Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ghost by Jason Reynolds: Black History Month Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

Nobody had to teach Castle "Ghost" Crenshaw how to run. He learned how to do it when his dad chased his mom and him with a gun and landed in jail for using it. Ghost has run ever since but he can't seem to outrun all of the trouble he gets into at his middle school.

When he finds himself smack center in a training session of a local elite track team called the Defenders, he impulsively challenges one of the runners to prove he can run as fast. The tough Olympic medalist coach can't help but notice Ghost's potential and natural talent. He asks him to join the team. Will the coach help channel Ghost's talent into something productive or will the anger Ghost carries with him get in the way?

As Ghost gets to know his teammates and his coach, the characters develop in a realistic way in which the reader will easily relate. The few white characters are described as such while the other characters are black like Ghost. Reynolds successfully breaks the tape with character development in a book that is sure to give running a boost. One can't help but cheer on the beloved protagonist both on and off the track.

Rating ★★★★★

Publishing Information

Publisher: Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books (Aug. 30, 2016)
ISBN: 978-1481450157
Ages: 10 and up
Hardcover: 192 pages

This book can be purchased from the following retailers:


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Friday, February 3, 2017

Boys To Books Celebrates Black History Month



I know I'm admitting my age when I write this but I spend so much time reviewing children and young adult books that I don't often get to express why I write here.

I was a prolific reader growing up. I read whatever I could get my hands on. Since I grew up in a low income neighborhood with parents who didn't share the same love of reading, I didn't get very many trips to the public library.

Instead, I looked forward to the arrival of the Bookmobile in my neighborhood. I felt lucky to have a mobile library show up on my street. When I was old enough to go to school and take advantage of the school library, I felt like I was in heaven. My daughter latched on to my love of reading, my sons not so much. This is one of the reasons I started this blog in the first place. I wanted to light a fire for my sons and make sure they knew that reading wasn't just for girls.

I had one picture book that made a profound impact on my white world. That book, Runaway Slave, introduced me to my first heroine, Harriet Tubman.
Harrit Tubman: Photo public domain via Wikipedia Commons
I read this book over and over, incensed at how slave owners treated other human beings. I became more incensed every time I heard friends or family members make racist comments about my black fellow Americans.  Did they not understand my love for Harriet Tubman? A woman who single handedly saved 70 slaves by putting her life in danger and the lives of others through the Underground Railroad network. I liked to believe I would have been one of those white women who hung my quilt in the window to let those families know I would provide a safe haven. 

As a child, I am ever grateful that my parents let me watch the whole miniseries Roots. I will never forget Kizzy Kinte spitting into her white slave owner's cup of water and how I cheered Kizzy on for that small act of rebellion. I also cheered Kizzy on for learning to read. 

I celebrate Black History month to remind myself how it important it is to treat each other humanely and with love and compassion. I shook my head in disgust when an extended family member posted on his Facebook page about how the Black Lives Matter Movement is racist. I knew he would never understand what it is really all about no matter what I said. However, this is my page and I can rise up up to say I understand why the movement is necessary and why we still have a long way to go in this country in regards to the issue of race. I am glad we get a month to reflect on those African Americans who have contributed so much to our country.

I stand as a white woman to celebrate freedom and respect for all. To tell the world that I'm proud that the heroine of my youth was a black woman and that she still is a beacon of strength in my life. I stand for humanity. I celebrate black history month and the books that touch the lives of so many. I have two books for Black History Month I'll be reviewing in the next few weeks so stay tuned.

In the meantime, join me and comment on this post telling me who your black hero or heroine is and how they have made an impact in your life. (Any racist comments will not be published.)




Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Gears of Revolution (Mysteries of the Cove #2) by J. Scott Savage: Book Review



With the mysterious disappearance of Kallista's father, Leo Babbage, Trenton and Kallista work together to sort out the clues he has left behind. After discovering a compass, they set off with it in hand on the home made mechanical dragon they call Ladon. Not only do they hope to find Kallista's father but they also want to learn more about their hidden mountain city of Cove.

Instead they are shot down by a group of Whipjacks and find themselves in a city called Seattle, much different than their own. The people of Seattle have to scavenge their food instead of growing it and have made an alliance with the dragons through offerings. When Kallista and Trenton realize that the Order reveres the dragons, they try to hide the fact that they have killed one.

The Whipjack leader, the 'dimber damber' Cochrane, convinces the Order to let him use Kallista's and Trenton's mechanical skills instead of killing them. Their work just may end up inadvertently help the city gear up for war.


Savage escapes the dreaded boring middle book of a trilogy by skillfully creating a fantasy world, further developing characters, and building a plot that morphs into an intriguing adventure. Steampunk and dragons come together for a unique middle grade adventure sure to elicit excitement that will build throughout the book and have the reader anticipating the third.

Rating ★★★★

Publishing Information
Publisher: Shadow Mountain Publishing
ISBN: 978-1-62972223-
Pages: 352
Ages: 8-11

This book can be purchased from the following:


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Book Review: Fun Science by Charlie McDonnell Book Review

Book received at no charge to facilitate review.

You Tube star, Charlie McDonnell thinks science is awesome and he's found a way to make a "Big Bang" with his first book. From the formation of the universe to the inner workings of your body, McDonnell covers a vast array of scientific topics with easy to understand facts. Written from a science fan's point of view instead of a scientist helps the younger reader get a grasp on basic principles.

McDonnell has a way of making facts fun by adding jokes and side notes along the way. For example when he adds the side note, "This rock is deep,, man...it has many layers," it makes it easy for the reader to visualize the concept of a layers of a sedimentary rock.

The best part of Fun Science is that it doesn't have to be read from front to back like a novel. The reader can choose the subject that is the most interesting and start in the middle if he chooses. While the high school or college science enthusiast might find some of the concepts to basic, the budding young scientist will love the introduction to all things science. A fun book that might light the path of  a future astronomer, doctor, geologist, or researcher.

Rating:

Publishing Information

Publisher: Quadrille Publishing (October 18, 2016)
ISBN 978-1849498029
Hardcover: 224 pages

This book can be purchase through Amazon: