Tag Archives: Culturally Diverse

Pashmina

pashmina.jpgToday I recommend: Pashmina by Nidhi Chanani.

Priyanka Das has so many unanswered questions: Why did her mother abandon her home in India years ago? What was it like there? And most importantly, who is her father, and why did her mom leave him behind? But Pri’s mom avoids these questions and the topic of India is permanently closed. For Pri, her mother’s homeland can only exist in her imagination. That is, until she find a mysterious pashmina tucked away in a forgotten suitcase. When she wraps herself in it, she is transported to a place more vivid and colorful than any guidebook or Bollywood film.

This lovely graphic novel follows teenager Priyanka as she deals with her curiosity about her mother’s past in India. The way that Chanani uses color makes for a striking read; the everyday scenes are depicted in sharp black and white with bright colors saved for the fantastical world that only exists when Priyanka puts on the pashmina. Priyanka grows throughout the graphic novel as she discovers more about her mother’s past and about India. This is a good tale of self-discovery.

You can find Pashmina in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHANANI.

~aw

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Book Review: Brave

brave.jpgToday I recommend: Brave by Svetlana Chmakova.

In his daydreams, Jensen is the biggest hero that ever was, saving the world and his friends on a daily basis. But his middle school reality is VERY different – math is hard, getting along with friends is hard…Even finding a partner for the class project is a big problem when you always get picked last. And the pressure’s on even more once the school newspaper’s dynamic duo, Jenny and Akilah, draw Jensen into the whirlwind of school news, social experiment projects, and behind-the-scenes club drama. Jensen’s always played the middle school game one level at a time, but suddenly, someone’s cranked up the difficulty setting. Will those daring daydreams of his finally work in his favor, or will he have to find real solutions to his real life problems?

Set in the same school as Chmakova’s Awkward this graphic novel focuses on Jensen whose struggles to get through difficult classes, as well as feelings of being left out and being bullied, are so easy to relate to. This story tackles some tough subjects such as bullying, dress codes, and failing classes with humor that makes the story fly by without treating them too lightly.  This is a great option for readers who enjoyed Awkward but is also great as a standalone graphic novel.  Read-alikes for this series are: Raina Telgemeier’s Sisters and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends.

You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA.

~aw

Book Review: Awkward

awkwardToday I recommend: Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova.

After shunning Jaime, the school nerd, on her first day at a new middle school, Penelope Torres tries to blend in with her new friends in the art club, until the art club goes to war with the science club, of which Jaime is a member.

The bright colors and the expressive characters make for a playful and fun graphic novel that tackles the stress of starting at a new school, and learning how to get along with people who have different interests. If you love the characters you can check out, Brave which follows the school newspaper club and one of the art students from this graphic novel! This is a great option for readers who have already fallen in love with graphic novels like Raina Telgemeier’s Smile and Shannon Hale’s Real Friends.

As an awesome bonus the artist/author added pages at the end of the book that show how she goes about making the story and pages for the comics. This is a neat look into the process of creating a graphic novel.

You can find this graphic novel in the Juvenile Graphic Novel section at J GRAPHIC CHMAKOVA.

~aw

Book Review: Forever, or a Long, Long Time

forever or a longToday I recommend: Forever, or a Long, Long Time by Caela Carter.

Having shared so many foster homes that they are unable to trust that the family that has adopted them will last, Flora and her brother, Julian, are assisted by their new mother on a journey to resolve their past so that they can build a future.

This is a serious and thought provoking read that deals with topics such as foster care, families, and trauma as siblings Flora and Julian deal with the question of how they could be born if they don’t have a biological mother and how long their adoptive mother will be around (she says forever).

You can find Forever, or a Long, Long Time in the Juvenile Fiction section at J CARTER.

~aw

Book Review: It Ain’t So Awful, Falafel

With the new school year approaching, I recommend reading It Ain’t So Awful Falafel, by Firoozeh Dumas.

Zomorod Yousefzadeh is the new kid on the block .25897857 . . for the fourth time. California’s Newport Beach is her family’s latest perch, and she’s determined to shuck her brainy loner persona and start afresh with a new Brady Bunch name–Cindy. It’s the late 1970s, and fitting in becomes more difficult as Iran makes U.S. headlines with protests, revolution, and finally the taking of American hostages. Even mood rings and puka shell necklaces can’t distract Cindy from the anti-Iran sentiments that creep way too close to home. 

I picked this book up because I saw that it took place in the 1970’s which I thought would make for a fun setting.  Zomorod, or Cindy’s, family is from Iran but they love living in America.  Even though Cindy is from Iran, she’s just a kid trying to fit in and make friends, like a lot of us.  The historical events, like revolts taking place at that time in Iran, made me want to do a little research on Iran and American relations.  A little bit of humor and a little bit of history make this an appealing read!

Find it in our Juvenile Fiction collection under J DUMAS.

-AM

Book Review: The Lotterys Plus One

lotterys plus oneToday I recommend: The Lotterys Plus One by Emma Donoghue.

When Sumac Lottery’s estranged grandfather comes to live with her and her large family in their sprawling Victorian home, Sumac quickly realizes he’s not the easiest person to get along with. But can she help him find a home where he belongs?

Sumac has a large family, with six siblings, and two pairs of parents, PapaDam and PopCorn, and CardaMom and MaxiMom. When the estranged father of PopCorn comes to stay with the family, he struggles with the quirks and differences that the family celebrates. This is a touching story about the relationships between family members full of humorous word-play. There are also some nice illustrations throughout the text that help you keep track of the large and lively Lottery family. You can find this book in the Juvenile Fiction section at J DONOGHUE.

~aw