Nonfiction/Fiction Books and Racial Injustice #amplifyblackvoices #throwbackthursday

June 4, 2020

Nonfiction/Fiction and Racial Injustice #amplifyblackvoices #throwbackthursday

Nonfiction & Fiction Books: Racial Injustice (Image: white text over a background of books stacked tall on a blue wooden table)

Image Source: Canva

As the U.S. (and perhaps your corner of the world) focuses on anti-racism this week, you might be thinking about your reading life, too. Honoring the work of POC authors and hearing stories of injustice and oppression is one small step in the work of anti-racism. As I thought about the tragic events of this week and the protests, I pondered what my small role might be? One contribution I can make is to share some of my favorite diverse reads and encourage you to experience life from a different perspective through these works that include themes of racial injustice. As part of #throwbackthursday, this is an updated post that was originally published on November 11, 2019.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these posts, and today I’m re-sharing my list of nonfiction and fiction reads with a racial injustice theme. I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

If you are looking to diversify your reading, I hope this post is helpful.

This week is an opportunity to amplify black voices in literature, build understanding and compassion from a different perspective, and to share recommendations.

***Not all authors are POC

Nonfiction Recommendations on the topic of Racial Injustice:

Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption by Bryan Stevenson

just mercy

The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson

The Warmth of Other Suns

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (a personal experience) (MG)

Brown Girl Dreaming

Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood by Trevor Noah

There is also a version for younger readers.

Born a Crime by Trevor Noah (cover)

Tattoos On the Heart by Gregory Doyle

Tattoos on the Heart

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

The Immortal Life of Henietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot (cover)

We Beat the Street: How a Friendship Pact Led to Success by Sampson Davis (The Three Doctors) (MG)

we beat the street

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann

Killers of the Flower Moon

Seven Fallen Feathers: Racism, Death, and Hard Truths in a Northern City by Tanya Talaga

Seven Fallen Feathers.jpg

THANKS!

Many of you have left recs on this post, the original post, and on my Instagram account, so I’m compiling them here:

Recommendations From Readers:

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates
White Fragility: Why It’s So Hard For White People to Talk About Racism by Robin DiAngelo
The Sun Does Shine: How I Found Life, Freedom, and Justice by Anthony Ray Hinton
Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond
They Can’t Kill Us All: Ferguson, Baltimore, and a New Era in America’s Racial Justice Movement by Wesley Lowery
The Undefeated by Kwame Aleander (picture book)
Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine (poetry)
Dear Church: A Love Letter From a Black Preacher to the Whitest Denomination in the U.S. by Lenny Duncan
Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color by Andrea Ritchie
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Color Blindness by Michelle Alexander and Cornel West
When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir by Patrisse Khan-Cullors
Good Talk: A Memoir in Conversations by Mira Jacob
Becoming by Michelle Obama
Bryan at Still an Unfinished Person Blog posted a list of books on the topic of race in America.

….list in progress….


Fiction and Racial Injustice

Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

The Invention of Wings by Sue Monk Kidd

The Girl With the Louding Voice by Abi Daré

The Vanishing Half by Brit Bennett

This Tender Land by William Kent Krueger

The Nickel Boys and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead

The Gilded Years by Karin Tanabe

The Kitchen House and Glory Over Everything by Kathleen Grissom

Jefferson’s Sons by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

The Water Dancer by Ta-Nehisi Coates

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

Small Great Things by Jodi Picoult

Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham

An American Marriage by Tayari Jones

Hum If You Don’t Know the Words and If You Want To Make God Laugh by Bianca Marais

Stella By Starlight by Sharon Draper

Have I listed a few of your favorites?
Do you have recommendations to add?



QOTD

I know you can help me add to this list!
I’d love to hear your suggestions for a nonfiction or fiction book that addresses the topic of racial injustice.



Happy Reading Book Friends!

“Ah, how good it is to be among people who are reading.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

“I love the world of words, where life and literature connect.”
~Denise J Hughes

“Reading good books ruins you for enjoying bad ones.”
~Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

“I read because books are a form of transportation, of teaching, and of connection! Books take us to places we’ve never been, they teach us about our world, and they help us to understand human experience.”
~Madeleine Riley, Top Shelf Text



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Unless explicitly stated that they are free, all books that I review have been purchased by me or borrowed from the library.

The book cover and author photos are credited to Amazon or an author’s (or publisher’s) website.

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Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

May 28, 2020

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of a favorite memoir, Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin….nostalgic, thoughtful, and memorable nonfiction.

