Sunday, October 10, 2010

New Crayons + School Reading

New Crayons is hosted by Color Online. In this meme we share what new books we got for the week, specifically, multicultural books.

But first here's an update on my school reading:

We finished The Book of Lost Things. It was decent. I don't plan on re-reading it and I probably wouldn't recommend it to anyone unless you are obsessed with all British literature or you like creepy books. It is a sad and bizarre book and it's less of a coming-of-age and yet David (who is 12) matures considerably. My favorite part was the dwarfs, they are hilarious and if you ever see this book in a bookstore, pick it up and flip to the part about the seven dwarfs. It was the only part that made the book really good. I found it interesting to read John Connolly's revamped fairy tales. They resemble more of the Brothers Grimm original fairy tales than the cutesy Disney ones.

We also FINALLY finished Beowulf. It was tolerable (barely). I kept mixing up character's names and I don't think Beowulf has all the qualities of an Anglo Saxon hero. He is NOT humble in the slightest. He's constantly boasting about all his good deeds. Gimme a break. I detest Beowulf even more now because I have to write a paper on it (Christianity & Beowulf) and the book was boring as it is so this paper is putting me to sleep =/ Seriously teachers. Want to make a student hate a book? make them write papers on it? I get giving us tests and having class discussions (those can be cool) but papers suck.

Next up is Geoffrey Chaucer's Canterbury Tales. I don't really know anything about this book. It sounds like it will be OK. If you've read it, what did you think?

That's it for my school reading update. I will do these posts once a month, generally just talking about the last book we read and the upcoming one.

This week I got....

Tutored by Allison Whittenberg

Release Date: December 14, 2010

Wendy Anderson and Hakiam Powell are at opposite ends of the spectrum—the social spectrum, the financial spectrum, the opportunity spectrum, you name it. Wendy lives in an all-white suburb of Philadelphia, where she’s always felt like the only chip in the cookie. Her dad, who fought his way out of the ghetto, doesn’t want her mingling with “those people.” In fact, all Wendy’s life, her father has told her how terrible “those people” are. He even objects to Wendy’s plan to attend a historically black college. But Wendy feels that her race is more than just the color of her skin, and she takes a job tutoring at an inner-city community center to get a more diverse perspective on life.

Hakiam has never lived in one place for more than a couple of years. When he aged out of foster care in Ohio, he hopped a bus to Philly to start over, but now he’s broke, stuck taking care of his cousin’s premature baby for no pay, and finding it harder than ever to stay out of trouble. When he meets Wendy at the tutoring center, he thinks she’s an uppity snob—she can’t possibly understand his life. But as he gets to know her better, he sees a softer side. And eventually—much to the chagrin of Wendy’s father and Hakiam’s cousin—they begin a rocky, but ultimately enlightening, romance.

This edgy story about a star-crossed couple features strong African American characters and sparkles with smart, quirky dialogue and fresh observations on social pressures and black-on-black prejudice.

-I decided to request this book from the publisher after seeing Shalonda's review. She gives the book an almost perfect rating! I was already intrigued due to its discussion of black-on-black prejudice, but after that review, I didn't want to wait for December. Thank you Delacorte (Random House)!

Won from Alyssa at the Shady Glade

Tiger Moon by Antonia Michaelis

How does a story of India begin? Does it begin with the three great rivers—the Ganges, the Yamuna, the unseen Sarasvati pouring her dreaming waters down from the snowy mountains to the hot, dry plain?

This bewitching story within a story, set in magical India, explores the power of narrative to change the course of lives. Raka, the doomed young bride of a violent merchant, weaves a tale of rescue so vivid, it might just come true. She tells a servant boy the story of Farhad, a thief and unlikely hero, who must retrieve a famous jewel in order to save a kidnapped princess from a demon king. Farhad’s unforgettable companion on the journey is a wisecracking white tiger with an unnatural fear of water. It is their unusual and funny friendship, and the final sacrifice that they must make, that is the heart of this grand, beautiful novel about summoning the hero within.

-I want to read more fairy tales so this book caught my eye. And the tiger is sarcastic, heehee. Sounds lovely, thank you Alyssa!

Boys Without Names by Kashmira Sheth

For eleven-year-old Gopal and his family, life in their rural Indian village is over: We stay, we starve, his baba has warned. With the darkness of night as cover, they flee to the big city of Mumbai in hopes of finding work and a brighter future. Gopal is eager to help support his struggling family until school starts, so when a stranger approaches him with the promise of a factory job, he jumps at the offer.

But Gopal has been deceived. There is no factory, just a small, stuffy sweatshop where he and five other boys are forced to make beaded frames for no money and little food. The boys are forbidden to talk or even to call one another by their real names. In this atmosphere of distrust and isolation, locked in a rundown building in an unknown part of the city, Gopal despairs of ever seeing his family again.

But late one night, when Gopal decides to share kahanis, or stories, he realizes that storytelling might be the boys' key to holding on to their sense of self and their hope for any kind of future. If he can make them feel more like brothers than enemies, their lives will be more bearable in the shop—and they might even find a way to escape.

-My least favorite kinds of books as a child were ones about slavery. And working in a sweatshop seems to be too similar but I'm older now so we shall see how it goes. Most importantly, this is an important topic to read about AND Ah Yuan calls Ms. Sheth her "must-read MG author" (and assures me that I won't be a sobbing fool by the end). Thanks Alyssa =)

That's what I got this week. Your turn!


  1. Glad the package arrived safely! There's always a part of me that feels nervous when I mail things out...

  2. Woah, how did I not hear about Tutored until just now?? It looks like it explores classism issues too, which makes me very YAY since I think YA contemporaries never push those types of issues enough. (I'm thinking Suite Scarlett, which COULD never been a very good commentary on this, but... it wasn't.) And I'm flattered that you liked to my review!! I loved Boys Without Names. Warning though, read this without anticipating the sweatshop bit, it's a slow buildup (like how A Wish After Midnight was about the Time travel) but it's sooooooo worth it.

  3. @Shalonda-It was decent :) Thank you for putting it on my radar.

    @Alyssa-I have that fear too! Especially since I never pay for it to be tracked. Thank you very much =)

    @Ah Yuan-That's what I said a few weeks ago! I would love to see more YA contemps discussing issues of class besides the typical "rich white" vs. "porr minority", more classism within one minority community, prejudice within our own communities, etc.

    I don't think the slow build-up will be a problem. I want to read it super soon but I probably won't be able to start it till November =/


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