Sunday, July 3, 2011

New Crayons

Got big plans for Independence Day? Have fun, be safe and, hopefully they include some reading. If you're looking for some inspiration, here ya go...









Natasha--

Camo Girl by Kekla Magoon

Set in a suburb of Las Vegas, Ella and Zachary, called Z, have been friends forever, but Z has always been "the weird kid" in their class. He collects stubby pencils, plays chess, and maintains an elaborate –and public– fantasy life, starring himself as a brave knight. Z's games were okay back in 3rd or 4th grade, but by now their other friends have ditched them both. Z doesn't care, but Ella longs to be part of a group of friends, even though most of the class makes fun of her. Ella's mother is black and her father (now deceased) was white, and she's the only black girl in their sixth grade class. When a new boy, Bailey, moves to town, he befriends Ella, because they are now the only two black kids in class. But Bailey is popular – popular enough to make Ella cool and give her a wider circle of friends – but only if she stops hanging out with Z. Ella's faced with a difficult decision – remain loyal to the boy who has been her best and only friend for years, or pass up the opportunity to be one of the popular kids that she has always longed to be.

Africans Thought of It: Amazing Innovations by Bathsheba Opini

Set in a suburb of Las Vegas, Ella and Zachary, called Z, have been friends forever, but Z has always been "the weird kid" in their class. He collects stubby pencils, plays chess, and maintains an elaborate –and public– fantasy life, starring himself as a brave knight. Z's games were okay back in 3rd or 4th grade, but by now their other friends have ditched them both. Z doesn't care, but Ella longs to be part of a group of friends, even though most of the class makes fun of her. Ella's mother is black and her father (now deceased) was white, and she's the only black girl in their sixth grade class. When a new boy, Bailey, moves to town, he befriends Ella, because they are now the only two black kids in class. But Bailey is popular – popular enough to make Ella cool and give her a wider circle of friends – but only if she stops hanging out with Z. Ella's faced with a difficult decision – remain loyal to the boy who has been her best and only friend for years, or pass up the opportunity to be one of the popular kids that she has always longed to be.

Redeemers: Ideas and Power in Latin America by Enrique Krauze

Latin America has been of vital importance to the United States almost since the birth of our nation, and the significance of this relationship has only increased in recent decades. But mutual understanding between these regions is lacking, even as Latin Americans are striving to promote the values of democracy in their native countries and beyond. Why has this process proved to be such a struggle, and what does the future of the region hold?
In Redeemers, acclaimed historian Enrique Krauze presents the major ideas that have formed the modern Latin American political mind during the late nineteenth and twentieth centuries, from early postcolonial authoritarian regimes to nineteenth-century Liberalism and Conservatism, and then the impact of Socialism and Marxism as well as nationalism and indigenism and the movement toward liberal democracy of recent years. Krauze looks closely at how these ideas have been expressed in the lives of influential revolutionaries, thinkers, poets, and novelists—figures whose lives were marked by a passionate involvement in history, power, and, for some, revolution, as well as a personal commitment to love, friendship, and family. Krauze’s subjects come from across the continents. Here are the Cuban José Martí; the Argentines Che Guevara and Evita Perón; the groundbreaking political thinkers José Vasconcelos of Mexico and José Carlos Mariátegui from Peru. Writers José Enrique Rodó, Mario Vargas Llosa, Octavio Paz, and Gabriel García Márquez reinforce the importance of imagination to inspire social change.
Redeemers also highlights Mexico’s Samuel Ruiz and Subcomandante Marcos and Venezuela’s president Hugo Chávez, and their influence on contemporary Latin America.
In this brilliant and deeply researched history, Enrique Krauze uses the range of these extraordinary lives to illuminate the struggle that has defined Latin American history: an ever-precarious balance between the ideal of democracy and the temptation of political messianism. Through this comprehensive collage of the distinct but interconnected experiences and views of these twelve fascinating cultural and political figures, we can better understand how this balance continues to affect Latin America today and how its nations will define themselves and relate to the larger world in the years ahead.

Inside Out and Back Again by Thanhha Lai

For all the ten years of her life, Hà has only known Saigon: the thrills of its markets, the joy of its traditions, the warmth of her friends close by . . . and the beauty of her very own papaya tree.
But now the Vietnam War has reached her home. Hà and her family are forced to flee as Saigon falls, and they board a ship headed toward hope. In America, Hà discovers the foreign world of Alabama: the coldness of its strangers, the dullness of its food, the strange shape of its landscape . . . and the strength of her very own family.
This is the moving story of one girl's year of change, dreams, grief, and healing as she journeys from one country to another, one life to the next.




Dreams of Significant Girls by Cristina Garcia

Brought together each summer at a boarding school in Switzerland, three girls learn a lot more than just French and European culture. Shirin, an Iranian princess; Ingrid, a German-Canadian eccentric; and Vivien, a Cuban-Jewish New Yorker culinary phenom, are thrown into each other’s lives when they become roommates. This is a story of 3 paths slowly beginning to cross and merge as they spend the year apart, but the summers together. Through navigating the social-cultural shoals of the school, developing their adolescence, and learning the confusing and conflicting legacies of their families’ past, Shirin, Ingrid, and Vivien form an unbreakable bond.


Terri--
Act of Grace by Karen Simpson

Why would Grace Johnson, a bright, African-American high school senior, save the life of a Ku Klux Klansman named Jonathan Gilmore?


That question hovers over Grace’s hometown of Vigilant, Michigan, and few people, black or white, understand her actions—especially since rumor has it that many years ago, a member of the Gilmore family murdered several African-American residents. And if Grace had her way, she would not reveal the circumstances that led her to make what some deem to be a foolish sacrifice and an act of treason against her race.
The decision to remain silent, however, is not Grace’s to make, for the spirit of her ancestors have emerged and insist, in ways Grace cannot ignore, that she bear witness to the violent racial history that continues to divide the town of Vigilant. But when Grace discovers a century-old tale of a bloadsoaked, eye-for-eye vengeance that includes the mysterious death of her own father, she questions whether she has the ability and the will to accept the mind-bending spiritual challenge in front of her.
As Grace reluctantly embarks on the unlikeliest of journeys and into the magical world of the African-American traditions used by her ancestors to fight slavery and oppression, she undergoes a spiritual transformation that leads to the true nature of her calling: to lead Jonathan Gilmore, the town of Vigilant and her own soul on a path toward reconciliation, redemption and true grace.

4 comments:

unusualmusic said...

The blurb for Africans Thought of It is the sam thing as teh blurb for Camo Girls. Thanks for the recs though! I'm adding to my list!

Doret said...

Camo Girl was very good. I really want to read Inside Out& Back Again and Acts of Grace

Terri said...

Ok, so I want all of Natasha's books. Good stuff.

campbele said...

I'm pretty sure Africans thought of it is a nonfiction about the scientific and technology contributions from Africa throughout the centuries. It's part of a series from Annick Press (Canadian) and is quite well done.