Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Brothers Torres Coert Voorhees

The Brothers Torres by Coert Voorhees- I really didn't plan on writing anymore book post until the new year. I heard great things about The Brothers Torres early in the year yet I was still surprised by how much I loved this book. This is the story of 16 yr old Frankie Thomas. The younger brother who must work at his families restaurant while his older brother, Steve gets a soccer scholarship, the girls and a car. Voorhees created a character in Frankie Thomas that many people can get behind and relate to. He's in his older siblings shadow, he's a sophomore trying to psych himself up to ask a girl to homecoming. Frankie must also decide what type of man he wants to be. This is a very well told with a strong beginning that will capture many reluctant readers. Voorhees doesn't try to do too much with The Brothers Torres, simply tells Frankie's story- thats one of the things that makes this novel so good. The Torres family lives in New Mexico. Frankie's tells us a lot about their small town Borges, its history and the people who live there. While reading this I couldn't help but think diversity in books is such a beautiful thing and I want more of it in young adult literature. There are some things that a Frankie Torres will say or experience that a Frank Towers couldn't. Everyone should be exposed to other experiences and everyone deserves to read a line that brings on that a ha moment of recognition.

Time to share

Frankie working at the restaurant

"This is our salsa especial." They raise their eyebrows, and I know I made the right choice. If you want to milk a tip from tourists, you have two options. One is to speak entirely in English, with no accent at all, so that you give them the impression that even though you're from a crappy small town, you'r still educated and wanted to make something of yourself. The other option is to embrace the culture, the langauge and the accent- and then to lay that experience on thick.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Own the Tee "There's no crying in baseball"

Check out Apryl's great post about Vintage Blue an eco friendly company that has vintage inspired sportswear. The first line is based off of All American Girls Professional Baseball League. What League? It inspired the A League of Their Own movie
Women Like Sports - Vintage Blue

Monday, December 22, 2008

Christmas Eve at Books Are Beautiful

This post is dedicated to retail workers everywhere. Feel free to vent in the comment box

The Worst of Customer Shorts

Customers- Where are audio books ?
Tamika- Just right over here
Customers - Well I need some suggestions
Tamika- (you should've come in last week. Your lucky I am even walking you to the section) Well the bestsellers are right here.
Customers - Is that the best you can do?
Tamika- Yes - Next

Sam- Your total is 64.29
Customers- Hmm how do I want to pay. What was my total again?
Sam (breath) 64.29
Customers- Oh good I kept it under $85.00, I suppose I will write a check.
Sam - Noooooooooooo
Customers- Uh oh I can't find my check book. Here it is. What's my total again?
Sam- (hold it in and breath) 64.29 ( thanks, for not having anything filled in yet)
Customer- Here is my I.D.
Sam- Thank you, your receipt is in the bag.
Customer- Wait, I just have to balance my check book. If I don't do it now I'll forget.
Sam- Of course you have to do that right in front of my register while there is a long line on Christmas Eve.

Customer- I am looking for America's Dictionary
John- Sold out
Customer- Are you sure?
John - Yes
Customer- Any in the back?
John - No
Customer- Where can I get it? I need that book.
John ( If I could turn back time, I would find a way to make sure you still didn't get America's Dictionary because you're a pain in the ass) Don't know
Customer- Thanks for nothing
John- Your welcome , Next

Kelly- What can I help you find?
Customer- data technical study the 2nd edition by Williams published by Carson Press
Kelly- ( that doesn't sound like a present, and Kelly doesn't do text books ever, especially on Christmas eve) We don't carry text books
Customer- You didn't even check
Kelly- Are you looking for a text book?
Customer- I am looking for a book
Kelly - Is it for class?
Customer- Yes
Kelly - Do you know how much it cost?
Customer- Lets see its says here $150
Kelly- (quack quack man) Its a text book
Customer- Where can I get it?
Kelly (Don't care) Don't know, Next

Customer- I need a nice coffee table book about Guatemala
Tamika- (and I need not to walk away after hearing what you need) We won't have that here
Customer- Well how about a nice book about the history of Guatemala
Tamika- Everything we have about Guatemala is in travel
Customer - The gift is for a couple, who just got back from Guatemala, they don't need a travel book
Tamika ( Then why the hell are you trying to get them a book about a place they just visited, you should've got them a digital camera for the trip) Thats all we have, Next

Customer- I am looking for a books for a 9 yr old girl, and she's a very precocious reader
Lucy- Aren't they all this time of year - What does she like to read
Customer- Everything, she very advanced for her age. She's already read all the Harry Potters
Lucy- (Of course)- How about this book about a magical time machine?
Customer- Oh no thats way too short. She needs something more advanced because she's a very precocious reader
Lucy- ( I hate that word, reading is not a race) Well here are some titles other Harry Potter fans enjoyed. Next

Friday, December 19, 2008

Change-Up Baseball Poems Gene Fehler Donald Wu

Change-Up: Baseball Poems by Gene Fehler -I love baseball and was very happy to get an advanced copy of this forthcoming book of baseball poems from Clarion Books. (thanks Jennifer) A good sports book puts a smile on my face. A good sports book makes me thankful that I can appreciate a game, the game, any game. A good sports book makes me feel bad for those who can't see the beauty in the game.

Change- Up is a great collection of baseball poems. There's a very nice cohesive flow (thanks Project Runway) to this collection. Though every poem stands strong on its own when read in order it tells the story of a baseball season, through the eyes of a shortstop/pitcher. One of the things I love about this collection is, feeling the love, this young player has for the game of baseball. We are introduced to some of his baseball loving family. I love that moms is a lover of the game along with the dad and grandpa.

Mom (an excerpt)

Some moms are too busy
to ever come to your ballgames

My mom pitches me batting practice
hits me grounders, then dives
in the dirt to field mine. At breakfast

some moms nag about homework or how
you're dressed for school. Mine grabs the morning
paper to read the box scores.

Some baseball players and fans can be very superstitious (me included) There's a poem called Superstitions, I'll tease you with the last verse.

Well, I'm not superstitious
Not me. No, not a bit
But now I'd better kiss my bat
it's almost time to hit.

I Visualized the Ball (an excerpt)
I visualized the ball so well
I could read every word written on it
The name on the baseball, Spalding, spoke to me, saying "How do you do?"
"Fine" I said, and I hit the ball
smack on that name and visualized it all the way over the fence"

Fehler is able to describe the craziness that is a knuckleball. For all the girls who play or simply enjoy the game along with the baseball loving mom there's Gabby one of the Stars best pitchers and she has her very own poem.

Now the illustrations. I already dropped the L word a few times, and I will happily do it again. I loved Donald Wu's illustrations. Wu's artwork compliments Fehler text very well. I'll do my best to describe two of my favorite pictures. In the first one a batter hits a surprise two strike bunt- the ball is at the edge of the paper, so close and clean the stitching can be counted , and its hugging the line. Then there's the eyes of the players - the fielder and catcher look surprised and worried, the hitter looks hopeful and happy.

In my second favorite- a baseball breaks a light in the outfield. The ball shatters in two, everything falls together including speckles of yellow making it look like stars are falling. With all of that happening the outfielder remembers to keep her eye on the ball.

Baseball fans will love this collection of poems. The last baseball book I raved about like this was James Preller's Six Innings back in May. Six Innings has since made New York Public Library 100 Books for reading or sharing list. I am not trying to say anything, am just saying.
Change-Up Baseball Poems is due to be released on February 16.

