Sunday, January 2, 2011

1st 2011 New Crayons

First New Crayons of the year and it's off to a great start!

Hosted by Color Online (which is now on hiatus). However feel free to keep doing New Crayons.

Thank you so much Lyn and Helen =D

I'm still looking for YA/MG recommendations about poc that start with Q, X and Z.

Box of books from Lyn!

Shooting Kabul by N. H. Senzai

Fadi never imagined he'd start middle school in Fremont, California, thousands of miles away from home in Kabul. But, here he was, half a world apart from his missing six year old sister who'd been lost because of him, as they'd fled Afghanistan. Adjusting to life in the United States isn't easy for Fadi's family and as the events of September 11th unfold, the prospects of locating Mariam in a war torn Afghanistan seem slim -- impossible. Desperate, Fadi tries every hare-brained scheme he can think of to find her. When a photography competition with a grand prize trip to India is announced, Fadi sees his chance to return to Afghanistan and find his sister. But can one photo really bring Mariam home?
Based in part on Ms. Senzai's husband's experience fleeing Soviet controlled Afghanistan in 1979, Shooting Kabul is a powerful story of hope, love, and perseverance.

-I had hoped to read this book back in 2010 for the 2010 YA/MG debut author challenge but at least I get to read it now :) Just in time for my new year's resolution to review more books with characters from Asia. I'm growing more and more fascinated with the Middle East so I'm very much looking forward to this MG read set in Afghanistan and California and it's a mystery (sort of).

We Could Be Brothers by Derrick Barnes

In this much anticipated middle grade novel by author Derrick Barnes (Ruby & the Booker Boys) two thirteen- year-old African-American boys become friends during a three day stint in an after school suspension. They were both involved in two unrelated incidents with the same person, the resident menace at Alain Locke Middle, Tariq Molten.

Robeson Battlefield is from a two parent household, where both parents are highly successful and educated. Academic achievement, social consciousness and responsibility are reinforced daily in the Battlefield household.

Pacino Clapton comes from a single parent household; his mom works two fulltime jobs. Pacino has a ton of responsibilities, including cutting hair to help pay bills, and taking care of his twin five- year-old sisters.

During this three day span, the young men visit each others home, and "chop it up" on a multitude of subjects including respect of self and Black women, the dire state of hip-hop music, the use of the dreaded "N" word, and masculinity.

Before long, the three boys are on a collision course. And when they do intersect, their lives are changed forever.

-It has preachy potential but I like that this is a MG book about Black guys just shooting the breeze and doing everyday things. Sounds like this book offers a variety of Black experiences.

Finding Family by Tonya Bolden

Delana has never known her parents. Raised by her Aunt Tilley and a reclusive grandfather, Delana has led a sheltered existence, nurtured on her aunt's wild family histories. But when Aunt Tilley dies, Delana confronts her pent-up curiosities and embarks on a quest to unravel her aunt's fictions and draw out her mysterious grandfather. In searching for her true history, Delana finds herself, and a home in the one place she never thought to look. This moving fictional story is imagined from real antique photographs that author Tonya Bolden has collected. Bolden's well-researched historical details about 1905 Charleston, West Virginia lend authenticity, while spare, lyrical writing make this young girl's coming-of-age resonate.

-I'd only recently heard of this book, maybe I heard it mentioned as a CSK contender? Not sure. I like that it's set in the early 1900s and has a historical aspect to it. I like history mysteries and family genealogical searches so looking forward to reading it.

Kendra by Coe Booth

Kendra's mom, Renee, had her when she was only 14 years old. Renee and her mom made a deal -- Renee could get an education, and Kendra would live with her grandmother. But now Renee's out of grad school and Kendra's in high school ... and getting into some trouble herself. Kendra's grandmother lays down the law: It's time for Renee to take care of her daughter. Kendra wants this badly -- even though Renee keeps disappointing her. Being a mother isn't easy, but being a daughter can be just as hard. Now it's up to Kendra and Renee to make it work.

-Ooo family relationships in YA, specifically a mother-daughter one. New and original. I didn't care for Tyrell but I really like this author's Twitter presence and I've heard wonderful things about Kendra so here's hoping I like this one a lot more.

A Good Long Way by Rene Saldana

"Stop it. The two of you, stop it! You're father and son; you should love each other." Roelito howls at his father and older brother as their heated argument turns into a pushing, shoving match. Beto has again come home way past curfew, and worse, smelling like a cantina.

When Beto Sr. tells his son that he either needs to follow the rules or leave, the boy--a senior in high school and a man as far as he's concerned--decides to leave, right then, in the middle of the night. Once he has walked away, though, he realizes he has nowhere to go. Maybe his best friend Jessy--a hard-as-nails girl who has run away before can help him.

The story of Beto's decision to run away and drop out of school is told from shifting perspectives in which the conflicted lives of Roel, Beto, and Jessy are revealed in short, poignant scenes that reflect teen-age life along the Texas-Mexico border.
Each one has a good long way to go in growing up. Roel fights against the teachers' assumptions that he's like Beto. Unlike his big brother, Roel is book smart and actually enjoys school. Jessy is smart too, but most of her teachers can't see beyond her tough-girl façade. Her parents are so busy fighting with each other that they don t notice her, even if she s packing a suitcase to leave. And Beto . . . somewhere along the way he quit caring about school. And his teachers have noticed and given up too.

