10

Into White by Randi Pink – Quietly subversive and full of wit

into-white

When a black teenager prays to be white and her wish comes true, her journey of self-discovery takes shocking–and often hilarious–twists and turns in this debut that people are sure to talk about.

LaToya Williams lives in Birmingham, Alabama, and attends a mostly white high school. She’s so low on the social ladder that even the other black kids disrespect her. Only her older brother, Alex, believes in her. At least, until a higher power answers her only prayer–to be “anything but black.” And voila! She wakes up with blond hair, blue eyes, and lily white skin. And then the real fun begins . . .’

I heard that when people read the synopsis for this novel, it made them feel apprehensive and anxious. I hope, with this review, I may help in trying to dispel some apprehensions that you may have.

Into White¬†presents a fascinating premise and also asks a very compelling¬†what if – what if a black girl magically became white overnight? What would be the effects and consequences? Into White¬†is either a book that you can take at face-value, a decision that will lead you to not fully appreciate what this book is trying to say, or you can read deeply and find thoughtful, positive messages about self-image and discovering¬†what matters the most. Leave your expectations and ideas of ‘what it ought to be’ at the door – this book is great on its own.

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10

Diversity Spotlight Thursdays #10

diversity-spotlight

Welcome to my sixth Diversity Spotlight Thursday! This wonderful weekly blog meme was created and is hosted by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks! For more information about the meme, please read the announcement post here.

My participation in this meme is to help me with one of my reading goals: to read books with a variety of perspectives, especially ones different from my own. Every two weeks I will share with you:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

I wanted to do a theme for this week’s Diversity Spotlight – so this week’s theme is:¬†books with Muslim protagonists!

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54

Let’s Talk About: Characters With ‘Difficult’ Names

difficult-names
Full title: Give me characters with ‘difficult’ names – I’ll give them the love they need

I want to talk about names today.

Names, or specifically my name, was something I struggled with during my childhood and well into my teen years. Today, I want to talk about this struggle, but more importantly, how my name was Рand is Рso important to my identity. And then, I want to talk about names in fiction, particularly non-English names for characters of colour.

As a disclaimer, my discussion post today will address how names are construed and perceived in Western societies, as that is specific to my experience.

(Note:¬†I do not condone names that are offensive or overly bizarre, e.g. ‘Lord’ or ‘V8’ – I wish I was kidding.)

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19

Under a Painted Sky by Stacey Lee – A stunning, emotional journey across the Oregon Trail

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Missouri, 1849: Samantha dreams of moving back to New York to be a professional musician‚ÄĒnot an easy thing if you‚Äôre a girl, and harder still if you‚Äôre Chinese. But a tragic accident dashes any hopes of fulfilling her dream, and instead, leaves her fearing for her life. With the help of a runaway slave named Annamae, Samantha flees town for the unknown frontier. But life on the Oregon Trail is unsafe for two girls, so they disguise themselves as Sammy and Andy, two boys headed for the California gold rush.¬†Sammy and Andy forge a powerful bond as they each search for a link to their past, and struggle to avoid any unwanted attention. But when they cross paths with a band of cowboys, the light-hearted troupe turn out to be unexpected allies. With the law closing in on them and new setbacks coming each day, the girls quickly learn that there are not many places to hide on the open trail.

I have just been on the most incredible adventure. And now I am not too sure of what to do with myself.

Under a Painted Sky combines elements I am not usually familiar with (nor fond of) РWesterns and historical fiction Рwith themes I love to read about Рsisterhood, friendship, loss, and the unexpected things we find. The result? An unforgettable, and poignant story about the bravery and determination of two young girls as they journey across the Oregon Trail. Lee captures the dusty road of the Oregon Trail with unparalleled finesse and detail with a moving story about pursuing the precious few things left in the face of overwhelming loss.

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10

Diversity Spotlight Thursday #8

diversity-spotlight

Welcome to my eighth Diversity Spotlight Thursday! This wonderful weekly blog meme was created and is hosted by Aimal at Bookshelves and Paperbacks! For more information about the meme, please read the announcement post here.

My participation in this meme is to help me with one of my reading goals: to read books with a variety of perspectives, especially ones different from my own. Every two weeks I will share with you:

  1. A diverse book you have read and enjoyed
  2. A diverse book that has already been released but you have not read
  3. A diverse book that has not yet been released

This week’s theme for Diversity Spotlight Thursday is:¬†books by black authors!

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6

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson – Mesmerizing poetry and beautifully told

browngirldreaming

Raised in South Carolina and New York, Woodson always felt halfway home in each place. In vivid poems, she shares what it was like to grow up as an African American in the 1960s and 1970s, living with the remnants of Jim Crow and her growing awareness of the Civil Rights movement. Touching and powerful, each poem is both accessible and emotionally charged, each line a glimpse into a child’s soul as she searches for her place in the world. Woodson’s eloquent poetry also reflects the joy of finding her voice through writing stories, despite the fact that she struggled with reading as a child. Her love of stories inspired her and stayed with her, creating the first sparks of the gifted writer she was to become.

I picked up this book because I¬†fell in love with Woodson’s story in¬†Flying Lessons and Other Stories called¬†Main Street.¬†The narrative¬†in¬†Main Street¬†was achingly beautiful, nostalgic, and poignant, and so on a whim, I picked up¬†Brown Girl Dreaming¬†at my library without so much as a glance at what it was about – just in time for Black History Month too.

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37

Book Recs: Books by Black Authors

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The month of February is Black History Month.

In New Zealand, we don’t observe Black History Month, so when I first learned about Black History Month and its historical and current significance, it was through watching American television.¬†Black History Month may not be a part of my country’s history, but it is important to so many of you, so I wanted to take the time to highlight this important and absolutely necessary month.

So, I want to take this opportunity to celebrate black authors and their incredible work. I also want to take this opportunity to raise the issue of anti-blackness and how this is a global issue that we must work hard to address, fight against, and to end. To my non-black-PoC friends (especially my non-black Asian friends), I highly encourage you all to [read this article]. Listen, learn, reflect, unlearn, repeat.

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