Nikki and Deja: Birthday Blues Karen English

Nikki and Deja: Birthday Blues (Nikki & Deja) by Karen English, I came upon this by chance while flipping through a children's catalog of upcoming releases. Its the second book featuring best friends Nikki and Deja. Deja is about to turn eight, and her birthday party is coming up. One of the things I loved about Nikki and Deja is that it wasn't a signal focused storyline. Nikki and Deja still had to do a map of their neighborhood and a presentation for social studies. It wasn't all about the party , though Deja does like to remind Nikki it was coming up to get her way but what seven yr old doesn't do that with their best friend. Antonia a girl from Deja's class decides to throw a just because party the same day has Deja's birthday party. Antonia hands out her inviations first. Deja waited too long to give out hers and now one may come to her party. Of course it works out in the end but it was not an easy fix. Some of the funniest parts came when Deja had to stay with Miss Ida an older neighbor while, her Auntie Dee goes out of town on business. Miss Ida still has a rotary dial telephone (there's a picture), a black and white T.V. with a rabbit ear antenna. I really enjoyed this story and little girls will love it. From the cover I thought it was going to about the same reading level as Junie B. Jones or Willimena Rules. I was very excited to discover it was slightly higher since there don't seem to be enough books featuring black characters for children who are past early readers as previously mentioned and are not yet ready for Sharon Flake or Nne Okorafor Mbachu. Nikki & Deja Birthday Blues comes out January 19 and the first book Nikki & Deja will be released in paperback.

Time to Share - Nikki tries one of Miss Ida's candies

"Nikki eyes widen, and she immediately looks at the dish of peppermints on the coffee table. She smiles broadly. Deja can't help but giggle as she holds the dish out to Nikki. "What's so funny?" Nikki asks plucking a peppermint from the bowl. "Nothing " Nikki pops the candy in her mouth and tries to suck on it, then begins to chew slowly. Deja bursts out laughing watching the look on Nikki's face go from anticipation to confusion. Nikki chews and chews and finally swallows. "What's wrong with this candy?" "Its kind of old." Deja's giggle turns into a laugh. "You should have seen your face."

Pele, King of Soccer/Pele, El Rey del Futbol Monica Brown Rudy Gutierrez

Pele, King of Soccer/Pele, El Rey del Futbol by Monica Brown, illustrated by Rudy Gutierrez, translated by Fernando Gayesky. I released its been awhile since I posted about a sports book when this book stop me in my tracks. This is a beautiful book/ Es libro bonito. I promise I won't do that again . Since this is bilingual picture book I figured one time wouldn't hurt. Brown tells the story of a young Pele who grew up in a small town in Brazil. Pele is the King of Soccer and in Brazil soccer is king. Though Pele's family didn't have much money soccer was still played, when necessary shoeless and with a newspaper stuffed sock as a ball. Gutierrez warm vibrant colors influenced by the Brazilian flag brings this picture book to life. Pele is featured on every page, doing every thing from cleaning shoes, comforting his father and of course scoring goals. I lack the vocabulary to describe how gorgeous this is but I'll give it a go. In one of my favorites Pele is high in the air above the stadium doing a bicycle kick, the opposition leans back in surprise and wonder, the ball is bullseye center of the stadium, with the word Goooooooooooool written on bottom of the page. This is a great introduction to Pele and soccer. In the author notes Brown has more information about Pele including his full name.

Time to Share
Pele and his friends started their own soccer team. When the other teams saw that Pele and his teammates couldn't afford shoes they nicknamed them the "Barefoot Team" But the Barefoot Team kept winning.

Marjorie Coughlan interviews Monica Brown about multicultural literacy - PaperTigers

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You A Pie Robbin Gourley

Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story about Edna Lewis by Robbin Gourley
When I first heard about this book, the name Edna Lewis sounded familiar though I couldn't place it. When the ARC arrived (thanks Jennifer) there was a picture of Edna Lewis on the back. It came to me then, I was like oh that Edna Lewis the chef. She came to the bookstore I work at a few years back to sign The Gift of Southern Cooking with co author Scott Peacock. Though I didn't get a chance to say hello, the line was very long. That book still sells very well. In this story about Edna Lewis, Gourley shows us how the Lewis family eats whatever the season brings. The story opens with a birds call signaling the end of winter and the beginning of spring. In each season the Lewis family picks the ripe fruit and vegetables. It's not looked upon as a chore, the family works together filling baskets and singing rhymes. The rhymes tell of the many things that can be done with the picked food. Some will be canned to be kept in the celler for winter. This would be a great read aloud with its nice easy flow. Gourley's illustrations made me want to trade the chocolate I was eating while reading this for some fresh fruit. I must give two thumbs up to a book featuring fruits and vegetables that make my mouth water. Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You A Pie is a great book to help teach children where and when fruit and vegetables are grown and their importance in our daily diet. Gourley has placed a few recipes in the back of the book - including one for corn pudding and apple crisp

Time to Share
When the wild blackberries are ripe, Edna, Sister, and Brother forage early in the day, before thunderstorms start to rumble. Sweet berries stain hands and lips and teeth blue.

Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie received a starred Publishers Weekly Review

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Willoughbys Lois Lowry (This is not a review)

The Willoughbys by Lois Lowry I loved the Willougbhys, it had me laughing out loud. If you're looking for a gift for a teacher or someone who enjoys children's literature or hates the classics with orphans get them The Willoughbys. This book was silly, fun, quick and perfect

Places where you can find an actual review and summary of The Willoughbys

The Look of the Hunted Retail Worker

A customer with a long list should never ever stop me in mid purpose stride while I am obviously in the middle of helping someone else. When this happens my neck snaps real quick and the customer gets The Look, its a cross between the little girl from The Exorcist and the woman from I'm Gonna Git You Sucka. After working on her feet for 8 hours two guys try to pick her up she screams at them, she has cramps and her face morphs into something hideous. That's the Look impatient customers get when I am busy and they act like I am some catchable thing. If I could stop the Look I would but I can't, that's like asking a deer not to run when they hear the telltale sign of a rifle, or asking a cat not to hiss when trapped in a corner, or asking a baseball player not to move out of the way of a 90mph fastball. The Look is a reflex. I am simply trying to survive and not scream on the sales floor.

After Tupac & D Foster Jacqueline Woodson

After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson, I don't know what took me so long to read this, I really have no excuse because 1) it's Woodson and 2) I read a lot of great reviews. After Tupac and D Foster is set in the mid 90's. The book opens with a nameless narrator and her best friend, Neeka learning that Tupac survived being shot five times. The narrator and Neeka have been friends since birth. They're eleven years old, and their mothers believe too young to travel by themselves. So they stay on their Queens block., one day D finds her way to them. D Foster is also eleven however she doesn't have a mother to worry over her. Instead D has a foster parent that trust D's instinct to roam the city. The connection between the girls is quick and very believable. The life time two some quickly turns into Three the Hard Way. All three love Tupac's music. Woodson narrator is a reader so we learn Tupac's mother was a Black Panther and he was born in prison. D Foster feels Tupac lyrics are speaking for and to her. There are moments in the novel when D feels safe enough to share a small part of herself thanks to one of Tupac songs. In those moments Woodson makes me feel D's safety. Nothing out of the ordinary happens in this novel, that's part of its beauty. Its simply life. Woodson's writing is beautiful, this book not even 200 pages yet I felt connected to all of the characters. The three girls of course but there's also Neeka's, older brother JayJones who dreams of playing pro ball, Neeka's oldest brother Tash, a self proclaimed Queen, a victim of a hate crime and serving time. It doesn't matter if a young reader is unfamiliar with Tupac, they'll still enjoy this novel. I believe this is more then Tupac its about being young and finding something or someone that understands you. Many readers will relate to D's connection to Tupac and her need for it. After Tupac and D Foster would be an excellent mother - daughter book club read . There's so much that can be dissected and discussed. Also moms can reminisce but not too much moms you don't want your daughters rolling their eyes.

Time to Share
"Brohers be hunted," Jayjones said one Sunday morning. "I wanted to tell Jayjones that sisters be hunted too- boys screaming behind you and whatnot. Trying to touch you and whaynot when you walked passed them like they had some kind of right to your body. It was crazy."

"I see Tupac rapping and I see he got that same look that I got- like we both know what it feels like to be that hungry, to wan to eat something that bad. And when you finally get something to eat your stomach gets all cramped up around it and you can't even keep it down."

Other After Tupac & D Foster reviews (slightly more extensive) Fuse #8 TeenReads

Friday, December 12, 2008

Dream Jordan Interview

I am very exicted to be doing my first blog interview. Newly published Young Adult author Dream Jordan was kind enough to answer a few questions. Jordan's first book Hot Girl was published earlier this year by St. Martin Press. It is nominated for the 2009 YALSA Quick Picks for reluctant reader awards.

