Posted in Monthly Reads

Anticipated MG Books August

I’m ready for one month closer to the end of the summer. Fall and winter are my seasons, but August isn’t without its fun. I’ve got lots of birthdays coming up, and more hours at my job. So I hope I’ll have time to read all these great books coming out!

The Friendship Lie

Out August 1st. Cora Davis’s life is starting to feel like garbage. First off her parents’ study what happens to trash after it has been thrown away. But despite knowing everything about the trash they are making her life a mess. They are divorcing and she feels like she’s being thrown away. Add to that a fight with her best friend and the fifth-grade year is officially in the dumpster. But when Cora and friend Sybella find a diary that deals with the best friend problems like the ones they are having, they realize that this piece of trash they found just might be a treasure.

Each Tiny Spark

Due out August 6th, Emila Torres has trouble focusing, sometimes she doesn’t follow along in school or forgets what her mother or abuela asks her to do. However, what she can focus on is a time before her father’s deployment when her family was whole and made sense. She expects that life will go back to normal when her father comes home, but he comes home different, instead of spending time with his family he isolates himself and spends time working on cars instead.

Emila though keeps an eye on him and slowly they reconnect as he teaches her how to weld, soon she can see her old dad start to shine through, but as she is making progress with her dad, something happens that shakes her community, leaving her friends at the center of the conflict.

Cape (The League of Secret Heroes)

I’m not normally a historical fiction fan but I think this one is going to get me. It’s set during the 1940s and is about a girl who gets rejected to be a codebreaker because she’s a girl. But it turns out a superhero organization is looking to recruit her. Add in new friends, missing superheroes, fighting Nazi’s and real history about the women who helped win the war it sounds like a great book. The League of Secret Heroes is due out on August 6th.

Rise of the Dragon Moon

Set in a frozen world Princess Toli just wants to to be hunter and warrior. Not the heir to the throne. Her mother’s queendom is set alone against powerful dragons that already killed her father, so when the dragons come and take her mother away, she knows she has to go after the Queen to save her and she’s willing to do anything to save her mother.

But securing the Queen’s release requires trusting one of the enemy, who may be the key to the Queen’s release. With her friend and her sister, she goes on a dangerous journey to rescue her mother, but the most dangerous secret might not be the enemies who stalk them but a secret in her family’s past.

The Trouble with Shooting Stars

After a car accident that leaves her with a scar, twelve-year-old Luna loves the nighttime more than anything else. She doesn’t have to face people looking at the half mask she now wears while she heals.  She spends her nights drawing the things she sees, which turn out to be more interesting after a new family moves in next door.

She now watches the boy and girl from the new family next door…zipping out of the window in a zeppelin and up to the stars.

She thinks she’s dreaming at first but when they catch her watching she starts going on adventures with them as they do nightly tasks like cleaning full moons and arranging constellations.

When they catch a shooting star she gets to make a wish, however, Luna soon learns no wish is strong enough to change the past.

What middle-grade books are you guys looking forward to for August?

 

Posted in Uncategorized

Can’t-Wait Wednesday

I’m doing another Can’t-Wait Wednesdays, hosted by Wishful Endings where we all talk about books we can’t wait to read or are waiting to be released. Can’t-Wait Wednesday is based on Waiting on Wednesday by Jill at Breaking the Spine

I can’t wait for The Magnolia Sword by Sherry Thomas, it looks like a great take on the Mulan story, plus it’s #ownvoices. Published by Lee and Low I can’t find a release date for it yet, but I’ve heard a fair amount of buzz about it so I’ll update this post when I know.

Posted in Memes

Can’t-Wait Wednesday- I can’t wait for…

I’m trying to be more active in the bookish community, so I’m going to try to do more memes and generally be more interactive. So on that note, I’m doing Can’t Wait Wednesdays, hosted by Wishful Endings where we all talk about books we can’t wait to read or are waiting to be released. Can’t-Wait Wednesday is based on Waiting on Wednesday by Jill at Breaking the Spine

I can’t wait for Dead Voices! I haven’t read Small Spaces and hope to read it before Dead Voice’s comes out, but honestly, I like the sound of Dead Voices’ concept better, it reminds me of the shining, plus I love creepy stories and winter.

What are you waiting for?

Posted in Uncategorized

Own Voices in Children’s Books

As someone who is a fan of #OwnVoices works, I’d like to take a look at the most recent data on diversity about children’s books. I’ll do another post on YA if I can find the resources but right now I’d like to focus on children’s literature. A lot of this data is coming from the Cooperative Children’s Book Center at the University of Wisconson-Madison. So a shoutout to them.

Take a look at the graphic below. You may have already seen it, this is the distribution of protagonists from 2018 books. Dismal isn’t it?

