Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Review: Love, Hate, and Other Filters

Title: Love, Hate, and Other Filters
Author: Samira Ahmed
Publisher: Soho Teen
Pages: 288
Availability: On shelves now
Review copy: ARC via publisher

Summary: American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs.

Review: Maya has such a fantastic voice in this book. She had me laughing and eye-rolling along with her. Along with her dry sense of humor, I also appreciate her love for films. She has a passion for making films and it affects how she sees the world.  I'm not into videos so much, but I do spend a lot of time with our film crew at school and I'm generally the family photographer. Maya notes that when you have the camera up, people pay less attention to you. You can hide behind the camera and be an observer without getting dragged into the scene. This fits with how Maya wants to blend in at school and in her community.

Throughout the book Maya searches for balance between her two worlds. She has big, lovely, epic dreams, but they do NOT match those of her parents. Her parents want her to learn to cook, become a lawyer and marry a doctor. None of these are high on her list, but she loves and respects her parents so following a different path would be a struggle.

Along with working through what she wants and figuring out how badly she wants these things, Maya is feeling the stirrings of love. She has a flirtation with someone who is "the parental dream of suitability," but also has increasingly strong feelings for someone who is the opposite in their eyes.

These may seem like challenges enough, but a terrorist attack leads some people to show their true feelings about Maya and her family. There had been microaggressions in the past and even some purely hateful comments and behaviors, but things heat up after the attack. Some people seem to see the event as a something giving them permission to unleash hate.

Recommendation: Maya's effort to balance the various parts of her identity and work out what's important in her life brought me to tears and laughter. This is a beautiful book of family, love, and identity. Get it soon especially if you are a fan of contemporary YA.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Celebrating Nature & Learning


Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week and I appreciate the community we have through this link-up.

 

 

Today I spent time at the Sandhill Wildlife Refuge as part of the Ho-Chunk Indigenous Arts & Sciences class I took last summer (learn more about that here). Our final class was learning more, reporting our progress, and time for reflection. It was great to reconnect with classmates and hear more Ho-Chunk stories. We also had the chance to spend some time outside. I brought my rain boots since it was going to be in the thirties (that's warm in WI) and they are way cuter than my winter boots. In the summer I had read Gathering Moss: A Natural and Cultural History of Mosses by Robin Wall Kimmerer so I was happy to see moss again this time. It was interesting to see the same place in a different season.


A bonus today was getting a copy of this book The Ho-Chunk Courting Flute. It's written in Ho-Chunk, English, and Spanish. I'm excited to take it back to share with students.

Because of this class, I've begun to be involved in the gardens at our school. It's been interesting to learn about and from nature. If you want to see more of what we are doing at my school, I've set up a page with some information and resources for outdoor learning. It was a lovely day and it makes me excited for spring and the learning to come.

Monday, February 12, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Past Week on the Blog:


Last Week in Books:
Duran Duran, Imelda Marcos, and Me was extremely interesting from a historical perspective. The author and I are of a similar age so I remember hearing about some of the events when I was in high school, but I didn't have a solid understanding of what was happening in the Philippines then. I also connected with the author because I too have lost my father. Calling My Name was another book I had many connections to. I lived in the Houston area for several years and also went to a fairly conservative church for many years in my childhood. It's told through a series of vignettes from Taja's life and is a coming-of-age book.

Jigsaw Jungle is an ARC I got from a publisher. Unfortunately I am not a big fan of this one. I like the concept of it - a scavenger hunt & the use of many different types of text, but I couldn't get past my inability to believe the whole setup. I can't say much about it without spoilers, but I figured out the plot twist early, though I was hoping very much that it wasn't what I suspected. Maybe others will love it, but it totally didn't work for me.

Symptoms of Being Human is about a teen named Riley and it was very compelling. Riley is dealing with the normal stress of being a teen in addition to being the child of a politician, being new at school and how to blend in there as a genderfluid person.

The Coming Week: I've started Shadowhouse Fall. Beyond that, I'm not sure what will be up next. Have a great week!


Reading Challenge Updates: 
Goodreads Challenge 2018 - 35/800
Diversity on the Shelf 2018 - 23/300
#MustReadin2018 - 5/30

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Celebrating Snowy Walks


Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week and I appreciate the community we have through this link-up.


Our professional development day was held at the university near our home so I was able to walk to work on Friday. That was so fun. This has still been a cold week, but it warmed up enough to take the dog for walks almost every day. We've only made it all the way around the block once, but every day with a walk is a good day. My Schatzie can only be outside for a little while when it's below 20.
The weather even inspired me to run yesterday. It may not have been the wisest choice, but I survived. When I took my dog out to walk it seemed like it was warmer than normal. I didn't check the temp though and just got ready to run. Within a block my nose was stinging. I didn't realize it was only 15F until I got home. It had seemed warm compared to the day before. It was warmer, but not so very much. The temp made my thirty minute run seem like a major accomplishment. I complain about the cold sometimes, but I do love walking and running in our neighborhood when there is snow everywhere to crunch underfoot. It's been especially nice when the sun has been shining. Sunlight is so cheerful. Have a wonderful week!

