Friday, January 30, 2009

Kids Lit for Friday

My hope for Fridays is that I'll feature a children's author or book site on Friday.

Why Friday? Well for my family, that has been a big library day for us. Our branch has story time on Fridays and I like for my older reader to have some additional books to get through the weekend. And since he sometimes finishes books while I'm still in the parking lot (I am really not exaggerating), it's always good to stock up.

Today, I found the micro-site for Scholastic's Breaking Barriers: In Sports, In Life contest. It's based on the life of Jackie Robinson and is geared for students in 4th - 8th grades. Here's the link.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Reviews not found

I really should be posting some reviews today, but I didn't find any and the hour is late.

I will mention that I'm excite that the NBCC has a biography of Ida B. Wells and the book about the Hemings family on their final award list.

Both will go on my to-read list. 2009, here we come.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Author/Blog spotlight

Like many folks, I've been off in inauguration land and am just now winding back to real life. Believe it or not, I still have inauguration-related things taped for later viewing. Just can't get enough.

But, just like the president, I have to get to work!

Thursday is Author/Blog spotlight day. Eventually, I hope to include some interviews or even guest blogs on Thursday for the spotlight. Until then, I will just pick and choose and write what I want ;).

Today's pick: Ravi Howard, author of Like Trees Walking.
Why him?: Because he was recently named the 2008 winner of the Ernest Gaines award for his novel.

I haven't yet read it, but have heard much about it and this award is the one that tips it. I'll get a copy soon.

Howard is a native of Alabama - and Southerners hold a dear place in my heart - a graduate of Howard University, and is surprisingly, one of the few male authors that I have heard about repeatedly over the last few years.

I'm not saying Black men aren't publishing or writing great work - they're just not being talked up, I think.

About the book:

When the phone rang at the home of Paul and Roy Deacon in the early morning hours, it often meant that someone had died. The brothers’ family owned the Deacon Memorial Funeral Home and had buried the loved ones of Mobile’s black families for over 100 years. On the morning of March 21, 1981, the call was different. The body of nineteen-year-old Michael Donald was found hanging from a tree on Herndon Avenue. The murder shook the citizens of Mobile, Alabama, especially the Deacon brothers. They had called Michael Donald a friend.

As the brothers navigate their teen years, they face familiar rites of passage; prom night, graduation, college life, but the family business forces them to confront the rites death brings, passages from this world to the next. As Roy and Paul Deacon search for solace, their journeys take them from church sanctuaries to cemeteries, protest marches to courtrooms, from the tree-lined streets of Mobile to the dark beach roads on the Eastern Shore.

Added to the grief of a murdered friend, the brothers and their hometown face the first lynching in over sixty years. Mobile had been as peaceful as its tree-lined streets were beautiful, but the murder gave the city its own sad chapter in the Alabama racial history. Like Birmingham’s four little girls, Selma’s Bloody Sunday, and Tuskegee’s experiment, Mobile had the murder of Michael Donald.

In this riveting debut, Like Trees, Walking explores a fictional aftermath of a true story that will both haunt and illuminate. The novel examines death, faith, truth, and justice, elements that often intersect and at times collide. An old tale set in modern times, Like Trees, Walking explores the complexities and the promises of America’s New South.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Friday for Kids

As I try out a new schedule for organizing posts, I've decided Friday should be for kids literature/books. If memory serves, many children's books featuring children, adults of African descent come out during January and February for the six weeks that is the King holiday and Black History Month. I'll feature some of the new titles here.

The Los Angeles Times has a round up story about the new books out about President-elect Barack Obama, including editions updated to show he won the election and is the 44th president. I'm particularly interested in the biographies for older kids.

Michelle Kerns of shares her three top books about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

And finally, here's a site I found just this week, Brown Sugar and Spice Books. They feature books for us and focus on titles that are reality-based, rather than fantasy. I saw lots of books that I'd seen elsewhere (Obama books and others) as well as interesting titles that were new to me.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Author/Blog spotlight

In an effort to bring some order and consistency to my posting here, I'm going to try having a different theme for each day of the work week. Hopefully that will give me an easy way to get into topics and share content about some of the writers, books, publishing companies and other bookish things here.

So Thursday is author or blog spotlight day. I picked Black Threads in Kids Lit because I was searching for something else kids-book related. (The other search is not a secret, it's just that my middle-aged mind can't remember how I go there!).

Of the few posts I read, I enjoyed the blog. As a mother of two African American children, I'm always interested in books that interest them and feature people who look like us. Especially chapter books, as we're in that zone now.

There's a good post up top on the blog that is taking a guess at which books will be picked as Coretta Scott King award winners or finalists. There were a few books that I hand't seen or heard of, like March On! and Brand New Day, Brand New Ruby.

So this one goes in my bookmarks.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

African American memoir

The New York Times reviewed The Black Girl Next Door, by Jennifer Baszile. It's about her growing up in an exclusive, all-white community in the 70s and 80s. She's a frequent first-er (first black student body president, first black female professor of history at Yale).

It sounds interesting to me. I did not grow up with that kind of privilege. And though they don't have that level of wealth, my children are already in several "only" situations.

So I'm likely to check it out.

My only hesitation is that it seems this story has really been done over and over again. What does she add that's new? [And the NYTimes review isn't particularly favorable, btw.]

On another note, I really like Carleen Brice's new blog, White Readers Meet Black Authors. I'm definitely not white, but am getting good recommendations from her site. I just finished her book, Orange Mint and Honey, this month and LOVED it. I'll try to pull together a review soon, I think it's a book that deserves attention.