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- The White Zone by Carolyn Marsden
Please share this post widely. Maybe we can catch the attention of other readers. Maybe we can help authors by getting the word out about their books. Maybe we can get publishers to notice when those books get more sales. Read Debbie Reese read her review here , the folks at Reading While White their review with lots of comments here , and De Colores: The Raza Experience in Books for Children the review can be read here for more details. One of my favorite authors, Joel Christian Gill see his blog here works very hard at showing authentic versions of the world.
It is a great collection of stories about African American heroes in American history. The irony that an author who wanted to shine a light on the fact that so much of American history ignores the contributions, both big and small, of African Americans, completely ignored the contributions of women was not lost on his audience. And, when readers pointed this out to Mr. Gill his response was shocking. He listened. He thought about it. And he owned his actions. Sheena C. Howard who addresses intersectional nature of the book.
It is about all of those things written in an authentic, respectful, fun and appealing manner. The story opens with Bessie Stringfield meeting and talking with an unnamed and faceless interviewer.
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- THE WHITE ZONE.
She had everything a young girl in the s needed — a loving home, a good education, and eventually, a motorcycle. She was a young Black woman enjoying life on a Harley, criss-crossing the United States and parts of Canada without a care in the world. The map is the perfect introduction to the Jim Crow South that Bessie along with every other African American who lived, worked, and visited the region experienced. Gill uses man-sized crows to illustrate racist White southerners who direct Bessie towards a KKK rally. The clans men are depicted at white hooded crows, burning a cross.
The White Zone
Just to be clear, this image is playful but not cute. It seems to cute the tension without loosing the power behind the message. She gets away but it is clearly not the last time she encounters them. She was, of course, the only woman. She returned to school and got her nursing degree but she never stopped riding. Gill has given us another chapter of our American history. Steven Seagle, part of Man of Action team that brought Ben 10, Big Hero 6, and cartoonist Jason Katzenstein have written a terrific graphic novel for young readers. It has everything I look for during the Halloween season — evolving characters, creepy setting, plot twists, monsters and step-monsters.
At first Skye is a typical skarky teen with lots of eye rolls and full throttle what-evers. It is clear that her mother is excited by her Doctors Without Boarders plans, her step-mother has no use for her, and her father has no idea how to keep the peace with all the women in his life. The solution? Send Skye to camp the moment her mother drops her off. On the bus we see Skye is well versed in being the odd-kid-out.
She spends a lot of energy trying to convince the world she is a lone wolf. Skype is the backbone of the operation and has no problem getting on the wrong side of the cabin harpies literal witches. There is romance, excitement, and intrigue as the summer moves on. The illustrations are full of subtle and not so subtle call outs to loads of creepy and desperate artists and illustrators.
The pallet is a mixture of dark colors, along with eye assaulting bright-neons. The effect is visually jarring in the best possible ways — inviting closer inspection of each page. Eventually, I found a set of subplots that only appear as background to the main story. This is the kind of complexity that graphic novels can provide for young readers.
36 thoughts on “The Best Books for Middle School According to My Students – 2017”
Although Skye is the protagonist, Mia plays an important role throughout the book as both a guide, a sounding board, and a co-conspirator. Together Skye and Mia help each other get to know themselves better. Sounds like a pretty good message for all readers. She has a nasty streak, but it is obviously born from vulnerability. Mia wears her need for approval and acceptance like a lighthouse beacon, which chases others away. I got my copy last week. Here are a few very good pieces on the subject …. I grew up in Southern California thinking of myself as Chicano-American.
It has a girl standing with eyes wide, mouth agape, and hands clenched looking awe struck with a younger girl in front of her looking happy and relaxed. While reading I learned that the younger girl, Maya, has cystic fibrosis, which is why the family is moving. On page 12, after running up a flight of stairs in her new house Maya is panting, a goofy sort of crossed eyed, open mouthed look on her face. Then the name … The neighbors are the Calaverases. They are Mexican, and their name is Calaveras skull and they live in a town full of ghosts.
This is an important detail since that is how Carlos temps Cat into joining him and Maya on a tour of the local mission. Yeah, so this is the first thing that really makes no sense. The Catholic Mission system was a way for the Spanish to colonize California. Probably tens of thousands of Native Americans and Mexican Indians were killed and enslaved in these missions.
