Carrying On

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I feel a need for new, so I found a nice new sweater and a cute new bauble for my desk. I added a few more new books to yesterdays post and cleaned up the author links on the blog,. I mopped floors and wash windows. The laundry is finishing now. I’m trying not to take old mess into a new year!

I’m worried more about Hilary Clinton than I am that cliff. I’ve had too many close friends with cancer scares this year to know what really matters. I think I could somehow segue into a comment about health care in this country, but I won’t. Suffice to say that’s the cliff that concerns me.

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This cute little box will hold my post-its!

My traditions are changing. I used to have brunch with friends on New Years Eve, get a massage and mani/pedi and then pick up some delicious carry out for dinner. I’m doing brunch and a movie on New Years this year, God willin’ and the predicted snow don’t rise too high. I’m still not making resolutions but I have decided to start carrying re-usable totes to the grocery so that I can stop fussing when the baggers put 2-3 items in each of to plastic bags they pack. Making the bags uses more petroleum than cars!! I can’t blame the baggers when I can be proactive and just carry totes with me!

I hate to admit I’m ready to go back to work, but I somewhat am because when the library opens, so does the fitness center next door and I’m ready to workout! Nope, I don’t want to carry it into the new year.

And, I’ve found my word for 2013:  COURAGE

Happy New Year! Have a Joy filled 2013!

January 2013 MG and YA Releases by Authors of Color

edited 31 Dec 2012  1 Jan 2013

610xQrbZo2L._SL500_AA300_Emancipation proclamation: Lincoln and the dawn of liberty by Tonya Bolden; Abrams Books for Young Readers 1 Jan

Published on the anniversary of when President Abraham Lincoln’s order went into effect, this book offers readers a unique look at the events that led to the Emancipation Proclamation. Filled with little-known facts and fascinating details, it includes excerpts from historical sources, archival images, and new research that debunks myths about the Emancipation Proclamation and its causes. Complete with a timeline, glossary, and bibliography, Emancipation Proclamation is an engrossing new historical resource from award-winning children’s book author Tonya Bolden.Amazon


I see the promised land: A life of Martin Luther King Jr. by Arthur Flowers and Manu Chitrakar; Groundwood +-+861865153_140Books 1 January

African American writer, griot and blues singer Arthur Flowers and Indian scroll painter Manu Chitrakar combine their very distinctive storytelling traditions in an extraordinary jam session, creating this stunning graphic novel-style biography of Martin Luther King, Jr. Amazon
Double Victory: How African American Women broke race and gender barriers to help win World War II 9781569768082(Women of Action series) by Cheryl Mullenbach; Chicago Review Press; 1 January
young readers meet a range of remarkable women: war workers, political activists, military women, volunteers, and entertainers. Some, such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Lena Horne, were celebrated in their lifetimes and are well known today. But many others fought discrimination at home and abroad in order to contribute to the war effort yet were overlooked during those years and forgotten by later generations. Double Victory recovers the stories of these courageous women, such as Hazel Dixon Payne, the only woman to serve on the remote Alaska-Canadian Highway; Deverne Calloway, a Red Cross worker who led a protest at an army base in India; and Betty Murphy Phillips, the only black female overseas war correspondent. Offering a new and diverse perspective on the war and including source notes and a bibliography, Double Victory is an invaluable addition to any student’s or history buff’s bookshelf. Amazon  KIRKUS REVIEW

Prophecy (The Dragon King Chronicles) by Ellen Oh; Harper Teen 2 January

51mXXy6WIZL._AA160_The greatest warrior in all of the Seven Kingdoms . . . is a girl with yellow eyes.

Kira’s the only female in the king’s army, and she’s also the prince’s bodyguard. She’s a demon slayer and an outcast, hated by nearly everyone in her home city of Hansong. And, she’s their only hope. . . .

Murdered kings and discovered traitors point to a demon invasion, sending Kira on the run with the young prince. He may be the savior predicted in the Dragon King’s prophecy, but the legendary lost ruby treasure just might be the true key to victory. With only the guidance of the cryptic prophecy, Kira must battle demon soldiers, an evil shaman, and the Demon Lord himself to find what was once lost and raise a prince into a king.