-I read a rather small number of self-published books but I also want to read more books published by small presses (this one is published by Arte Publico Press). This book doesn't have many reviews on Goodreads or Amazon so I'm not sure how well it's been received but yay it's another family relationship! Brothers, father-son, I'm all for more exploration of families in YA :)

Swapped with Helen

Barefoot in Baghdad: A Story of Identity-My Own and What It Means to Be a Woman in Chaos by Manal Omar

"Walk barefoot and the thorns will hurt you…"
—Iraqi-Turkmen proverb

A riveting story of hope and despair, of elation and longing, Barefoot in Baghdad takes you to the front lines of a different kind of battle, where the unsung freedom fighters are strong, vibrant—and female.

An American aid worker of Arab descent, Manal Omar moves to Iraq to help as many women as she can rebuild their lives. She quickly finds herself drawn into the saga of a people determined to rise from the ashes of war and sanctions and rebuild their lives in the face of crushing chaos. This is a chronicle of Omar's friendships with several Iraqis whose lives are crumbling before her eyes. It is a tale of love, as her relationship with one Iraqi man intensifies in a country in turmoil. And it is the heartrending stories of the women of Iraq, as they grapple with what it means to be female in a homeland you no longer recognize.

-I want to major in international relations and I've always been fascinated by history, other cultures, current events and non profits and this hits three out of that four (or maybe all four). Especially with everything that's going on today, I want to learn more about Iraq. Sounds like this book covers some of the positive things happening in Iraq as well as the not-so-good and that makes this book different and intriguing. Helen highly recommends it

Since it's a week after Christmas and Hanukkah, I presume many of you went out bookshopping? What'd you get?


  1. I have to admit my most recent book purchase weren't children's or YA titles. One of them was Jaimy Gordon's adult novel Lord of Misrule, a small press title that ended up winning the National Book Award. That brings me to Rene Saldana's latest novel. I'm sorry to hear that it hasn't been reviewed many places, because I found it a wise and well-written book, and an especially good choice for reluctant readers. There's so much to think about in its 125 pages. I hope other people get their hands on A Good Long Way.

    I also heard the author speak at this year's ALAN workshop, and appreciated his comments on machismo and male responsibility. A lot of the authors showcased at the conference use their time to entertain or boast, but his presentation--along with Derrick Barnes's on the same panel--had substance and value.

  2. I'm fascinated by the Middle East, too - can't wait to hear what you think of your picks! You always get such interesting books in your mailbox. =) KENDRA looks interesting, too.

  3. I have read Kendra and quite liked it and, obviously, I loved Barefoot in Baghdad. I am going to try to get Shooting Kabul and A Good Long Way. Thanks for the ideas!

  4. I loved Shooting Kabul and I'm going to keep my eye out on the other books posted.

    I bought so many box sets. They seemed like such a deal. And I pre-ordered many YA novels. I was a shopaholic this season.

  5. I am getting very lazy with my reading lately, partly because I'm so busy with writing, partly because I'm reading my way through an adult UF series, and partly because of watching all 60 episodes of Dexter late at night.

    However. :) I want to do better with my diverse reads in 2011. I have KENDRA on my
    tbr pile and STILL haven't read it. Will you let me know when you start it? I could read it WITH you? That would be totally fun. Then I can comment on your review with my own thoughts.

    Deal? :)


    p.s. I still haven't read Zetta's book yet - I read the first 2 chapters to see what I thought, and I definitely know i'll like it. I'm going back to it next week when I'm done with The Wood Queen.

  6. @Lyn-I've been buying a few adult titles myself lately. I have heard of the Lords of the Misrule, I'll look forward to hearing what you think of it. It's awesome that a small-press book won the National Book Award!

    It's a good sign that both Rene saldana and Derrick Barnes did less boasting and more uplfiting of other people :)

    @Maggie-I think it's part of our generation: our fascination with the Middle East because it's become so ingrained in us, always in the news. One day I'm going to send you a box of books so you have interesting things in your mailbox too! (although you always let me know about books I might have missed).

    @Helen-No problem, A Good Long Way might be a good fit for your school library but I haven't read it yet so I can't totally say yet =) Thanks again for Barefoot in Baghdad!

    @Medeia Sharif-Good to know you loved Shooting Kabul! I'm eager to read it. I was soo tempted to pre-order YA novels for 2011, so many anticipatory reads!

    @Kaz-Best wishes on your UF project! Go Kaz go :D We should read Kendra together, it'll be fun. I won't start it for awhile since I'm trying to review more Latino and Asian-centric books for the next few months.

  7. Kendra is gritty and honest. As stated in my Amazon review: The author was not playin' when she penned this novel... If you can handle the truth about the choices 'some' young people are making when it comes to sex, then you might want to read this book.


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