Thursday, October 23, 2008

Homeless World Cup A Link

I like visiting Apryl's blog Women Like Sports on a regular basis, I can get my sports fix. The other day she did a post about the Homeless World Cup. It was a great and I thought why not share it with others because I can't be the only one who has never heard of the Homeless World Cup.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Dance with Me Charles R. Smith Jr Noah Z Jones

Dance with Me by Charles R. Smith illustrated by Noah Z Jones This book is filled with great color, a mean beat and a lot of movement. I loved it. Noah Z Jones , illustrated another book I loved Not Norman. If I am not mistaken Norman makes an appearance at the end of Dance with Me. Jones's illustrations are a combination of watercolor, pencil, charcoal, and digital rendering. ( I got that some the inside flap) Without the flap, I'd say the illustrations are fun, light, colorful and kids will love them. There are no more then four words on a page. Making this a perfect easy reader book. Though I am very happy with my Cybils easy reader vote, if this was out I would've picked it. Two kids and a dog are walking in their neighborhood getting everyone to Dance with them. A tale of two sides- on the left the children stop at a bus stop start dancing. Everyone has a whats wrong with these kids look of their faces. On the right- everyone is dancing right along with the children. The lady lets her hair down, throws the newspaper in the air and the man puts down his briefcase. I love the contrast of these side by side pages. Its fun to see people remember how to just dance. My favorite stop is the Pet Store. Where they get a lizard to shake its head, a dog to scrunch its nose, a ferret to rub its belly and chicks to stand on their toes. With all the movement its perfect for storytime, especially for younger listeners. Its hard for me to resist the temptation to move when I read this,

Dance with me . Twist with me.
Wiggle, move, and
bounce with me
Move your body
to the beat

And I know I won't be the only one. Enjoy the dance

Clean-Up Tourettes

Usually when I clean up kids section I like to see how fast I can get it done. This was not one of those days. I had a serious case of Clean-Up Tourettes. ex- "these motherf*c*er wtf do I look like a bleepin den mother clean up after yourselves. ( and I cleaned that up a tad) I just was not in the mood today. I actually planned to work on the projects I was assigned and then work on what I wanted to, like organizing the I can read books which are a hotmess right now. But No. I spent all my time cleaning up piles left by customers. It didn't help that its Tuesday, new release day for books. It also didn't help that the children's section doesn't look that good. Some of its little things but I see it and it annoys the hell out of me. Today I put Koran back. You'd think someone in search of religious enlightenment wouldn't leave a mess .But No, I pick up Bible's Koran's and Torah's all the time. Every time I'd put 3 books back I'd find two more in the wrong spot. Though the up side of being in a mood while cleaning up is when customers sees my face they make sure to pick up after themselves. Boo MF, pick it up.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Shift Jennifer Bradbury

Shift - Jennifer Bradbury If I had known this was going to be as good as it was, I would've read it months ago. I loved Shift, read it in one sitting. I knew it was about two high school graduates going on a cross country bike trip, but nobody told me about the mystery aspect or if they did I wasn't listening. Christopher (Chris) Collins just graduated and will be attending college in the fall. Instead of getting a minimum wage job he decides to bike cross country from West Virginia to Seattle with is best friend Winston (Win) Coggans. The novel opens with an FBI agent questioning Chris. The roadtrip has already taken place, Win never made it back. The chapters alternate between the present and the roadtrip. In the present Chris deals with beginnings of college life, being threatened by Win's influential and rich father, and coping with his feelings about Win's disappearance. Bradbury gives us a great feel for who these young men are with their family situations. When Collins tells his story to the FBI agent, its easy to see how the cross country trip changed both characters and challenged their lifelong friendship. Bradbury's writing is smooth , she doesn't try to do too much and in doing so succeeds in creating a character many teens will went to get to know. I will start recommending this a lot especially to boys. Though girls will love it as well its nice to have a coming of age story with a male protagonist that's apporiate for ages 12up.

