Audiobook Review – Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You

Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi

Read by Jason Reynolds, with an introduction by Ibram X. Kendi

(provided by libro.fm)

Wow, wow, wow. I’m not an audiobook reader, but I’m listening to books more in an effort to be intelligent while also cleaning house on the weekends. I can tell you, Jason Reynolds can read to me any time.

Stamped… is NOT a history book, as Jason explains. It is a text for the here and now. Reviewing the story of how systematic racism (in the form of needed slavery) started, the book takes the reader (listener) through time periods in history where power and control were keys to success. Any time that power or control was threatened, people changed roles, laws, and society to “right the white.” It’s scary — all that learning (I DID know about Thomas Jefferson’s “other side”) — only to come to the present time, still living the exact same truths.

It was a disturbing, yet entertaining listen; Jason Reynolds’ laughter while relaying a snippy comment or the humor attached to an unjust situation (I’m thinking of the Thomas Jefferson story again: “Oh, no! Oh, no!”) makes the audiobook flow and keeps the listener engaged. It’s a conversation piece, too, and that makes Stamped… perfect for book clubs in secondary history classrooms, university discussions, or even your own living room.

Chapter 7…whoa! Chapter 9 was my favorite, where Jason spoke about “Uplift-suasion” — Abolitionists urged the newly-freed people to go to church, speak proper English, etc. “Black people couldn’t be accepted as themselves…Make yourself small. Make yourself unthreatening. Make yourself the same. Make yourself safe. Make yourself quiet to make white people comfortable with your existence.”

If you haven’t read Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You yet, add it to your reading list. Better yet, listen to the audiobook, read by Jason Reynolds. It will make you think. Then you should act accordingly, as if you have learned something. I know I learned.

IMWAYR: I LOVE Reading! February Plan

Is it February already? Wow, the year is going fast. I love reading, and the extra day this month gives me extra time to read. Last weekend I went to The Brain Lair Bookstore (my favorite spot) and grabbed some award-winners from last Monday’s Youth Media Awards. I’m also looking forward to many book releases…soon!

I finally read Fry Bread: A Native American Family Story by Kevin Noble Maillard and illustrated by Juana Martinez-Neal. I love how food brings a family together; Kevin included his fry bread recipe. “Fry Bread is…” described as the story moves along. The book just won the Robert F. Sibert Informational Book Award last week (well-deserved!) and was an American Indian Youth Literature Picture Book Honor, too. I loved it!

This week I’ll read Anya and the Dragon by Sofiya Pasternack (a Versify title and 2020 Sydney Taylor Award Honor Book) and Soldier for Equality by Duncan Tonatiuh (a 2020 Pura Belpré Author Honor Book).

I was happy to receive two Advanced Reader Copies (ARCs) of the upcoming books all my friends seem to be talking about; now I can join the conversation. A Wish in the Dark by Christina Soontornvat (who I met at NCTE 2019 — she’s so sweet!) is due out in March and the graphic novel, When Stars Are Scattered by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed, comes out in April.

I have a full plate now — back to reading! Have a great week, everyone.

It’s Monday! What Are YOU Reading?

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is 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 Kathryn 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.

Youth Media Awards – I Was WRONG!

Full disclosure: I’m usually wrong about these book awards. I pore over the criteria, talk to students and friends, read all the predictions, and still…I don’t chose the medal winners.

Today, I was WRONG, and that’s fine with me. I am so happy for Jerry Craft, Kwame Alexander, Kadir Nelson, and all the other winners of medals and honors today during the Youth Media Awards announcements. Congratulations! It was fun to watch and cheer on all our favorite books.

The Newbery Medal for 2020 went to Jerry Craft for NEW KID.

The Caldecott Medal went to Kadir Nelson for THE UNDEFEATED, written by Kwame Alexander.

Congratulations to ALL the winners of book awards this year. We will keep reading and sharing!

Youth Media Awards Announcements Are TOMORROW!

I am excited to see what the committees chose for the Youth Media Awards medals this year. From the http://www.ala.org website:

The 2020 Youth Media Award announcements will take place on Monday, Jan. 27, 2020, at 8 a.m. ET from the Pennsylvania Convention Center, in Philadelphia. Fans can follow the action live at http://ala.unikron.com , @AmericanLibraryAssociation or by following #ALAyma20 .