If you are missing baseball this season because of Covid-19, this book might be for you!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Wait Till Next Year by Doris Kearns Goodwin (cover) Image: an empty professional baseball stadium

Genre/Categories: Nonfiction, Memoir, Biography, Baseball, Nostalgia,

My Summary:

“From loyal baseball fans, the refrain “Wait Until Next Year!” can often be heard after suffering a disappointing loss. In fact, it was after the Dodgers’ loss in Game 7 of the recent World Series that a fan vehemently shouted these exact words captured by a reporter’s microphone and camera. At that time, I was reminded of Goodwin’s Wait Till Next Year that had been on my TBR list for some time and which had been declared one of my husband’s favorite reads last year. In honor of the recent, well-played, and highly spirited 2017 World Series, I decided it’s timely to read and review this popular memoir.

In Wait Till Next Year, Doris tells of meeting baseball heroes, of nail-biting games, of having to confess at Confession that she wished the other team’s players would be injured so Dodgers could win, of the exciting World Series win in 1955, and of her sorrow as the Dodgers left Brooklyn in 1957.  She was so devastated by the loss of her team that she avoided baseball for years after the Dodgers left, and when she was convinced as a young adult to attend a Red Sox game, she transferred her loyalties, started keeping score again, and passed on her love of the game to her son. In addition to the loss of the Dodgers, she also tells of the loss of her mother at an early age.”

Nostalgic, family-centered, and loads of fun for baseball fans …..

Continue reading my review of Wait Till Next Year to see what I loved.

QOTD: Have you read Wait Till Next Year or is it on your TBR?

If you’re thinking ahead for Father’s Day, this might be a great gift for a baseball fan!

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig [Book Review] #throwbackthursday

May 21, 2020

Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of a YA favorite, Ginny Moon by Benjamin Ludwig. It’s an engaging, page-turning, and memorable read.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

GinnyMoon by Genjamin Ludwig (cover) Image: a girl holding a red backpack stands in an open grassy field with one lone tree in the background)

Genre/Categories: YA/Adult crossover contemporary fiction, coming of age, Autism, family life, differing abilities, adoption

My Summary:

“Ginny is fourteen, adopted, a child on the spectrum, and is committed to saving her “baby doll.” In her fourth home since having been removed from her biological mom’s care, she has now been adopted by her “forever mom” and “forever dad.” For years, Ginny has been troubled about something that happened the night she was taken away from her biological mom and cannot think about anything else until she makes it right. Her “forever” parents and her counselor don’t seem to understand the extent of Ginny’s commitment or her concern, so Ginny is left with no choice but to attempt an escape.”

Engaging, Page-turning, and Memorable…..

Continue reading my review of Ginny Moon to see what I loved….

QOTD: Have you read Ginny Moon or is it on your TBR?

#throwbackthursday Wonder by R.J. Palacio [Book Review]

May 14, 2020

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of a favorite MG/YA read, Wonder by R.J. Palacio. It’s on my lifetime favorites list and I’ll be the first to tell you that it’s a “must-read.”

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio (cover) Image: graphic of a mostly blank boy's head (one eye and a head of hair and ears are the only features) against a blue background

Genre/Categories: Middle grade through adult contemporary fiction,  growing up, difficult discussions, family life, friendship, compassion, character traits

My Summary:

“On the inside, ten-year-old August Pullman feels very ordinary. But as he says, ordinary kids don’t make other kids run away screaming and they don’t get stared at wherever they go. Auggie was born with a rare genetic abnormality that affected the formation of his face. Because of extensive surgeries and an attempt to protect him from cruelties of the outside world, Auggie’s parents have homeschooled him. The reader meets 5th grade Auggie as he’s being enrolled in a traditional school for the first time. Will he be accepted? Will he find friends? Will he find a hostile or friendly environment? How will adults in his life support him? The story is told from six perspectives (August, Via–his older sister, Summer–a friendly caring peer, Jack–a student leader who struggles in his role as a friend, Miranda–his sister’s best friend and a close family friend, and Justin–Miranda’s boyfriend) plus a bonus chapter from Julian’s point of view (Auggie’s nemesis).”

“Heart…Heroes…and Humor”

Continue reading my review of Wonder to see what I loved….

QOTD: Have you read Wonder or is it on your TBR?

#throwbackthursday Refugee by Alan Gratz [Book Review]

May 7, 2020

Refugee by Alan Gratz
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of a favorite MG/YA read, Refugee by Alan Gratz.

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Refugee by Alan Gratz (cover) Image: a small child with back to camera in a small red rowboat on a stormy ocean

Genre/Categories: Middle Grade through Adult, Historical Fiction, Global Issues, Refugees

My Summary:

“Refugee is the relevant story of the refugee experience from three unique perspectives:

  • 12/13-year-old Josef and family are Jewish and attempt to escape Nazi Germany in 1938 aboard a ship bound for a country(Cuba) that will accept them.
  • 12-year-old Isabel and family are Cuban and flee riots and unrest in Cuba in 1994 on a homemade raft pointed toward safety in Miami, Florida.
  • 12-year-old Mahmoud and family are Syrian and seek to escape war-torn Aleppo in 2015 and relocate to Germany.