1. Please tell us a little about yourself?
I was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York I think I came into this world with a book in my hand. I was reading Franz Kafka at age 12, although I didn’t understand half of what was going on! I loved the library as a youngster, and I think my time spent there ultimately led to my writing career. I love to laugh, make people laugh, and I’m an all around cool chick.

2. Who are some of your favorite authors?
I don’t have a favorite author. I just love books by writers who are real and true to their stories.

3. When and where do you like to write?
I love to write at night, and I usually write at home. But I wouldn’t mind writing in Starbucks, if only I could find a cool table in the cut, sip on a Mocha Frap and let the muse take me away!

4. Are you in a writing group?
No, I’m not in a writing group, but I’ve been thinking about joining one. Writing is such a solitary vocation.

5. How did you get started writing YA lit?
Fellow writer C.J. Morales suggested that I write for children. I took it a step further and decided to write for teens. I still feel young, and I relate to children very well, so I think this is my perfect calling.

6. On your Myspace page you mention that at 12 yrs old your honor roll grades dropped drastically. What happened? What would you suggest a parent do if their child is in a similar situation?
The major event that happened in my life was - believe it or not – my best friend moving to Florida. We had such a unique standing in our school. We weren’t super popular, but a lot of boys liked us – especially her. We chose to compete with our grades, and weren’t too concerned with our outer appearances or other superficial matters. When my BFF moved, I fell in with a different crowd. They weren’t bad girls, but they weren’t into the do-good-in-school thing. I recommend that parents talk to their children, explaining the purpose of school. When parents emphasize the need to get good grades, without explaining the connection to a brighter future, (in a loving way) a child feels pressured instead of encouraged. I’m not saying my parents should have done anything differently. They did the best they could. And if I didn’t go through what I’ve been through, I may not have seen the need to help other at-risk young adults realize their full potential. I find that a lot of people who don’t struggle, or face challenges, don’t believe in coming back, and giving back to others.

7. Tell us a little about New Youth Connection? How did you find out about it?
Youth Communication trains teens in journalism and related skills. The organization also encourages teens and the adults who work with them to use their publication to stimulate reading, writing, discussion and reflection on important topics such as safe sex, college life, you name it, they cover it. When I worked for the Brooklyn Public Library, New Youth Connection was delivered there. I picked up a copy, loved the realness of the teen voices, and I called up the office asking if they’d be interested in my article idea. They loved my article, published it, and seeing my first byline in print gave me the confidence to pursue a writing career. You can check them out here:

8. Did you go to college right after high school?
Say what? College right after high school? Now that’s a big laugh! I almost didn’t graduate high school. Owing to me messing up in high school (getting left back) and graduating from an alternative high school, I had many setbacks before I made it to New York University. But when I finally enrolled at NYU, I attended evening classes, part-time while holding down a full-time job. It was rough, but I did it!

9. You graduated manga cum laude from NYU. So how good are you at Jeopardy?
I can answer at least four questions during the entire half hour of a Jeopardy program.

10. I love the strength of the first chapter, it quickly grabs the reader. How many rewrites did you do?
Gee, thanks for the compliment. I should’ve kept track of my rewrites, but I can tell you that it didn’t come out right the first, second,, you get the idea! My agent is no joke, and never let me settle for the okeedoke.

11. Tell us a little about Hot Girl?
Hot GIRL is the story of 14-year-old Kate, a reckless foster child who manages to get on the right path, only to be sidetracked by a fast girl who leads her down a long, treacherous road.

12. Kate's a tomboy who loves basketball. Do you like or play any sports?
I don’t play sports, so I can’t explain why I wanted her to play sports. Maybe I wanted to exploit the tomboy aspect of her personality. My reasoning escapes me.

13. Why did you decide to create a character who has grown up in the foster care?
I wanted to create a character who is faced with insurmountable odds, but succeeds anyway. A lot of children are made to believe that their environment or circumstances shape who they are, and what they become. Through Kate, I want to represent a strong black girl with street smarts and book smarts. She demonstrates that school can be cool, and her future is in her own hands.

14. How much research if any did you do about foster care?
I did a TON of research on foster care. With my first draft, I depicted the typical incidents that I’ve only heard about on television. But several rejections later, I got on the good foot, and delved into the world of foster care. I found a really bleak picture of the system. So I wanted to paint a brighter side, because brighter sides do exist, and we need to hear about them. HOT GIRL is such a story. A lot of readers have told me that they felt hopeful after turning the last page of my novel.

15. How many editors rejected Hot Girl? What did you do with the rejection letters?
HOT GIRL received a total of 39 rejections. At first, I ripped the rejection letters to shreds. Then I calmed down, and decided to save them, so I could look back and laugh.

16. What did you do when heard Hot Girl was picked up by St. Martin Press?
I didn’t do much. Of course I was happy, but it’s been such a long road, I guess I just sighed with relief.

17. Even though 13 editors turned down the book, some students from P.S. 41 read and loved the first two chapters. How did they get a hold of your work?
On several occasions, my father’s wife asked me to visit her school to give talks about life as an author (I self-published a book in 2002). The high I got from talking to the children never left me. So when I needed to test my two chapters out, I asked her to pass the work around. The children gave their excited feedback through letters. When I started doubting myself and my purpose, I read those letters, and got myself amped up.

18. So you met YA author Coe Booth. How and where did this happen? Have you added Kendra to your short list to help make my reading dream of Kate and Kendra meeting come true? It doesn't even have to be a novel a short story will do. It doesn't even have to be published. I will happily accept it as a personal gift and I promise not to sell it on ebay.
Well Doret, I think you’re psychic. Imagine this. When you told me about Kendra, tell me why I met Coe Booth the very next day through the most unlikely of circumstances. Since I’m not in the YA mix yet, I wouldn’t have met Coe if it wasn’t for a wonderful librarian named Amy Cheney, who invited Coe and I to share a night of her being honored. Coe and I clicked right away. She’s extremely funny, and down to earth. I definitely hounded her about us collaborating, and she’s down with the program. If only we can find the time! But thanks for the idea, Doret. Of course you’ll get an honorable mention.

Congratulations on Hot Girl's, nomination for the 2009 YALSA Quick Picks for reluctant readers award. Its well deserved recognition.

Thank you, I appreciate that.

This or That

Coffee or Tea - Tea
Boots or Sandals - Boots
Project Runway or Next Top Model - Project Runway!!
Scrabble or Trivial Pursuit - Scrabble
Cats or Dogs - Cats
The Club or the Couch – The Club
Summer or Winter - Summer
Chocolate Brownies or Cheesecake – Chocolate Brownies

Hot Girl is valued priced at $9.95 Read the first chapter

My Hot Girl post

Monday, December 8, 2008

Publisher's Weekly Article on Books for Black Teens

The following is a link to a publisher weekly article by Felicia Pride and Calvin Reid about publishers paying more attention to YA fiction featuring black characters

Looks like there are some good titles due out in 2009, and I see a few titles I need to add to my
Books make great gifts post.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Holiday Venting

This holiday season is going pretty good so far but there are still a few things that make me want to scream

I hate when customers come up to the service desk and get huffy because they have to wait. Its not like the staff is standing around talking to each other no we are helping customer running around mutlitasking. I really hate it when these impatient customers try to bully us into finishing up with a customer by closing in on our personal space. You rude MF back the F up. Or when they scream does any body work here. I need some service. You're going to get some piss ass service now. You impatient prick

I hate when customers don't have their method of payment ready. They slow down the line, and the other customers start giving me the evil eye because the lines stopped. How hard is it to have a credit card, cash or check out. It gets worse when a check isn't filled out or a check writer wants to balance their check book right in front of my register. (Puff Puff Give MF you had your turn now move on)

I am so over customers asking if Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer is in paperback yet. And no I will not check. For those of you who aren't around books all the time. Novels usually follow a certain formula. Hardbacks are out for year give or take a month depending on how they sell, then the paperback edition comes out. If its a series like Meyer's Twilight books, once the new one comes out the one prior is usually released in paperback. However, this is not a strict rule, if the publishers can still make money on the hardcover they will delay the release of the paperback. So even through Breaking Dawn, the fourth book in the Twilight Saga came out earlier this year Eclipse the third book is still only in hardcover. Every single day someone will ask is Eclipse n paperback. And it wouldn't be so bad if they believed me when I said no. Why would I lie? Or didn't ask me why. I have no idea, I don't have any inside contacts.