Intrigue and mystery, ancient lore and action-packed fantasy come together in this heart-stopping first book in a trilogy. Amazon  KIRKUS REVIEW

Etched in Clay written and illustrated by Andrea Cheng; Lee and Low 15 January

51nO+IoBZyL._SL500_AA300_Andrea Cheng has crafted a biography in verse as beautiful as one of Dave’s jars. In simple, powerful words, including some of Dave’s original writings, we learn his extraordinary story of courage, creative inspiration, and triumph. Today Dave is considered to be a master craftsperson whose jars are among the most sought-after pieces of Edgefield pottery. Publishers website  


Bereft by Craig Laurance Gidney; Tiny Satchell Press 15 January

41YhaYH7AHL._SL500_AA300_Rafael Fannen is a 13-year old boy who has won a minority scholarship to Our Lady of the Woods, an all male Catholic college preparatory school. He lives with his mother who is chronically ill with an undiagnosed illness and also suffers from mental illness, which no one will discuss. Winning the scholarship quickly turns into a nightmare, as Rafe has to deal with the racism of his fellow students and his teachers. Rafe has an ally in Tomas, another scholarship winner from his neighborhood, and they bond against the racism and classism of their fellow students. But that connection is soon sundered.

In addition to the culture shock, Rafe also has to deal with his burgeoning sexuality. Rafe is caught staring at Toby, an attractive and charismatic classmate, in the shower, Toby begins a relentless campaign of bullying against Rafe, including violent encounters. When someone tags the school campus with graffiti, Toby makes sure Rafe becomes the chief suspect. It becomes so bad that even Tomas distances himself from Rafe. The only person who seems sympathetic to him is the chaplain, Vicar Angus Connell. But it soon becomes apparent that the Vicar has designs on Rafe.  Amazon
Sweet 16 to life: A Langdon Prep Novel by Kimberly Reid;  KTeen 26 January

9780758267429Thanks to skills learned from her undercover-cop mom, Chanti Evans has saved lives and exposed lies at her exclusive private school. But taking down Langdon Prepsters is one thing. Does she have what it takes to go up against hardcore criminals?

After a semester with Langdon’s most rich and snobby, Chanti knows all too well that trust is tough to find and keep. So when her old hood friend, MJ, turns to her for help, Chanti is determined to protect her from vengeful gang member Lux. But that means mending fences with her irresistible ex-boyfriend, Marco, and enlisting his very reluctant assistance. And when Lux suddenly vanishes, Chanti and MJ become prime suspects. Now to clear their names, she must uncover secrets that will strike much too close to home, putting her place at Langdon–and her future–on the line. . . Amazon  KIRKUS REVIEW
Return to me by Justina Chen; Little, Brown 15 Jan

51UP0h4+BJL._SL500_AA300_Nothing is going as planned for Rebecca Muir. She’s weeks away from starting college–at a school chosen specifically to put a few thousand miles of freedom between Reb and her parents. But her dad’s last-minute job opportunity has her entire family moving all those miles with her! And then there’s the matter of her unexpected, amazing boyfriend, Jackson, who is staying behind on the exact opposite coast.

 And if that isn’t enough to deal with, mere days after moving cross-country, Reb’s dad drops shocking, life-changing news. With her mother and brother overwhelmed and confused, Reb is left alone to pick up the pieces of her former life. But how can she do that when everything can change in an instant? How can she trust her “perfect” boyfriend when her own dad let her down? Reb started the year knowing exactly what her future would hold, but now that her world has turned upside down, will she discover what she really wants? Amazon   KIRKUS REVIEW

The prey by Andrew Fukuda; St. Martin Press 29 January

+-+708565042_140With death only a heartbeat away, Gene and the remaining humans must find a way to survive long enough to escape the hungry predators chasing them through the night.  But they’re not the only things following Gene.  He’s haunted by Ashley June who he left behind, and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side.

Their escape takes them to a refuge of humans living high in the mountains.  Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe, but not everything here is as it seems.  And before long, Gene must ask himself if the new world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind.  As their enemies close in on them and push Gene and Sissy closer, one thing becomes painfully clear: all they have is each other…if they can stay alive.