Time to share

Chris and Win fight

Somehow, from the first moment he hit, me I knew this was different from all the other little contests. Those had just been for bragging rights. But now I didn't just want to win, I wanted to defeat Win. Friendly rivalry had been left behind on the road, or maybe this desire was something I'd had all along and just ignored. This time I was fighting to learn who was actually stronger-the better man. And I was willing to risk losing to find out who that was. By now we were on how feet, deadlocked, heads down, chests heaving, waiting for an opening.

Shift was picked as a 10 top Youth sports book by Booklist. You have to log in to view the list so I am just going to piggy back off of author James Preller's post.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Sugar Plum Ballerinas Whoopi Goldberg Deborah UnderWood Maryn Roos

Sugar Plum Ballerinas #1: Plum Fantastic by Whoopi Goldberg , co authored by Deborah Underwood illustrated by Maryn Roos. When I heard Whoopi Goldberg had a children's book coming out, the first thing I thought was oh great another celebrity book. I was so wrong I love Sugar Plum Ballerinas. Its a great book. The first thing I noticed when I picked up Sugar Plum Ballerinas, there wasn't a picture of Whoopi Goldberg any where on the book. I turned the book around three or four times still no celebrity photo. I was like WHAT! Thats a first, very nice.
Alexandrea Petrakova Johnson and her mother are moving from Georgia to New York. Alexandrea's mother loves the ballet (hence the middle name) and wants her daughter to love it. Alexandrea will be taking ballet at a Harlem Dance school. Alexandria dreams of becoming a speed skater not a ballerina. She quickly makes friends at dance school. Epatha who is constantly speaking in three languages, since she is part Italian and Puerto Rican. Brenda who talks backwards because Da Vinci did and wants to become a doctor. Terrel a great dancer. Goldberg's created very interesting, charming and funny characters. The ballet class will be putting on a play, Alexandrea is chosen as the Sugar Plum Fairy. Alexandrea is not happy about getting the lead, her new friends are jealous and she can't spin without getting dizzy. In the end everything is resolved. Goldberg's written a great story. Maryn Roos illustrations are very nice, each girl has an individual look. Roos also does a great job of creating the church hats Alexandrea's mom is famous for. Young girls will love the Sugar Plum Ballerina series. Its definitely reluctant reader friendly. Ballet fans will love all the dance references like barre, grand battlement and grand jete. There's a guide to ballet terms at the end of the story. Alexandrea has posters of famous African American ballet dancers on her bedroom walls Maria Tallchief Virginia Johnson and Janet Collins.

Time to share

Alexandrea talks to a mover
After I packed all my ballet stuff up I told one of the muscle men movers it would be okay if they lost that particular box. I even wrote lose this box on the side in purple felt pen in case they forgot. But when Aunt Jackie dropped us off at our apartment on 123st there it was, right on top of the mountain of moving boxes in our living room

Alexandrea walks into new dance class for the 1st time
The waiting room gets quiet when I walk in. A few girls sitting near the door snicker. I hang my jacket on one of the hooks lining the wall, head to the bench farthest from the snickering girls, and start to sit down. Then I remember the lighting bolts on my behind, they make a weird crinkling sound when you sit on them. I stay standing.

Father Daughter Picture Books

This is a clip of Tim McGraw pulling a fan on stage for hassling a female fan. I really wanted to show the clip of Faith Hill getting into a fans face for touching McGraw's package but I couldn't find a good clip. I really like Tim McGraw and Faith Hill. I enjoy their music and think they make a very cute country couple. Sometimes I wonder if they double date with Garth Brooks and Trisha Yearwood. Tim McGraw gets some extra points because his father Tug Mcgraw was a reliever for the Mets in the 70's. Though as much as I like them, Tim McGraw's new picture book My Little Girl makes me kind of ill. It's suppose to be for fathers to read to daughters but it beats the reader over the head with sappy lessons. A father and daughter spend the day together. They start by spelling out I love u and I love u more with their food. Really! And it ends with the daughter saying the best part of her day was spending it with daddy. Okay we get it, its important for daughters to spend time with their fathers, how about you tell a story now. This is a good family picture book, Mcgraw's daughters will enjoy it because he wrote it but to expect other fathers and daughters to like it, is asking too much. Just because a picture book is targeted towards girls does not mean it has to be pink. Come On people its 2008. There are many shades of blue, yellow and green are also nice. Hopefully customers won't ask me what I think of Mcgraw's picture book, I hate the taste of blood in my mouth.
Great picture books fathers can read to their daughters Knuffle Bunny: A Cautionary Tale by Mo Willems Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs? by Carmela Coyle Owl Moon by Jane Yolen Homemade Love by Bell Hooks When I Was a Girl . . . I Dreamed by Margaret Baker Clara and ASHA by Eric Rohmann Daddy Mountain by Jules Feiffer and Many Moons by James Thurber.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mr Short Shorts

