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

Saturday, November 15, 2008

New Books

In the past I was told I was free to ask for titles I thought would sell in the children's section. This of course was pre economic woes. I am far from optimistic but I handed in a list of titles . A few weeks past, nothing. I didn't ask about it because I figured it was a long shot to begin with, but they came, New Books New Books. Sweet. Retail sales have dropped everywhere but thankfully parents are still coming into bookstores to buy children's books. As long as you're familiar with the product and can read your customer children's books are the easiest to handsell. I am at the point now where customers don't even know what hit em. After all these years my approach is so smooth and sick, its crazy. Making suggestions is second nature now. For instance- A customers comes in to buy a joke book for an 8yr olds birthday party. I can't help but ask if her sons read Diary of a Wimpy Kid. She said No, I said What! She buys 2 one for son one for his friend. A customer is buying a Project Runway kit for her niece. How could I not show her Catwalk . I have a sweet one two punch going with Sugar Plum Ballerinas: Plum Fantastic and Little Divas right now. Of course I am happy the store gets the sale now more so then ever, but I am happier that children and teens are getting their hands on books they could possibly love. Hopefully parents and teachers will continue to buy their books from bookstores. The happy and satisfied customer- Some may stray but they all come back.

I'm Late Mari Evans

I'm Late by Mari Evans- Evans has an extensive biography and I am embarrassed to say I was unfamiliar with her work before this. I'm Late is only 74 pages not including the post questions. This is the story of three teenagers LaNeese, Moonlight and Alisha. 14 yr olds, LaNeese and Alisha are pregnant. The story opens with LaNeese telling her boyfriend Moonlight. His response "Your What" "Shit"
LaNeese tries to hide her pregnancy from her mom. When LaNeese's mother finds out she is very supportive. LaNeese starts going for pre-natal care. I can't think of many teen novels that mention prenatal care. Unfortunately the class does not teach LaNeese that hitting your child is not the answer.
Alisha is pregnant by some random guy. She is overweight and doesn't see herself as pretty but the baby will be proof that someone once touched her. Alisha has horrible eating habits and doesn't visit a doctor while pregnant.
Moonlight (Moon)- Just wants to get drafted by the NFL
I'm Late is Only 74 pages not including the post questions. Written in 2006 the author doesn't risk dating it by mentioning clothing labels or anything else that could make a reader pause . I'm Late reads real, and is written in an almost play like format. I could see students acting this novel out. The post questions allow for continued discussion.
Time to Share
LeNeese goes to the clinic
"Neesie had no idea there was so much to it. She had thought that they would just grow by themselves and come out after nine months when they were ready. Nine months. That was about all she or any other girls her age that came to the Clinic knew. Nine months."
"By May Alisha knew she was pregnant. She might still have gotten an abortion but she didn't want one. Her periods never came back, and she never told. She finally decided not to even tell Nessie."

Voices in First Person Lori Marie Carlson

Voices in First Person: Reflections on Latino Identity by Carlson, Lori Marie This is a collection of writings by 21 Latino authors. Including Sandra Cisnerso, Oscar Hijuelos, and Gary Soto. Some of the stories I glanced over, others I read 2 or 3 times. That's the beauty of collection a reader is allowed to pick and choose. There is more then a enough in this collection that moves me to pause, think and laugh. I honestly don't know what else to write about Voices in First Person so I'll give excerpts from three of my favorites

Asking Her Where She Is From by Michele Serros
"I can't get by a week without a white person asking me that question. Sometimes when I'm asked the Question, I like to lie and make up areas within the Latin world from where I supposedly originated."

Last week I wanted to Die by Susan Gevara
Then, when I die, I will fly away with colored string and glass beads pasted to my wings. I will fly straight up to heaven, and I will take Satan with me. And if God doesn't like it well, I'll just refuse to leave. Satan will have to let me do all of the talking this time. I can't really see myself convincing God of everything, but we could at least have a conversation."

The Barrio ABC's by Quiara Alegria Hudes- Two kids battle through to spot what they see around there block. Its like the dozens

kid 1- G is for Graffiti
kid2- and for Gentrification
kid2- Z is for Zone. Empowerment zone Drug free zone. No parking Zone. Construction Zone.

Trouble Follows Monica McKayhan

Trouble Follows: An Indigo Novel (Kimani TRU) by Monica Mckayhan I didn't read my first Kimani Tru novel until last September. When I told Toni she gave me a well deserved head shake. As much YA as I read there's no excuse for me waiting so long to read a Kimani Tru novel. The first was Indigo by McKayhan. I loved it, so it only makes sense that the first Kimani Tru novel I review is an Indigo novel. 15 yr old Jade is moving back to Atlanta. When her parents divorced Jade moved with her mother and sister to New Jersey to live with her grandmother. Jade started acting out at school, so it was decided she would move back in with her father to get straighten out. Jade is happy to move back, so she can be with her best friend Indigo again. Indigo is on the H.S dance dance and has a great boyfriend, named Marcus. The novel alternates between these three characters. McKayhan writes characters and situations that teens can relate to and learn from. The author confronts many issues in the novel. Jade comes face to face with a teacher who abuses his position and touches her inappropriately. To keep her weight for the dance team Indigo develops an eating disorder. I really liked this story line because there is still a perception that black girls don't do eating disorders. McKayhan doesn't push the issue but she puts it out there. Marcus is a straight A student with a part time job and plans for his future. However the police don't see that, while riding with his teammates they're pulled over and arrested. McKayhan shows how easy it is for a black male to get caught up even when he's doing right. The issues never overshadow the story. Trouble Follows moves at a great pace and I really cared about these characters.

