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My Progress:

13 / 30 books. 43% done!

2024 Literary Escapes Challenge

- Alabama (1)
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My Progress:

35 / 51 states. 69% done!

2024 Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

My Progress:

29 / 50 books. 58% done!

2024 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge

23 / 50 books. 46% done!

Booklist Queen's 2024 Reading Challenge

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50 / 52 books. 96% done!

2024 52 Club Reading Challenge

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42 / 52 books. 81% done!

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My Progress:

29 / 40 books. 73% done!

2024 Pioneer Book Reading Challenge

16 / 40 books. 40% done!

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11 / 25 books. 44% done!

2024 Medical Examiner's Mystery Reading Challenge

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My Progress

17 / 26.2 miles (2nd lap). 65% done!

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

My Progress

30 / 100 books. 30% done!

2024 Pick Your Poison Reading Challenge

My Progress:

74 / 104 books. 71% done!

Around the Year in 52 Books Reading Challenge

My Progress

50 / 52 books. 96% done!

Disney Animated Movies Reading Challenge

My Progress

84 / 165 books. 51% done!
Thursday, January 14, 2021

The Children's Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2021 Monthly Review Link-Up (January)

I'm a *little* late on posting this monthly link-up for January.  Sorry about that! For those of you who are participating in the challenge, this is where you can post reviews for this month.  Please include the title of the book you're reviewing along with your name and the name of your blog.  I can't wait to see what everyone's reading!

If you haven't "officially" signed up for the challenge, it's not too late.  Just go to this post and add your name to the Mr. Linky there.


Poignant, Compelling MG Novel My Favorite Read of the Year So Far

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

Imani Mandel is used to nosey questions from strangers.  The 12-year-old has spent her whole life fielding them.  Why is she Black when her parents are white?  Who are her real mom and dad?  How can she be Jewish when she's Black?  Shouldn't she be celebrating Kwanza instead of Hanukkah?  

Imani has grown up in an adoptive Jewish family, so her life makes sense to her.  Still, she can't help but wonder about her birth family and the truths that are hiding in her DNA.  For her upcoming bat mitzvah, Imani gets to choose a "big" present.  She knows what she wants—her parents' permission to search for her birth family—but she doesn't know how to ask for it without gutting them.  

For her bat mitzvah, Imani is supposed to do a research project about the Holocaust.  When her great-grandmother dies, leaving her many books to her grandchildren, Imani is shocked to discover a diary forgotten among the other volumes.  Even more amazing, it's the journal her great-grandmother Anna kept when she was forced to leave her native Luxembourg in 1941.  At 12 years old, she fled to America by herself, reluctantly leaving her parents and five siblings behind.  As Hitler's campaign to destroy the Jews heats up, she worries constantly about the family she left in Europe.  What happened to Anna's family?

As Imani becomes immersed in her great-grandmother's story, she begins to understand her place in her adoptive family, her legacy as a Jew, and what it truly means to be her own unique self.  

I had never heard of The Length of a String by Elissa Brent Weissman until I came across Afoma Umesi's wonderful list of 67 Best Middle-Grade Historical Fiction Books.  As the adoptive mother of a mixed-race daughter and a lover of World War II stories, I was immediately drawn to the novel's premise.  It promised a compelling story about themes I find intriguing: identity, family history, heritage, adoption, DNA, etc.  Did it deliver?  Absolutely!  The characters are sympathetic and likable, the plot is exciting and interesting, and the overall story is poignant and moving.  When it comes to dual-timeline novels, I'm usually way more invested in the past story than the present.  Not so with The Length of a String; I was equally intrigued by both story lines.  Although the book deals with some difficult subjects, overall it's upbeat, uplifting, and empowering.  So far, this is my favorite read of the year.  I loved it.

(Readalikes:  Reminds me of The Devil's Arithmetic by Jane Yolen and other children's books about the Holocaust)


If this were a movie, it would be rated:

for violence and disturbing subject matter

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find

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