Image result for diversity in children's books 2018

It has improved from the 2015 survey, but hardly,

Image result for diversity in children's books 2018

As you see white protagonists have gone down, but animal protagonists have gone up? I’m going to do a post about that in the future. This survey doesn’t even take into account who is writing these books, just the protagonists themselves. So #OwnVoices authors aren’t represented. For more about the Own Voices hashtag and what it means, please visit its creator’s website at http://www.corinneduyvis.net/ownvoices/  .  Basically, it means that the author and the protagonist share some aspects of personal identity.

This is where two other graphics from Reflection Press really hit home. These graphs also specifically focus on children’s literature.

The first shows how many books are written by #ownvoices authors in reflection to what percentage of the population that ethnicity makes up. As we see White Americans have more than their fair share and everything goes down from there. Across the different categories, at least 1421 books would need to be written by Indigenous and POC authors to make up for the gap when it comes to books written by each segment of the population.

The graph has a few problems, that it notes, such as the fact that multi-ethnic authors aren’t tracked separately. But overall it is a good representation to show how much would need to be written to make up for the lack of books published by #ownvoices authors. There are, of course, many additional factors at play, the first and most important being racism in the publishing industry. It is all well and good to say the stories are needed but authors getting their stories accepted, especially multiple authors of color, continues to be a problem.

books needed by POC/Indigenous own voices - 2017 statistics

The second graph goes more into this problem, showing the books received (accepted) by US and non-US publishers.

Showing 2015-2017 this graph shows that more books about POC and LGBTQIA protagonists were being accepted, but by and large, they weren’t being written by #ownvoices authors. Instead, the books that were accepted were written by people outside the given community. This again works into the racism of the publishing community as well as the white author’s privilege when it comes to getting published.

As they note on the graph there were more books written about Indigenous/POC/LGBTQIA protagonists (3700 books) across this three year period. However, nearly 700 of those were written by people outside of the given communities.  Meanwhile, there were only 550 books written by Indigenous and POC writers in total in 2017.

 

2017 Statistics #ownvoice/#firstvoice reflection for the last 3 years

So what does a blogger do about these depressing numbers? Use your privilege to uplift and highlight #ownvoices authors as well as the work of Black, Latinx, POC, Indigenous and LGBTQ authors in general. That’s what I’m going to try to do here. I’m still finding my voice with this blog, but my goal isn’t to just use it as space for me, but a space to uplift others.

Sources

http://www.reflectionpress.com/childrens-books-radicalact/

http://www.teenlibrariantoolbox.com/2019/01/do-you-know-reflection-press-childrens-books-as-a-radical-act-a-diversity-audit-resource/

http://www.corinneduyvis.net/ownvoices/

https://ccbc.education.wisc.edu/default.asp

 

Posted in Reviews

Camp Review

Camp by Kayla Miller is set in the same world as Click, also by Miller. Camp is a perfect book to discuss middle school age friendships.

From Amazon 

“Olive is sure she’ll have the best time at a summer camp with her friend Willow – but while Olive makes quick friends with the other campers, Willow struggles to form connections and latches on to the only person she knows – Olive. It’s s’more than Olive can handle! The stress of being Willow’s living security blanket begins to wear on Olive and before long…the girls aren’t just fighting, they may not even be friends by the time camp is over. Will the two be able to patch things up before the final lights out?”

Review

Miller addresses the two girls different personalities very well. As someone who works with this age group, I’ve seen kids on both ends of this, outgoing and introverted. I’ve also seen this problem arise.

Personally, and perhaps, even now I’m still the one who has one person I stick to kind of be my ‘social translator’ or to soften my hard edges. In my case, this is due to my autism, and I didn’t get that angle from Willow. When it comes to kids with autism who are having Willow’s issue of attachment. I think a careful push to socialize isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but that you have to walk a careful line, especially at the age dealt with in the book. 

I think Miller does a great job of showing where the character’s emotional intelligence or lack of emotional intelligence gets in the way and causes obstacles. Another marker of the age group she’s writing about, which makes her writing seem more realistic. The conclusion also doesn’t feel forced. Both Willow and Olive make mistakes before reaching a resolution to their friendship issue, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Overall I really liked the book, and think it was well written.

Likes

  1. Olive standing up for herself
  2. The way the counselors addressed the problems.
  3. How character’s mistakes were dealt with.

Dislikes

Nothing major thought the piece was well written.

Diversity

Though Miller’s background cast has a few POC characters they aren’t the focus of the story.  I do like the exposure for people with social problems though even if Willow’s social issues aren’t named by a particular disorder.

Recommendations

I’d recommend this to any children 8-13 specifically dealing with friendship issues.

Overall I really liked Camp I’d give it four stars and hope to read more of Miller’s work.

Image result for silver sparkling starImage result for silver sparkling starImage result for silver sparkling starImage result for silver sparkling star

 

Posted in Recommendations

Children’s and Middle-Grade Books for Superhero Fans

Summer is Marvel movie season. I don’t know about you all but I love the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It is fun, So I love Marvel movies, Captain Marvel is my favorite but I like the whole universe. I could talk for hours about my problems with its representation, but instead, I’ll recommend books that are better. And wait and hope they don’t ruin the Black Widow movie. 🙁

Even Superheroes Have Bad Days

Helpful for kids learning emotional awareness (and adults too!) Even Superheroes Have Bad Days deals with healthy coping mechanisms for when superheroes and children are feeling overwhelmed.