As I read others’ picks, I think this is the first year I’ve seen so many different titles crop up as front-runners in the conversation. Who will win? We will find out…tomorrow!

I reviewed the criteria for Newbery and Caldecott awards (the two “big ones” followed by school librarians), and I have chosen my favorites:

For the Newbery Medal (tough call), I chose…

The Bridge Home by Padma Venkatraman. I loved this story of the kids who live on the bridge (and their dog, of course), their entrepreneurial spirit, their problem-solving skills, and their love for each other.

For the Caldecott Medal (really tough call), I chose…

My Papi Has a Motorcycle, illustrated by Zeke Peña.

I think the artist’s perspective of the city’s changes over time reflect the Caldecott criteria perfectly.

These statements reflect my opinions. You may or may not agree, but please join me in watching the awards announcements tomorrow. Best wishes to all the authors and illustrators who worked so hard to publish the best books for children.

Book PREview: Seven Clues to Home

Joy and Lukas had been friends ever since second grade, when Mr. Carter told each student with a summer birthday to stand up and be recognized before the end of the school year. “August…How weird is that? What are the chances?” (p.15) Lukas loved math, so he tried to figure out the chances. Joy played along. As time moved along, the two became closer, literally living in next-door apartment buildings. They studied math together, solved puzzles and riddles, and Lukas set up an elaborate scavenger hunt for Joy to figure out each year on her birthday. Even though Lukas had a troubled older brother, Joy hung out with him while her parents cautiously watched. Her own family was a little difficult, with a sort-of-snobby-but-caring older sister and two younger siblings who needed lots of attention. So Joy and Lukas were the perfect pair — together for all time. Until Lukas died on Joy’s twelfth birthday.

A year later, Joy strums her beautiful red birthday guitar and thinks about Lukas. She thinks about his troubled older brother – how people warned her about “that family.” She knew none of it was true. As she celebrates her birthday, she thinks about her friend who will not celebrate this year. She thinks, “If I don’t tell the stories – of cupcakes and scavenger hunts and holes in the sand – they will be lost forever.” (p.11) She must tell the story of her friend, Lukas, the story that’s true. She decides to open the envelope that held the first clue to the scavenger hunt Lukas set up for her a year earlier. Before his death. Before he could reveal the one thing that he never could during his lifetime. Now, Joy has to keep the birthday tradition alive. She has to find the next clue.

Seven Clues to Home is the story of Joy and Lukas: their friendship, their families, and their last scavenger hunt. Told in alternating chapters, Joy tells the story of the hunt in present time while Lukas tells his story of setting up the hunt the year before, and how the clues would lead to his biggest secret, finally revealed. Although it’s a story about grief and loss, it’s also a friendship story, a family story, and a town’s story of sticking together in the best and worst of times.

I love Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin. Separately, their writing is intriguing, interesting, inspiring. When they collaborate…wow! Make sure you don’t miss Seven Clues to Home, coming June 9, 2020 from Alfred A Knopf Books. Start your summer with this 5-Star book.

 

IMWAYR: Last Week’s Lines and a New ARC

Reading just gets better and better! This year I’m working on staying on pace, and I’m failing miserably already. Through this first part of January, I’m learning that it’s not too bad — I’m savoring some great titles a little longer.

This week, I’ll finish The Fountains of Silence (audiobook by Ruta Sepetys), The First Conspiracy (by Meltzer/Mensch), and Don’t Ask Me Where I’m From (Jennifer De Leon). I received Seven Clues to Home by my friends, Gae Polisner and Nora Raleigh Baskin (Thank you, ladies, and Knopf/Random House), which is just beautiful so far. The main character, Joy, turned 12 and lost her best friend the same day; that was a year ago. Now, she’s trying to pull together the clues that Lukas left her and pull herself together in the process, maybe finding a way to really live again. Oh, my heart! (due June 9, 2020)

It’s Monday! What Are YOU Reading?

This meme is hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It is 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 Kathryn 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.

“One Little Word” Reflection 2019 – GROW

Lean…Dream/Do…Progress…Venture…Grow. This was my 5th anniversary writing “One Little Word.” Time flew by in 2019. I cannot believe it’s over. I had a nice year of growth: more reading, more learning, more writing, and some new projects that turned out to be good moves. As much as 2019 was good for me, I’m looking forward to 2020.

Happy New Year! May 2020 be your best year yet!