Saturday, August 15, 2020

Pushing for Diversity in What We Read

This post is one that (I hope) makes you think. 

I would like you to do is: think of what the last book you read was about. 

Then ask yourself this: Were the characters diverse? Was the story diverse? 

Chances are that the story you read wasn't very diverse.  And you know what? That's okay. BUT we can do better by changing that!  

AS readers, we can pick up a book that has diversity woven through it.  

Remember: diversity in literature comes in different forms. Diversity is not just about stories that focus on main characters who are people of color or their cultural stories.  Diversity takes form in any other characteristics of a character- their sexual orientation or if they may have another medical conditions, just to name two characteristics. 

There is a bunch of articles out there that highlight the importance of having diversity in children's literature (including young adult).  There is even an entire organization dedicated to it - We Need Diverse Books

Those articles are able to better explain it and I'll link a few of them here:

Teachers Push for Books with More Diversity, Fewer Stereotypes

Why Children's Book That Teach Diversity are More Important Than Ever

Why Diverse Kids Books Matter 

Lee and Low each year publishes the statistics that accompany diverse children's literature.  These are the stats from this year- Where is the Diversity in Publishing? The 2019 Diversity Baseline Survey Results is DEFINITELY worthy of the read. 

The message across all of these articles? We need the diversity! Children and teens need to be able to associate to the characters in books but they also are able to use the characters that they can't directly relate to as a teachable moment. 

If you have read anything that fits what was discussed in the articles above, let  me know!  You can comment back or tweet me @blondewithabook

- Jillian 

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Introducing... Jillian's Virtual Library!

I'm both happy and excited to introduce a new page to For The Love of Dewey - Jillian's Virtual Library!

Bookish Wall Decor is from here. 

I learned about it in my emerging literacy class last semester actually and I must say the virtual library is a really fun concept!.  The idea is that you're able to share books with your students or patrons or other resources that are available from your library, whether you're a librarian in a public library or a media specialist.  

In a perfect world, this is slide/picture that would be interactive and if you clicked on any one of the book covers, you would be able to access more information on that book currently on a bookshelf.  Alas, this is not a perfect world and I'm trying to figure out if there is a way that I can hyperlink my Google Slide to the blog that will allow for this to happen.... 

In the meantime, I thought that this was just too cute not to share!  The books that are shown here in my virtual library are listed down below.  These are just some of the books that I've read so far this summer. They are all YA books and they were wonder.  In keeping with that I've learned about diverse literature, all of the books that are mentioned cover a vast topics but they were all so amazing and worthy of sharing! 

New Kid by Jerry Craft: For anyone who says graphic novels can't be as powerful as a regular book, hasn't picked up and read New Kid.  Jordan is starting 7th grade at a new school- a school where he is the minority and a school where Jordan encounters racism daily. How can you speak up for yourself when the people around you don't think that they're doing anything wrong?  That's a tough question to answer but over the course of the year, Jordan learns that going outside of the bounds of what you're comfortable with can have surprisingly positive results and more importantly, how you need to stand up for yourself and what's right. 

Monday's Not Coming by Tiffany D. Jackson: Claudia and Monday have big plans! 8th Grade is going to be their year- they are going to make it count before heading off to high school. Monday isn't there for the first day of school though.  Monday doesn't ever come.  Told in such a way that leaves a trail of "breadcrumbs" for the reader to follow, we learn that appearances aren't everything and everyone has their secrets that they want to keep hidden for no-one to find until it's too late. 

Kent State by Deborah Wiles: One word to describe this book: Powerful.  A recommendation from Donalyn Miller - this story is told using the perspectives of 6 different individuals to tell the story of 3 days before and the day of the shooting at Kent State in Kent, Ohio in May of 1970.  While Kent State happened 50 years ago, the events leading up to and what happened on that fateful day are eerily similar to the current events that are happening today in 2020.   