Another Unforunate skit at Books are Beautiful
Two employees notice the return of a Books are Beautiful all dayer

James- Your boyfriends back and he's wearing the orange ones again.
Tamika- eww, Why must you say that every time
James- Your reaction helps supplement my minimum wage. And it looks like Mr Short Shorts
shorts are shorter again. What do you think?
Tamika- I'll take your word for it.
James- He's probably succeeded in killing all his baby makers
Tamika- eww, there is a line you know.
James- (takes two steps back draws a line with his foot) Do you ever wonder how it started? Was he on the wrestling team or track team. Or maybe an ex-girlfriend liked men in Short Shorts. It had to start somewhere its not like he came out of the womb wearing short shorts
Tamika- eww, there's a line, remember the line. I was planning on eating lunch today
James- Oh you'll be fine. Don't you ever wonder about Mr Short Shorts.
Tamika- No, I try not to think about any of the all dayers.
James- I do too. I am just trying to understand why a grown man would wear short shorts. I am tempted to take his picture will my cell and show him what we see. Because obliviously his mirror is showing him what he looked like 10 yrs ago.
Tamika- You shouldn't even be looking at him. Mr Short Shorts does not exist in my world. I've learned not to see him. The only way you'll survive at Books are Beautiful is to ignore the all dayers.
James- I am only fascinated by Mr Short Shorts
Tamika- Sure now, but if you're not careful you'll start wondering why no bra lady always has a Victoria Secret bag or why Corn Feet always takes off his shoes.
James- But just tell me why a grown man would wear short shorts
Tamika- I don't know, unfortunately all I can tell you for sure is don't ask why.

The Regulars The Other Side

With all my work rants and Books are Beautiful post. Some of you may be asking HappyNappy why are earth are you working at a bookstore? I will admit my tolerance for customer B.S is very low but that doesn't stop me from enjoying the good ones. There are still a lot of really good customers , those are the ones who help me keep my retail sanity. I've been working at the same bookstore over 5 yrs so I have a few regular customers. I am lucky enough to have nice regulars that I am always happy to see. The other day one of my regulars came in to buy books for her 13yr old granddaugther. She told me her granddaughter always enjoys the books. She left with Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins and Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac -Gabrielle Zevin I think its pretty cool when grandparents are willing to get newer titles for her grandkids. Some only want to buy Nancy Drew or Hardy Boys.
Yesterday one of my regular families came in, a mother ,her daughter who is in high school and her son who is in middle school. The daughter reads alot. I have to make sure I am up on whats new so I can have some recommendations ready. The boy gets books as well but yesterday was the first time he ever came back excited about a book. He loved Hunger Games its his new favorite book. His mother told me he wrote up a review about it for school and lent his copy to a friend.
The regulars always make my day better. When I can I spend a little more time with them because I am fostering a relationship, so we will be their bookstore of choice. When I don't have as much time as I would like the regulars always understand.
I like when a parent comes back and says their son or daughter loved the book I recommended. Or my child never liked reading before. I always try to match up a child with the right book. So the feedback makes me feel good. Though I will continue with an occasional rant and more Books are Beautiful I just wanted everyone to know there is another side.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Clique on Nightline

Nightline interviewed the Lisi Harrison the author of The Clique series. A few of her fans and their parents. It was about a 15 minute segment

A New Books Are Beautiful Policy

An internal Books are Beautiful memo
Attention Books are Beautiful employees, the Shrink wrapped and over $50 corner (SWOC) is now complete. Effective immediately customers will have to give a $5 non refundable deposit to browse these titles. If they decide to purpose the item, the five dollars will go towards the purchase price. However, if the customer decides not to get the item they will have 60 days to spend the deposit on a item of their choice. There are three chairs in the SWOC, if a customer wants to take an item out of this designated area they must leave a picture ID. An employee will be staffed in this area to help customers at all times. Please rewrap all refused items and feel free to call a manager if there are any problems.