I hate when customers who aren't holiday shopping want to bi*ch about how busy it is. The holiday season is the same time every year. If you don't do the holidays and hate the lines wait until January to shop.

I hate customers who want a gift receipt for a $2.99 bargain book. Really, I mean come on really a gift receipt for a $3 book, I just don't get that.

Misc Rants

"But it was reviewed in the paper." And that's why we're sold out. And no we don't have any in the back. I hate when customers who only shop the children's section once a year won't listen to any suggestions when we're sold out of a reviewed book they were looking for. And yes it was probably a very good book and thats why it was reviewed and sold out. But we still have some very nice books. "No, I came in specifically for this book because it was reviewed in the paper." "I can't believe you don't have it" This customer likes to repeat it was reviewed in the paper every five sentences, like its going to make the book magically appear. If it did I'd probably hide it.

"I am looking for children's classics like Mark Twain for a nine yr old." Mark Twain is not a children's classic. Its a classic yes but children's classic, no. If the kid doesn't drop out before high school they will read Twian. When I suggest Hatchet or Phantom Tollbooth I get the eww whats that look. I want to say MF they're freakin children's classic.

To be continued

I Am So Over My anti picture book

I am so over books featuring penquins. Ever since the March of Penquins movie, they've been very popular. Penguins are very cute but the world is filled with many animals. Can't zebras, seals, hippos, baboons or kangaroos get some love?

I am so over Pink picture books for girls. I have to bite my tongue when customers ask for these books.

I am so over Pop up Books. Every holiday season four or five pop up books come out. I am like enough already. I always get customers who want to talk about them. "These books are always so amazing. Look at all the detail." I really don't want to hear how amazing these pop ups are, just buy the books. It wouldn't be so bad if I didn't happen 5 or 6 times a week

The other day a new picture book came in that had 2 out of the 3 things I am so over. Pink! Its a pink penquin. (lovely) It's probably a very nice book but since its my anti picture book I won't be reading it anytime soon.

I am going to risk looking foolish here (if no one responds) and post a question. What is your anti book and why?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Scat Carl Hiaasen

Scat by Carl Hiaasen Once again I have the Random House Rep to thank for this book. I probably would have missed out on this very fun and entertaining read if not for the ARC. Hiaasen first middle grade novel, Hoot it didn't do much for me. When customers ask about Hoot, I simply say its a best seller and award winner. Now I am looking forward to telling customers how much I enjoyed Scat.

Like many of Hiaasen's novels Scat is a mystery set in Flordia. Mrs. Starch a no nonsense biology teacher goes missing after a field trip to Black Vine Swamp. I loved the beginning, we are introduced to many of the main players Mrs. Starch, Nick , Marta and Duane aka Smoke. Hiaasen puts the reader in the classroom, you can almost feel the fear Mrs Starch puts into her students. The period ends with Duane aka Smoke threating the teacher and eating a pencil out of her hand. The next day Mrs Starch goes missing after a fire in the Black Vine Swamp. Duane is the obvious suspect . The obvious suspect is never guilty, Hiassen never really tries to convince the reader of Duane's guilt. 14 yr old Nick and Marta's try to figure out what happened to their biology teacher. Nick's father is serving in Iraq. Hiassen treats this storyline with care and love. There are some very interesting characters in Scat making for a very funny read. Smoke's father Duane Scrod Sr., is paranoid at times, burned down a car dealership, listens to classical music and owns a crazy Macaw bird that speaks three langauges. Then there's Drake McBride, a rich New York transplate who likes to part of a Southner, with snakeskin boots on his feet, a cowboy hat on his head, danged and pardner rolling off his tongue. Wendell Maxmo a substitute teacher, always teaches the same page depending on the day of the week and forces the students to stand up and sing. Anyone familiar with Hiaasen's writing knows how much he cares about the enviroment. I enjoyed learning a few new things. When I started this book I didn't know Scat is animal feces or that Florida has pathners, or so many Florida animals are extinict. I enjoy learning new things from a novel, as long as it doesn't feel forced or take away from the story line. Hiassen blends his need to inform and tell a great story very well.

Time to share

"Marta looked as if she might throw up again. The last time that had happened, Mrs. Starch had barely waited until the floor was mopped before instructing Marta to write a paper listing five major muscles used in the act of regurgitation. Nick and the other students had been blown away. What kind of teacher would punish a kid for puking?

Scat's release date is January 27. If you're looking for a fun new mystery to read or recommend until Scat comes out check out Put A Spell On You

Monday, December 1, 2008

I Share My Opinion (what's not urban lit) written by Amy Pattee a assistant professor at Simmons College’s Graduate School of Library and Information Science. The article is about urban literature and if its appropriate for teens. After reading this, I had to remember to breathe.

I was kind of wary when Pattee says urban literature is know for it's provocative titles, which is so true but the example she gives -"Death Before Dishonor" is so weak. There are so many better titles she could have chosen. James Patterson's " Pop Goes the Weasel" is more provocative. Though, I nodded my head in approval when she outlines the history of urban literature. I also agreed when Pattee said urban novels are prone to grammicial, punctuation and spelling errors. Though from there we part ways.

Pattee considers Push by Sapphire an urban lit novel, and that is so wrong. Push is not urban lit. ( redundant on purpose) Push is a beautifully written contemporary realistic novel. It does not glamorizes the protagonist story. It simply tells the story of Precious Jones, a teenage girl who slowly begins to believe in herself and want more. No one reading Push is going to dream of being a pregnant 16yr old who is sexually abused by her parents. If Push is urban lit then so is Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison

Pattee goes on to say some of the African American YA novels are urban fiction.

"Teen street lit also often includes warnings about the harmful consequences of destructive or criminal behavior. And some mainstream publishers are now offering a “safer” variety of teen street lit, such as Scholastic’s “Bluford High” and Harlequin’s “Kimani Tru” series—but beware, young connoisseurs of urban lit may find these more restrained stories babyish or inauthentic."

I have read some Kimani Tru novels and they are not urban lit, if we are sticking to the already established defintion in the article. Kimani Tru novels feature black teens sometimes but not always living in urban areas, doing what all teens do coping with family, friends and life. I have not read any of the Bluford High books but I am go out on a limb here and say they are not urban lit. The other YA novels Pattee names do not fit the pre established urban lit criteria either. If Tyrell by Coe Booth and The Hoopster by Alan Lawren Sitomer are urban lit then so are The First Part Last by Angela Johnson and Game Walter Dean Myers.

I am so upset by this article, Pattee seems to be calling most contemporary YA fiction featuring African American characters urban literature. She's teaching and influencing the buying habits of future librarians. There are negative connotations assicoated with urban lit (or maybe that's just my bias) when some of Pattee's student begin working they may think twice about giving a book like Hot Girl by Dream Jordan or Indigo Summer by Monica Mckayhan a chance.

Their eyes were reading smut I am linking to this 2006 NYT opt piece by Nick Chiles because it fits in with this post plus its a great article and I don't know when I will get a chance to share it again. It still makes me laugh, its either laugh or cry.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Sneak Attack Customer Style

Another Unfortunate Skit at Books are Beautiful

While helping a customer find a few gifts, Marcus feels someone impatiently starring him down. He refuses to acknowledge their presence.

Marcus- We have a lot of great new books on WWII
Customer- Prefect, if you can show me a few of the more recent ones
Marcus (I see you lurking, and I feel your stare but you still have to wait) Sure
Customer- I am also looking for a cookbook for my brother who recently graduated from culinary school.

