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review 2017-03-28 21:47
American Street
American Street - Ibi Zoboi

I have mixed feeling about this novel. I wasn’t expecting what I got when I read this novel. I felt it could have delivered a stronger message but I thought sections of this novels were excellent and I enjoyed Fabiola’s relationships with her cousins. Each of these relationships were unique and they showed something about the character of Fabiola. The novel focuses on Fabiola who arrives in Detroit from Haiti without her mother, Manman. Planning and saving, the two of them were going to stay with Manman’s sister and her daughters who they hadn’t seen in such a long time. Detained in customs, Manman whereabouts are unknown but Fabiola believes in the spirits that she calls upon and in her prayers, that soon they will be safely reunited.

 

I thought that the culture changes for Fabiola as a whole, would materialize through this novel but they were only referred to, in beginning pages of this novel. The noises, the colors, the food, the major culture difference that Fabiola notices that are missing or added to her life now, the author makes a point to mention each one as she experiences them in the beginning pages of this novel but then suddenly she must get used to them because these differences are hardly mentioned throughout the rest of the novel. It isn’t long before Fabiola gets swallowed up into being an American teen. Her cousins wrap her up in their drama, she is casts into high school where peers and fitting in matter, and it isn’t long before boys and romance come into the picture. I wasn’t expecting things to happen so quickly for her and for her feeling to become so intense. The novel is more about Fabiola becoming a teen, the ups and downs, the drama and the dangers when she gets too close to the edge. I wasn’t expecting it to go that far. I expected Fabiola to behave differently but she had gone too far, too fast. I thought the novel would also look at Fabiola and Manman issue(s) and address them, spend time on them but it didn’t happen how I expected. This novel was eventful, I loved many of the characters and I wanted to tie a rope around Fabiola to keep her close to me for I cared for her.

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review 2017-03-27 22:20
Hidden Figures
Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race - Margot Lee Shetterly

I am so glad that I read this after seeing the movie. I loved the movie, but it's a drop in the bucket compared to the lifetime of achievement of the women featured in the movie plus there are more women mentioned in the book whose accomplishments aren't evident in the film. It's an amazing story and Shetterly relays it beautifully.

I loved every minute of reading this book and it needs to be in all school libraries. I get that schools don't have the time to devote to each historical topic, but having something like this (there is a Young Readers version available here) for them to read would be great. I wish I had spent more time in the non-fiction section back when I was in school but I'm trying to make up for it now. I love the stories of women throughout history, seeing that we've been contributing to the world in more than 2 ways, and promoting those stories when I see them. Fortunately, this one doesn't exactly need my help. It's been great to see all the notoriety this story has gotten, it's well deserved.

Shetterly goes a long way to giving the reader an understanding of not only the important nature of these women's work, but the sacrifices they made to do the work and the pressures they were under from several sources. The difference in the way they were treated at work and at home, by coworkers and by passersby on the sidewalk, is well delineated and it paints a good picture of what it must have meant to be there, to be breaking down barriers and to be given credit for their incredible intelligence. I appreciate that they all say they were just doing their jobs, which I'm sure is true, but there's always more to it than that. I've known people who "just" do their jobs and there's a difference between them and people who love the work. It's this difference that breaks down the barriers that these women took on, purposefully or not.

I appreciated Shetterly's inclusion of the timeline with the Civil Rights movement. I am familiar with the events from school and other reading, but it helped me out to have it overlaid on the timeline of the events at NACA and NASA, to understand the shifting sands the women found themselves on. She did a great job too of delineating the cultural and workplaces differences with being African American, a woman, or an African American and a woman. The African American men got to come in as engineers and the women had to fight for that too. White women were also given advantages over African American women, which caused the women featured here to deal with twice the problems the others had.

This is a book that everyone should read, but especially if you watched the movie, which really only covers half. The book carries the story of the three central women all the way to the moon landing, while the movie stops at John Glenn's orbit. Shetterly's writing style is impeccable and the story itself is astounding.

 

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text 2017-03-24 21:55
Friday Reads
Rick Steves Travel as a Political Act - Rick Steves
The Idle Parent: Why Laid-Back Parents Raise Happier and Healthier Kids - Tom Hodgkinson
Polio: An American Story - David Oshinsky
He Who Fears the Wolf - Karin Fossum,Felicity David

This weekend is supposed to be in the upper 50s and sunny, so I'm thinking of taking the kids and hubby to a local castle for a day trip (because when you live in England, there are such things as local castles - either still standing or in ruins).

 

I also just want to lay around the house after big trips earlier in the month. I think I am coming down with a change of season cold/cough (a lovely gift from my kids). So I'm continuing Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves, moving on to The Idle Parent by Tom Hodgkinson, and finishing with Polio: An American Story by David Oshinsky. I picked up a Scandinavian psychological thriller from the library today, He Who Fears the Wolf by Karin Fossum (translated by Felicity David) - way out of my comfort zone but it is research for the librarians to know about the series so they can put it into the hands of patrons who are looking for this type of book. This may end up being my first book of April though.

 

Have a good weekend everyone! If you are celebrating Mum's Day (with your kids or with your own mum), Happy Mum's Day as well!

 

 

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text 2017-03-24 19:59
Reading progress update: I've read 42%.
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City - Matthew Desmond

 

 

This uneven distribution of wealth is exactly what I hate about our current system and why it doesn't work.

 

 

 Tobin (the landlord) took home roughly $447,000 each year. He belonged to the top 1 percent of income earners. Most of his tenants belonged to the bottom 10 percent.

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review 2017-03-21 14:39
Bud, Not Buddy
Bud, Not Buddy - Christopher Paul Curtis

Bud, Not Buddy is the story of a young African-American boy who runs away from an abusive foster home in search of his father. Along the journey, Bud learns about family and persistence. 

Bud, Not Buddy received a Lexile score of 950L, making it suitable for 4th through 6th grade readers. This book would be good to teach about African American history as Bud learns about the Great Depression and the Harlem Renaissance, as well as the increasing racial tensions. 

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