James is stationed at SWOC,

James- Hi, how can I help you today.
Customer- I want to look at a new cookbook, customer service sent me here.
James- Okay, what's the title?
Customer- Fancy Holiday Tables
James- Ah yes Fancy Holiday Tables is $70 and we have one copy
Customer- Well I want to see it
James- (I am going to enjoy this) Sure thing, I just need a $5 non refundable deposit
Customer- What a deposit? What are you talking about a deposit? I've never had to do this before
James- We have a new policy a $5 non refundable deposit is now required to look at any shrink wrapped book over $50 dollars .
Customer -I've been shopping at this bookstore since it opened. I've always just come in and taken the books off the shelves.
James ( looks to make sure no ones around, leans in to whisper ) You may not believe this but some people would take 3 or 4 of these books unwrap them and sit in chair for hours reading with no intention of buying. Its the truth I swear. We'd even find crumbs in a few, and greasy fingerprints on others. These people have ruined it for everyone else. This policy is to ensure that we have quality merchandise available for loyal customers like yourself. The five dollars deposit will go toward the purchase price of the item.
Customer- Well I don't even know if I want to get Fancy Holiday Tables. That's why I want to look at it
James ( I got you now) If you decide not to get the book, you have 60 days to spend the five dollars on an item of your choice.
Customer- What if I don't want anything? Can I get the five dollars back?
James- Unfortunately not Ma'am its a non refundable deposit
Customer- What if I can't find anything?
James- You have 60 days
Customer- Well I don't have any cash right now
James- I also accept credit cards and checks
Customer- I don't want to charge five dollars to my credit card and I don't use checks. Can you make an exception just this once
James- Unfortunately not Ma'am.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Curse of Cuddle Mcgee Emily Ecton

Curse of Cuddles Mcgee -Emily Ecton I loved this book. It had me laughing so hard, at the end I was laugh snorting on the train. This is the second book in a new series, Boots and Pieces is the first one. I was still able to fully enjoy The Curse of Cuddle Mcgee without having read the first book. Arlie and her best friend Ty are messing around at a construction site. They accidentally uncover the bones of a cursed hamster, Cuddles Mcgee. Arlie and Ty must figure out a way to stop Cuddles from destroying all the places Arlie visits and leaving random gifts on her bed. I can't leave out Mr. Boots , Arlie's Chihuahua who likes to show his bits. Mr. Boots is a star in this series along with Arlie and Ty. While all this mayhem is happening Arlie's parents are away at a spa retreat since Arlie's mother is having a nervous break down over Mr. Boots indecency. A neighbor is keeping an eye on Arlie and her older sister Tina. America's Most Talented Pets is coming to town, and though Mr. Boots has no talent Tina is determined to get him on the show. There is a lot going on in this book, Ecton does an excellent job with all the story lines. Curse of Cuddle Mcgee has strange animals and people making for a very funny book. This was just so much fun. Arlie and Ty make a great duo, they have the timing of life long friends.

Time to share

Arlie and Ty find Cuddles

" A bunch of bones are enough to give anybody the willies. Of course, Ty didn't have any idea why I suddenly did my involuntary and highly embarrassing freak-out dance. Or he didn't until he squatted down and saw what had fallen out of the canister. Then he did a pretty embarrassing dance of his own. Aw bones! Eww, Arlie eww. That's bones! Those are bones in there!"

