April 17, 2020

Khayyam's summer is off to a bad start. Her boyfriend Zaid is back in Chicago, posing up a storm with beautiful girls in precarious positions on Insta, and her academic career is over even before it even started. Fresh off the humiliation of trying to prove an art theory correct for an essay at her dream college (spoiler alert- she doesn't), she and her family are in Paris for the month. It's a tradition. Her parents are academics who have the month of August off, and her father is French, which makes her more than just a Muslim American girl with brown skin. Discouraged by her lackluster intr...

December 14, 2018

After years of dreaming about doing it, artist and author, Jarrett J. Krosoczka, finally decided to write/draw his memoir.  The catalyst? The popular TED Talk he gave on his upbringing and how it had a direct impact on his successful career and happy life.  See, Jarrett was born to a teen mom who was addicted to Heroin, though he didn’t understand this until after his grandparents (essentially, his parents) took him to Disney World when he was around twelve.  In his graphic memoir, Jarrett shows and tells how his grandparents raised him even though they had already raised five of their own kid...

May 1, 2018

This book, very quietly, blew me away. It’s understated like the main character, but packs a huge punch and delivers authentic dialogue within its short chapters. It’s not told in verse but at times held that quality, showcasing the writing of Watson while getting to know Jade. Jade knows she has to work harder than her counterparts at her private school for white, rich kids, about an hour’s bus ride away from her hood in North Portland. She’s not afraid of a little hard work but she’d like some recognition for it once and awhile. She’s tired of being labeled “at risk” and given opportunities...

February 22, 2018

The Schneider Family Book Awards honor an author or illustrator for a book that embodies an artistic expression of the disability experience for child and adolescent audiences.  The 2018 winner of this award is Whitney Gardner for her novel, You’re Welcome, Universe.  After reading it, I can say that it is wholly deserving of the honor.

Julia is deaf.  She has no interest in using hearing aids or in getting a cochlear implant.  Her moms are also deaf and neither of them uses  any type of hearing assistance.  The three of them are a part of and are proud of their deaf culture.  Julia is als...

November 6, 2017

When writing reviews, I frequently mention how much I learn from reading fiction.  In the case of Stone Mirrors: the Sculpture and Silence of Edmonia Lewis, I learned about an artist of whom I had never heard.  Edmonia Lewis was a teen during the Civil War.  Her mother was a Cherokee and her father was African American.  She was orphaned early and spent time at Oberlin College & Conservatory - one of the first schools to fully integrate white, black, male, and female students.  After tragic circumstances, she left school and moved to Boston where fate led her on the path to becoming a successf...

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