Even though these families are separated by continents and decades, their stories share certain similarities. Each journey is fraught with harrowing adventures, frustration, courage, resiliency, heartache, injustice, persecution, dangers, children assuming adult roles and responsibility, loss of childhood innocence and joy, and loss of family members. However, the families have hope that drives them forward. Amazon Rating (May): 4.8 Stars (This is a very high rating in which 85% of the stars are in the 5 star category.)”

“See us, he thought. Hear us. Help us.”

Continue reading my review of Refugee to see what I loved….

QOTD: Have you read Refugee or is it on your TBR?

#throwbackthursday Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng [Book Review]

April 30, 2020

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng.

Little Fires Everywhere is now a movie adaptation on Hulu. Have you seen it?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng (cover) I/mage: birdseye view of a pristine upper class neighborhood

Genre: Contemporary Women’s Fiction

My Summary:

Shaker Heights, a suburb of Cleveland, Ohio (yes, it’s a real place), strives to be a perfect planned community. In the words of the author there is a “propensity to over achieve and a deep intolerance for flaws…a utopia.” Every winding road is thoughtfully laid out, the list of house colors is a strict, guideline, trash pickup is conducted in the alleys and all trash cans are out of sight, and tradition is revered and informs the future. Generations of Elena Richardson’s family have lived in Shaker Heights, and she ensures that her family follows the rules and lives up to expectations. All through her life she has followed the rules and this is wholeheartedly embraced as her highest value. Part of her personal code of following the rules is giving back to those that are less fortunate whenever she can, and she’s the type who keeps a mental list of her good deeds. Elena especially wants to use her inherited rental property near her home to benefit others. She earnestly seeks out renters that could gain from the advantage of living in her perfect neighborhood in Shaker Heights. Mia Warren, a free-spirited artistic non-rule follower, and her teenage daughter, Pearl, are the most recent beneficiaries of Mrs. Richardson’s benevolence. Although when Mia is less than grateful for Mrs. Richardson’s offer to buy one of Mia’s photographs, Elena Richardson makes a mental note and this slight continues to bother her and becomes motivation for her future relationship with Mia:

“That’s very generous of you,” Mia’s eyes slid toward the window briefly and Mrs. Richardson felt a twinge of irritation at this lukewarm response to her philanthropy.

As the story unfolds, the two families become more involved with each other rather than simply remaining tenant and landlord. Soon the children become friends, Pearl spends her afternoons at the Richardson home, and Mia accepts a part-time position as a light house keeper and cook for the Richardson family.  Izzy Richardson, a teenage child who shares Mia’s artistic interests and temperament, and Mia develop a close relationship while Izzy learns photography skills in Mia’s darkroom. When one of Mrs. Richardson’s best friends is in the process of adopting a Chinese-American child,  the community is divided on the ethical issues and Elena Richardson and Mia Warren find themselves on opposite sides of the custody battle between the birth mother and adoptive mother. This conflict triggers Mrs. Richardson to find out about Mia’s motivations, her secrets, and her mysterious past. All of this has devastating consequences for the two families.

Are you a rule follower or a free spirit? Do you believe that following all the rules will lead to a happy and successful life?

Continue reading my review of Little Fires Everywhere….

QOTD: Have you read Little Fires Everywhere or is it on your TBR?

#throwbackthursday Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

April 23, 2020

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys as well as linking to two more reviews of her books.

Do you have a favorite auto-buy author? Ruta Sepetys is one of mine!
Have you read other books by Ruta Sepetys?
Salt to the Sea
Between Shades of Gray
The Fountains of Silence

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (cover) Image: a yellow camisole hangs on a padded hanger above an old brown suitcase

Genre: YA Historical Fiction

My Summary:

It’s 1950 in the French Quarter of New Orleans when we meet seventeen-year-old Josie. A high achiever with a great deal of grit and savvy, she is the daughter of an unreliable mother who is a prostitute, benefits from an unlikely mentoring relationship with a tough madam, and is trying to survive in The Big Easy. Although Josie has a plan to get out, she becomes tangled in an investigation that could change her dream of an elite eastern college and her future. Throughout the story, she is tried, tempted, and tested. How will her decisions shape her future?

Click here to continue reading my review of Out of the Easy (plus links to two more reviews of her other books)….

QOTD: Have you read a book by Ruta Sepetys? Have you read Out of the Easy or is it on your TBR?