Tina has something on Arlie

"You might have fooled mom and dad, but you don't fool me for one second. I don't know what you're doing but as of this minute, you are mine. You hear me? Mine. Did I mention Tina's middle name is blackmail. I figured my options were pretty limited here cool and casual, which had the chance of throwing her off or puddle on the floor nervous, which really didn't have any advantages that I could see but was definitely the direction I was leaning. "

Today was a long day

Whenever its a national holiday, its always a long day at a bookstore. I began my day reshelving magazines. I step away from magazines for no more then 5 minutes. I go back with another stack, someone has stuffed craft mags. in with the music mags. I know they weren't there before because I was just by music mags. I quickly turn my head trying to catch someone but of course no one is around. I am thinking to myself what kind of bastard does that. And thats just the first hour. On national holiday's bookstores get a lot of library overflow. We had our fair share today. One of these nice gentleman, bags in tow asked me "where would I go if I had a broken jaw?" WTF. Of course the another is hospital. But thats too easy so I am thinking its some kind of trick question. And how do I know answering hospital isn't going to set this guy off. So I did what I normally do in these situations commit to nothing. When he said would you go to Grady Hospital. I was like yeah yeah that sounds good. He went away after that. Someone else was walking around barefoot. She was looking something up on a computer. Since I abide by no shoes no service rule, I didn't ask her if she needed help. Someone else was wondering around the store talking to themselves. And I am pretty sure there were a few daycare kids running around.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hip Hop Speaks to Children Nikki Giovanni

Hip Hop Speaks to Children edited by Nikki Giovanni. I am about four weeks late with this post. Usually I wouldn't still write this, since there is nothing left to be said but I am hoping I get a view visitors who haven't seen the other post. Though I will keep this short and sweet. Hip Hop Speaks to Children is one of those love at first site books. There is a great mix of the old and new. The book has several excerpts including Queen Latifah's - Ladies First and The SugarHill Gangs- Rappers Delight. Also includes Langston Hughes's- The Negro Speaks of Rivers, Paul Laurence Dunbar's- We Wear the Mask, Nikki Giovanni's- Ego Tripping, Lauryn Hill's - Everything is Everything. The illustrations are beautiful. Five illustrators contributed to this collection - Kristan Balouch, Michele Noiset, Jeremy Tugeau, Alicia Vergel de Dios and Damian Ward. The book comes with a C.D., the whole family can enjoy listening to it in the car.
Longer more substantial post can be found elsewhere including Shelf Elf , Fuse#8 and BC magazine .I have seen more reviews of this book but three links is all you're getting, and really one is all you need. Its all pretty much the same, nothing but love for Hip Hop Speaks to Children.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boycott Blues Andrea Davis Pinkney Brian Pinkney

Rosa Parks refusal to give up her seat on the bus is simply the beginning of a hound dogs song. A hound dog tells the story of the Montgomery bus boycott. Jim Crow is alive and well in the form of an angry bird. Brian Pinkney brings the Jim Crow to life with swirls of darkness covering the pages. What I really enjoyed about Boycott Blues is being given a number. Everyone has heard of Rosa Parks (at least I hope so) and the Montgomery boycott. However, the length of the boycott is hardly ever discussed, or maybe it is and I don't attention. Andrea Davis Pinkney has given us something solid to hold onto, 382 days. That's a long time, hell today I was tempted to take a bus three blocks out of pure laziness. If 382 days feels like a long time to you, imagine what it will feel like to a child. A lot can be done with that number, it can be broken down into months, seasons, and birthdays to name a few. Brain Pinkney's illustrations gives faces to the feet. Below the Jim Crow bird and beside the empty buses we see people walking and walking and walking, in all types of weather. Brain Pinkney draws the hound dog sometimes in the shadows or a protector in the sky but always strumming his guitar. Boycott Blues has a great musical tempo a story teller could do wonders with.

