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ANOTHER BROOKLYN: A Young Adult Novel ~Jacqueline Woodson

Monday, August 29th, 2016

August is a young adult now with a PhD. in Anthropology who encounters a friend from the 1970s and it brings back memories of the friendships she had growing up in Brooklyn and how important Sylvia, Gigi, and Angela were to her life and the streets of their neighborhood.   It is here that we enter an almost dream sequence of events, which enable strength and survival though all the times of growing; creating a very special read.

“Jacqueline Woodson is the bestselling author of more than two dozen award-winning books for young adults, middle graders, and children, including the NEW YORK TIMES bestselling memoir BROWN GIRL DRAMING, which won the 2014 National Book Award, the Coretta Scott King Award, a Newbery Honor Award, an NAACP Image Award, and the Sibert Honor Award.  Woodson was recently named the Young People’s Poet Laureate by the Poetry Foundation.  She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.” (Cover)

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and could not put it down.  It just seemed to present so many discussion questions that I wanted to share with others.  I mentioned that TLC Book Tours http://tlcbooktours.com/2016/07/jacqueline-woodson-author-of-another-brooklyn-on-tour-august-2016/  had sent me a copy for review to my Children’s Librarian daughter and she said she knew the author well and has used Woodson’s books quite often with her middle school classes and “Yes! All her books include a trauma and are open to great discussions.”   I will share my uncorrected proof copy with her library.

August’s story travels from her beginnings in Tennessee to the adjustment of moving to New York.  From rural tranquil to noisy, dangerous city streets, she finally joined her brave and adventurous girl friends in feeling bold and happy when they were together,to coping with the advances of males.  August did not know for years that her mother back in Tennessee had died and she kept telling her younger brother that their mother was coming soon.  Father and brother got religion and the whole family always had enough food, there was that?

One of the reviews on the cover was by Ann Patchett, another best selling author and I had just finished reading her marvelous STATE OF WONDER, and I thought her description was so fabulous I needed to share:

“Another Brooklyn is a sort of fever dream, containing both the hard truths of life and the gentle beauty of memory.  The story of a young girl trying to find herself in the midst of so many conflicting influences and desires swallowed me whole.  Jacqueline Woodson has such an original vision, such a singular voice.  I loved this book.”

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Related:
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
Dancing In the Shadows
My Mothers Funeral

BROKEN GOUND: A Novel ~Karen Halvorsen Schreck

Monday, August 1st, 2016

Broken Ground is a wonderful story, which started as a family story and as the author did her research expanded into a reveal about the historic deportations of Mexican Farm Workers from California in the 1930s.  This removal of immigrants was also described as “self-deportation” even when they had been born in the USA and had lived here all of their lives.  It proves to be a difficult story and a tarnished period of our history.  The writing is quite lavish and beautiful.

The story is about Ruth Warren a young widow who is finding a way out of the Oklahoma and Texas Dust Bowl with the assistance of her friend the local librarian.  Her life has not been easy and yet she steps onto a train to head west to a new life and a new future.  There is an emotional honesty to the story and the readers may find themselves holding their breath for Ruth’s safety and future.  Poverty and religious traditions keep a firm grasp on her life and the choices she is able to make, and yet she does find a future and hope.

When the character is able to question and is inquisitive there can be hope and resolution.  Change can happen.  The story is inspirational.  Together with her new friends there comes about a promising future.

“Karen Halvorsen Schreck’s novel SING FOR ME received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. Her previous novels include WHILE HE WAS AWAY, a finalist for the 2012 Oklahoma Young Adult Book Award, and DREAM JOURNAL a 2006 Young Adult Book Sense Pick Her short stories have received various awards, including a Pushcart Prize and an Illinois Arts Council Grant.  Karen received her doctorate in English and Creative Writing from the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She lives with her family in Wheaton, Illinois.” (Cover)

Karen Halvorsen Schreck Facebook

Larissa Ackerman | Claire McKinneyPR, LLC sent me a copy of BROKEN GROUND for review.  I am going to pass it on to neighbor right away, because I am sure she will enjoy this read as much as I did. The book already has 43 5 stars reviews on Amazon.

Related:
Alice In Bed
Playing St. Barbara
Muckers

A HOUSE FOR HAPPY MOTHERS: A Novel ~Amulya Malladi

Monday, June 20th, 2016

“Amulya Mulladi is the author of six novels, including The Mango Season and the Sound of Language. Her books have been translated into several languages, including Dutch, German, Spanish, Danish, Romanian, Serbian, and Tamil.  She has a bachelor’s degree in engineering and a master’s degree in journalism and works as a marketing executive for a global medtech company.  She lives in Copenhagen with her husband and two children.  She loves to connect with readers on her Facebook page  and on her website at www.maulyamalladi.com.