The Sneak Attacker- Inches in closer, begins to sigh

Marcus (ahh you wanna play like that, a full court press. Yeah that will help you get service quicker) We have some excellent professional cookbooks and I'll also show you some international cookbooks
Customer- That's a wonderful idea
The Sneak Attacker- I just have a quick question.
Marcus (Sure) If you wait someone will be right with you
The Sneak Attacker- I have been waiting
Marcus (whatever, you've been plotting this quick question line since you walked up) What section can I point you towards.
The Sneak Attacker- I need a book for my 10yr old niece and 12 yr old nephew.
Marcus (wtf, that's not quick, where's the bathroom is quick, where's Harry Potter is quick, that's a wait my turn question.) Unfortunately, Sir you're going to have to wait. I am still assisting this customer, who was kind enough to wait while I heard you out.

The Sneak Attacker- Screams you need more employees before leaving the store

Marcus- Sorry about that
Customer- No worries that guy was an ass
Marcus (You've just earned 5 more minutes of my time)

Friday, November 28, 2008

Burn Suzanne Phillips

Burn Suzanne Phillips- Cameron is only few days into his freshman year of high school when the bullying starts. Phillips has given us a fully developed character in Cameron making Burn a very hard book to put down. Through Cameron the reader can understand how hard it is psychically and emotionally to go to school everyday when being bullied. I loved how the bully began, it was such a simple mistake. In high school its not only the big things that can turn someone into an outcast. Cameron's nightmare began when the coach accidentally directed him toward the girl's gym. The next day the football players started calling him, Cameron Diaz. The ringer leader is a junior named Rich Patterson. From the beginning Cameron is barely holding on, to assert some control in his life, Cameron plays with matches. He is attracted to the smell, the sound, and the ability to control something alive that's deadly. The bullying escalates over the semester, until there is a serious attack in the boys locker room. The next day Cameron snaps and kills someone. Phillips build up to Cameron's break down is gradual and believable. Burn is Young Adult novel though I think its appropriate for somoeone as young as 11 yrs old. It would make an excellent book club book, touching on many important issues.
Time to share

Cameron holds the lighter under the balled up paper towel. The fire doesn't spread fast, like Cameron wants it to, needs it to. The paper is wet. It smokes but doesn't flame. A dud like he is, only there's a lot more potential with fire than there is with a guy who's afraid to bend over to tie his shoe, afraid to bend over to tie his shoe, afraid he'll be like a duck with his head underwater.

Cameron feels every one of Patterson's knuckles in the soft part of his stomach, below the arch of his ribs. The breath shoots out of his lungs, his heart stops, then kicks against his chest. His body tries to curl over itself

Black Friday at Books are Beautiful

Books are Beautiful another unfortunate skit
The employee huddle is about over, soon the doors will open for holiday shoppers.

Remember everyone -We must work together today. Customers will be anxious and we must do our best to help everyone as quickly and nicely as we can. To all the seasonal employees help as best you can but do not get in the way.
The Doors are opened.

Lisa- Hi, Welcome to Books are Beautiful
Customer- Whats on sale ?
Lisa- ( I'm fine, thanks for asking) We have a sale table right over here
Customer- That's it?
Lisa- Yes
Customer- I left the department store early for a table
Lisa- (what a nice way to begin the day), Well enjoy the rest of your shopping
Tamika- I could have told you to leave that customer alone.
Lisa- She looked okay to me
Tamika- They all look okay to you. John, what did you think?
John- Its too early.

A grandmother walks toward the help desk
Lisa- Your turn Tamika.
Tamika- Why me?
Lisa- I just went and John's not up yet.
Tamika- Fine, I love grandmothers.
Grandmother- I need some help please.
Tamika- Yes, how can I help you today
Grandmother- Well I was looking for some books for my grands.
Tamika- I can show you some great titles.
Grandmother- Do you have Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys?
Tamika - Yes, if you like I can show you some more contemporary mysteries, your grands may like as well .
Grandmother- All I want is Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys, nothing else.
Tamika ( sorry grands I tried) They're right over here. Enjoy the rest of your holiday shopping.
Tamika returns to the help desk.
Lisa- So how did it go?
Tamika- She was a nice lady, but all she wanted were grandma gift books
Lisa- Anne of Green Gables?
Tamika - No, Nancy Drew and Hardy Boys,
Lisa- Well at least she was nice
Tamika- True

Another customer is about to approach the help desk
Tamika- I am not taking that one.
Lisa- Why?
Tamika- You'll see, lets give her to John. That will wake him up. Where did he go?
Lisa- Coffee
Tamika- Crap, Hey, how can I help you today?
Customer- I need a book for my sister- in- law
Tamika- Okay what does she like to read?
Customer- I don't know?
Tamika- Does she like fiction or non fiction?
Customer- I told you I don't know, my husband said she likes to read and to get her a book, so I am getting her a book.
Tamika- Well we also carry gift cards.
Customer- I don't want to get a gift card, they're too impersonal
Tamika (you will not ruin my day) Well let me show you a few titles. How about Heart is Home- Its a sweet story about a family that reconnects.
Customers- hmm I don't think so, that doesn't sound like her.
Tamika- How about a biography
Customer- I don't remember her talking about people at dinner parties
Tamika- What do you think she would like?
Customer- I really don't know her all that well. That's why I am asking for help. What's the new hot title
Tamika ( rolling my eyes is wrong rolling my eyes is wrong) Let me think a moment. I got it, you must get your Sister in law - Sunday is for Rest, Its the authors first books but its been getting rave reviews, we can hardly keep it in stock.
Customer- What's it about?
Tamika- Since its been flying off the shelves I haven't had a chance to look at it
Customer- Let me see it
Tamika takes customer over to Sunday is for Rest.
Customer- This looks good, I'll take it. Thanks so much
Tamika- You're so welcome, enjoy the rest of your holiday shopping

Tamika returns to the help desk
Lisa- Well that didn't look too bad
Tamika- Yea right, she was one of those I don't know what I am looking for, don't know what they like but everything you suggest is wrong customers
John- I hate those
Tamika- She was suppose to be yours
John- Lisa told me. How did you finish with her so quickly?
Tamika- I pulled the let me think a moment trick
Lisa- I don't know that one
John- I'll explain, When you get a customer who continues to say no , after the third or forth no, you pretend to think long and hard about your next your next suggestion. In reality though its a nice book there' s nothing special about it.
Tamika- I pulled it after the second no. Its the holiday season I am playing on a curve.
Lisa- That actually works
Tamika and John - Yes
Tamika- Though you must sell it up hard. You only get one chance to use the let me think a moment trick, it loses most of its magic after the first go

The store is beginning to fill up with customers. The books of beautiful employees must move away from the desk.

John- Looks like we're all up.
Lisa- Any last tips
John- When you come back up to the help desk, don't point to a customer, just say I'll help who is next. This way you avoid picking the wrong person
Tamika- Remember the moonwalk?
Lisa- What
Tamika- When you get a customer who wants to keep you there like a personal shopper, while they decide - moonwalk -slowly start to back away, while saying positive things like oh you can't go wrong either way. They will love it, happy holidays.
Lisa- Thanks guys,
Tamika- You're welcome, and I have some aspirin in my locker, you're free to help yourself John - Thanks
Lisa- I don't really get headaches but thanks anyway
Tamika- Unfortunately today you will.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hot Girl Dream Jordan (From Brooklyn to The Bronx)

Hot Girl by Dream Jordan . Kate has spent all of her 14yrs in the foster care system. Her life is finally starting to turn around, she's left her gang , stopped hanging with the wrong crowd, started controlling her temper and is getting A's in school. Even though Kate's been living with the Johnson's for 6 months she still worries they will send her back to a group home. Its summer time, Kate's best friend Felicia is in South Africa. Kate decided to stay in Brooklyn for the summer. She befriends Naleejah a hot girl, who makes over her tom boy image. Kate uses this makeover to catch the eye of her friend Charles. Kate is book smart, street smart, funny, quick and observant. Her quick wit had me laughing out loud. Kate doesn't let being in foster care keep her from dreaming and setting goals. Hot Girl gets better with each page, I loved watching Kate stay true to herself. Her new way of life is tested by Naleejah, a girl who's hotness could not overshadow her shadiness. One of my favorite characters is Kate's social worker Tisha, she cares enough to stay on Kate's case. Once you pick up Hot Girl there is no putting it down. Hot Girl is up for the quick picks for reluctant readers award for 2009 with the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

Time to Share Directions to the clinic
I ran down the address and gave Naleejah directions to a T. I've escorted so many group homegirls to the cootie clinic (don't laugh, that's what we called it), I could get to that grimy old building with my eyes closed. "Can you come with me?" asked Naleejah. I paused, and then said, "Sorry, I can't" Man I felt so bad for having to say no. But Tisha is no -nonsense when it comes to keeping appointments. Tisha was meeting me on her own time, something she didn't have to do. If I fronted on Tisha, she would be furious with me.