Time to share

As strong as we were, some wanted to quit. And child, child,
I can't say I blamed them. After all, you've been walking from December to November, a bus begins to look like sweet temptation. Even if it means riding in the back. Even if Jim Crow sits in your lap. When I saw somebody start to go down that road, when I heard somebody say, "What's the use? I'm paying my dime to ride," I played my guitar as loud as I could to drown out Jim Crow's peck, peck,peck. To stir up a rhythm worth following. To somehow soften those boycott blues.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Don't Vote Spread The Word

I was tagged by Apryl from Women Like Sports., to post the Don't Vote Video. In the past few weeks I've been stopped by 3 or 4 people at various places who are registering people to vote. In many states, people are already casting their votes. Early voter turn out is at an all time high. So there is really no reason why anyone over the age of 18 and felony free not to vote in this election. I vote because its my right. I vote because I should. I vote because its easy. I vote because that wasn't always so. I vote because I don't want to shut up. If I don't cast a vote I've said nothing. If I've said nothing I can't complain and that just won't do. Come election day, if you're in a long slow moving line remember your reasons for voting, and do not leave that line. Bring a book, ipod, sudoku, something the line will move quicker. Your suppose to tag five more people to post this and they tag 5 and on and on, but I'll just tagging three and claiming Apryl's extras has my own

Tag Your it

Toni James Preller Keri Mikulski

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Today on the Train

I get to the train station right when my trains arrival is announced. I have to get on that train or else I will be late to work. So I rush to the escalator (along with other riders). There was a woman in front of me who is not moving and she didn't not leave a path for anyone to pass. Its an unwritten rule when riding public transportation, that if you see someone trying to catch a train move out of the way or give them room to pass. Apparently this lady didn't know this rule or simply didn't care. I was forced to use my watching a game voice. The voice that is reserved for my couch, bars and stadiums. Its the voice I use to scream at refs, umps, calls, players and plays. I have honed this voice with years of sports watching, and today it served me very well. When I screamed Come On! it came straight from my gut, strong and true. And you best believe the woman's head snapped back real quick. I was able to pass, catch my train and make it to work on time.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Little Divas Philana Marie Boles

Little Divas -Philana Marie Boles When I started this blog in March, I told myself no going back, no matter how much I loved a book if I read it before March, oh well. Little Divas is going to be my one exception. Originally published in 2006, Little Divas is now available in paperback. I was afraid that with all the time that passed since I read it, Little Divas wouldn't be as good, like maybe my memory of it was better than the real thing. Nope, it was as good as it was the first time. I still love Little Divas. The cover is oh so very cute, light and fun. The cover artist - Ali Douglass, the cover designer - Michelle Gengaro
Life is changing for 12 yr old Cassidy Carter. Since her parents divorced Cassidy's mom wants to try new things. She joins people for peace, going to Africa for a year. Cassidy will be moving in with her dad. Cassidy's best friend is her cousin, Rikki. Little Divas is the summer before seventh grade. Its a busy summer. Cassidy adjust to living with her dad, keeping a journal for when her mom comes home. Cassidy worries about her dad sending her to private school. She can't imagine going to the same junior high school as her archenemy Lane Benson, without Rikki at her side. Cassidy goes to her first boy/girl pool party kissing a boy for the first time. Golden, a new girl moves next door to Cassidy, Rikki resist at first but the three become friends.
Since Cassidy's dad is a musician, she spends a lot of time at Rikki's house. Rikki parents are very strict. Cassidy and Rikki always cover for Rikki's older sister, Mary when she sneaks out to see her boyfriend. Mary rewards them with items for their contraband box.

"Mary buys us peach jolly ranchers, watermelon hubba bubba, wet n wild glitter fingernail polish (and remover to erase the evidence) Teen Vogue, Seventeen and YM magazines, playing cards, and grape lip smackers to store inside our contraband box." Mary also give them some great sisterly advice like making a boy work like Paul Bunyan to get a whiff of their perfume.

Boles has written a great story many girls can relate to. If anybody knows the author, please let her know I am still patiently waiting for another Little Divas book.

