The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own
Book Review / December 28, 2017

Title: The Meaning of Michelle: 16 Writers on the Iconic First Lady and How Her Journey Inspires Our Own Genre: Essays Publisher: St. Martin's Press Release Date: January 10th, 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 220 Source: NetGalley Editor: Veronica Chambers Michelle Obama is unlike any other First Lady in American History. From her first moments on the public stage, she has challenged traditional American notions about what it means to be beautiful, to be strong, to be fashion-conscious, to be healthy, to be First Mom, to be a caretaker and hostess, and to be partner to the most powerful man in the world. What is remarkable is that, at 52, she is just getting started. While many books have looked at Michelle Obama from a fashion perspective, no book has fully explored what she means to our culture. The Meaning of Michelle does just that, while offering a parting gift to a landmark moment in American history. In addition to a tribute to Michelle Obama, this book is also a rollicking, lively dinner party conversation about race, class, marriage, creativity, womanhood and what it means to be American today. Contributors include: Ava DuVernay, Veronica Chambers, Benilde Little, Damon Young, Alicia Hall Moran and…

All-American Boys
Book Review / September 28, 2017

Title: All-American Boys Author: Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely Genre: Contemporary Publisher: Atheneum Books Release Date: September 29th, 2015 Format: Hardcover Pages: 316 Source: Library Rashad is absent again today. That’s the sidewalk graffiti that started it all… Well, no, actually, a lady tripping over Rashad at the store, making him drop a bag of chips, was what started it all. Because it didn’t matter what Rashad said next—that it was an accident, that he wasn’t stealing—the cop just kept pounding him. Over and over, pummeling him into the pavement. So then Rashad, an ROTC kid with mad art skills, was absent again…and again…stuck in a hospital room. Why? Because it looked like he was stealing. And he was a black kid in baggy clothes. So he must have been stealing. And that’s how it started. And that’s what Quinn, a white kid, saw. He saw his best friend’s older brother beating the daylights out of a classmate. At first Quinn doesn’t tell a soul…He’s not even sure he understands it. And does it matter? The whole thing was caught on camera, anyway. But when the school—and nation—start to divide on what happens, blame spreads like wildfire fed by ugly words like…

Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand
Book Review / August 30, 2017

Title: Bangkok: Recipes and Stories from the Heart of Thailand Author: Leela Punyaratabandhu Genre: Cookbook Publisher: Ten Speed Press Release Date: May 9th 2017 Format: eARC Pages: 368 Source: NetGalley From one of the most respected authorities on Thai cooking comes this beautiful and deeply personal ode to Bangkok, the top-ranked travel destination in the world.  Every year, more than 16 million visitors flock to Thailand s capital city, and leave transfixed by the vibrant culture and unforgettable food they encounter along the way. Thai cuisine is more popular today than ever, yet there is no book that chronicles the real food that Thai people eat every day until now. In Bangkok, award-winning author Leela Punyaratabandhu offers 120 recipes that capture the true spirit of the city from heirloom family dishes to restaurant classics to everyday street eats to modern cosmopolitan fare. Beautiful food and location photography will make this a must-have keepsake for any reader who has fallen under Bangkok s spell. (via Goodreads) Amazon In right under the wire! My 4th #ARCAugust review! Finally making a dent in that TBR. 🙂 My Better Half and I love to cook and explore new recipes. We are constantly checking out new cookbooks…

The Best We Could Do
Book Review / August 12, 2017

Title: The Best We Could Do Author: Thi Bui Genre: Graphic Memoir Publisher: Abrams ComicArts Release Date: March 7th, 2017 Format: eBook Pages: 330 Source: NetGalley Illustrator: Thi Bui An intimate and poignant graphic novel portraying one family’s journey from war-torn Vietnam from debut author Thi Bui. This beautifully illustrated and emotional story is an evocative memoir about the search for a better future and a longing for the past. Exploring the anguish of immigration and the lasting effects that displacement has on a child and her family, Bui documents the story of her family’s daring escape after the fall of South Vietnam in the 1970s, and the difficulties they faced building new lives for themselves. At the heart of Bui’s story is a universal struggle: While adjusting to life as a first-time mother, she ultimately discovers what it means to be a parent—the endless sacrifices, the unnoticed gestures, and the depths of unspoken love. Despite how impossible it seems to take on the simultaneous roles of both parent and child, Bui pushes through. With haunting, poetic writing and breathtaking art, she examines the strength of family, the importance of identity, and the meaning of home. In what Pulitzer Prize–winning…

Shout Out and Shameless Plug
Guest Post / November 14, 2016

Guys! Guys! I wrote my first guest blog post! Now, I understand the idea behind a guest blog post is that it sits on another blog and people flock there to read it and chat about it… but I feel so honored that Brendon @ Reading and Gaming for Justice was willing to collaborate with me. Brendon’s blog thesis is more or less stems from the fact that he has some questions and concerns about the social justice implications of the literature and board game markets. His blog is to get more involved in these communities and be a part of the social justice journey. Pretty rad, to say the least.   November is Indigenous People’s Heritage Month in the United States, so Brendon is featuring posts and reviews of #OwnVoices Native Hawai’ian authors. This immediately piqued my interest, and I reached out to be a part of this. Being involved in dialogues with other bloggers has been key to my development and sharing my own message. Brendon’s goal and mine are the same: to subvert the dominant narrative and life the voices of marginalized peoples. I strongly encourage you to check out Brendon’s blog, and all his Native Hawai’ian #OwnVoices…

5 Challenged Diverse Books You Should Read
Between the Lines / September 26, 2016

    .         Between the Lines is a series of posts focused on better understanding books, trends in writing, and the labels associated with these. As we have entered Banned Books Week, let’s address some frequently challenged books that are worth your time. Specifically: books featuring diversity. Diversity in literature has been a hot topic lately. With campaigns such as #WeNeedDiverseBooks, blogs like Naz’s Read Diverse Books popping up all over the place, and hashtags such as #OwnVoices taking over twitter we know this isn’t a phase. At some point in the future, I’ll wax eloquent on my reasons why we need diversity in literature. But, until then, check out the books below that highlight diversity in literature: 1 — And Tango Makes Three by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell What is it? A children’s picture book illustrating the true story of a same-sex penguin couple in the Central Park zoo. Two male penguins, Roy and Silo, start taking turns sitting on rocks during brooding season, and get quite depressed when it doesn’t hatch. Noticed by a zoo keeper, Roy and Silo are given a real egg that was abandoned by the mother and begin to create their own family….

The Absolutely True Story of a Part-Time Indian
Book Review / September 24, 2016

Title: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian Author: Sherman Alexie Genre: Fiction Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers Release Date: September 12th, 2007 Format: Hardback Pages: 230 Source: Library Illustrator: Ellen Forney Bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by Ellen Forney that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live. With a forward by Markus Zusak, interviews with Sherman Alexie and Ellen Forney, and four-color interior art throughout, this edition is perfect for fans and collectors alike. (via Goodreads) Amazon The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian is a book that is simultaneously hilarious and heart-breaking. A powerful story told with a dry sense of…

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