Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Review: You Bring the Distant Near

You Bring the Distant Near You Bring the Distant Near by Mitali Perkins
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

4.5/5 stars

This is the story of three generations of the Das family. Ranee and Rejeev Das moved to New York City by way of London, Ghana, and India to make a new life for their children. We follow their struggles and triumphs as they raise their girls, Tara and Sonia. Eventually we meet Tara and Sonia's daughters, Anna and Chantal. First generation American citizens, they still struggle with the balance between being "American" and maintaining their cultural Bengali heritage.

I loved this book. There isn't a lot of action, but the story is beautiful. I knew nothing about Indian culture, and found this book to be a fascinating glimpse into familial expectations, music, food, and dance traditions. The story follows three generations of Bengali women in New York City and New Jersey, so we also get an interesting perspective on important historical events happening in the world around the Das women.

Themes within the story include friendship, racism, women's rights, and family. It also explores the balance between assimilation and maintaining cultural heritage.

Grades 7+ (mild language)



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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Review: A Graveyard Visible

A Graveyard Visible A Graveyard Visible by Steve Conoboy
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Thanks to @kidlitexchange for this advanced review copy. All opinions are my own.
2/5 stars, Grades 7+ (language)

Every time Caleb looks outside his window he sees the graveyard. And it seems to be getting a little bigger every day. Then he notices strange activities including hte odd girl Misha. Should Caleb get involved? What's really happening in th graveyard behind his house?

Ok, I did not get this book at all. I love suspense and horror, but this was a mangled mess of confusion. The alternating third person perspective and stream of consciousness just left me confused. This would have been a DNF for me except I felt guilty not reviewing it for @kidlitexchange. This is a pass for me.

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Thursday, November 2, 2017

Review: Sparrow

Sparrow Sparrow by Sarah Moon
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Thanks to the #kidlitexchange network for the review copy of this book – all opinions are my own. 5/5 stars

Sparrow has always been a loner. She avoids people whenever she can. She eats lunch in a bathroom stall. She doesn’t think things will ever change. Then she meets Mrs. Wexler, the school librarian. Mrs. Wexler invites Sparrow to join her for lunch in the library. Soon there is a group of Frequent Flyers who meet daily in the library to eat lunch and read together, and Sparrow feels like she is finally part of something.

And then tragedy strikes, and Mrs. Wexler is killed in a terrible accident. Sparrow doesn’t know how to deal with the loss of her teacher, and finds herself on the top of the school roof, looking over the edge. The next thing she knows, she is in a hospital and is given mandatory therapy sessions.

Over the next few months, Sparrow learns about her fascination with birds and flying, and how to deal with the grief that has derailed her life.

This book is a beautiful exploration of grief and loss, loneliness and isolation. Even in the midst of despair, Sparrow finds hope in music and lyrics. As heavy as the story can feel, the mood is hopeful. Moon shows us that everyone feels lonely, that we never know the stories of those around us, and that music can be powerfully healing. Give this book to fans of realistic fiction, or students dealing with grief or mental health issues.


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