I was flipping through a catalog and was lucky enough to come across Hot Girl. I thought to myself what are the chances I'd find Hot Girl the morning after I finished Kendra by Coe Booth another Young Adult title about a 14yr old black girl living in one of the five boroughs. So I couldn't resist linking the two post.
(From Brooklyn to The Bronx) and I know this will never happen but I would love for Kate and Kendra's to meet, maybe somewhere neutral like the city. I believe the two would get along nicely.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Kendra Coe Booth (From The Bronx to Brooklyn)

Kendra by Coe Booth I was very excited when I heard this was coming out because I loved Booth's first award winning novel Tyrell and I wasn't the only one. This novel is once again set in the Bronxwood. Kendra's mother Renee had her when she was only 14 yrs old. Kendra was raised by her grandmother sleeping in the bedroom that was once her mothers, while Renee earned degree after degree. The book opens with Kendra and her grandmother returning from Renee's graduation ceremony. 14yr old Kendra believes now that Renee has her PHD, she will come back for her. Still there are excuses, feeling unwanted Kendra's life begins to spin out of control, its part indecision and part I don't care anymore. Its a gradual downward spiral and that's the beauty of Kendra. As you're reading it you never once think this could never happen but rather- if only Renee's mother were around, if only Kendra' grandmother trusted her more, if only that boy would stop lingering. Booth's characters are special because they're so around the way and she places them in very realistic situations. My heart want out to Kendra when she would sit in her room sketching houses.
Time to share
Nana doesn't knock
About twenty minutes later, while I'm sitting on my bed picking on the grapes and trying to finish the boring chapter for world history, the phone rings and Nana comes down the hall and opens the door without even knocking. She never knocks and I don't have the energy to get mad anymore.
Renee's Pictures
And Nana had to notice all those pictures Renee had stuck into the frame of the big mirror over her futon. Pictures of everyone, all her friends from home and school, pictures of her and Nana, and even a picture of herself when she was a baby. But not one picture of me anywhere. I tried not to let it bother me, but it did, anyway. And if Nana can't understand that, that's her problem.
The day after I finished Kendra came across Hot Girl by Dream Jordan, another YA title about a 14 yr old black girl living in one of the five boroughs. I thought to myself what are the chances I would read these two books back to back. If you're wondering very slim since I've been meaning to read Kendra for months and I didn't even know about Hot Girl until the day I started it. So I couldn't resist linking the two post. (From The Bronx to Brooklyn) I know this would never happen but I would love for Kendra and Kate to meet, maybe somewhere neutral like the city. I think they would get along nicely.

Friday, November 21, 2008

3 Willows

3 Willows: The Sisterhood Grows (3 Willows) Ann Brashares. First I want to thank our Random House Rep, Toni for dropping off this arc. Though I have been blogging for awhile now I am still a bookseller with little to no connections (leaning more towards the n0) , so when it comes to arc's I take want I am given and don't dream big. So it never even crossed my mind that I would see 3 willows before its release date of January 13. 3 Willows stars Polly, Jo, and Ama. The three were once very close but they've started to drift apart. The story takes place in the summer before they're to begin high school. 3 Willows is easy to fall into and love. It's set in the same town has the infamous girls of the traveling pants. Though the story of their friendship is legendary its clear early on that the story is about Polly, Jo, and Ama. Brashares does an excellent job of passing the torch. The girls meet in third grade, where their teacher made each student care for a plant. When the school year ended the girls planted their willows together in the woods. Brashares alternates the telling of the story between each girl and they talk about now and then. Polly wants to know more about her father but her mother has nothing to say. Now Polly has a dream she believes will get her closer to her fathers side of the family. Jo's at the summer beach house with her mother. Their family has not been the same since her brother died. Ama a straight A student is off to an unwanted wilderness retreat. There's beautiful smoothness to Brashares writing, this novel is very hard to put down. The characters are funny, endearing and real. Though the summer is difficult, and the girls are lead astray several times by many things including insecurities, boys, and so-called new friends they find a way to survive.
Time to Share

Ama meets the other campers and does The Count.
She surveyed the color array of her group and found it nearly all white. There was an Asian girl. She wouldn't suffer over her hair. There was a kid who was possibly Hispanic. No one besides Ama was black. Or African American, as her teachers preferred to say. She was getting a sinking suspicion about why she had been placed here. Everybody needed a black er, African American kid. Who cared if she hated the out doors and yearned for a library? They probably needed a black kid for the picture on their Web site. Before I share something else I want to say after I read that, I loved Ann Brashares even more. I know its a little thing but its the little things that can tilt a book, and Ama doing The Count was spot on.

The girls plant the willows-
We dug with our fingers because we forgot to bring a trowel. We pulled out rocks and tried not to disturb the worms too much because Polly insisted we needed their help. We carefully undid the root balls. It was like untangling hair. We tucked them into the dirt.

Just like the Sisterhood in the Traveling Pants series the 3 Willows series is golden. Since the book doesn't come out until Jan. 13, there's still time to check the Random House website, and find out if Brashares will be signing in your city. I entered found out she will be in Atlanta but no where near my bookstore. The book received a starred Publishers Weekly review. Also Sally Lodge did a great Q&A with the author for Publishers Weekly Q&A with Ann Brashares

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby Crystal Hubbard Robert McGuire

The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Crystal Hubbard and Robert McGuire.
I don't read too many history books. I know this means I am probably doomed to repeat everything, and sometimes it feels like I am but that still won't make me read more history books. However I love sports history especially when it pertains to Black athletes. This is the story of Jimmy Winkfield the last African American to win the Kentucky Derby. It wasn't until last year that I learned African Americans were Jockeys. In the forward of the book we learn that many of the slaves that cared for the horses became Jockeys and in 1875 when the Kentucky Derby debuted 14 of the 15 racers were Black. This is a great book, its filled with information about Jimmy Winkfield. It also tells the reader what happened to Black Jockeys. Even if you're not into horse racing you can enjoy this book. I loved how Hubbard described the races, its easy to imagine the horses on the track and the people in the stands. I would age this about five and up. There's a lot of text on the pages, the bright open illustrations will keep the younger kids attention. I really like Robert McGuire's illustrations. I love the back drop of the sky blue, sunset and earth colors. McGuire captures the action of the races perfectly, you can see the determination in the eyes of the rider and the horse. There' s a great picture of Jimmy Winkfield attempting to win his third straight Kentucky Derby. He's in front coming down the strength. Its a clean, beautiful and sleek. (Its actually the cover picture as well) In the afterword we learn that Jimmy Winkfield moved to Europe to continue racing when Black jockeys were kicked out of American racing. We also learn that Winkfield and his daughter were not allowed to enter through the front door of the Kentucky Derby in 1961 for a banquet. Though to end this on a good not I'll share the last part of the forward. In August 2004 Jimmy Winfield was inducted into the National Museum of Racing Hall of Fame, and in 2005 the Aqueduct Racetrack in Queens, New York, opened the Jimmy Winkfield Stakes.

Time to Share
Sweat stung Wink's eyes. He gritted his teeth and tuned out all the stomping and snorting around him. Leaning forward, he pushed Alan-a-Dale harder. The horse gave him everything it had. Wink-a-Dale crossed the finish line as the rest of the pack thundered past in a blur of browns, blacks and rainbow-colored silks.

