Sunday, July 25, 2010

New Crayons, Writing a Letter (Update), Blog Birthday Giveaway #4!

New Crayons is a meme created and hosted by Color Online. Crayons is a metaphor for multicultural literature.

Before we delve into what new books I got this week, I have a question. Where are all the letters? I mean this in the nicest way possible. I got many comments and Tweets saying that the idea was great and that they would spread the word. That's fantastic, it really is. I appreciate you getting the word out. But what means more to me is when you write a letter to Borders/Barnes & Noble and post it on your blog. I understand that some people may not want to post their letters for privacy, but could we get a few more public letters please? So far, I've only found one. Now you're probably wondering "well look miss high and mighty, where's your letter?" Good question. I've had writer's block. I admit to being daunted by the success of my first letter. My letter to Borders needs to be equal to or even better than the last. As I type this, I have a general idea of what I want to say and I'm determined to send and publish my letter, August 1. No excuses on my part. I'll be out of town so the letter will be scheduled and I'll have the email all set up and ready to send as soon as I get back that night. It would make my week to come back to discover a plethora of letters all over people's blogs :)

Finally, what do you think of this post? The suggestion is made to have readers get behind one book with a POC on the cover. It's a really interesting idea, with lots of potential. I'm all for buying a book to make a statement (after all, we could vote and pick a really good book so that you can make a statement and actually like the book) but I do worry that this idea could backfire. Thoughts?

Also, I will announce the winner of the Gringolandia giveaway when I get back. I have a few more goodies for you though. Author Zetta Elliott has offered me 2 copies of her book, A Wish After Midnight to give away. It's one of my favorite books so you should totally enter. Thank you Zetta!

To enter: U.S. only (unless my international readers want to pay for shipping. If so, feel free to enter), must be a follower. Ends July 31 11:59 CT. Fill out THIS FORM.

Good luck :)

Back to New Crayons

The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

This debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy.

With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.

In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl— and society's ideas of race, class, and beauty. It is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

-I've had my eyes on this book for a bit, but it started getting recommended to me quite often. Since it's technically adult fiction, I knew I wouldn't be able to read it any time soon since I have so many YA books to read and review. But the lovely Zetta sent me her copy which will provide incentive for me to hurry up and read it :) Thank you so much Zetta!

Won from Edi-Thank you so much Edi!

Names Will Never Hurt Me by Jamie Adoff

During one day at school, the paths of four teens will cross in ways they never imagined. There’s Kurt, the "freek" who tries desperately to escape bullying; Tisha, who doesn’t feel she fits in with anyone; Ryan, the football jock who rules the hallways while losing control of his life; and Floater, who uses his connections to gain dangerous power. On this day, teasing, racism, loneliness, and secrets bring each of them to the breaking point. Now they must help each other prevent a tragedy. The voices of these four teens weave together in prose-poetry to create a powerful read.

-Jamie Adoff is the son of Virginia Hamilton. I've only read a few books by Virginia Hamilton, but she is amazing. I have high hopes for this one, not just because of lineage (no pressure!) but because of the premise. What is the tragedy in addition to the bullying?

When Kambia Elaine Flew In From Neptune by Lori Aurelia Williams

Shayla Dubois lives in a Houston neighborhood known as the Bottom, where life is colorful but never easy. Shayla's mama kicked her sister, Tia, out of the house. Her father, Mr. Anderson Fox, has rolled back into town. And Shayla doesn't know what to make of her strange new neighbor, Kambia Elaine.
Kambia tells Shayla the most fantastic stories. As these stories become more and more strange, Shayla realizes that there may be something very wrong. What can she possibly do to help when she can't get past these stories, and when Tia still hasn't come home?

Told lyrically and gracefully by debut author Lori Aurelia Williams, this is a story that shows how complicated life can get when children are forced to grow up too quickly.

-I've heared mention of this novel but I didn't know what it was about exactly. Should be a thought-provoking, beautiful read.

What new books did you get this week? Any books by/about POC? Please share!

*I am on a service trip with no Internet access from July 24-August 1. I look forward to reading and responding to all emails and comments upon my return =)


  1. I remember reading a letter on My Friend Amy's blog. So there's at least one more.

  2. Hi Ari, I've tried to comment 4 times and my Livejournal openID keeps failing, soooo fingers crossed this one works!

    I'm sorry I haven't done my letter yet! I had to shunt it on to my summer to-do list, and my summer just started yesterday (because school lets out later here). The Borders letter is sitting at #3 on the giant list, so I will definitely do it--but it will be late. Sorry!

  3. This page is amazing! I've missed, GD. (goddaughter).

  4. I sort of wrote my letter, but I probably need to edit it for clarity and less ranting. My letter's on the way.

    I think you might like Heidi Durrow's book. She's very nice too.

    I think we should back up a book. Can you imagine how powerful that would be. It wouldn't make sense to write all these letters, get something accomplished, then not buy the book.

  5. Keep reminding us Ari! some of us older folks need a nudge here and there! :) I'll be happy to write a few letters - I'll work on them this week, but please keep reminding us.

  6. I think I need a bit of help with the letter idea. Like I said no Borders in the UK so Waterstones was my idea, but while our Waterstones branch isn't great at diversity on its shelves it's not implicated in this specific I shelved that. Then I had that idea about The Times that I spoke to you about - but again I think their books section tries pretty hard to showcase diversity. Should I just write to Borders in the US? Seems like they wouldn't care, because any money I spend with them would be through their website (where SP, original cover can be bought). Ideas?

  7. I can't wait to read your review of The Girl, but I totally get the book back up during the summer. Thanks for introducing me to the other 2 authors. I think it's great to get the buzz behind POC books as I know they can be a hard sell in publishing. Create demand and it will be met. Did I mention that I was an optimist?


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 ;)