ummary: Gabrielle is a 10-year-old girl who suddenly must make a quick shift in life. She not only experiences the newness of living without her parents, but she will also explore what seems like a whole new world. The leap from Haiti to Brooklyn, New York includes moving with relatives she is unfamiliar with and learning how she fits in or not. Along the way she encounters unusual friendships and the pit of bullying. She is also met with a chance to make three wishes. What will they be? Will she overcome the frustration of her newfound home, or will she give in to things that are not good for her?
Strengths: The story plot is a wonderful way to infuse two cultures that experiences many of the same obstacles.
Weaknesses: There are no weaknesses and although it supports cultural relevance parents might stray when they hear that the good vs bad in the story is portrayed through the voice of a witch.
Thoughts: This story is a perfect example of how the transition to an unfamiliar environment can be troublesome. The key to overcoming such obstacles is to stay true to oneself and to remember what is important in life even at a youthful age.
Summary: The joys of the teen years do not come easy for Delbert"Del" Rainey Jr. While it is not unusual that at some point everyone has a secret crush, he has been eyeing Kiera since Kindergarten. The problem is several other high school male juniors have identified her beauty and are all on a mission to see who gets to her first. The Purity Pledge has Del questioning his integrity versus the curiosity of his male ego. All the daily thoughts that run through his mind is a blazing portrait of sin and is the opposite of what he should be thinking based on what he was being taught at “First Missionary House” church in his weekly” PP” classes. Del and his mother have been attending church regularly while his father on the other hand is encouraging Del to test the waters of premarital sex. Although, the “PP” classes are designed to keep him focused, he comes up with a plan to try to win Kiera over. During what is supposed to be a fun evening of teen socialization running parallel to a group of parental conversations, several inappropriate gestures, comments, and acts are made. Is this a one time event? Is Del a part of this negativity? Is he able control himself in the presence of the girl who he is mesmerized by? Has he even inquired how Kiera feels about any of this?
Strengths: This book crossed many challenges that teens face but are often swept under the rug until a crisis occurs. Although, several details are missing regarding the insinuations of sexual assault and harassment, the underlying actions are presented. These are strengths because they are real uncensored issues.
Weaknesses: Not necessarily a weakness, but this book can either help or trigger a teens experience. It is so relevant that it serves as a source of information but also a reality for many.
Thoughts: More books like this are becoming in the sense they are educational and relatable for the reader.
Summary: This story takes you through the joyous time a little girl experiences when she is with her cousins. There is nothing more that warms her heart as she looks forward to spending time with them every year for a great portion of summer vacation. There is just one problem, everyone has a nickname except for her. They are not just meaningless nicknames but names that identify who they are, and what they do well. This summer she is hoping that she makes her mark and receives a name that represents her strengths. Will this happen for her? Will her pinky finger bring her good luck?
Strengths: This story is a representation of the bond that cousins have in families all over the world. The relationships in this story paint a picture of how families connect and demonstrate their love for one another. It shows how each relationship has a profound impact on the family dynamics.
Weaknesses: There are no weaknesses. Although, the story focuses on a family gathering in the summer, it can easily be applied to anytime a family partakes in a celebration.
Thoughts: If you are a part of a family with strong emotional bonds and relationships you are bound to giggle. When introducing new stories to students it is always the hope that a connection will be made. This is one of the stories where the illustrations really make you reflect on how the community is utilized to help cultivate memorable moments that impact relationships.
Summary: Frederick Joseph does a phenomenal job on telling and speaking the truth in “The Black Friend on Being a Better White Person”. The structure of the book is in a conversational narrative format that breaks down his point of view and experiences throughout various phases of his life. He methodically conducted interviews with numerous individuals that openly share their similar experiences dealing with class, race, and sexism. Joseph holds nothing back in displaying his encounters with blatant, institutional, and subtle racism including implications of countless microaggressions. He fluently speaks from the perspective of a black man on provoking issues that continue to haunt him while "living" black in America in the present day.
Strengths: This book is an easy read intended to educate white people on the black experience in their perception of being “that” friend. The perspective is relatable to the life stories of black people across America.
Weaknesses: This is not the experience of every black person who has established a relationship with a white person. However, there are areas within each life scenario that has brushed the lives of so many.
Thoughts: This book is highly recommended for people of all races. While reading this book I found myself loudly agreeing with the highlights in the format of call and response. There were several chapters that I could relate to directly to from past and present experiences.