Amazing Peace Maya Angelou Steve Johnson Lou Fancher

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou ,illustrated by Steven Johnson and Lou Fancher. The Random House rep. stopped by the other day and dropped off a few books including this one. We already have this in the store but truth be told I add no intention of reading it. Sometimes I take bestselling authors for granted. Since the rep was kind enough to drop it off the least I could do was read it. I really really enjoyed it and I read it three times in a row. I do this with picture books I like so I can get a better feel for the tempo of the story and better appreciate the illustrations. Today when a customer asked for great new Christmas book, I was able to sell a copy. Amazing Peace was read by Maya Angelou (for some reason it doesn't feel right to just write Angelou) At the lighting of the National Christmas Tree in Washington D.C in 2005. She wrote this poem after several world tragedies. Maya Angelou doesn't preach, she merely shares her dream of a world coming together again to believe in peace. The illustrations by Steven Johnson and Lou Fancher are perfect. If asked to describe them I'd say the illustrators used primarily browns, reds, dark oranges against a cream page back drop. I love the faces of the many different people and the detail in their clothes. The snow has an unfinished walked in look. When I open to the front page of the book it tells me the illustrators used oil, acrylic and fabric on canvas. The book comes with a CD with Maya Angelou reading it. The CD is just okay there's hardly any voice inflections in Dr. Angelou's voice. I can't see four or five years old getting into. Though I do think a storyteller could do a lot with this book to keep kids interested. This would make a great read aloud because it has a beautiful flow. The text and pictures work together very well, you can appreciate both alone or together. Time to share

Hope is born again in the faces of children,

It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets

Hope spreads around the earth brightening all things. Even hate, which crouches in dark corridors.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Books Make Great Gifts

African American Children's Books -Books make great Gifts (Updated in Nov. 2011)
I almost didn't make this list for three reason. 1- I knew it would take a while 2- no matter how many authors or titles I remember to include I knew I would forgot some and not know others. I'll share the third reason later. The set up for this list is pretty straight forward. For the authors who have extensive works published their names are written prior to the section. I will list no more then two works per author in a section. Middle grade and Young Adult fiction are combined, so it begins as early as eight. I have not listed age ranges however once you click on a author or title you'll learn more about the item. I also have not separated fiction from non fiction I made a special section for YA Christian fiction, simply because I thought anyone looking for it would like to distinguish it from everything else. I've also included some fiction for anyone making the transition into adult literature.

Asim, Jabari
Bolden, Tonya
Bryan, Ashley,
Christie, Gregory
Cline-Ransome, Lesa, Ransome, James
Collier, Bryan,
Cummings, Pat
Dillon, Leo, Dillon, Diane
Evans, Shane W.
Feelings, Tom
Gilchrist, Jan Spivey
Greenfield, Eloise
Hamilton, Virginia
Isadora, Rachel
Johnson, Angela,
Kadir, Nelson
Lewis, E. B.
McKissack, Patricia C.
Morrison, Frank
Myers, Christopher A.,
,Nelson, Marilyn
Pinkney, Andrea Davis, Pinkney, Brian
Ringgold, Faith
Smalls-Hector, Irene,
Steptoe, Javaka ,Steptoe, John
Velasquez, Eric
Weatherford, Carole Boston,
Woodson, Jacqueline

Picture Books
The Palm of My Heart: Poetry by African American Children by Adedjouma, Davida
I'm Your Peanut Butter Big Brother by Alko Selina
Brothers of the Knight by Allen, Debbie
Life Doesn't Frighten Me by Angelou, Maya
The Moon Over Star by Aston, Dianna Hutts , Pinkney, Jerry
Not Norman: A Goldfish Story by Bennett, Kelly
Ron's Big Mission by Blue Rose
How Do You Wokka-Wokka? by Bluemle Elizabeth
York's Adventures with Lewis and Clark by Blumberg, Rhoda
Those Shoes by Maribeth Boelts
The Other Mozart: The Life of the Famous Chevalier de Saint-George by Brewster, Hugh
Around Our Way on Neighbors' Day by Brown, Tameka Fryer illus by Riley-Webb Charlotte
Our Children Can Soar: A Celebration by Cook Michelle
Seaside Dream by Costa Bates, Janet , Lambert Davis
Who's That Baby?: New-Baby Songs by Creech, Sharon, Diaz, David
Harvey Moon, Museum Boy by Cummings, Pat
For You Are a Kenyan Child by Cunnane, Kelly , Juan, Ana
Jamela's Dress by Daly, Niki
Sweet Music in Harlem by Debbie A. Taylor
14 Cows for America by Deedy Carmen Agra
No Mush Today by Derby, Sally
Olu's Dream by Evans Shane
Yesterday I Had the Blues Frame, Jeron Ashford
George Crum and the Saratoga Chip by Gaylia Taylor,
Hip Hop Speaks to Children by Giovanni, Nikki
Bring Me Some Apples and I'll Make You a Pie: A Story about Edna Lewis by Gourley Robbin
Barack Obama: Son of Promise, Child of Hope by Grimes, Nikki
Voices of Christmas by Grimes Nikki
The People Could Fly: American Black Folktales by Hamilton, Virginia
The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County by Harrington, Janice N. , Jackson, Shelley
Summer Jackson All Grown Up by Harris Teresa illus. by Ford AG
Most Loved in All the World by Hegamin, Tonya
John Brown: His Fight for Freedom by Hendrix James
Nappy Hair by Herron, Caroivia
Homemade Love by Hooks, Bell, Evans, Shane W.
Claudette Colvin: Twice Toward Justice by Hoose M. Phillip 2009 National Book Award Winner
Michelle by Hopkinson Deborah
My Friend Maya Loves to Dance by Hudson, Cheryl Willis illus by Velasquez, Eric
The Last Black King of the Kentucky Derby by Hubbard , Crystal
Lies and Other Tall Tales by Hurston, Zora Neale
Lottie Paris Lives Here by Johnson Angela, illus. by Scott Fischer
Seeds of Change by Johnson, Jen Cullerton illus by Sadle, Sonia Lynn
Hot City by Joosse, Barbara M.
Dave the Potter by Laban Carrick Hill, illus by Bryan Collier
Wilma Unlimited by Krull, Kathleen, Diaz, David
Nelson Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom by Mandela, Nelson
Kitchen Dance by Manning, Maurie J
Stitchin' and Pullin': A Gee's Bend Quilt by McKissack, Patricia C
DeShawn Days by Medina Tony
I and I Bob Marley Medina Tony
Obama: A Promise of Change by Mendell, David
Who's Got Game?: The Ant or the Grasshopper by Morrison, Toni,
Jazz by Myers, Walter Dean and Myers, Christopher
We Are the Ship: The Story of Negro League Baseball by Kadir, Nelson
My Feet Are Laughing by Norman, Lissette , Morrison, Frank
Let Freedom Sing by Newton Vanessa
Marching For Freedom: Walk Together Children and Don't You Grow Weary by Partridge E.
These Hands by Price, Hope Lynne
Summer Sun Risin' by Nikola-Lisa, W. Tate, Don
Raising Dragons by Nolen, Jerdine
Piano Starts Here: The Young Art Tatum by Parker, Robert A
My Brother Charlie by Peete Holly Robinson
The Lion & the Mouse by Pinkney Jerry
American Slave, American Hero: York of the Lewis and Clark Expedition by Pringle, Laurence
Long Shot: Never Too Small to Dream Big by Paul Chris
Queen of the Scene Book by Queen Latifah, Morrison, Frank
Sweethearts of Rhythm by Nelson Marilyn
We Troubled the Waters by Ntozake Shange
Skit-Scat Raggedy Cat:Ella Fitzgerald by Orgill Roxane illus Qualls Sean
Ruth and the Green Book by Ramsey Alexander Calvin illus Cooper Floyd
The New Girl... and Me by Robbins Jacqui
Two of a Kind by Robbins Jacqui
Our Enduring Spirit: President Barack Obama's First Words to America illus. by Ruth Greg
In Her Hands: The Story of Sculptor Augusta Savage by Schroeder Alan
I Want to Be Free by Slate, Joseph , Lewis, E. B.
Dance with Me by Smith, Charles R., Jr. Jones, Noah Z
Twelve Rounds to Glory: The Story of Muhammad Ali by Smith, Charles R., Jr. , Collier, Bryan
The Patchwork Path: A Quilt Map to Freedom by Stroud, Bettye
I Love My Hair! by Tarpley, Natasha Anastasia
Yes We Can: A Biography of Barack Obama by Thomas, Garen
She Loved Baseball:The Effa Manley Story by Vernick, Audrey illus by Tate, Don
A Place Where Hurricanes Happen by Watson Renee illus by Strickland Shadra
Brothers in Hope: The Story of the Lost Boys of Sudan by Williams Mary
Dizzy by Winter, Jonah
Barack by Winter, Jonah,