Time to Share Jade's 1st day

"My heart pounded as I roamed the halls of my new high school. It pounded so loudly that I could actually hear it. I'd missed Indigo all morning, too busy trying to find my classes. That wasn't until the afternoon that I finally spotted her. I took two steps at a time until I reached the third floor. She was standing in the middle of the hallway, cheesing and wavy. I would have to teach that girl how to be more cool and low key."

Guardian Julius Lester

Guardian by Julius Lester Set in Davis a small southern town in 1946. Its the story of a lynching seen through the eyes of a white teenager.. 14yr old Ansel Anderson works in his father store. Ansel is friends with lil Willie (no last name given because he's a Negro.) The two work and fish together. Though the small town is filled with racial tension the two boys are friends. Everything is going well until Willie's father is accused of raping and killing a white girl. Ansel is with his father, Bert when Big Willie runs to them for help. Bert refuses to speak out against a Davis for a Negro and won't allow Ansel to either. Bert makes Ansel attend the lynching because it will be bad for business if he doesn't. Lester does a great job of putting the reader in that moment. I could see the white people remixing about past lynchings, standing around the tree with the little children on their father's shoulders waiting for Big Willie undeserved sentencing like it was the fourth of July. I was reminded of Billie Holiday's Strange Fruit while lil Willie climbed the tree to cut his father free. After that day Ansel and Willie both got out of Davis and they never spoke again. I must admit I was expecting the two to meet up by chance as adults. The fact that they didn't I believe is a fundamental difference between a white and black author. Ansel's apology would do nothing for Willie. So its only fair that Ansel be forced to live with his non action. Guardian is a short read and Lester does an excellent job of capturing all of the characters. I liked the authors notes as much as I liked the novel itself. Lester shares many things like why he decided to write Guardian. Lester also included Lynching by State and Race records between 1882-1968. 539 black lynchings were reported in Mississippi during that time. When I read that stat the first thing out of my mouth was Mississippi God Damn, no wonder Nina Simone wrote that song.

Time to share, the novel is just over 100 pages and I don't went to give anything away so I will share from the author's notes.

"I wrote a 75 page treatment of the movie I envisioned about the white boy at a lynching. The producer read it, but his mind was set on a movie about a lynching from the perspective of blacks. There was no creative challenge for me in writing that story. I felt like it had been done, and I wasn't interested in writing something that would enable whites to shed crocodile tears for blacks"

Am Back, Did You Miss Me?

Hey everyone. (God it feels good to have these keys under my fingers again) Sorry for the long absence. I just moved. I had planned to do a post before the big day but my service got shut off a week early and turned on a week late. (lovely I know). Since I work retail when I have customer service issues I am far too nice. I know how it feels for a customer to go off on you, when all you did was pick up the phone. Being nice totally got me screwed. I have about three or four reviews to post. Since I didn't want to get any more backed up, I got caught up on some adult fiction. Finally read Lush Life by Richard Price which I really enjoyed. I read Roseanna by Maj Sjowall; Per Wahloo; (Translator) Lois Roth. Its a Swedish mystery originally written in the 60's I loved it, the story loses nothing over time. Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson; (Translator) Reg Keeland, I picked this up right after Roseanna I guess you could say I was on a Swedish kick. This book got a lot of great reviews and customers have been buying it for awhile so I decided to read it. I hated it. If you ask I will tell you why but if I start I ranting I won't stop. I get reading urges a lot, like sometimes I get in the mood to read a British mystery or street crime mystery, something funny or a novel I can lose myself in. Anyhow a few weeks back I had a serious urge to go back to my reading roots. I wanted to read something by an African American author. Since I don't read urban lit, Christian fiction and I was not in the mood for anything written during or right after slavery my choices were seriously limited. I was in search of something a la Tumbling by Diane McKinney-Whetstone. If you have never read McKinney Whetsone you should. Her writing is just beautiful. Tumbling is still my favorite but her last novel Trading Dreams at Midnight was some of her best work, I was crying so hard. I ended up reading In the Night of the Heat by Blair Underwood; Tananarive Due; Steven Barnes, It was a nice quick enjoyable read. I also read Midnight: A Gangster Love Story by Sister Souljah- This started off so so well. I was loving it so hard. I even fought for it with a would be robber. (I will get back to that later) Since the main character is a teenager I had dreams of doing a duel post with Toni. After the first half the love was gone. I have not been this unhappy about a second half of a book since Ruins by Scott Smith. I can't wait until Toni's Midnight post because I have a lot to say. I finally got around to reading In the Woods by Tana French. It was as good as everyone said it would be. I loved it so much I will read French's second novel next and I never read same author back to back.