The ghosts these kids find would most likely be Ohlone in that area of California, not Mexican. Back to the book. Maya has an attack from playing with the ghosts and needs to be hospitalized. Family drama ensues. September rolls around. Who is dead. Because that is what Dia de los Muertos is about. Ghostly hook-ups. Maya slowly gets better, although she needs a tank and breathing tube to deal with her ever weakening lungs.
As October approaches more Dia de los Muertos stuff appears and the book is the worse for it. We make ofrendas offerings as a way to invite the dead back to visit and see that the family is alive and well and continuing. It is a year old celebration of birth, life, death and rebirth. Cat wears a la Catrina costume for halloween, which is pretty much the standard for cultural appropriation — right up there with black face, headdresses, and the sexy bandito costume.
The end of the book is full of music, flying, an inexplicable dead light house attendant, and a black cat who delivers Mexican food. My professional reading practices have changed in the last year. I am slowly working through a subset of all the graphic novels published in the last 10 years or so. I read, graphic novels with female protagonists that might show up in a k classroom almost exclusively. Besides that, it has changed the patience I have for books. I tend to stick with them past the first 10 pages, even if I am NOT in luuuuvvvvv with the book.
It takes a bit of time to get into this story and to appreciate the odd mix of a very stoic character dealing with fantastical elements in a non-nonsense manner. The true strength of the book is in the characters. Digger is both kind and snarky, giving a genuine portrait of a hard working wombat who is trying to figure her way out of a very weird situation.
Vernon provides us with a long list of interesting and individualistic characters that have a wonderful assortment of flaws and charms. I tend to prefer graphic novels that stretch the reader, creating lots of open space between the images and the words for me to figure out. The route is marked by a series of statues whose large and pointed tongues point quite literally the way to the temple. The images, along with her progress, made it clear, but Vernon chose to include dialogue that simply explained what was clear from the images. The explanation, for me, was unnecessary. Because of my commitment to reading graphic novels with female protagonists I kept reading well past when I would usually let this book go.
And, I am glad. The book passes the Bechdel test early and often with many named female characters talking to each other, almost exclusively about something other then a man. In fact this book shows a series of strong female, male and non-gendered characters moving through an interesting landscape, evolving and revealing more about themselves and the world they live in with each step.
Once I became accustomed to the symmetry between the images and the words, I began to enjoy the story. There are many interactions between the characters that made me laugh, and then think, and then laugh again. Vernon takes on many philosophical and religious ideas without preaching. Although this is a very female-centric book, there are issues with some of the characters as I reflect on the way race and ethnicity play out.
Ed wears a loincloth and a necklace of odd-shapes stones. Smell for miles! Digger-mousie marks territory now, all people know is fierce mousie, respect mark. They wear loin clothes, carry spears, have painted faces and feathers. It is not clear to me what indigenous community is supposed to be represented here but it gives me pause. I encourage people to pick this Hugo award winning series. I worry that in order to gain a strong, complex female protagonist the book provides am indigenous trope.
It is worth a read, and a discussion. Reviews, articles, and more about the portrayal of disabilities in children's fiction. The best selection of multicultural and social justice books for children, YA, and educators. Crazy quilts are unique and innovative quilts created from scraps of materials. My hope is for a world that uses all the scraps, rough cut diamonds and hidden treasures. I blog to make IPOC authors and their works more accessible. What Might Bring?
Here are some books that you should read and bring into your classrooms: Trickster Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection I reviewed this book 5 years ago and I still use it here is a link. It is Martin Luther King Jr. Sound familiar? Because, I knew what they were doing. They were ordering books. She called back to her father. I've just got to save the world. Groups Tagged "Middle Grade". Don't worry, all are welcome; whether you've just started the first book or have read every Robert Beatty book there is, you are free to join. However, spoilers will be present in some marked discussions.
Read at your own risk! Please read the rules, introduce yourself, and have fun!
Kindred Spirits. We'll be doing readalong discussions, hosting fun bookish swaps, and maybe even play a game or two. Doug is a dog who really likes to dig. Subscribers: to set up your digital access click here. To subscribe, click here. Simply close and relaunch your preferred browser to log-in. If you have questions or need assistance setting up your account please email pw pubservice.
The White Zone by Carolyn Marsden
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