Sunday, December 13, 2009

New Crayons, Secret Santa Gift!

New Crayons is a meme created by the wonderful susan at Color Online. New Crayons is when I share what new books I got this week (isn't crayons a wonderful description of multicultural lit?)

I got my Secret Santa gift! (I think it's the Secret Santa, since I signed up for two, I'm not really sure which it is since the other one is the Book Blogger Holiday Swap). Although the card did say Secret Santa. Anyway, I got some chocolate (yummy!), a lovely Christmas card and....

Climbing the Stairs by Padma Venkatraman!
During World War II and the last days of British occupation in India, fifteen-year-old Vidya dreams of attending college. But when her forward-thinking father is beaten senseless by the British police, she is forced to live with her grandfather's large traditional family, where the women live apart from the men and are meant to be married off as soon as possible.

Vidya's only refuge becomes her grandfather's upstairs library, which is forbidden to women. There she meets Raman, a young man also living in the house who relishes her intellectual curiosity. But when Vidya's brother makes a choice the family cannot condone, and when Raman seems to want more than friendship, Vidkya must question all she has believed in.

Padma Venkatraman's debut novel poignantly shows a girl struggling to find her place in a mixedup world. Climbing the Stairs is a powerful story about love and loss set against a fascinating historical backdrop.

-Thank you so, so much Sheila from One Person's Journey Through Books (I actually remember reading about her blog at Bookworming in the 21st Century where she was a Spotlighted blogger). Climbing the Stairs has been one my wishlist for such a long time and I'm super excited to read it :) And I LOVE chocolate <3

I won

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson

Jeremiah is fifteen and black and Ellie who is fifteen and white. They meet at a private school and fall in love and then have to deal with how society treats them because they’re an interracial couple.
It was inspired by a poem by Audre Lorde that begins:
If you come softly
as the wind within the trees
you may hear what I hear
see what sorrow sees

from Color Online. Thanks so much susan! And now for a rant against Amazon: in searching for the product description to post, I came across and commenced to reading it. Before I realized it, the ending had been spoiled!!!! I now know what happens and I'm really, really upset. Gosh darn Amazon and their spoiler descriptions (which is actually very rare). I'm trying to erase it out of my mind so I can read and fully enjoy If You Come Softly.

Shrinking Violet by Danielle Joseph
High school senior Teresa Adams is so painfully shy that she dreads speaking to anyone in the hallways or getting called on in class. But in the privacy of her bedroom with her iPod in hand, she rocks out -- doing mock broadcasts for Miami's hottest FM radio station, which happens to be owned by her stepfather. When a slot opens up at The SLAM, Tere surprises herself by blossoming behind the mike into confident, sexy Sweet T -- and to everyone's shock, she's a hit! Even Gavin, the only guy in school who she dares to talk to, raves about the mysterious DJ's awesome taste in music. But when The SLAM announces a songwriting contest -- and a prom date with Sweet T is the grand prize -- Sweet T's dream could turn into Tere's worst nightmare....
-Won from Melissa at YA Book Geek, many thanks! I'm hoping this book is about a poc, since the main character's name is Teresa and she lives in Miami so perhaps she's at least half Cuban (just trying to use some sleuthing skills). Regardless, I will read and review this book since it sounds really cute and I can relate. I've always thought it would be so cool to be a DJ, but I'm shy (not as shy as T though). If anyone has read the book and knows if she's a poc, please let me know.
For review
The Throwaway Piece by Jo Ann Hernandez

Jewel is shuttled from one foster home to another. But Jewel wasn’t always a "State Kid." Her mother Angela’s constant search for happiness through a steady stream of unsavory boyfriends leads to the state’s intervention in Jewel’s life.

Listening to her new foster mother’s list of "nos"—no drugs, no lying, no stealing, no skipping school, no boys in or out of the house, no being late—Jewel realizes that her mother said "yes" a lot. Probably too much. She remembers saving Angela’s life when one of many boyfriends beat her, trying to hide another boyfriend's attempts to rape her when she was fourteen, and being sent to a foster home to please the latest boyfriend. But still, Jewel worries about her mother and knows that she will once again pick up the pieces when the latest jerk leaves.

Bit by bit Jewel’s life begins to change for the better after her latest move to a new foster home and school. Although most people can’t see past her tough "State Kid" façade—spray-painted hair, heavy make-up, ripped clothing and unlaced shoes—her English teacher realizes there’s more to her then meets the eye. He convinces Jewel to tutor a fellow student who needs help with math, and gradually she learns how to make friends. In the process, she touches the lives of many people around her, including her social worker, teachers who believe in her, her new-found, tentative friends, and even their parents.

But when she’s forced to choose between her life-long job—taking care of her mother"—and doing what’s right for herself, old habits and loyalties are hard to break. Jewel is sure that this time, she can save her mom. But will she be able to save herself?
-From Jo Ann, thank you! An off-color review.


  1. Great books. CO's list will be late. I want our giveaway for teachers and librarians at the top for a bit.

    Thanks for all you do, Ari.

  2. Nice set of books Ari! =D I always feel like I should try out Woodson's stuff, but I am wondering where I should start... (I've been told that Feathers was a good place to start off with?)

    I'm seriously curious about Shrinking Violet, b/c the cover is lovely and due to the fact I dabbled a little in DJ-ing (just hosted a radio show on my campus for 2 semesters, never really got big or anything) I have personal interest in the premise. I can't wait to see what you think of it.

  3. Those look like some great books! I'm glad your Secret Santa was able to get you something from your wishlist! Happy reading and happy holidays.

  4. @susan-Thanks for all that YOU do! You inspire me :)

    @Ah Yuan-This is going to be my first Woodson YA. I read one of her MG's Maizon at Blue Hill and I liked it, but I'm going to re-read it since I think I may appreciate it more. I'd start with her maizon and Margaret books. For YA, I'm not sure but I've read great things about all her books so I don't think it matters.
    I love the cover too! That's so cool that you were a DJ :)

    @celi.a-Happy holidays! I'm excited to read them :D


I love to hear from you!! Thank you for sharing :) And don't be Anon, I try to always reply back and I like to know who I'm replying to ;)