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review 2016-10-30 18:08
Big Red Lollipop
Big Red Lollipop - Rukhsana Khan,Sophie Blackall

Written by Rukhsana Khan

Illustrated by Sophie Blackall


Rubina has just been invited to her first birthday party, and her mother insists that she bring her little sister, Sana, along. No matter how hard Rubina tries to convince her mother that people just don't bring their little sisters along to birthday parties, her mother doesn't listen. Sana and Rubina go to the birthday party, and Sana acts selfishly and embarrasses Rubina. Sana even steals Rubina's prize from the party, a big, red lollipop. Rubina is fed up. She doesn't get any more invitations to birthday parties for a long time after that, either. Then one day, Sana gets an invitation to a birthday party. Her mother insists that she take her sisters with her, and refuses to listen when Sana tells her that you can't just bring your sisters to a birthday party. Rubina steps in and tells her mother not to make Sana take their little sister to the party, and their mother finally agrees. When Sana gets home from the party, she brings Rubina a big, green lollipop to say thank you.


This book would be great to open up a discussion about diversity and cultural differences with second to fourth grade students. It could also be used with younger students to discuss character traits and the importance of sharing.

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review 2014-09-07 16:08
Interesting, but perhaps over-hyped
Bringing Up Bebe: One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting - Pamela Druckerman

French mothers rarely/prefer not to breastfeed their babies. GASP! Children as young as 4-5 go on week-long "camps" with their school, away from their parents. GASP! They even sometimes get chocolate for breakfast. Whaaaat?


Pamela Druckerman is a US-born author/former journalist who met and married a British man. Only problem was that he was living in Paris. So she moved to Paris. Eventually they had a daughter and later twin boys. These non-French parents had to figure out a system different from their own.


The author describes various aspects of child-rearing, parenting, and the like. It starts from how pregnant women behave and are viewed (ie what she was used to as "no-nos" such as wine and smoking are not considered to be death sentences or bad for the baby if the mother chooses to occasionally indulge) and discusses various things: day-care, schooling, getting babies to sleep through the night, discipline, the role of children in the house, what differs in a French child's upbringing vs. others (typically Druckerman uses her experiences in the US and her friends to compare).


Some of it was quite interesting to see how such things are compared and the differences between the two cultures. (For example, Druckerman cites the chocolate example above in the larger context of candy, eating and how food is viewed. She notes that more US children are considered obese, vs. French children. And this disparity only gets larger when older children/teenagers are compared). Having read French Kids Eat Everything I was already familiar with some of the differences North American (US in the case of Druckerman, Canadian for the Eat Everything book), so some of the info was a little repetitive. Druckerman's style can also be quite uneven: sometimes it's really fascinating, others I was quite bored with her going on and on about how difficult it was to find friendships with French mothers and often spoke to Anglophone or ex-pat parents from elsewhere.


Still, I had wanted to read this for quite a while and it was enjoyable. There are certainly some tips that parents might find handy or at least interesting to think about (but it is not a "how to" book). Francophiles might enjoy adding this to their libraries.



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review 2013-11-12 10:09
Different worlds
A Missing Peace - Beth Fred

A Missing Peace- Beth Fred
Published by: Harlequin, on 1 September 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Mystery, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 140, Format: eARC
Source: ARC Netgalley

Angry, seventeen-year-old Iraqi war refugee Mirriam Yohanna hates her new life in Killeen, Texas, where the main attraction is a military base, populated with spoiled army brats like Caleb Miller.

Caleb has much to be angry about too, including Mirriam who turns him down flat in front of everyone. Eager for retribution, Caleb agrees to a dare that will see him take Mirriam to the prom and regain his pride.

But their relationship soon moves beyond high school antics. Mirriam and Caleb are bound together by more than location, and as they are forced to work closely together on a school assignment, they start to uncover an explosive story that has the potential to ruin lives — and both of their futures. One single truth changes everything and strengthens their bond.

When Mirriam's family discovers their relationship, they decide it's time to arrange her marriage to a proper Iraqi man. Caleb must convince Mirriam that he is in it for forever — or risk losing her for good.


*I received a free ARC of A Missing Peace from Harlequin via Netgalley in exchange of an honest review*


A Missing Peace is a brilliant YA novel, about an Iraqi girl and an American boy, they have both been scarred by the war in Iraq, Mirriam’s dad was killed there when he tried to save a man. Caleb’s dad was killed there as well, and Caleb had always thought it happened in an attack and that enemy fire killed him. The way Caleb and Mirriam really can’t stand each other in the beginning, each thinking the other represents everything they hate is so well done!


As Mirriam and Caleb get to know each other better, they also learn to appreciate that the other point of view is not necessarily wrong, and I think that is a very strong point in A Missing Peace. We don’t really know very much about things that happen in the world, or how what we read about in the papers truly impact the lives of the people who are actually living what we read about. When Caleb tries to find out more about his father’s death, Mirriam is realizing she might be the one to give him the key nobody else is willing to give him.


The cultural differences between Caleb and Mirriam are well done, some things Caleb takes for granted is so alien for Mirriam she can’t even begin to understand how he can act and react the way he does. And Caleb is changing now that he knows there’s another side to what has been happening in Iraq. He has a new respect for Mirriam, and he realizes that the way he has been acting like he can’t do anything wrong is not the way he wants to continue living his life.


The biggest shock in A Missing Peace is when Caleb gets the whole truth, and then stands to lose everything he has, and everything he has ever believed in. Mirriam is with him the whole way, until her brother decides to enforce his rule as the man of the family and have her enter an arranged marriage. He does not count on the fact that Caleb really cares about her and is willing to do whatever it takes to help Mirriam to make a love match instead, though.


A Missing Peace was very enjoyable, the prose and the writing is good, the character growth is amazing, and I enjoyed both the overall story and the side story. I did think some things could have been a little better explained, and maybe the final resolution was a little too easy. Instead of the epilogue, I would have appreciated either an ending before it, or a longer epilogue that explained more. All in all, I do recommend A Missing Peace, though. It’s a very good story with solid characters. It’s written in dual point of view, one chapter from Mirriam then one from Caleb.


Captain America behind me was so annoying. He was six feet of muscle. With a chiseled jaw and a small dimple on the left of his face, he was cute enough. If you were into All-American guys which I wasn’t.


“I love you , Mirriam. I’d never do anything to hurt you.” “I know. Besides, I’m meaner than you.” I chuckled, because replies like that were the reason I loved this girl.

Lexxie signature (un)Conventional Bookviews



4 Stars

Source: unconventionalbookviews.com/review-missing-peace-beth-fred
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