"In the tradition of Judy Blume and Alice Naylor, Bole's first novel for youth is joyful, honest story of girls friendship, family and love" - ALA Booklist

Dark Dude Oscar Hijuelos

Dark Dude - Oscar Hijuelos Rico Fuentes is a very light Cuban, so light people think he's white. Both of Rico's parents are Cuban, he gets his color from an Irish ancestor. Going up in Harlem Rico is picked on by Latinos and Blacks, carry money for would be jumpers. Dark Dude is one of the many names Rico got called. He has two close friends Gilberto and Jimmy. The novel opens with Gilberto using his lotto winnings to move to Wisconsin for college. Gilberto looked out for Rico like an older brother. Rico scored very high on a high school intelligence test, though his public school nicknamed "Jo Mamas" by the students was not a great learning environment. Rico skips school on a regular basis. When his parents find out, Rico's father threatens to send him to live with his uncle. Before Rico's father can send him away, he runs away to Wisconsin for a new start. Rico convinces Jimmy to go with him. Jimmy is Rico's best friend, a very talented artist and trying to kick a heroin habit. The two hitchhike all the way to Wisconsin. By the time Rico and Jimmy are hitchhiking I had already figured out that Dark Dude isn't set in the present day thanks to words like jive and converse being the sneakers of choice. Hijuelos setting choice is subtle and of little importance. The author has created a character many teens can relate to , a 15yr old teenager who is trying to figure out where he belongs. One thing Rico is sure of his is love of reading especially comic books. Rico creates some pretty cool superheroes himself including one called the Latin Dagger. Dark Dude is over 400 pages, about one year of Rico's life. I really enjoyed Dark Dude, its hard not to like a novel that begins with the main character cleaning an outhouse.
Time to share

Rico tries to join an after school club
"One afternoon I left school late. I'd just tried to join the ASPIRA club, which was for Latino students, but as soon as I had walked in, it took me about thirty seconds to change my mind. The kid behind the desk gave me an up and down that said, What are you doing here. And so I walked right out, not wanting to explain a single thing about myself. Why should I have to?"

Rico and Jimmy are picked up by an angry black man
"And while I thought about telling our driver that I had cousins in Cuba who were as black as himself, with all shades of color running through the past generations of my family, and that I knew all kinds of nice black folks even if I had my share of hassles, I doubted that he would have believed me. Then, as he went on about white devils, it hit me that the only reason he had picked us up was to torture us with his nasty feelings. Like that was my kind of luck."

Hijuelos was awarded the Pulitzer prize in 1990, Dark Dude is his first novel for teens. In the back of the book there is a note to the reader from Atheneum publishers. It basically says they plan to offer more Latino literature for young adult readers.

The tail end of the note
"We believe that the Latino community - so diverse in tradition , cultural sensibility, historical pacing, race and religion is renewing the American spirit. We invite you to share with us in celebrating our new venture."

I didn't find anything else about this at Atheneum website but I did find this Voices in First Person: Reflections on Latino IdentityEdited by Lori Marie Carlson

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Pro Green

Before I tell you about my not so happy encounter, I'll begin with the hour prior. I was in the children's section doing my thing. I sold a lot of books including two copies of Underneath by Appelt, two copies of Louise, the Adventures of a Chicken by Dicamillo, one Crooked Kind of Perfect by Urban, one Ellie Mcdoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel by Barshaw, one Coraline by Gaiman. I was able to sell and talk about kids books it was a very good hour. When you work retail its hours like that, that remind you why you put up with all the crap. Now I shall tell you about my crappy encounter that F'd up my happy retail high. While I was at the registers a man comes in sees a political display and ask if we are Pro Obama. I hate this question because anyone who poses it is always looking for a fight. And since when is Obama Nation by Corsi (great title) a Pro Obama book. I said no we are Pro Green. I probably shouldn't have said that because customers will tell on you real quick, but I didn't care. Its a stupid question. There is no red or blue in retail only green.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Come Sip My Margarita

It's been a slow Tuesday night at Books are Beautiful. The staff has shelved all the books, dusted all the displays and cleaned the store from top to bottom. Though they would never wish for a condescending prick bastard talking on their cell phone customer,but a customer with a little color with help past the time. The staff gets there wish. Tamika lucks out and gets the customer but she will share the story with everyone