Chilling, inventive, and electrifying, The Prey is the second book in Andrew Fukuda’s The Hunt series. Amazon KIRKUS REVIEW
Prodigy: A legend novel by Marie Lu; Putnam Juvenile 29 January

+-+577592422_140“Prodigy” by Marie Lu is the long-awaited sequel to Legend, the must-read dystopian thriller novel. Perfect for all YA fans of “The Hunger Games” by Suzanne Collins and Divergent by Veronica Roth. A brilliant re-imagining of “Les Miserables”, the series is set to be a global film sensation as CBS films have acquired rights to the trilogy. The “Twilight Saga” producers, Marty Bowen and Wyck Godfrey, will produce. Injured and on the run, it has been seven days since June and Day barely escaped Los Angeles and the Republic with their lives. Day is believed dead having lost his own brother to an execution squad who thought they were assassinating him. June is now the Republic’s most wanted traitor. Desperate for help, they turn to the Patriots – a vigilante rebel group sworn to bring down the Republic. But can they trust them or have they unwittingly become pawns in the most terrifying of political games? Amazon  KIRKUS REVIEW

The way by Joseph Bruchac; Darby Creek Publishing 30 January

51YH0yq2irL._SL500_AA300_Fatherless Cody LeBeau is an American Indian boy who is starting high school with the usual trepidation. He fits into none of the cliques at the new school, but somehow keeps being noticed anyway and is often teased because of his tendency to stutter. Then his Uncle Pat, an accomplished martial arts sensei, moves into the town and becomes the one who shows Cody ‘the way’; through the maze of adolescent doubt and into manhood. Amazon

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Donation Grant

The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Donation Grant was created to help build collections and bring books into the lives of children in latchkey, preschool programs, faith-based reading projects, homeless shelters, charter schools and underfunded libraries. An enduring message of the Committee’s Public Awareness Campaign is that books and reading can only add value to children’s lives if books are present with opportunities to read. The Coretta Scott King Book Awards Committee believes children lives must be saturated with books and reading opportunities. The Book Donation Grant addresses these objectives.

Though the grant is particularly interested in giving books to nontraditional institutions that provide both educational and custodial services to children and their families, under-funded libraries are welcome to apply.

Applications must be received by January 31, 2013.

For additional information, including background, criteria, guidelines, and application instructions, visit,

They’re Coming Out Soon!

I’ve been working on my list of January 2013 releases by authors of color. Last year, I was able to list 17 January releases and this year I’ve found 8. I’m going to continue to do some searching and publish my list tomorrow. Please!! Feel free to mention MG and YA titles of which you’re aware. You can find my list beginning to for on the bottom of this page.  9b21e44c0f44cfd581098e7bfb5a7e69

As I’ve been gathering titles, I ran across a publishing company with which I haven’t been familiar: Tiny Satchel Press. What a wonderful find! Tiny Satchel was found by columnist, award winning journalist, cancer survivor and community leader Victoria Brownworth. In an interview with Lambda Iiterary, she gave the following insights into Tiny Satchell Press.


Let’s talk about the new imprint. What was the inspiration behind Tiny Satchel?

I’d been acquiring and editing young adult books for five or six years for a mainstream publisher. I was enjoying doing it, but I kept being aware that some books I pitched would get the “we don’t think there’s a readership or audience for that.” And consistently it seemed to me to be books with characters of color or queer. It started to irk me. My own fiction always has a political undercurrent I just don’t think anyone can be too young to have a range of characters with whom to identify. I wanted more range. So I wanted to provide books that I would want to read if I were nine or 12 or 15.

One of the biggest complaints I hear from young readers and parents is that there are few middle-grade books coming out with LGBT themes, why do you think that is?

Fear and money. Publishing is unbelievably expensive. Printing is expensive. Marketing is expensive. Writers and editors have to make a living. The tried-and-true is easy.


HOORAY for Tiny Satchel!

In January, they’ll be releasing Bereft by Craig Laurance Gidney.


Rafael Fannen is a 13-year old boy who has won a minority scholarship to Our Lady of the Woods, an all male Catholic college preparatory school. Winning the scholarship quickly turns into a nightmare, as Rafe has to deal with the racism of his fellow students and his teachers. In addition to the culture shock, Rafe also has to deal with his burgeoning sexuality. Rafe is caught staring at Toby, an attractive and charismatic classmate, in the shower, Toby begins a relentless campaign of bullying against Rafe, including violent encounters.
When Rafe decides to fight back and take control of his life, the lives of everyone around him will change. But none more than his own.Bereft addresses the issues of bullying, sexuality, child abuse, mental illness and racism in a haunting and deeply compelling style.source

book review: The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

9780545325059_xlgTitle: The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano

Author: Sonia Manzano

date: September 2012

main character: Rosa Maria Evelyn del Carmen Serrano

Rosa has decided that El Barrio, Spanish Harlem, doesn’t need another Rosa, so she has taken to using one of her middle names, Evelyn. It’s 1969 and Evelyn is losing her childhood perception of her world. She’s becoming more aware of race and status and with her grandmother’s recent visit, she’s more aware of relationships. Evelyn has given up working at the family’s bodega in exchange for working at a drug stop in a different neighborhood. Her daily walk has her seeing inequities in the neighborhoods and it is these differences that are bringing to life an organization called the Young Lions. Her grandmother, who was a revolutionary in Puerto Rico, becomes interested in the group and supports their call to action.