Amazon: Even Superheroes Have Bad Days

Mia Mayhem Is a Superhero!

Mia Macarooney is just a normal eight year old until she finds out she has superpowers! She is soon invited to join an afterschool training program for superheroes, the Program for In-Training Superheroes a.k.a. THE PITS! Now she has to find out if she’s up to the challenge of balancing her life and her secret identity and being the world’s newest superhero.

The author has also written sequels including Mia Mayhem Learns to Fly, and Mia Mayhem Fights a Super Bully.

Amazon: Mia Mayhem is a Superhero

 

My So-Called Superpowers

Veronica McGowan just wants to be parts of the cool group of kids at school. She wants something that makes her different. She gets her wish when she suddenly develops superpowers or what she calls ‘stupidpowers’.

Her strongest emotions come to life for her school to see, everything from belching fire when she’s angry, to hearts popping up above her head when she’s thinking about her crush.

Now she and her best friend Charlie must solve the mystery behind her powers before she embarrasses herself in front of the entire school.

The author has also written the sequel, My So-Called Super Powers: Mixed Emotions. The next book My So-Called Super Powers: All the Feels, is due out in January 2020.

Amazon: My So-Called Super Powers

Almost Super

In a family full of heroes that receive their powers after their 12th birthday. At almost 12 years old Rafter Bailey and his brother Benny are excited to get their superpowers. But when their powers turn out to be duds, they must find a way to still help their family against their enemies the Johnsons.

But as they get to know Rafter’s algebra class rival  Juanita Johnson, the two boys realize what they know about heroes and villains might not be the truth after all. Teaming up with Juanita, they put aside their differences and search for the truth and try to make things right.

Author Marion Jensen has also written sequel Searching for Super.

Amazon: Almost Super

What other children’s and middle-grade books about superheroes, or hopefully heroines, have you read recently?

 

 

 

Posted in Reviews

My Footprints Mini Review

I read this thanks to NetGalley!’

Review

My Footprints is a sweet but serious story. Thuy likes to walk home and look at her footprints in the snow. Today though she’s had a rough day, she’s been bullied at school and wishes she wasn’t herself for a while. She wants to be someone, or more specifically something stronger or better than herself.

Something who can stand up to her bullies at school. She practices being the various animals she sees  She tries being a bird, a fox, and various other animals. Each time she imitates one she makes her footprints like that animal.

Eventually, she makes it home to her mothers who comfort her, and together they imagine different mythical animals that Thuy can be. They make Thuy feel better and forget about her bullies. It empathizes the point that her family is stronger together.

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Likes

  1. The book focuses on Thuy and her family.
  2. The illustrations are lovely.
  3. The author makes a statement about his own positionality.

Dislikes

None, a nice short little story about the power of family.

Diversity

Thuy has two mothers. Her mothers Arti and Ngoc’s ethnicities aren’t named in the story, but they mention two creatures, and phoenix and a sharabha which come up in Asian and Hindu mythology.

Recommendation

Any child who likes graphic novels or is experiencing bullying due to their background or family.

Posted in Monthly Reads

Anticipated July YA Books

Wilder Girls

The quarantine at Raxter School for Girls, may not be what it seems, especially after one of the students goes missing. Her friend will do everything in her power to find her and uncover truths that were supposed to remain hidden. Out July 9th.

Amazon: Wilder Girls

The Merciful Crow (The Merciful Crow Series)

Honestly, the cover drew me to this one because my friend and I love crows. But it’s about a person whose caste collects the dead and does mercy killings who gets entangled with the business of a prince who faked his own death and his bodyguard.

Amazon: The Merciful Crow

The Storm Crow

Yes, I know another book about crows, but they are so wonderful and smart and this book looks so good. It’s about a kingdom that loses its element crow guardians when another kingdom invades. After the Queen is killed in the invasion two princesses Anthia and Caliza take different paths. Anthia or Thia falls into a depression while her sister runs the kingdom.

But the two sisters must work together to hatch a plan to get back what they’ve lost after finding a crow egg in the rubble of a rookery.

Amazon: The Storm Crow

Heartwood Box

In this creepy mystery, Araceli Flores Harper goes to stay with her great aunt to keep her on a stable path as she prepares for college. But the small town where she is staying isn’t what it seems, the town is plastered with missing posters and her aunt still leaves food out for her uncle who went missing twenty years ago.

But the oddest thing is mysterious letters that seem to be coming from the past. As Araceli is drawn into the mystery she realizes that some secrets want to stay buried.

Amazon: Heartwood Box

These are just a few of the new July YA releases, there are a lot of cool sequels coming out as well. Anything you are looking forward to reading?