5 star reviews, Book reviews, homosexuality, Racism

Speak No Evil by Uzodinma Iweala

5/5 stars

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I struggled with the writing style at first.  The dialogue is not separate from the paragraphs and there are no quotation marks, so sometimes, especially in the beginning, when there is a lot of talking, it was confusing as to who was speaking.  But, I stuck it out and I am glad that I did.

Niru is growing up in a wealthy suburb of Washington, DC.  He goes to a private school, he is a track team star, he has a great best friend and he was accepted to Harvard early admission.  And he’s gay.  His father is from Nigeria where being homosexual is punishable by 14 years in prison.

Speak No Evil is about more than homosexuality, however, it’s also about being a black man in America in 2018.  We still have a very long way to go in terms of viewing everyone equally.  We need to all work at that and this book is a step in that direction.

There is a lot in this book.  A lot of relevant material that made me think, that made me see things through a different perspective, that made me realize the emotional ramifications of religiously inspired traditions or politically charged rhetoric.  I think this is an important book and one that anyone interested in understanding how a different ethnic group views America and how their experience is different due to the color of their skin, should read this book.

 

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5 star reviews, activism, Book reviews, Childrens' Books, homosexuality

Sewing the Rainbow by Gayle Pitman

5/5 stars

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Typically I read and review thrillers, contemporary and women’s fiction and YA books, I also work at a library and run children’s programs.  I adore Gayle E. Pitman’s A Church for All. Although my job requires me to be conscious of everyone’s right to an opinion and I understand not everyone feels the way I do, I do like to slip in a book or two here and there that might reach a child who needs to hear it.  Gayle E. Pitman writes those books and this is one of those books.

This is based on the creator of the Rainbow Flag, Gilbert Baker who was a sparkly, glittery boy whose dad could not accept that he wanted to be creative and colorful.  When he grew up, he moved to San Francisco where he made costumes for famous people and sewed banners for marches but there was one evil symbol in his city and he wanted to change that.  He got the idea to made a beautiful colorful flag to replace the symbol.  And it did.  When you see that Rainbow Flag, you know it is ok to be yourself.

The illustrations are wonderful.  There is an informative note about Gilbert Baker at the end of the book.

Sewing the Rainbow is not overtly in-your-face Gay Pride, but it gets the point across.  My hope in slipping this story in once in a while is that maybe there is a kid who feels they are sparkly and glittery and that they don’t fit in and maybe they will remember this story and realize they are not alone.  Maybe they won’t know it when they hear the story, but at a later time they will remember the story and remember the flag and realize they are not alone.  Or maybe there are kids who are just curious about the pretty flag with rainbow colors and their parents were uncomfortable with the question, but after hearing the story, they will now understand that it symbolizes that it’s ok to be yourself.

I would like to thank Netgalley and American Psychological Association Magination Press for the galley copy of this book.

 

5 star reviews, activism, Book reviews, homosexuality, YA

How I Resist: Activism and Hope for a New Generation

5/5 stars

IMG_1485When I first saw this book on social media, I knew it was something I wanted to share with my two teenage daughters and something I thought would be a good addition to our library collection.

Since the election in 2016, Maureen Johnson, the editor of this book, had been feeling that she wanted to DO SOMETHING.  She was inspired by the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida and the NEVER AGAIN movement.  She asked various celebrities how they resist.  Some celebrities wrote lists, others wrote essays.  All encouraged kids to think about what really matters to them, what is important to them and to do research, to learn as much as they can about the topic and then to think about how best to get that message out there.  Twitter.  Social media.  Rallies.

The intro Ms. Johnson wrote for the book is very easy to read, quick and to the point and makes her seem very approachable.

The book is a collection, so you can pick the celebrities you are interested in reading about, such as authors Jodi Picoult or Jennifer Weiner or actor Jessie Tyler Ferguson, and read what they had to say about resistance.

I think this a great book and I hope this is just Volume 1.  I hope there are many more volumes to come.  Encouraging our kids to take interest in the world around them and be an active part is always a good idea.  Screen Shot 2018-06-06 at 2.35.01 PM.png

When I think back to who I was in high school and college, I realize that I had a lot more passion about things than I do now.  Part of that is because I know more now, I am more jaded and yes, maybe more realistic.  But what if we could make the world more like I envisioned before I became jaded?  What if we could make the world work the way I thought it did?  And by that, I mean equality for everyone, protecting the environment, no discrimination, everyone agrees that guns have no place in schools and that we need to address mental health and regulate gun ownership, everyone is accepted for who they are, etc., etc.  Wouldn’t that be nice?  Maybe the way to get there is to let those who have yet to become jaded enter the conversation.

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