Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Very Random Not-So-Random Shelf

Hello folks. From now until the end of the year, my reviews will be very brief, because I really don't have time to write full fledged reviews of each book (we have a lot of programs to fit in the first three weeks of December). I'm also behind in writing reviews, so these books are getting the short and sweet treatment. All fine books, highly recommended.

Review: Race: A History Beyond Black and White (Not-So-Random Shelf: YA Nonfiction)

Race is a superb and unique history. Slavery, immigration, laws prohibiting certain races or cultures from various activities, and changing attitudes toward races, religions, and cultures are all examined in this fascinating book. Aronson does, of course, discuss African slavery and the civil rights movement, but he also discusses prejudices and prohibitions against Irish and Italian Americans, Asians, Jews, and slavery in ancient times.

Review: Sounder (Not-So-Random Shelf: Chapter Book and Newbery Award)

Sounder might be one of the shorter Newbery novels, but it packs an emotionally charged punch. An African American family must deal with the aftermath of their father’s imprisonment after he is caught stealing food. It’s a powerful and unsettling book that rightly deserved the Newbery.

Review: The Sibling Slam Book (Not-So-Random Shelf: Nonfiction)

An honest look at the effects of a special needs sibling on children. Siblings truthfully answer questions about life with their special needs sibling, from describing a typical day with their siblings to concerns about their future. The special needs include Down Syndrome, mental illness, and physical handicaps. A powerful book that parents, other siblings of special needs children, teachers, and those that work with children should read.

Review: Lady Liberty: A Biography (Not-So-Random Shelf: Biography)

Wow-one of my favorites of 2008. The history of Lady Liberty is told in poetry through the perspectives of a wide array of people, including children, immigrants, and Joseph Pulitzer, who used his vast newspaper influence to publicize the movement to bring the Statue of Liberty to the United States. This is a gorgeous book, both in illustrations and writing.

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