Monday, February 5, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Past Week on the Blog:



Last Week in Books: 



Ashes to Asheville is a middle grade novel about family and you should be warned, it made me cry. See You in the Cosmos is another middle grade novel. I liked it enough, but thought it might be one that adults will like more than young readers. Break an Egg! is a cute early chapter book about girls in a fine arts elementary school who are in a musical.

Like Water was a unique contemporary YA.  

Two of the books I read are from my #MustReadin2018 list. Hunger is an adult memoir that was difficult to read. Roxane shares some very painful parts of her life. I am a big Star Wars fan so The Princess Diarist was interesting. I thought it would be more about the making of the movie and was surprised to find it really mostly focused on 19 year old Carrie Fisher's affair with Harrison Ford. Yikes. 

Finally, Candlewick sent me a copy of The Secret Kingdom. It is an fabulous picture book biography of Nek Chand, an incredible artist in India (originally from the area where Pakistan is located now). He spent years making art on a neglected piece of land. I read it with 4th grade students and they were in awe.

The Coming Week: It looks like a YA week. I just started Symptoms of Being Human. I also checked out Shadowhouse Fall and Calling My Name.  Happy reading to you!

Reading Challenge Updates: 
Goodreads Challenge 2018 - 32/800
Diversity on the Shelf 2018 - 21/300
#MustReadin2018 - 4/30

Sunday, February 4, 2018

Celebrating World Read Aloud Day


Ruth Ayres has a link-up on weekends where people link to posts that are celebrations about their week. I love this reminder to celebrate every week and I appreciate the community we have through this link-up.

World Read Aloud Day!




This week was a lot of fun because we were celebrating World Read Aloud Day. Teachers were reading aloud with their students and/or having them buddy read. We also made a lot of connections for reading. I wrote about those on our school blog.  A few classes read with Matthew Winner and his classes. I was able to set up author and illustrator visits with seven of my classes too. This means that about half of our students were able to Skype for WRAD. I will work on connecting the rest of the classes with others sometime before the end of the year. I think I have just as much fun as the students when we are able to meet with people outside of our local community. It was also helpful because I had a cold and was not able to speak very well so having others read with us gave my voice a break. Kindergarten didn't have any Skype visits so we used Tumblebooks for our read-alouds. Robert Munch reads his own books and we were cracking up with him.

World Read Aloud Day makes my heart happy.

Monday, January 29, 2018

It's Monday! What are you reading?

 

It's Monday! What are you Reading? is a meme hosted by Kathryn at Book Date. It's a great way to recap what you read and/or reviewed the previous week and to plan out your reading and reviews for the upcoming week. It's also a great chance to see what others are reading right now...you just might discover your next “must-read” book!

Kellee Moye, of Unleashing Readers, and Jen Vincent, of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give It's Monday! What Are You Reading? a kidlit focus. If you read and review books in children's literature - picture books, chapter books, middle grade novels, young adult novels, anything in the world of kidlit - join us! We love this meme and think you will, too. We encourage everyone who participates to visit at least three of the other kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

If you want to know more about what I've been reading, visit my Goodreads shelf.

Past Week on the Blog:
Celebrate!

 Rich in Color - Love, Hate & Other Filters

Past Week in Books: 


Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a nice collection of art & mini-bios of some amazing women. I like that you get a wide range of women. It's great for brief introductions of these women, but because of the format, obviously much is left out. I think it's a good starting place for learning about the women & then moving on to more comprehensive information elsewhere.

Everything I Never Told You is an interesting look at how people know and don't know each other. A family is working through the aftermath of a death and seeing how sometimes our communication or lack of it, can lead us to misperceptions of each other. The family realizes that we may think we know someone, but how we see someone is greatly affected by who we are. How we see someone can show more about us than them sometimes. (This was on my MustReadin2018 list)

I Like, I Don't Like shares pictures & comments where a child in one place and/or situation can like something and a child in another can dislike it. An example is a child playing with Lego bricks and a statement of liking bricks across from a picture of a child making bricks saying they don't like bricks. The focus is poverty and child labor around the world. The book ends with a few paragraphs describing the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. This is a book that would need to be accompanied by quite a bit of support & discussion. I feel it is a bit heavy handed or teachy because they kept it very simple, but does open up room for important conversations.

Vincent and Theo had me ugly crying. The sibling relationship revealed in this book is so powerful. I was in awe of the love they had for each other. The story doesn't not have a happy ending as most would likely know before reading. Even knowing that, I was unprepared for the amount of emotion I felt. This is an incredible book.

Mulan was a simple and straightforward re-telling of the Ballad of Mulan. I really enjoy hearing about women who have done great things.

It's Shoe Time! is an Elephant & Piggie Presents book and is quite adorable.

Amira's Totally Chocolate World is a cute story of a girl who wants a chocolate world. On Eid ul-Fitr she wakes up to that reality, but understands that a fully chocolate world would make life difficult and is not something she truly wants.

Ugly Cat & Pablo is a cute and funny early chapter book that includes some Spanish. I'm eager to share it with students. I know they will find much to enjoy and laugh at in this one and it's short enough I can read it with my classes.

The Coming Week:
I'm re-reading Down and Across to write a review, but otherwise, I'm not sure what I will grab this week. Happy reading!
 
Reading Challenge Updates: 
Goodreads Challenge 2018 - 25/800
Diversity on the Shelf 2018 - 17/300
#MustReadin2018 - 2/30