Like A Love Story by Abdi Nazemian: Can we just take a moment and admire the cover art of this book?!  It's beautiful and it is a great depiction of what this book is about.  Reza is new to NYC, on his first day of school, he runs into Art and Judy.  Reza only sees Art, while Judy only sees Reza.  In a powerful story about accepting and embracing who you are, Reza navigates what it's like to be gay during the 1980s- a time when being a member of the LGBTQ+ community is taboo and HIV/AIDS is killing members of this community at an alarming rate. 

Jack Kerouac is Dead to Me by Gae Polisner: A heartbreaking novel that tells the story of 15 year Jean Louise "JL" Markham.  Being 15 years old is tough for any teenager but try being 15 and growing apart from your one and only best friend,  and dating a 19 year old high school senior while watching your mom, who suffers from a mental illness, unravel at an alarming rate. And your dad?  Well, your dad is living on the West Coast, unaware of what is really going on at home. 

The Opposite of Falling Apart by Micah Good: This is books speaks to me.  18 year old Brennan and is suffering from anxiety disorder.  Her anxiety is a blanket that is wrapped around her day in and day out- it makes it very difficult for her to do everyday tasks.  18 year old Jonas is still accepting what life is like 1 year after a tragic car accident that leaves him an amputee.  In an unlikely pairing, Jonas and Brennan forge a friendship where they learn from each other and lean on one another during this difficult time in their lives.  

For more information on what a virtual library is and how to create one, I recommend checking out this article by Joyce Valenza. 

As I read more books, I'm going to update my virtual library, so make sure that you check back.  The focus of my next virtual library? I'm thinking of making it all about juvenile books and graphic novels.

If you pick you of these books up, let me know what you think!  You can either comment at the bottom of this post OR you can tweet me!  As we know, Twitter is new to me but it's a platform that I'm really trying to be more active on. 

- Jillian 

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

We're Back....

Hi For the Love of Dewey Readers!

2020 has been something else, that's for sure.  You would think that we would have been posting more frequently, but NOPE. Even though we were home for 5 months from work we didn't post.  Instead, I spent my free time starting a new exercise program, ending past relationships, praying, and staring at Instagram and Youtube.... a lot.  If living in a global pandemic wasn't enough, today we began hurricane season! 

But it's all okay.  And I'm going to try to post more regularly here and on Instagram.  It's my vow to you.  
Over the past few months I've been reading a lot! One book that I recently finished and adored was Next Year in Havana by Chanel Cleeton.  It was so good! SO, SO GOOD.

I'm not a big fan of historical fiction, but I absolutely devoured this novel , which is told during both present day and during the Cuban Revolution.  Part of why I think I was so drawn to it is because when I was younger I adored Dirty Dancing Havana Nights, which would often play during the summer on the ABC Family Channel.  

This novel opened my eyes to a new point in history and also entertained me with a love story.  It was perfect.

I give you a rating of 5 out of 5 Coffee Beans.  

Promise to see you soon!


Wednesday, July 29, 2020

The Mall by Megan McCafferty- Book Tour

Hey hi everyone!

I hope everyone's summer has been going really well even though we're still under quarantine and as we're learning how to navigate it... 

Several months ago, we were asked by the wonderful people at Wednesday Books if we wanted to review The Mall by Megan McCafferty.  I haven't read anything by Megan McCafferty before but I have wanted to read her Jessica Darling series. So maybe let's say that that counts for something? 

You're not here to read about me rambling about that series, you are here to read about The Mall!

The Mall was released last week on July 22nd, which means that if you find yourself interested in reading this book you are able to snag yourself a copy by clicking here.

The Mall takes us to 1991 to a mall in South Jersey! But it's probably technically Central Jersey.  Cassie Worthy had finished up her senior year of high school.  She's going to be going to college in NYC in the fall.  She has her first job lined up at the Parkway City Mall at American's Best Cookie with her boyfriend, Troy.  Cassie is going to be living up her last summer before college. 

That is... until she gets mono and her summer gets turned upside down. 

She can't work with Troy anymore. Heck, she can't even be seen near America's Best Cookie and she certainly can't tell her parents what happened.  

