A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

A Guy, a Girl, and a Teen Book Blog

Saturday, February 28, 2015

March: Book Two by John Lewis

Title: March: Book Two
Author: John Lewis (with Andrew Aydin) & illustrated by Nate Powell
Pages: 160
Publisher: Top Shelf Productions
ISBN: 9781603094009
Publication Date: January 27, 2015
AR Levels: TBA
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22487952-march

In a nutshell: Picking up where book one left off, book two follows John Lewis' work as a Freedom Rider and as an organizer of the March on Washington during the Civil Rights Movement.

I'd recommend it to grades: 9 and up

I'd recommend it to: teachers for Black History Month reading lists, fans of biographies, and budding activists

What I liked most about this book: This second installment of the graphic memoir trilogy took the series to a whole new level. The way Lewis' presence at Obama's inauguration is weaved into his memories of his work with SNCC on the Freedom Rides and the March on Washington is pure genius. Some of the single panel artwork nearly broke my heart it was so gripping, particularly a darkly sinister one of a group of Klansmen. I was so moved by this book, and it taught me more about the Civil Rights Movement than anything else ever has. Lewis' insight into the behind-the-scenes workings of the movement is fascinating. This is the perfect format for this true story, and I can't wait for book three.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): There's another single panel that made me tear up. During a protest, a police officer asks a small African-American girl what it is that she wants, and she simply and innocently replies, "f'eedom." It's a quiet yet powerful moment that perfectly sums up the book's themes and tone.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 stars

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams-Garcia

Title: Gone Crazy in Alabama
Author: Rita Williams-Garcia
Pages: 304
Publisher: Amistad
ISBN: 9780062215901
Publication Date: April 21, 2015*
AR Levels: TBA
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/22836574-gone-crazy-in-alabama

In a nutshell: In this final installment of the trilogy, the Gaither sisters travel south to visit their daddy's family in Alabama, and, as per usual, hijinks ensue. Join Delphine, Vonetta, and Fern one last time as they learn all about milking cows, stir up a decades-long feud between sisters, discover family secrets, and more. 

I'd recommend it to grades: 5th to 8th

I'd recommend it to: teachers looking for a great Black History Month read-aloud, those who like comedy and family drama, and anyone with a sister

What I liked most about this book: I have loved this sassy trio of sisters from the first pages of One Crazy Summer, and this third book did not disappoint. Set in the South in the summer of 1969, it tackles historically significant topics such as the Apollo 11 moon landing, the Ku Klux Klan, the relationship between African Americans and Native Americans, and more...all with equal doses of gravity and comedy. This heartfelt and laugh-out-loud funny finale is sure to satisfy fans of the first two books and find new fans as well. I'm surely going to miss the Gaither sisters. Surely am! ;)

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): The Southern-isms in this one are dead on. My favorite one is how Delphine describes how Southern goodbyes go on forever and ever with plenty of hugs. So true.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 5 stars, yes ma'am

*I read a digital ARC of this title from the publisher via Edelweiss.

Friday, February 6, 2015

How I Discovered Poetry by Marilyn Nelson

Title: How I Discovered Poetry
Author: Marilyn Nelson
Pages: 112
Publisher: Dial
ISBN: 9780803733046
Publication Date: January 14, 2014
AR Levels: Book Level - 5.2, Interest Level - 4th to 8th grades, Points: 1.0
Goodreads Link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/18079805-how-i-discovered-poetry

In a nutshell: Join young Marilyn Nelson's journey from air base to air base as she and her African-American family experience the blessings of home, family, friendship, and art and the struggles of being a family on the move in a country that wasn't always welcoming. This memoir told in verse recently won the Coretta Scott King Author Honor.

I'd recommend it to grades: 4th to 8th

I'd recommend it to: fans of historical fiction, poetry, and biography and teachers and students looking for an excellent Black History Month read

What I liked most about this book: As an African-American woman who grew up in the 1950's on various Air Force bases across the country, Marilyn Nelson has a unique perspective on what it was like to be an African American during that hostile era. This memoir written entirely in verse is told in a child's voice that is equally full of wonder, innocence, wisdom, and fear. Kids, teens, and adults alike will connect with this heartfelt book of poetry. It's a great read for Black History Month.

Single favorite moment (without getting spoiler-y): Early on in the book, Marilyn attends church and mishears a sermon on the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, thinking that Lot and his wife have a pet "flea" instead of how they had to "flee." Her imagination then runs away with ideas of giant pet fleas big enough to ride. It sets the tone for a character who's funny and charming and sure to steal your heart as poetry helps her find her voice.

Star rating (where 5 stars is awesome and 0 stars is atrocious): 4 stars