Review: Fred Korematsu Speaks Up

Last Monday, January 30th, was Fred Korematsu Day of Civil Liberties and the Constitution. I didn’t know much about Fred Korematsu’s story before reading this brand-new book, Fred Korematsu Speaks Up, written by Laura Atkins and Stan Yogi and illustrated by Yutaka Houlette. I’m so thankful, now, that I do.

I think that you will be, too.

fkorcover_web800px-200x257

The book shares the story of Fred, and second-generation Japanese American living on the West Coast during World War II, when the United States forced immigrants and citizens alike into internment camps. Fred resisted the order, and was jailed. The ACLU took up his case, which he eventually lost. He lost more than just the case. Many Japanese Americans turned on him, and he was officially considered a convicted felon. More than 40 years later, the ACLU decided to try his case again after finding new documents showing that the government had lied in his original case… and this time they won, setting an important precedent going forward. Fred knew what was happening was wrong and stood up against it. He was a changemaker.

Here’s an excerpt from the main text:

Read the rest here…

Surviving Middle School by Luke Reynolds

Surviving Middle School cover

Surviving Middle School: Navigating the Halls, Riding the Social Roller Coaster, and Unmasking the Real You
by Luke Reynolds
Aladdin/Beyond Words (July 5, 2016)
Ages 10-14, 192 pages

Oh, how I wish I’d had this book when I was entering middle school… or high school, or college, or my 20s or 30s! There are a lot of valuable life lessons crammed into this little volume, and you can call me a slow learner, but I didn’t figure most of this stuff out until I was well into adulthood. And, even now, I can still use some good reminders from time to time!

It’s not only filled with excellent advice, but it also has highly relatable anecdotes (for the tween set, anyway), interesting exercises to help personalize every lesson, and tons of middle-school humor, so it never comes off as dry or preachy. I think it has enough variety that it will appeal to all kinds of tween readers.

I believe this book should be required reading for tweens everywhere (and their teachers and parents!), and it would make an excellent gift, too!

To read more about this book, click here.

Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in World War II Denmark

e5bee-nonfiction_mondayI love writing about heroes and changemakers. It should be no surprise, then, that I love reading about them, too. My favorite kinds of stories are those about ordinary people who acted with extraordinary strength, conviction, and courage, and the book I just finished reading is full of people doing just that. In Courage & Defiance: Stories of Spies, Saboteurs and Survivors in World War II Denmark by Deborah Hopkinson (Scholastic Press, August 2015), the author has clearly done a great deal of careful research to bring us narrative nonfiction about the WWII resistance movement in Denmark from the perspective of some of those who took part in it. It’s a gripping tale of adventure and suspense, and one that has rarely been told.

I’m super excited to welcome Deborah back to my blog once again as part of the Courage and Defiance blog tour. To learn more about the book and read my interview with Deborah, please click here.

Doable: The Girls’ Guide to Accomplishing Just About Anything

DOABLE cover

DOABLE: THE GIRLS’ GUIDE TO ACCOMPLISHING JUST ABOUT ANYTHING
by Deborah Reber
Beyond Words/Simon Pulse (January 2015)

In this well-organized, easy-to-digest nonfiction book for teen girls, Reber employs her training as a life coach as well as her extensive work with teen girls to lay out an eight-step plan for readers to achieve whatever it is they want to tackle in life. The steps include… [read the full review here.]

1

ATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE! by Chris Barton

Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! coverATTACK! BOSS! CHEAT CODE!
written by Chris Barton, illustrated by Joey Spiotto
published by POW! Kids Books, October 2014
32 pages

From the publisher’s web page:

An ironic yet informative alphabet that defines the most important gaming terms that everyone needs to know, Attack! Boss! Cheat Code! A Gamer’s Alphabet is the ultimate crossover gift for our age, a book that can actually bring together video game-obsessed kids and their often perplexed parents.
If you can decipher the following sentence, you don’t need this book: “This open beta game is in third-person but first-person is unlockable if you know the cheat code or install your own mod, but either way, for the best attack on the boss on this level, try to grab that power-up!”
– See more at: http://powkidsbooks.com/attack-boss-cheat-code-a-gamers-alphabet/#sthash.sLnYcu9z.dpuf

Okay, I know I’m showing my geeky gamer girl side, but I love, love, love this book, and I think today’s young (and not-so-young) readers will, too!

Click here to read the full review and find out why.

THE SCRAPS BOOK by Lois Ehlert

THE SCRAPS BOOK cover
THE SCRAPS BOOK: NOTES FROM A COLORFUL LIFE
written and illustrated by Lois Ehlert
published by Beach Lane Books/Simon & Schuster, March 2014
72 pages

There have been several picture-book autobiographies of children’s book authors and illustrators over the past few years. Sadly, most have left me feeling just a little underwhelmed. While I personally enjoyed them, I felt like they were aimed more at their long-time adult fans than at contemporary child readers. While I, as an adult, was able to appreciate the rich context and interesting personal histories, I wondered if children would be able to relate to the stories and find directly relevant meaning within the pages. So, although I myself am a fan of Lois Ehlert, I’ll admit I was a bit skeptical when I picked up THE SCRAPS BOOK. Boy was I in for a delightful surprise!

Read the full review here.

Review: ABAYOMI, THE BRAZILIAN PUMA

ABAYOMI cover

Published by Mims House
ISBN-10: 1629440019, ISBN-13: 978-1629440019

Darcy Pattison and Kitty Harvill have teamed up again, and I couldn’t be happier with the result. A couple of years ago, I reviewed their previous collaboration, WISDOM, THE MIDWAY ALBATROSS, for STEM Friday. You can read that review here.

Unlike Wisdom, the main character in ABAYOMI,  THE BRAZILIAN PUMA, is a mammal, a feline–not a bird. Unlike Wisdom, Abayomi lives in South America, in Brazil–not on an island in the North Pacific Ocean. Unlike Wisdom, Abayomi is a baby, an orphan–not a wise, old mother. Yet their stories have much in common.

Read all about what these two unlikely protagonists share in the rest of the review, posted here.