Over the very short course of the summer of 1991, we get to see how Cassie navigates her newly single summer, while she makes an unexpected friend in Drea along the way. 

McCafferty writes the story in such a way that leaves you as the reader, laughing out loud at the antics that happen between Cassie and everyone that she encounters.  You can feel her frustrations with her situation, the heartache and wishes she has towards her parents and everything in between.  

I had no problem finishing this book in one day. It was so worth the read!  Definitely 5 coffee beans out of 5. I hope that you all like it to (: 

Let me know what you think by rather commenting down below OR following me and tweeting me on Twitter @blondewithabook !

See you guys soon with many more reviews now that classes are done for the next 6 weeks!

- Jillian

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

The Island by Elin Hilderbrand

Is it even summer without an Elin Hilderbrand novel?  

I had The Island in my to read pile for a long time.  I bought it on discount at Barnes and Noble.  Remember the days when we could wander the aisles of bookstores stopping coffee or ice tea?  Those were the days.

The book, like all of Hildebrand's books, did not disappoint.  The novel is about a mother and her two daughters.  Birdie is recently divorced and is dating a new man.  Suddenly, her daughter Chess calls her.  She broke off her engagement, giving no reason other than that she did not love her fiancĂ©.  Then suddenly, Chess' ex-fiance dies in a rock climbing accident with his brother. Chess becomes heartbroken and full of grief.  

So Birdie decides to take Chess along with her other daughter, Tess, and her sister, India, to their home on Tuckernuck Island.  Together they'll learn to mend their broken hearts and understand each other.

But seriously, this book was the perfect kick off to summer reading! It's beachy.  It's confessional.  It's about love! You can't go wrong. 

I give this book a rating of 5 out of 5 Coffee Beans.  Until the next read! 


Friday, May 1, 2020

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou- Reshelved Books

Happy May all!

We've officially been in quarantine now for, oh... 7 weeks now?  If we're using March 9th as a start date.  We spent the entire month of April in quarantine and I didn't much reading for fun... I have 2 books that I'm halfway through because I'm a terrible slacker.  

Today, I decided to write a review for a book that I read a little over a year ago.  At the time, I had started a review that was sitting in queue and for whatever reason, I just never finished it.  I actually went and erased the review.  With everything that's going on and with these long days that sometimes blend into each other, coupled with the rain; what better time to read a book that's super long but super captivating?! 

There is no better time but the now. 

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup: Carreyrou ...Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup by John Carreyrou came out almost 2 years ago now.  I remember seeing it when it first hit the new nonfiction shelf at the library.  I decided at the time not to it check out but I regretted that decision- the book quickly became unavailable because everyone was looking for a copy and there was a hold list for it.  

Since I can be an inpatient at times, I went out and a snagged my own hardcover copy.  (Which ended up being for the better because I've loaned it out to several people.)

This book is deception, lies, insanity and true crime all rolled into one!  It's not true crime in that anyone died or that there was a hit placed on someone but what happened this entire scheme and how people invested money and they lost their investments and the lies.  It was a very crazy story.

Elizabeth Holmes is a college dropout who decided that she would create a service where one drop of blood could be used for a plethora of lab tests.  One little drop of blood could be used X amount of times and tell the medical history of a patient.  It was definitely a cool idea and like Holmes said, it was great for people (like her) who didn't like having their blood drawn. 

The problem with Theranos was that it tried to something that wasn't possible.  Instead of admitting this and trying to change her approach, Holmes continues to LIE.  Her lies grew BIGGER.  The company started to fail overtime, it became a place that was a workplace hazard on top of various of the other things.  Employees were afraid to reach out through the proper channels in fear of retaliation.  

Eventually John Carreyrou, an investigative journalist for The Wall Street Journal heard about Theranos and Holmes and did an expose article on it.  (It was on on the same caliber as Tiger King.)

There is so more about this story that I can't even began to describe here in this post.  Whether you snag a copy digitally or if you listen to it as audiobook, it's totally worth investing the time into it.  This book was an easy 5 coffee beans out of 5. 