“In trendy Silicon Valley, Priya has everything she needs—a loving husband, a career, and a home—but the one thing she wants most is the child she’s unable to have. In a Southern Indian village, Asha doesn’t have much—raising two children in a tiny hut, she and her husband can barely keep a tin roof over their heads—but she wants a better education for her gifted son. Pressured by her family, Asha reluctantly checks into the Happy Mothers House: a baby farm where she can rent her only asset—her womb—to a childless couple overseas. To the dismay of friends and family, Priya places her faith in a woman she’s never met to make her dreams of motherhood come true.

Together, the two women discover the best and the worst that India’s rising surrogacy industry has to offer, bridging continents and cultures to bring a new life into the world—and renewed hope to each other.”

I enjoyed reading this book very much and I learned a great deal about another culture and the trials of poverty  – more about what women need to do to support their children and to survive.  It came to me from TLC Book Tours   and I received a copy of it free from Amazon Prime First books.  I believe this book would expand other reader’s horizons and open eyes and hearts to troubling realities.

Mulladi deeply explores the feelings of these two women and includes the hormonal issues and how the society manipulates and individuals control others by their perceptions.  There are many writing devises explored to deeply touch each woman’s feelings and life.  How can there be true support miles apart and distanced by cultural experiences?  Lots to take in here and much to discover.  Who is actually making the money?  Oh yes! Once again we must follow the money and the real care.

Women are exploited in so many situations and here another one is exposed.  Is it a gift or is it abuse?  How do husbands support and love?  Is their relationship possible to be a friendship?  Must that remain separate?  How do the other members of the family interact and feel?  How do the social activists get involved and protect.

A great deal of depth in this story and many ideas to consider.  The author through the two women allows the reader into the idea and then the emotional fluctuations produce the outcome most hoped for and endured.  An informative and well – written story well worth considering and enjoying.

Related:
The Bounce
Scent of Butterflies
Trail of Broken Wings
The Last Conception

REBEL SISTERS: Irish History shared through story ~Marita Conlon-McKenna

Monday, June 20th, 2016

I do think learning history through story is such a good idea. This book is about three specific sisters, who truly existed, and were part of the 1916 Freedom Rebellion in Dublin, Ireland.  Two of the sisters were married to leaders of the uprising; one sister was a volunteer with the organization.  There are songs written about this insurgence and about the young women and their husbands, who became martyrs to the cause for generations to come.

The beautiful sisters are just 3 of the six girls in a family of 12 children. They are protestant and are reared in the wealthy, privileged part of Dublin.  Their mother is strong willed and attempts to thwart their efforts to become part of the Citizen Army, and it is reassuring to know that  she does grow to love her kind and loving son-in-law.  Mother Gifford does see to it that each of her daughters receives a university education and has a plan for her life.  A daughter who is a journalist has left the home fires for America and hopes for a bigger career in writing.   It is also the start of WWI, so the Freedom Fighters are feeling that London will be too busy with the Germans and the war to be able to stop the fight for freedom.  REBEL SISTERS is caught up in the energy of the times and yet has found three individual stories to tell with lots of courageous detail making it also a wonderful love story.

TLC Book Tours sent an early e-copy of the book for  review.  Irish love story and rebellion – it is bound to be a hit and a success for the 100 year celebration of this historic event.

“Marita Conlon-McKenna is one of Ireland’s favourite authors.  Her books include the award-winning UNDER THE HAWTHORNE TREE, set during Ireland’s Great Famine, which has been widely translated and published and is now considered an Irish classic.  Her other books include the bestseller THE MAGDALEN.  She is a winner of the International Reading Association Award in the USA.  She is a former chairperson of Irish PEN.  She lives in Dublin with her husband and family of four children.” (From book cover)

Marita Conlon-McKenna Website

Although REBEL SISTERS is about war on many fronts, it is just beautifully written and it is held in high esteem.  The research is extensive and the personal is well included.  The style has been compared to Maeve Binchy’s form and detailed representation.  The sisters had full lives after the rebellion and made a big difference in the lives of their community from setting up a museum history lesson, to art, poetry, and preserving their husband’s legacy and work.  They are included in the history books as brave spirits to the causes of justice, relieving poverty and hunger, and working towards a more Irish educational system.  Their colleagues are a virtual who’s who of Ireland’s history and leaders.

You may just want to make a fresh pot of tea and enjoy warm Irish Soda Bread while you settle in for a fine read.

Irish Soda Bread link

Related:
Playing St. Barbara
In The Garden of Stone
Letters From Skye