Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Review: The Hate U Give

Title: The Hate U Give
Author: Angie Thomas
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Pages: 444
Availability: On shelves
Review copy: Digital ARC via Netgalley & library copy post pub

Summary: Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life.


Review: Starr has some seriously heavy things to deal with after she witnesses the shooting of her friend. She isn't named in the press and she has to decide if she wants to go public. She can keep quiet and try to go about her life. That's the safe path. She's scared though and doesn't want to have any of this affect her or her family. The problem is that even if she stays quiet, their lives have already been affected. 

I loved this book for so many reasons. First, Starr is a fully human character with all her quirks and strengths. She makes me laugh, cry, cringe, and shake my head sometimes. I also adore her family. This book is about so much more than a shooting. It's about what a family can and does do for each other. There are parents here that are trying hard and still fail, but they keep trying. That was something shown over and over again. You also see that there are often layers of things happening. It may look like someone doesn't care, but it's not necessarily the case. Their way of showing love just might not look the way you would expect.

Starr is a student at a predominantly White prep school. As a White reader, I found it helpful to see the way Starr felt she had to be a different person in school than she was in her neighborhood. The way she moves through the world is different in each space because of the expectations of people around her. I've heard people talk about code switching, but this story really paints a thorough picture of how that looks day to day. I think this is something that many people don't fully understand unless they've been there themselves.

Recommendation: This book has a lot going on and is one I would highly recommend to anyone interested in understanding some of the current discussions around justice and policing. I'll also be recommending it to anyone who wants to read a well crafted story with compelling characters. I didn't want to leave them. In fact, I've read the book three times already and will likely read it again to visit Starr and her family once more.

Extras:
The Hate U Give discussion at Rich in Color
Politics and Prose Video Interview with Angie Thomas

Sunday, November 12, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:
Native Perspectives posted at Rich in Color

Last Week in Books:


My YA reading this week has been rather intense. The Marrow Thieves is a fantastic dystopian novel (for more see mini-review linked above). Dear Martin is realistic fiction that is extremely timely and quite an emotional ride. It's also very compelling. I read it in one afternoon. I took one brief break because I needed an emotional break for a few minutes. How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child is a look into Sandra's life as a refugee. She shares the pain of losing her younger sister and how her family survived. It was especially interesting to see how she viewed her educational experiences.
My favorite picture book this week was You Hold Me Up. With simple text, readers see the many ways that people can hold each other up. It's a wonderful book of kindness, healing, and community. The end note explains that it is part of an effort to bring healing in the aftermath of the residential school experiences of indigenous people.

It Starts with a Raindrop is a bilingual (Spanish/English) book introducing the water cycle. It's nice to find bilingual nonfiction. Peach Heaven is a picture book about the author's memory of a day when peaches came with a flood. It's a sweet book and takes place in Korea. I appreciate finding picture books set in other countries. It's from the same author as The Name Jar. It's an older title, but I was able to find a used copy online to purchase. Who Wants to Be a Princess? What it Was Really Like to Be a Medieval Princess is a great look at the realities of living as royalty in medieval times. It erases some of the romance and pairs images of the Disney-type of princess life with more realistic images. 

I also finished re-reading The Hate U Give for Battle of the Books. I cried - again for the third time. Such a good book. It's a must read book.

The Coming Week: I'll be skimming through a lot of books in prep for our Battle of the Books on Friday. Other than that, I may read John Green's newest book, Turtles All the Way Down and an ARC of Love, Hate and Other Filters.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 626/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 223/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 132/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24

Sunday, November 5, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week in Books:

 
I re-read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe and really enjoyed it again. I listened to some of it so I could savor the sound of Lin-Manuel Miranda reading it and saying Alexander Hamilton, but then I finished it off with the hard copy. I also re-read Ghost by Jason Reynolds. Both of the re-reads were in preparation for a Battle of the Books competition I am in later this month. There are four of us on our team and we're pretty excited. I was also happy to read Ghost the same week I got to see Jason Reynolds speak again. He's a wonderful speaker and really challenged me as a teacher to know my students.

Of all the picture books, Malala's Magic Pencil stood out the most. She did a fabulous job of connecting the magic pencil to our ability to tell our own stories and make our voices heard. 

The Fox Wish was precious and Lines by Suzy Lee is another great wordless book.

Real Friends was fantastic. I'm happy to find another great memoir in graphic novel format. It's so easy to relate to and it definitely reminded me of my younger days.

The Coming Week: I'll be finishing up Marrow Thieves and will be re-reading The Hate U Give for my Battle of the Books team competition coming up soon. I'm also still reading How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child.

Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 617/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 217/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 126/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24

Monday, October 30, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:


Last Week in Books:


This week I encountered a lot of death in my reading. All four YA/Adult novels dealt with death and a few of the picture books did too. I really enjoyed They Both Die at the End as I expected. Adam Silvera has written some very intriguing and unique novels that always surprise me and make me cry. Long Way Down was amazing - also as expected. Jason Reynolds has a wonderful way with words. I'm excited to be going to see him speak later this week! It's a novel in verse about a young man's reaction to the shooting death of his brother. The Day Tajon Got Shot was written in a workshop by ten young women. It is about a police officer shooting a black teen boy and is told from many perspectives. Station Eleven was a dystopian novel and it was pretty fascinating thinking about how a deadly pandemic could change our world in a short amount of time.

