Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, November 13, 2017

The 57 Bus: a true story of two teenagers and the crime that changed their lives By Dashka Slater

The 57 Bus: a true story of two teenagers and the crime that changed their lives

By Dashka Slater

Farrar Straus Giroux. 2017

ISBN: 9780374303235

Grades 7 and up
Note: While Cathy is out on Sabbatical, Louise is writing all the reviews. Cathy will return February, 2018.

Sasha and Richard were high school students living in Oakland, California. Sasha was middle-class and attended a small, private school. Richard lived in one of the poorer Oakland neighborhoods and attended a large public school. For eight minutes every day their paths crossed on the 57 bus. Then, one afternoon, Richard set fire to Sasha’s skirt. A reckless act that left Sasha with severe burns and Richard charged with two hate crimes and life imprisonment. 

Award-wining journalist, Dashka Slater, chronicles the true story of Sasha and Richard, one wearing a skirt; the other carrying a lighter, and how an implusive decision changed their lives forever. Slater compelling narrative examines race, class, gender, identity, morality, and forgiveness. Divided into four parts, readers are offered an in-depth look at both Sasha and Richard, the fire, and then ties it all together with the trial and aftermath. Chapters are short, but powerful and at times upsetting.

Back matter offers some gender-neutrality milestones, and statistics on US juvenile incarceration.

Highly recommended for libraries serving middle, high school students.

To write this review, I used an Advanced Readers Copy (ARC) from ALA Annual in Chicago.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World

Here We Are: Feminism For The Real World.

Edited by Kelly Jensen

Algonquin Books of Chappel Hill. 2017

ISBN: 9781616205867

I borrowed this book from my local public library to write this review.
Please Note: While Cathy is on sabbatical, Louise is writing all the reviews. Cathy will return in February, 2018.

In a design that resembles a scrapbook, 44 Voices Write, Draw, and Speak about feminism.

Dip into this collection of essays and you will be blown away by their depth and the sharing of emotions as each author discovers their ideal of feminism. Each essay is beautifully written and so packed that readers may pause between readings to fully absorb all that is being shared. Contributors are authors, cartoonists, state senators, and librarian.

The essays are divided by topic, seven in all. “Starting the Journey,” “Body and Mind,” “Gender, Sex, and Sexuality,” “Culture and Pop Culture,” “Relationships,” “Confidence and Ambition,” “Go Your Own Way.”

The first essay, “Forever Feminist” by Malinda Lo shares what being a feminist means to her. “My personal ideal of a “feminist” is rooted in one woman: my paternal grandmother, Ruth Earnshaw Lo. She was a white American woman who fell in love with a Chinese man at the University of Chicago in the 1930’s. When they met, interracial marriage was still not legal nationwide in the United States; Loving v.Virginia did not declare an end to anti-miscegenation laws until 1967. So, in 1937, my grandmother married my grandfather, John Chuanfang Lo, in Shanghai.”  Lo’s grandmother would remain in China during the Cultural Revolution and write about her experiences in: In The Eye of the Typhoon. Lo saw feminism as a woman in full potential. 

Daniel Jose Older’s essay, “Many Stories, Many Roads,” explores his transformation and how keeping silent, not speaking up, makes the cycle of racism, violence against women, and discrimination of minorities and women continue. 

Back matter includes suggestions for further reading, and brief bio’s of contributors.

A book to savor. Highly recommended.