#throwbackthursday The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

April 16, 2020

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas as well as sharing several of my favorite diverse reads. Have you read THUG or seen the movie?

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (cover) Image: an African American girl holdinga large white poster with the book title

Genre/Categories: YA Contemporary Fiction, African-American

My Summary:

“Our sixteen-year-old main character, Starr, lives in a poor inner-city neighborhood and her mother drives her to an upper-middle-class private school miles across town for her education. Starr’s parents can afford to move out of the poorer neighborhood, but her dad, a former gang member and convict, believes it’s important to stay in the neighborhood to help solve the problems there and to be a role model and support for the young African-American males who desire to leave the gang life and pursue better options. Starr’s mother would like to move across town to the middle class more diverse neighborhood where Starr and her siblings attend a (predominately white) private school and where the family attends a “diverse” church “(she nicknames it “the diverse church). Starr manages to live between her two worlds of the Williamson private school crowd and her neighborhood friends. This causes her some stress because she feels she can’t totally be herself in either place. One night Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her unarmed childhood best friend by a police officer. The officer-involved shooting and her friend’s death make national headlines. Starr is faced with opinions and actions from both sides. Some reporters and private school friends say that the victim was a thug and perhaps a gang member and drug dealer and deserved to die. Friends in the neighborhood, including Starr who really knew the victim, defend him. As Starr faces her role as a witness, interrogation by the DA, involvement in protests, and publicity, she and her family also endure intimidation by the local drug lord (because if she testifies, she might incriminate him). Starr summons up all her courage so that her testimony and answers are honest and truthful to the best of her ability. What she says could endanger her life and cause further protests in the community. How will she use her voice?”

Click here to continue reading my review of The Hate U Give (plus more recommendations for diverse reads)….

QOTD: Have you read The Hate U Give or is it on your TBR?

#throwbackthursday Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge

April 9, 2020

Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge….a favorite escapist, survival read. Enjoy!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

Castle of Water by Dane Hucklebridge (kindle propped against a softly muted floral pillow shows cover)

Genre/Categories: Fiction, Survival, Escapist, Action, Love Story

My Summary:

“And so it came to pass that two utterly disparate lives happened to overlap … bound together on an uninhabited island some 2,359 miles from Hawaii, 4,622 miles from Chile, and 533 miles from the nearest living soul.
Crap, as Barry liked to say.
Putain de merde, as Sophie was known to exclaim.”
― Dane HuckelbridgeCastle of Water

Sophie, an architect and honeymooner, and Barry, disillusioned with his career in finance and seeking inspiration for his love of art, end up on one very small island when their plane is hit by lightning and crashes in the middle of the South Pacific. Strangers and sole survivors and as different as night and day, Sophie and Barry wash up on a small uninhabited island and survival becomes their primary objective. Sophie and Barry draw from each other’s strengths and skills and through harrowing experiences, keep the hope of rescue alive.

Click here to find out why I loved Castle of Water….

QOTD: Have you read Castle of Water or is it on your TBR?

#throwbackthursday America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie

April 2, 2020

America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie
#throwbackthursday

I’m linking up today with Davida @ The Chocolate Lady’s Book Review Blog for #throwbackthursday.

This year as part of Blog Audit Challenge 2020 I’m going back to update older review posts. On Thursdays, I’ll be re-sharing a few of these great reads, and today I’m sharing my review of America’s First Daughter by Stephanie Dray and Laura Kamoie….a favorite histfic read. Enjoy!

*This post contains Amazon affiliate links.

America's First Daughter by Staphanie Dray and Laura Kamoie (coveer)

Genre/Categories: Historical Fiction, U.S. History, Biographical

My Summary:

Sacrifice … Devotion … Hardship … Privilege … Grit

A fast-paced read, this well-researched novel draws from thousands of letters and original sources as it tells the story of Thomas Jefferson’s eldest daughter, Martha “Patsy” Jefferson Randolph. Patsy shares her father’s devotion to their country and becomes his partner, protector, and loyal companion after the death of her mother. As a young girl, she travels with him to Paris when he becomes the American minister to France, and it is here she eventually learns of his relationship with Sally Hemings, a slave girl about her own age. According to the authors, it’s during these Paris years that Patsy falls in love with William Short, her father’s assistant and protégé who is an abolitionist and aspiring diplomat. Patsy is torn between love, principles, and family loyalty, and she questions whether she can be married to William and remain devoted to her father. Filled with thoughtful themes, this is a story of sacrifice and grit as Patsy tirelessly protects her father’s reputation and supports him as he guides and leads the nation he helped found.

Click here to continue reading my review of America’s First Daughter….

QOTD: Have you read America’s First Daughter or is it on your TBR?