts I had planned for the next two weeks.

My Apologies,

CBR

Review: The Lucky Few

The Lucky Few: Finding God’s Best in the Most Unlikely Places by Heather Avis.
Zondervan, HarperCollins, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2017.
Adoptive parent memoir, 223 pages.
Not Leveled.

This is the story of one woman who couldn’t become a mother even though all she yearned for was motherhood.  This is the story of her three children, and the journey she and her husband went through to bring them home and accept them as forever family.

The Lucky Few

This was a fairly light and quick read.  (I finished it in a few hours, your mileage may vary.)  I think if I didn’t know so many people in situations very similar to hers, this might have had more impact.  As it was, I felt like she kept the story extremely positive and glossed over a lot of the harsh realities.  However, that makes sense given that the goal of this book is to reach as many people as possible.

In parts it is more obvious than others that Avis was extremely lucky.  She glosses over the birth family of their daughter Truly Star, which makes sense because she is quite young yet and not ready to decide if she wants to disclose that information to the world.  She has close and loving relationships with the birth families of her other two children.  That’s fairly unusual, especially the birth family reaction to her.  Perhaps it’s a different scenario because they have Down Syndrome as opposed to other challenges.

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Adoption: A Primer

Many people go their entire lives without a thought to adoption or foster care.  Perhaps they see a story on the news or have an acquaintance that decides to care for non-biological children.  When fostering and adoption cross their path, well-meaning people think “what angels they must be” and “gosh, I could never do that.”  (You don’t want to know what ill meaning people say to a parent or child’s face.)

Thus, I’m taking a moment to educate.  In America, there are 3 main types of adoption:
domestic – an American child removed from the home or placed for adoption at the parent’s request.
international – a foreign-born child placed for adoption
kinship – an American child under the physical custody of a family member other than their biological parent, often a grandparent.
Kinship adoptions can be informal (not processed through the court systems) and are often overlooked by a crowded system, or relatives ashamed to admit the parent cannot care for the child.  As a result, these parents are less likely to have access to needed services and support.  Some forms of kinship can later be overturned by birth parents.

No matter what form of adoption, each one begins with a trauma – the separation from birth parents.  In some adoptions, that is the only trauma, and it is followed by much joy.

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