Review: Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline WoodsonBrown Girl Dreaming
Jacqueline Woodson
Nancy Paulsen Books
Published August 28, 2014

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From Goodreads
Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite … Continue reading

Review: Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson

Furiously Happy: A Funny Book about Horrible Things
Jenny Lawson
Flatiron Books
Published September 22, 2015

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It doesn’t seem possible to write a hilarious book about depression and anxiety, but that’s exactly what author Jenny Lawson has done in Furiously Happy. Her wacky adventures fill the pages and her unique view of herself and the world around her challenge readers to embrace their own weird. She has a keen sense of irony and writes in a rambling-yet-engrossing way. She takes readers through the highs and lows of book tours, a trip to Australia, and the challenges of depression and anxiety in daily life.

I think I read this book at exactly the right time. I’d seen it … Continue reading

Review: Irena’s Children by Tilar J. Mazzeo

Irena's Children by Tilar J. MazzeoIrena’s Children: Young Readers Edition
Tilar J Mazzeo
Translated by Mary Cronk Farrell
Margaret K. McElderry Books
Available September 27, 2016

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During World War II, Irena Sendler worked with an underground network to rescue 2,500 Jewish children from Nazi occupied Poland. Her unwavering commitment to human rights began long before the war, and endured through her own incarceration and torture. She worked tirelessly to save as many as she could, and through it all insisted that she was not a hero. She’d only done what any ordinary human would do.

Though it’s nonfiction, I could not put this book down. I was so captured by the life of this incredible woman … Continue reading

Review: Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland

Every Falling Star by Sungju LeeEvery Falling Star: The True Story of How I Survived and Escaped North Korea
Sunju Lee and Susan Elizabeth McClelland
Amulet Books
Available: September 13, 2016

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From Goodreads

Every Falling Star, the first book to portray contemporary North Korea to a young audience, is the intense memoir of a North Korean boy named Sungju who is forced at age twelve to live on the streets and fend for himself. To survive, Sungju creates a gang and lives by thieving, fighting, begging, and stealing rides on cargo trains. Sungju richly re-creates his scabrous story, depicting what it was like for a boy alone to create a new family with his gang, his “brothers”; … Continue reading

Review: Life Animated: A Story of Sidekicks, Heroes and Autism by Ron Suskind

life-animatedA Life Animated: A story of heroes, sidekicks and autism
Ron Suskind
Kingswell

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When the Suskind family moves to a new home, they begin to see startling changes in their youngest son, Owen. He loses the ability to communicate with them and seems to retreat inside himself. The family embarks on a journey to find ways to reconnect with Owen via one of his favorite things: Disney movies.

This is an amazing, truly inspiring story. I’m awed by the courage it must have taken for both Owen and his family to continue pressing forward without giving up, even in moments when field experts were at a loss as to how to help, when specialized programs proved disappointing. … Continue reading

Review: Tattooed by Jesus by Bonnie Kae Lentz with Patti Lacy and Angie Reedy

Tattooed by Jesus by Bonnie Kae LentzTattooed by Jesus by Bonnie Kae Lentz
with Patti Lacy and Angie Reedy
CreateSpace

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Looking back at her life, Bonnie recognizes a hunger for spiritual things. Throughout the course of her mixed up life, she searches for something deeper in relationships with men, experimentation with drugs, and the darker spirit world of the occult. She and her husband Tom journey across the US looking for stability, peace, and hope. Ultimately it is an encounter with Jesus that changes Bonnie’s life forever.

The dark parts of Bonnie’s journey get pretty dark. She’s witnessed some brutal things and though the narrative is gentle, reading the memories evokes deep feeling. Yet it’s a story that so many who lived through the same … Continue reading

Review and Reminiscence: The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten BoomThe Hiding Place
Corrie Ten Boom with John Sherrill and Elizabeth Sherrill
Chosen Books

Nazi occupation during World War II changes watchmaker Corrie Ten Boom’s life. Her deep empathy and faith lead her to become a central participant in the underground movement to protect Jews and others on the run from the Nazi government. Corrie and her family know that at any time, they may be captured and sent to the very camps they work to save others from. Still, with every new challenge, Corrie and her sister Betsie cling to their faith in God and look to Him for the path they should follow. What results is a moving, often miraculous story of a woman who not only survived terrible conditions, but who continued to … Continue reading

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