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Tag Archives: diversity

The Harlem Charade

Title: The Harlem Charade
Author: Natasha Tarpley
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 3rd- 8th Grade
Pages: 297 pages
Call Number/Link:  J FICTION TARPLEY, N.

Synopsis: Seventh-graders Jin, Alexandra, and Elvin come from very different backgrounds and circumstances, but they all live in Harlem, and when Elvin’s grandfather is attacked they band together to find out who is responsible–and the search leads them to an enigmatic artist whose missing masterpieces are worth a fortune, and into conflict with an ambitious politician who wants to turn Harlem into an historic amusement park.

This book is rich in culture.  We have three main characters that come from different backgrounds, that come together by chance.  Jin likes to watch people that come into her grandparents bodega. She catches Alexandra taping Met passes on food items.  Jin now has a mystery to solve to find out why. The three main characters are strong, kind-hearted teenagers.  Throughout the story they learn some history of Harlem artist from the 1960’s and come to appreciate the community.  It is a wonderful way to get children to look around their own communities.

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Posted by on May 20, 2017 in Juv, Mysteries

 

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If I Was Your Girl

26156987Title: If I Was Your Girl
Author: Meredith Russo
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th grade and up
Pages: 288
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Russo, M. 

Synopsis: Amanda Hardy is the new girl in school in Lambertville, Tennessee. Like any other girl, all she wants is to make friends and fit in. But Amanda is keeping a secret. There’s a reason why she transferred schools for her senior year, and why she’s determined not to get too close to anyone.

And then she meets Grant Everett. Grant is unlike anyone she’s ever met—open, honest, kind—and Amanda can’t help but start to let him into her life. As they spend more time together, she finds herself yearning to share with Grant everything about herself…including her past. But she’s terrified that once she tells Grant the truth, he won’t be able to see past it.

Because the secret that Amanda’s been keeping? It’s that she used to be Andrew.

Review: This was another book club book and hands down all my teens (and I) loved it. Not only is it about a trans teen, but it’s written by a trans author as well. (OH, and the model is a transwoman!) One of my trans teens was in attendance and he had nothing but positive things to say. As someone who has gone through the transition and had to deal with schools/classmates/etc the overwhelming response was how realistic it was. Not everything is perfect go-lucky for Amanda. She has to go through some tough crap, including being outed by a friend in front of the whole school at homecoming. However, with the help of friends and family, she manages to keep moving forward. I do like that she doesn’t forgive the person who outed her. Too often, in books, we get the outing and things are still sunshine and rainbows. This is much more realistic. I also adore how the people you think are the least likely to support you are really the people who have your back. And of course, some of the reactions and thought processes are highly realistic as well. All in all, this is a highly recommended book by me and my teens.

 
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Posted by on December 16, 2016 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Labyrinth Lost

27969081Title: Labyrinth Lost
Author: Zoraida Córdova
Series: Brooklyn Brujas
Recommended for: Grade 7th and up
Pages: 336
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Cordova, Z. 

Synopsis: Nothing says Happy Birthday like summoning the spirits of your dead relatives.

I fall to my knees. Shattered glass, melted candles and the outline of scorched feathers are all that surround me. Every single person who was in my house – my entire family — is gone.

Alex is a bruja, the most powerful witch in a generation…and she hates magic. At her Deathday celebration, Alex performs a spell to rid herself of her power. But it backfires. Her whole family vanishes into thin air, leaving her alone with Nova, a brujo boy she can’t trust. A boy whose intentions are as dark as the strange markings on his skin.

The only way to get her family back is to travel with Nova to Los Lagos, a land in-between, as dark as Limbo and as strange as Wonderland…

Review: I love, love, love this book. First of all, this Latinx world is so rich and full of depth. From the underworld that mimic Dante’s Infernal to her family (including her ancestors) to the magic, it’s all done so well. For most of the book, Alex’s family isn’t even present, but they were well rounded and you felt like you really knew then even though the focus wasn’t really on there. Even her grandma, who really is only present for one scene–you just get a deep understanding of how important family really is. I also loved that they were latinx for all over the world and not just one spot–because most family ancestries are nice and messy like that.

Alex is a great heroine. However, she’s deeply flawed, which I actually loved. She doesn’t have it all figured out. She struggles almost every step of the way. Yes, she never wanted magic, but she never meant to banish her family as a way to do it! The journey is about righting that mistake and coming to terms with her magic/things about herself along the way. I also really loved that Alex was bisexual and it was no big deal. Not to her family, her friends, or anyone else. She struggled if she really felt about Rishi that way, but it was more of “do I really have a crush on a friend” than “do I really have a crush on a girl.” It was simply no big deal and it was portrayed in a healthy way as well. All around, I give this book two thumbs up.

