Sunday, February 21, 2010

New Crayons & Diversity Roll Call

New Crayons is hosted by Color Online
This Week in Review

Male Monday: The Astonishing Life of Octavian Life, Traitor to the Nation: Volume 1, Pox Party by M.T. Anderson
Tuesday: Soul Enchilada by David Macinnis Gill
Wednesday: Blog Awards & AWAM winner
Throwback Thursday & Off Color: The Throwaway Piece by Jo Ann Hernandez
Friday: Blogger Spotlight with Jeannine from Write On
Saturday: Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins

The Clone Codes by Patricia McKissack, Frederick McKissack and John McKissack

The Cyborg Wars are over and Earth has peacefully prospered for more than one hundred years. Yet sometimes history must repeat itself until humanity learns from its mistakes. In the year 2170, despite technological and political advances, cyborgs and clones are treated no better than slaves, and an underground abolitionist movement is fighting for freedom. Thirteen-year-old Leanna's entire life is thrown into chaos when The World Federation of Nations discovers her mom is part of the radical Liberty Bell Movement.

After her mother's arrest for treason, Leanna must escape as she is chased by a ruthless bounty hunter. Soon Leanna finds herself living among the Firsts, and nothing will ever be the same again. But what does The World Federation want with the daughter of a traitor? So much is uncertain. Danger hides everywhere. Fear takes over. With help from unlikely sources, Leanna learns the origin of The Liberty Bell Movement and how its members may have answers about her past-and her new reality.

As family secrets are revealed, Leanna must face startling truths about self-identity and freedom. Through time travel, advanced technologies, and artificial intelligence, this exhilarating adventure asks what it means to be human and explores the sacrifices an entire society will make to find out.

-Hooray for more sci fi about POC! It's MG and it sounds really good. I love the whole 'what it means to be human' description and the slavery concept is interesting. Sent to me from Steph, thanks so much!

From Colleen-Thank you so much!
The Firefly Letters: A Suffragette's Journey to Cuba by Margarita Engle

Release Date: March 16, 2010

The freedom to roam is something that women and girls in Cuba do not have. Yet when Fredrika Bremer visits from Sweden in 1851 to learn about the people of this magical island, she is accompanied by Cecilia, a young slave who longs for her lost home in Africa. Soon Elena, the wealthy daughter of the house, sneaks out to join them. As the three women explore the lush countryside, they form a bond that breaks the barriers of language and culture. In this quietly powerful new book, award-winning poet Margarita Englepaints a portrait of early women’s rights pioneer Fredrika Bremer and the journey to Cuba that transformed her life.

-I love reading about Cuba, it's one of the top five Latin American countries I want to visit (besides Puerto Rico, Panama, the Domincan Republic and Mexico). This is definitely an unknown story, women's suffrage in Cuba.

The Surrender Tree: Poems of Cuba's struggle for Freedom by Margarita Engle

Who could have guessed that after all these years,
the boy I called Lieutenant Death
when we were both children
would still be out here, in the forest,
chasing me, now,
hunting me, haunting me . . .

It is 1896. Cuba has fought three wars for independence and still is not free. People have been rounded up in concentration camps with too little food and too much illness. Rosa is a nurse, but with a price on her head for helping the rebels, she dares not go to the camps. Instead, she turns hidden caves into hospitals for those who know how to find her. Black, white, Cuban, Spanish—Rosa does her best for everyone. Yet who can heal a country so torn apart by war?

-Yes, more Cuba :D

Grease Town by Ann Towell

When twelve-year-old Titus Sullivan decides to run away to join his Uncle Amos and older brother, Lem, he finds an alien and exciting world in Oil Springs, the first Canadian oil boomtown of the 19th century.

The Enniskillen swamp is slick with oil, and it takes enterprising folk to plumb its depths. The adventurers who work there are a tough lot of individuals. In this hard world, Titus becomes friends with a young black boy, the child of slaves who came to Canada on the Underground Railroad. When tragedy strikes in the form of a race riot, Titus's loyalties are tested as he struggles to deal with the terrible fallout.

Though the characters are fictitious, the novel is based on a race riot that occurred in Oil Springs, Ontario, on March 20, 1863.

-This cover is like a reverse whitewash. It's about a white boy, but there's a black boy on the cover. Cool :) Granted, the story is about the friendship between a white boy and a black boy so it makes sense. I don't ANYTHING about the history of Canada so I'm really looking forward to reading this book.

Diversity Roll Call is hosted by Color Online and worducopia This week it's about diversity in magazines and lit journals I'm doing #1

1) Take a look at the magazines or literary journals you read. If you don't read them, pick one up from the library just for the heck of it. Look at the ads, the photo spreads, the authors and subjects of the articles. Do people of color exist in the world this publication presents to its readers? How about gays, lesbians, or people with physical differences?

I'm looking at the February 2010 Latina magazine issue (JLO is on the cover).

Obviously, the ads all cater to Latinas. The ads feature cosmetics, household products, fashion and jewelry. The models being used all 'look' Latina (whatever that really means) and the adds are mostly all in Spanish. I do have a complaint that all the models in the ads are fair-skinned. Latinas come in all different colors and shapes (same thing for Asian, Black, Native American and white women) and skinny. It would be nice to see ads that featured plus-sized women, medium-sized women and dark-skinned women. Gay and lesbians aren't really left out because lesbians like to wear makeup and jewelry and need stuff from Target just as much as straight women so the ads are pretty inclusive. There's one ad for a breath freshener that features a man and woman couple so I suppose that could be considered exclusive. But there are no ads with people who have physical disabilities. Boo. The articles in the magazine are mostly all written by women and cover a wide range of topics from celebrities, to motherhood, to makeup, to quinceaneras, to history (last page about Gaspar Yanga who is a Black Mexican hero that battled the Spanish for Mexican independence. He founded the first free black township on Mexico. Awesome!).

So even magazines that cater to a more diverse group are still not completely inclusive.


  1. Thanks, Ari. I didn't know about the Latina magazine and found the story Gaspar Yanga fascinating! Someone should write about him. :)

  2. Fascinating. Such a shame that a Latina mag wouldn't reflect the beautiful diversity that exists in the culture. Thanks for your post, Ari!


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