Early Chapter Books
Anna Hibiscus by Atinuke
Brand New School, Brave New Ruby(Ruby & the Booker Boys, #1) by Barnes, Derrick
Luke on the Loose by Bliss Harry
Gloria's Way by Cameron, Ann
Donavan's Word Jar by Degross, Monalisa
Little Sister Is Not My Name! (Sassy) by Draper Sharon
Nikki and Deja by English Karen
Barack Obama: An American Story by Edwards, Roberta
Make Way for Dyamonde Daniel by Grimes Nikki
From Where I Stand by Hudson, Cheryl W.
A Horn for Louis by Kimmel, Eric
Miami Jackson Gets It Straight by McKissack, Patricia C
Keena Ford and the Second-Grade Mix-Up (Keena Ford) by Thomson Melissa
All Mixed Up!(Amy Hodgepodge, #1) by Wayans, Kim
Willimena Rules! Rule Book #4: by Wesley, Valerie Wilson

Middle Grade and Young Adult Authors
Curtis, Christopher Paul
Draper, Sharon
Flake, Sharon G
Grimes, Nikki
Johnson, Angela
Lester, Julius
Moses, Shelia P.
Myers, Walter Dean
Taylor, Mildred D.
Williams-Garcia, Rita
Woodson, Jacqueline

Middle Grade and Young Adult Titles
Miss Crandall's School for Young Ladies & Little Misses of Color by Alexander, Elizabeth
Aya by Abouet, Marguerite, Oubrerie, Clement
The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, by Anderson, M. T.
Home of the Brave by Applegate, Katherine
The Prince of Fenway Park by Baggott Julianna
Shadow Walker by Banks L.A.
The Making of Dr. Truelove by Barnes, Derrick
Bluford High Series
Finding Family by Bolden Tonya
W. E. B Du Bois(Up Close (Viking)) by Bolden, Tonya
Little Divas by Boles, Philana Marie
Black Angels by Brown Linda
A Thousand Never Ever by Burg, Shana
Good Fortune by Carter Noni
So Not the Drama del Rio Bay Clique Novel by Chase, Paula
The Marvelous EffectMarvelous World #1 by Cle, Troy
Tyrell by Booth, Coe
Kendra by Booth, Coe
Whale Talk by Crutcher Chris
Mr. Chickee's Funny Money by Curtis, Christopher Paul
Played by Davidson, Dana
a la Carte by Davis, Tanita S
Mare's War by Davis Tanita S
The Fight(Drama High, #1) by Divine, L.
Dance Jam Productions by Downs Celise
Fire from the Rock by Draper, Sharon
Dog Whisperer: The Rescue by Edwards Nicholas
Bird by Elliott Zetta illus. by Strickland Shadra
A Wish After Midnight by Elliott Zetta
I'm Late: by Evans Mari
Speak to Me: And I Will Listen Between the Lines by English, Karen Bates, Amy June
Touching Snow Felin, Sindy M.
Who Am I Without Him?: Short Stories about Girls and the Boys in Their Lives by Flake, Sharon
Brendan Buckley's Universe and Everything in It by Frazier, Sundee T.
Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Plum Fantastic by Goldberg, Whoopi
The Ultimate Test (The Lip Gloss Chronicles) by Goss Shelia M
Teenie by Grant Christopher
Catwalk by Gregory, Deborah
Pemba's Song: A Ghost Story by Hegamin, Tonya , Nelson, Marilyn
Dancer by Hewett, Lorri
Harlem Stomp!: A Cultural History of the Harlem Renaissance by Hill, Laban Carrick
The Dream Keeper: And Other Poems by Hughes, Langston
Stacie & Cole by Johnson R.M
My Life as a Rhombus by Johnson, Varian
Standing Against the Wind by Jones, Traci L.
Hot Girl by Jordan Dream
Kimani Tru
Still I Rise: A Graphic History of African Americans by Laird, Roland Owen, Jr.
Liar by Larbalestier Justine
The World Is Mine (Come Up) by LeFlore B. Lyah illus by DL Warfield
Camo Girl by Magoon Kekla
The Rock and the River by Magoon Kekla
Indigo Summer Kimani TRU by McKayhan, Monica
Hotlanta by Millner, Denene
Ruined: A Novel by Morris Paula
Joseph by Moses, Shelia P.
47 by Mosley, Walter
The Door of No Return by Mussi, Sarah
Sunrise Over Fallujah by Myers, Walter Dean
From Somalia with Love by Na'ima B. Robert
Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U. S. Marshal by Nelson Vaunda Micheaux illus. by Christie Gregory
Chess Rumble by Neri, G
Yummy :The Last Days of a Southside Shorty by Neri, G (non fiction)
Zahrah the Windseeker by Okorafor Nnedi
Ninth Ward by Parker - Rhodes Jewell
8th Grade Superzero by Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola
Shortie Like Mine by Simone, Ni-Ni
The Hoopster by Sitomer, Alan Lawrence
The Way a Door Closes by Smith, Hope Anita
Hoop Kings by Smith, Charles R.
Flygirl by Smith, Sherri L.
Hot, Sour, Salty, Sweet by Smith, Sherri L.
Satchel Paige: Striking Out Jim Crow by Sturm, James Tommaso, Rich
Celeste's Harlem Renaissance by Tate, Eleanora E.
Taste of Salt: A Story of Modern Haiti by Temple Frances
12 Brown Boys by Tyree, Omar
Bleeding Violet by Reeves Dia
What Momma Left Me by Watson, Renee
One Crazy Summer by Williams-Garcia, Rita
Stingz by Michael Wenberg
Jumped by Williams-Garcia , Rita
It Chicks by Williams, Tia
The Kayla Chronicles by Winston, Sherri
After Tupac and D Foster by Woodson, Jacqueline
Hush by Woodson, Jacqueline

Young Adult Christian Fiction
Nothing But Drama by Billingsley, ReShonda Tate
Unsigned Hype by Booker T Mattison
Prime Choice-Perry Skky Jr., #1 by Moore, Stephanie Perry
Diamond (Divas) by Murray Christopher Victoria
Simply Divine by Thomas, Jacquelin

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Angelou, Maya
Baby of the Family Ansa, Tina McElroy
Floating by Bailey-Williams, Nicole
The White Boy Shuffle by Beatty, Paul
Go Tell it on the Mountain by Baldwin, James
Minding Ben by Brown Victoria
Upstate by Buckhanon, Kalisha
Fledgling by Butler, Octavia E.
Joplin's Ghost by Due, Tananarive
The Girl Who Fell From the Sky by Durrow W. Heidi
Invisible Man by Ellison, Ralph
Before You Suffocate Your Own Fool Self by Evans, Danielle
I Am Not Sidney Poitier by Everett Percival
The Selected Poems of Nikki Giovanni by Giovanni, Nikki
Selected Poems of Langston Hughes by Hughes Langston
Silver Sparrow by Jones Tayari
The Broke Diaries: by Nissel, Angela
A Right to Be Hostile: The Boondocks Treasury by McGruder, Aaron
The Bluest Eye by Morrison, Toni
Drinking Coffee Elsewhere by Packer, ZZ
Push by Sapphire
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow Is Enuf by Shange, Ntozake
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah
The Portable Promised Land by Toure
Where the Line Bleeds by Ward, Jesmyn
Salvage the Bones by Ward Jesmyn
Sag Harbor by Whitehead Colson
The Dead Emcee Scrolls: The Lost Teachings of Hip-Hop by Williams, Saul
Sunday You Learn How to Box by Wright, Bil

Adult Non Fiction
Nigger by Gregory Dick
Autobiography of Malcom X
City Kid: A Writer's Memior of the Ghetto Life and Post - Soul Sucess by Nelson George
I Beat the Odds by Oher Michael