 
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Posted by on October 26, 2016 in Fantasy, Teen

 

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Plum Fantastic

2761560Title: Plum Fantastic
Author: Whoopie Goldberg
Series: Sugar Plum Ballerinas
Recommended for: Grade 2-4
Pages: 160
Call Number/Link:  J Gol 

Synopsis: Alexandrea Petrakova Johnson does not want to be a beautiful ballerina, and she does not want to leave her friends in Apple Creek. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop her ballet-crazy mother from moving them to Harlem, or from enrolling Al at the Nutcracker School of Ballet.

Life is hard when you’re the new ballerina on the block, and it’s even harder when you’re chosen to be the Sugar Plum Fairy in the school recital! Not only is Al a terrible dancer, but she’s also got a rotten case of stage fright! Al’s ballet classmates are going to have to use all the plum power they’ve got to coach this scary fairy!

Review: I actually really liked this book. While the ballet stuff is the foundation of the story, it’s really about making new friends, helping each other, and overcoming fears. I really liked the friendships and how they all bonded together to help Alexandrea learn her steps and perfect the routine. This would be a great book for those interested in dance or just a realistic book

The wording is still a bit on the large size with shorter chapters and illustrations here and there. Great transition books for those who need something a little harder that say rainbow fairies, but not ready for full chapter books.

 
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Posted by on August 15, 2016 in Juv, Realistic, Uncategorized

 

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I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister

18811323Title: I Love I Hate I Miss My Sister
Author: Amélie Sarn
Series:
Recommended for: Grades 7 & up
Pages: 152
Call Number/Link: Teen Fiction Sarn, A.

Synopsis: Two sisters. Two lives. One future.
Sohane loves no one more than her beautiful, carefree younger sister, Djelila. And she hates no one as much. They used to share everything. But now, Djelila is spending more time with her friends, partying, and hanging out with boys, while Sohane is becoming more religious.

When Sohane starts wearing a head scarf, her school threatens to expel her. Meanwhile, Djelila is harassed by neighborhood bullies for not being Muslim enough. Sohane can’t help thinking that Djelila deserves what she gets. But she never could have imagined just how far things would go. . . .

My Review: I absolutely adored this book. It’s such a short book but has such an emotional book. I loved the themes of feminism that run through it as the two girls decide how to led their life and what path of religion they want to follow. Both girls defended their right to their chosen path and have to deal with the consequences of that decision. Sohane has a lot of emotions that she needs to work through and it’s interesting watching that arc of love-hate-miss-understanding. While the flashing back and forwarding bothered me a bit at times, overall it was fine. This is easily a book I’d recommend everyone to read.

 
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Posted by on June 9, 2016 in Realistic, Teen

 

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Calamity Jack

Calamity Jack

JacketTitle: Calamity Jack
Author: Shannon Hale, Dean Hale, Nathan Hale illustrator.
Series: N/A but “sequel” to Rapunzel’s revenge
Recommended for: 4-8th Grade
Pages: 144
Call Number/Link:  GN J HAL
Synopsis: Jack likes to think of himself as a criminal mastermind…with an unfortunate amount of bad luck. A schemer, plotter, planner, trickster, swindler…maybe even thief? One fine day Jack picks a target a little more giant than the usual, and one little bean turns into a great big building-destroying beanstalk. With help from Rapunzel (and her trusty braids), a pixie from Jack’s past, and a man with inventions from the future, they just might out-swindle the evil giants and put his beloved city back in the hands of good people…while catapulting themselves and readers into another fantastical adventure.
Review: This is a great book, a fine sequel to Rapunzel’s revenge. This features a coming of age tale of a trickster hero realizing his potential. The art is magnificent and invoked a strange mix of steampunk and classic fairy tale styling. Add to it an element of mystery–“Who are the ants?” and you have a rollicking tale that is sure to impress.

 

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5 to 1

18588998Title: 5 to 1
Author: Holly Bodger
Series: N/A
Recommended for: 8th Grade and Up
Pages: 244
Call Number/Link:  Teen Fiction Bodger, H

Synopsis: In the year 2054, after decades of gender selection, India now has a ratio of five boys for every girl, making women an incredibly valuable commodity. Tired of marrying off their daughters to the highest bidder and determined to finally make marriage fair, the women who form the country of Koyanagar have instituted a series of tests so that every boy has the chance to win a wife.

Sudasa doesn’t want to be a wife, and Contestant Five, a boy forced to compete in the test to become her husband, has other plans as well. Sudasa’s family wants nothing more than for their daughter to do the right thing and pick a husband who will keep her comfortable—and caged. Five’s family wants him to escape by failing the tests. As the tests advance, Sudasa and Five thwart each other at every turn until they slowly realize that they just might want the same thing.

Review: This is a great one to give to reluctant readers who are looking for something dystopian. While it is almost 250, most of the book is in verse. It definitely an interesting concept of how gender selection can harm a country. It touches both on both genders being valued and how eventually both ways will screw up the system. And while everything seemed to be fair/even/just, there were still ways to work the system. Bribery was still in play and a “good girl” followed the rules and picked the “wealthy/better” contestant. I do like how Sudasa, and even her family, kind of helped her thwart the system in the end.

 
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Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Dystopian, Teen

 

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