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2021 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama
- Alaska
- Arizona (1)
- Arkansas
- California (4)
- Colorado (1)
- Connecticut (1)
- Delaware
- Florida
- Georgia
- Hawaii (1)
- Idaho
- Illinois (4)
- Indiana
- Iowa
- Kansas
- Kentucky (1)
- Louisiana (1)
- Maine
- Maryland (1)
- Massachusetts (1)
- Michigan (1)
- Minnesota (1)
- Mississippi
- Missouri
- Montana
- Nebraska (1)
- Nevada (1)
- New Hampshire (1)
- New Jersey (1)
- New Mexico
- New York (4)
- North Carolina (1)
- North Dakota
- Ohio (6)
- Oklahoma
- Oregon
- Pennsylvania (1)
- Rhode Island (1)
- South Carolina (1)
- South Dakota
- Tennessee
- Texas (1)
- Utah (1)
- Vermont (2)
- Virginia (3)
- Washington (3)
- West Virginia
- Wisconsin
- Wyoming (1)
- *Washington, D.C.

International:
Australia (2)
Canada (3)
England (6)
France (1)
Ireland (1)
Switzerland (1)
The Philippines (1)
Wales (1)

My Progress:


28 / 51 states. 55% done!

2021 Fall Into Reading Challenge

My Progress:


0 / 24 books. 0% done!

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge
(Hosted by Yours Truly!)

My Progress:


6 / 25 books. 24% done!

2021 Popsugar Reading Challenge

My Progress:


33 / 50 books. 66% done!

Booklist Queen's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


35 / 52 books. 67% done!

2021 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

2021 Craving for Cozies Reading Challenge

The 52 Club's 2021 Reading Challenge

My Progress:


39 / 52 books. 75% done!
Thursday, December 24, 2020

Merry Christmas!


To all of my wonderful readers and blogging friends, may you have a very Merry Christmas!  Even though your holidays might look a little different this year, I hope you make time to relax, make merry, spend time with loved ones and, of course, read a good book (or two or three ...).  Stay healthy and safe.  

I love this video about the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  Enjoy!



Dress Code Problems Amongst Other Discussion-Worthy Topics in Contemporary MG Novel

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Tired of the administration's prejudiced and uneven enforcement of the school dress code, 14-year-old Molly Frost decides to take matters into her own hands.  She starts a podcast featuring the stories of students who have been unfairly targeted.  The episodes highlight a host of issues surrounding the dress code that Molly feels like no one is paying attention to, including sexism, body-shaming, racism, and sexual harassment.  The podcast starts a revolution, which leads to a peaceful but passionate protest.  The students at Molly's middle school want change and they won't stop until they get it.

In the middle of the dress code bruhaha, the Frost family is having a crisis of their own.  Molly's trouble-making older brother, Danny, has been caught vaping and selling vape pods to younger students.  His bad behavior is causing rifts between him and the rest of the family.  With all that's going on, Molly has a lot on her plate.  How will she cope with it all?  And will her efforts get the results she wants?

No matter how you feel about dress codes and their enforcement (or lack thereof), Dress Coded by Carrie Firestone is a good vehicle for discussing the issue.  The book hits on a number of timely, important topics that middle-schoolers are dealing with every day.  It features likable characters, a compelling plot, and a writing style that is warm and approachable.  Besides the main conflict, it addresses other issues within friendships, families, and communities.  Overall, it's an empowering novel that encourages kids to use their voices to stand up for causes that matter to them.  While I didn't love Dress Coded, I found it to be a quick, thought-provoking read that raises a lot of good questions.  

(Readalikes:  Hm, I can't think of anything.  You?)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for subject matter most suited for readers 8 years and older

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

Efrén Divided Provides Intimate Peek at Illegal Immigration Through the Eyes of Those It Impacts Most

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

In many ways, Efrén Nava is just like any other American seventh grader.  He hangs out with his best buddy, hides in the bathroom to get away from his pesky younger siblings, worries about how his ears stick out, wolfs down the food his mom makes, and is forever trying to convince his overprotective parents that he's ready for more independence.  His neighborhood is rundown and his apartment is tiny, but Efrén is surrounded by a caring family and a warm, vibrant Mexican-American community.  He is loved and protected.  And yet, he never quite feels safe.  Although he was born in America, his parents are in the country illegally, as are many of their neighbors and friends.  The threat of ICE raids and deportation is a constant dark cloud looming over them all.  

Efrén's worst fears come true when his mother is arrested and sent back to Mexico.  With his father taking on extra work to earn the money needed to bring her back home, he must step up and take care of his rowdy younger siblings.  In addition to wrangling rambunctious kindergarten twins, he still has to keep up with his schoolwork, help his BFF with a school election, and keep all his fears and worries in check.  Desperate to keep his family's problems a secret, Efrén is exhausted, terrified, and in need of help he's too scared to ask for.  Can he keep it all together so no one finds out what's really going on in his life?  Will his family ever be reunited?  How will Efrén cope when his entire world is falling apart?

No matter how you feel about U.S. immigration policies, border walls, and detention centers, you can't read a book like Efrén Divided by Ernesto Cisneros and not be moved.  The story is fictional, of course, but it mirrors the sad reality of many immigrant families who live lives marked by fear and division every day.  Cisneros provides an intimate peek at what that looks like and how it affects all members of a family that's already just doing its best to get by.  Efrén Divided features sympathetic characters, a compelling plot, and engaging prose.  It's a timely, impactful, discussion-worthy read that teaches empathy while exploring the explosive issue of Mexican immigration to the U.S. through the eyes of those it impacts most.  

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of Land of the Cranes by Aida Salazar)

Grade:


If this were a movie, it would be rated:


for difficult subject matter and scenes of peril

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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Reading

<i>Reading</i>
The Gold in These Hills by Joanne Bischof

Listening

<i>Listening</i>
Glass Houses by Louise Penny



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