Come Sip My Margarita- Another Unfortunate skit

Tamika - Hi, how are you doing today?
Customer- Feeling cleansed, clean and with it. My body clock and I are clicking again
Tamika- Well thats good
Customer- Yes it is. Returned from a bitchin world experience.
Tamika- (he's kind of fun, and this better than busy work) Welcome back
Customer- Dude there is so much out there.
Tamika - Where did you go?
Customer- Everywhere my body heard the call. My travel tops were Australia, New Zealand Brazil and Thailand. Everywhere I went the people were so welcoming. I needed to step away from my life, regain core control. I was so bad off at the beginning you could smell my melancholy. Brazil was my first stop and I went into a little dump of a bar with a few locals, the bartender kept looking at me funny. I thought he wanted to kick my non Brazilian ass. (slight laugh), Nadel and I are friends for life now
Tamika ( I am going to call you Matthew in my head. I really like you Matthew) What did Nadel do?
Customer - I knew you would ask. You give off this wise vibe and only the wise question. Nadel came over to me and said "Come sip my Margarita." Those four words help me reestablish core control. It sounds strange I know but Nadel is gifted in the ways of the margarita. There are many margaritas for our many moods. Nadel said he felt my sadness, and knew I needed to slow sip a cool mango margarita. I didn't want to offend Nadel but of course he was still the bartender at the time, so I took the drink. When I got that first taste of mango and ice life didn't seem so bad. I stayed in that bar all night and that is way I am here today. I promised Nadel when I got back to the states I'd find a book on how to make proper margaritas.
Tamika- (walking Matthew to beverage section) You've inspired me to drink more margaritas, and I just got a new blender.
Customer - Yes to more margaritas, no to the blender. Nadel says a true margarita never sees the inside of a blender. In order to benefit from the magic that is a margarita the process must be all natural. No blender no mix.
Tamika- No blender, no mix, thanks for sharing
Customer- I always share with those who will listen. I am no Nadel but I feel you would do well to drink a strawberry margarita. It will help ease some of that work tension.
Tamika- You're not suppose to see that
Customer- I won't tell
Tamika- Thanks, here are the drink books. I guess I have to get back to work
Customer- Really
Tamika- Unfortunately, but I hope you find the perfect margarita book
Customer- I will

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tell the World Writerscorps

Tell the World: Teen Poems from Writerscorps- Writerscorps This is a collection of poems by teens who have taken part in workshops run by Writercorps. Writercorps was founded in 1994, in San Francisco, CA, Washington D.C. and Bronx, NY . There goal is to transforms the lives of children with words. Tell the World is the third collection of poems by teens put out by Writercorps. Though I loved and was touched by this collection, I wish could say I had heard of WriterCorps before now. Tell the World is broken up into six sections. Who We ARE, Where We're From,What We Love,What We Think, How It Feels, Why We Hope. The poets range between 12-18. I had to resist the urge to share one from each section. I narrowed it down to three. The first two are excerpts, so you'll have to buy the book for the full poem

Tell The World Who We Are
Tea Cake (an excerpt)
i'm like a modern-day Tea Cake
my mom named me Michael Newby
but i'm better known as Prince Akzionz
smooth with his words as i am in composition
to top it all off both of us are musicians
live my life for the moment no set goals or missions the whole world
hip hop complex young guys with free spirits
don't turn away from nothing we accept it as it happens
life on improv like freestyle rappin
or freestyle actin
but it's all reality no dvd on pause
the perfect man for Janey even in my flaws
by Michael Newby, 17

Tell the World What We Love
Rules Are Simply (an excerpt)
rules are simply broken locks on open doors meant to
be ignored
written in a text that is easily erased and replaced
let's work thru those doors into a hidden world
of temporary ecstasy that envelopes every dream
and desire we've never had the chance to achieve
let's taste the sweetness of the "should nots" and
"don't you evers" as we fulfill them
rules are simply ideas created by bland minds
that crave a softer touch than I possess
by Liana Castro, 17

Tell the World Why We Hope
Anger & Poetry
Anger is like breaking
all the plates
and ripping out
the windows.
Poetry is like seeing
the whole world
by Alma Garcia, 12

Some teens may think poetry is for yesterday or someone else. This collection will change there minds. There is no pressure, no lines to analyze, they can simply pick a poem at will. Tell the World may inspire a few teens to pick up a pen. If nothing else they will at least know its an option.

Tell The World will be released Oct. 14