Her grandmother’s support of the group adds just that much more friction to the already tense relationship she has with Evelyn’s mother. Evelyn, rather than wanting to take sides is more interested in understanding what has caused the relationship to deteriorate. In forming an understanding of these women, of their collective history which is certainly tied to Puerto Rican history, Evelyn begins to better understand herself.

Manzano recently shared stories of how she developed her writing skills over the years. We only see her successes, but at the recent Joint Conference for Librarians of Color, Manzano shared the history of what it took to become a writer and the inequities she experienced in the school system echoed those she wrote about in The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano. The story has the feel of someone who is sharing a part of their life rather than a world they’re creating for us. Manzano incorporated historical events in the book and uses them not only to expose readers to the history, but to attract them to the idea of finding their voice by becoming involved in the community around them.

The Revolution of Evelyn Serrano is an uplifting and very well told story!

Cookie Traditions

Awarrd-winning author Lyn Miller-Lachmann has spent the past few months living in Portugal. She has posted such fascinating insights into her adventures that I asked her if she would write a cookie post. She graciously shared the following.

Pastel de Nata

I don’t bake and for the past four months have been living in Portugal, so my contribution contains neither a recipe nor a holiday-oriented treat. However, the “Pastel de Nata” is Portugal’s national pastry and enjoyed also by those living in former colonies of Brazil, Angola, Mozambique, East Timor, Goa, and Macau and by the many Portuguese living outside their country. The first “Pastéis de Nata” were made by monks at the enormous Jerónimos Monastery in Belem, just outside Lisbon. As the story goes, the monks had a variety of uses for egg whites but were at a loss for using the yolks, so they started to make custards with the egg yolks, cream, sugar, cinnamon and other ingredients, and to bake the custards inside a flaky crust.

When the pastel de nata is ready, it has a slightly browned top. The pastries are best when eaten warm, right out of the oven, and with cinnamon sprinkled on top.

The oldest and best-known purveyor of the pastry to the general public is Pastéis de Belem, located across the


street from the monastery that is now a major tourist attraction in Lisbon. Pastéis de Belem is a magnet for locals as well as tourists, and most of the time there’s a line just to get into the door. However, there were torrential rains the day my husband and I went, along with our two adult children who were visiting, and we found a seat in the café right away.

Pastéis de Belem dates from 1837 and the café’s interior features the traditional blue tiles, or “azulejos.”

We ordered four pastéis de nata, one for each of us. They featured a smooth, sweet custard inside a slightly crunchy crust.

Pastéis de Belem is not the only notable purveyor of this sweet treat. Many pastelarias boast of having the best pastéis de nata, including this bakery with a stand at the Corte Inglês department store.

The pastel de nata at Corte Inglês had a denser custard and less crunchy crust but was also quite tasty. Did it deserve its accolades? Maybe, but my favorite pastel de nata comes from a place a short walk from where I live in Lisbon, on Rua Dom Pedro V. The little café is simply called Nata, and it is located at the back of a lovely clothing/furniture/book store, Babel, known for its translations of poets from around the world as well as its editions of poetry and essays by Portugal’s own Fernando Pessoa.

While Pastéis de Belem features a crunchy crust, Nata’s crust is light and flaky, a perfect compliment to the smoothly textured custard that is a bit less sweet and more aromatic than the others. While I appreciated the subtler flavor of the custard, it was really the crust that put Nata’s pastry over the top for me.

Until I moved to Lisbon, I’d never heard of the pastel de nata. But as soon as I return to New York, I’m going to look for Portuguese bakeries to see how the pastries have fared in their journey across the ocean. And as far as books for the new year, I intend to read the poetry of Fernando Pessoa, who, because he spent much of his youth in South Africa, wrote most of his work in English, though his final collection, Mensagem (Message) appeared first in Portuguese.

In summer 2013, Penguin will release Lyn’s middle grade novel Rogue, the story of a socially awkward eighth grade girl whose desire for a friend leads her to two neighbor boys in peril and some dangerous choices of her own.