Stay and Big Cat, Little Cat were about the death of pets and both were sweet, but allow for discussion about how we see our animals age.

Of the other picture books, I most enjoyed One Proud Penny, Take Your Time, and All the Way to Havana

Karma Khullar's Mustache was a wonderful middle grade dealing with friendship, family, and body image.

The Coming Week: Today I started reading How Dare the Sun Rise. I also need to re-read The Hate U Give, Ghost and Aristotle and Dante for the adult Battle of the Books team I am on next month. I will start working on those. I still have quite a few others checked out, but I'm not sure what I'll grab next.


Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 590/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 212/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 122/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Celebrating Korean Dramas


Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

This week I'm celebrating Korean dramas.


Earlier this year I read the fabulous and funny book, I Believe in a Thing Called Love by Maureen Goo. The main character decides to get a boyfriend, but she uses kdramas to plan it all out. She researches relationships by watching hours and hours of kdramas to come up with a strategy. I have several friends who watch Korean dramas and was finally curious enough to give them a try. There's a list of shows at the end of the book to pick from. My first choice was You're Beautiful. It was ridiculous, hilarious and super fun even though it actually made me cry a couple of times. I hadn't laughed so much in a long, long time. My youngest child had watched a few dramas back in middle school and recommended another one called Heartstrings, because it has two of the actors from my first kdrama and it involves music. I enjoyed it too, but not quite as much as the first. I will probably never forget You're Beautiful because it was the first one I experienced. 

On Twitter I thanked Maurene Goo for inspiring me to watch a few dramas and she shared some that she has enjoyed. The next drama I watched was Strong Woman Do Bong Soon because it was one she liked. The first two had been romantic comedies, but Strong Woman ventured into mystery/thriller along with romance. It was also fabulously hilarious aside from some not so funny jokes about being gay. I loved Do Bong Soon. She was a fun superhero and wanted to be a video game designer. It was cool that she was unimpressed by her very wealthy boss who fell hard for her.

Next, I started to listen to the soundtracks to these shows. I had one of the songs playing at school and a couple of students recognized it as Korean music. We chatted about K-dramas and they recommended Boys Over Flowers so that's what I watched next. It was incredibly frustrating at times because I didn't like the pairing at least not for a very long time. There were other reasons it was annoying, but I was determined to stick it out and it was still quite funny. That's my favorite part about these shows. They make me laugh over and over again even though they make me cry too. 

Most recently, my husband asked to join me in this venture. I picked Guardian: The Lonely and Great God (Goblin), because Maureen Goo had also mentioned that one and it looked a little more grown up than the previous ones. It's my favorite so far. 

I rarely watch television, but these shows are allowing for some laughter in my life and with our current political climate, that is very welcome. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Last Week on the Blog:


Review: You Bring the Distant Near
by Mitali Perkins

Last Week in Books:

Passionate Readers is fabulous and all teachers should read it. It really gets at what we need to be focusing on with our students if we really want to produce readers. Pernille Ripp also asks questions that can help us reflect on what we are doing in our classrooms and why.

All's Faire in Middle School was a fun middle grade graphic novel by the author of Roller Girl. I loved having a book set in a Renaissance Faire. 

The stand out picture book of the week was Frida Kahlo and Her Animalitos. I enjoyed learning more about Frida Kahlo from this fun perspective.

Jasmine Toguchi, Mochi Queen was a fun early chapter book that revolved around food and family. Now I want to try making mochi.

I am Not Your Perfect Mexican Daughter was compelling. Families are so complicated and with grief added into the picture, Julia has a hard time with her parental relationships.

I enjoyed Lumberjanes/Gotham Academy. I have only read Lumberjanes so the other characters were new to me, but it was still fun. They are always filled with plenty of action and interesting interactions.

The Coming Week: I'm still listening to They Both Die at the End, but will probably finish up this week. I have quite a stack waiting for me, but I'm not sure which one to grab next.


Reading Challenge Updates:
Goodreads Challenge 2017 - 576/550
Diversity on the Shelf 2017 - 207/225 (goal = 50% of my books by and/or about POC)
#OwnVoices Challenge - 116/125
#MustReadin2017 - 21/24

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Celebrate


Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week.

The view from my computer. Yay! It's autumn.
 Celebrating Connections
 
We had our final day of Lego League. It was nice that the students had the chance to share their learning and creations with each other and their families. This week we also had conferences at school. It was a great time for chatting with families and students. Because we hosted a book fair, there were many students and families coming through the library. It makes for long days, but the conversations are worth the time.

I also got to chat (texting) with two of our former exchange students this week. It's great to see what they are doing now. They make me smile. I'm thankful for apps that make it possible to talk to people around the world so easily. Now if we could make a way to zip between here and there in moments, that would be beyond awesome.