Thursday, December 14, 2017

Review: Jade City

Jade City Jade City by Fonda Lee
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Review to come in School Library Journal's Adult Books 4 Teens.

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Review: #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strong collection of artwork, poetry, quotations, and snippets of writing about Native American women. I was saddened when I realized that I didn't even recognize the names of some of the Nations--because they are Canadian, I hope? (and if not, what's that say about my own acquiring of knowledge?) As with any collection, there are strong pieces that speak to me, and some that don't. However, the artwork chosen is tremendously strong--I could see an art teacher using this book in a high school classroom.

The collection hits on so many important topics--the pipeline in the Dakotas, physical and sexual abuse of women and children, costumes, being too "white" to be native, native portrayal in media, and, over and over, stereotypes. "The Things We Taught Our Daughters" by Helen Knott made me tear up and if I still taught American Lit, that poem would be included in my curriculum. "When I Have a Daughter" by Ntawnis Piapot made me cry, too, in my own experience as a mother of a daughter that I hope to raise to be strong and defiant. The inclusion of modern sports athletes and how the power of social media is influencing modern native policies was awesome and a real draw for young people.

These stories need to be told. And it saddens me that it takes the help of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to make sure that books like this get published. I've read two of the YALSA Nonfiction finalists so far, and this one is a winner for me right now. On to read the others!

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Review: #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women

#Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women #Notyourprincess: Voices of Native American Women by Lisa Charleyboy
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Strong collection of artwork, poetry, quotations, and snippets of writing about Native American women. I was saddened when I realized that I didn't even recognize the names of some of the Nations--because they are Canadian, I hope? (and if not, what's that say about my own acquiring of knowledge?) As with any collection, there are strong pieces that speak to me, and some that don't. However, the artwork chosen is tremendously strong--I could see an art teacher using this book in a high school classroom.

The collection hits on so many important topics--the pipeline in the Dakotas, physical and sexual abuse of women and children, costumes, being too "white" to be native, native portrayal in media, and, over and over, stereotypes. "The Things We Taught Our Daughters" by Helen Knott made me tear up and if I still taught American Lit, that poem would be included in my curriculum. "When I Have a Daughter" by Ntawnis Piapot made me cry, too, in my own experience as a mother of a daughter that I hope to raise to be strong and defiant. The inclusion of modern sports athletes and how the power of social media is influencing modern native policies was awesome and a real draw for young people.

These stories need to be told. And it saddens me that it takes the help of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council to make sure that books like this get published. I've read two of the YALSA Nonfiction finalists so far, and this one is a winner for me right now. On to read the others!

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Review: The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found

The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found The Whydah: A Pirate Ship Feared, Wrecked, and Found by Martin W. Sandler
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Okay, so this book had two of my pet peeves within the first two chapters, which irritated me enough that I didn't want to dedicate my reading time to finish it. But I did. First, the author had word choice issues, like on page 13, "He had to get to know that girl." I know this is a children's/young adult nonfiction book, but I would still like to think that kids are smart enough to know that there are better ways to write that sentence, especially as it's closing out the paragraph.

I also wasn't a fan of the huge sidenotes and I've noticed this in other nonfiction. A sidenote should be just that--a snippet of information located off to the side of the main text. Set it apart with a textbox or something! But when a snippet lasts three complete pages, that, my friend, is a chapter. All it does is disrupt the text and piss readers like me off. The first snippet was used correctly--at the end of Chapter 1. But the next one, "The Articles of Agreement," were just thrown into the middle of Chapter 2 with no rhyme or reason other than the author had mentioned the agreement in the text. That's all and good, but "The Articles" take up three pages in the middle of a sentence of the text--horrible placement. Did the author even have a say in where that went? or was that a book designer's decision?

I also wanted more visuals. The author stressed that the Whydah's uniqueness was a "long platform on its deck for captives who could not..." Well, then, what did that long platform look like? Because I can't picture it. Surely there is an illustration somewhere of it? Or one like it?

There are source notes at the end, as well as a MLA 7th edition bibliography, and photo credits.

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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Review: Long Way Down

Long Way Down Long Way Down by Jason Reynolds
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Dang...I hope this is getting talked about at the Printz table! Sure, it's the kind of story that will suck you in, but some of the poetry is darn good, too. Novels written in verse are always tricky. I wish the publisher had done a bit more with the "smoke" on the pages--a different color or something than the font? Thicker paper with more of a reason behind the smudges?

At the end, I wanted to yell, "NOOOOOO!!!!!!"

Wish I could hear some students discussing this one.....

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Monday, December 11, 2017

Review: Say Goodbye for Now

Say Goodbye for Now Say Goodbye for Now by Catherine Ryan Hyde
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can't believe I listened to ALL of this sappy thing. But, hey, the narration by Nick Podehl was great! This is one of those Hallmark special type of books, so if you like those, give this a try.

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