Happy reading!
- Jillian

Sunday, April 12, 2020

In the Blink of an Eye... It's Reading Log 5- Juvenile Corner

Hello all, 

I want to thank you for coming here and visiting the posts for one of my first classes in graduate school... Sadly, my first semester is drawing near and this is my last reading log.

This reading log focuses on chapter books! Some new and some old; some non-fiction and one is fiction. 

Like before, they are listed in alphabetical order. I hope you enjoy!

It All Comes Down to This by Karen English
Published by: 
Category: Juvenile Fiction, Historical Fiction
Major Awards Won: Kirkus Reviews' Best Books of 2017, Kirkus Prize Finalist, Kirkus Starred Review, Booklist Top 10 Books of 2018, Historical Fiction for Youth, Horn Book Fanfare List 2017
Age Range: 10-12 years
Pages and Spreads: 368 pages, 0 spreads

Taking place during 1965 in California, It All Comes Down to This tells the reader about 13 year old Sophie during the summer before 9th grade.  There is a lot going on that summer,  Sophie sees for herself just how cruel the world can be at times.  English paints the picture of what it was like getting grew as an African-American during that time.  How unfair it was, to be prejudiced against based on the color of your skin.  How people make awful and baseless assumptions.  the riots that were happening at the time in LA- not far from where Sophie and her sister, Lily live.  At the beginning of the book, the reader sees that Sophie is somewhat naive but at the end of the story, the reader knows that Sophie has grown up.  If you're looking at the age range for this story in terms of Sophie and Lily being older and the growing that Sophie goes through, then I think that it's appropriate.  I would say that it's realistic because Sophie ends up learning a lot from Mrs. Baylor and she's witnesses what goes on between her mother and father (how her father is in an extramarital affair) and how Nathan is arrested, even though he's done nothing wrong. 

Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls' Rights by Malala Yousafzai with Patricia McMormick
Published by: Little, Brown and Company in 2018
Category: Juvenile Autobiography, Juvenile Non-Fiction
Major Awards Won: The Amelia Bloomer Book List Awards in 2019
Age Range: 7-10 years
Pages and Spreads: 166 pages, 0 spreads

At the age of 15, Malala Yousafzai was a victim of gun violence by the Taliban on a bus ride from school.  In 2008, Malala's entire world started to change with Fazlullah entering and taking over Pakistan.  Backed by the Talbian, Fazlullah decided that having access to an education was not acceptable for girls.  Refusing to accept this notion (and speaking out against the Taliban and Fazlullah), Malala stood up for education for girls, women and boys.  As an individual wise beyond her years, Malala is strong and inspirational.  She allow what happened to define her and continues to advocate for what's right.  Malala: My Story of Standing Up for Girls' Rights is the abridged version of I am Malala.  This book is a chapter book but it's only 166 pages and while there not spreads of illustrations, there are standalone illustrations.  The book also features a glossary at the back and it some chapters highlight specific terms for the give more information on a person mentioned or an organization, a religious holiday, etc.  The age range provided by the publisher is appropriate for this book. 

World War II on the Home Front: An Interactive History Adventure by Martin Gitlin 
Published by: Capstone Press in 2012
Category: Juvenile Non-fiction, World War II
Age Range: 8-11 years
Pages and Spreads: 112 pages, 0 spreads

On December 7, 1941; the world was forever changed when Pearl Harbor was bombed by Japan.  For the next 4 years, the United States, England and the Soviet Union would be fighting a war against Germany.  World War II on the Home Front is an interactive adventure book.  As the reader, you're able to pick 1 of three different characters: a housewife, an African American war veteran or a 12 year old boy.  Each character teaches the reader about the different things that they had encountered during this time.  The reader is able to choose a proactive direction for the character or a passive direction.  At the end of the book, there is the outcome of what happened with the war.  While the book lacks spreads, there are several photographs of different people at the time and picture of propaganda and newspaper articles.  The age range on this book is appropriate as it was recommended by the publisher.  

- Jillian