Tag Archives: women

A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White

A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White. February 14, 2017. Greenwillow Books, 432 p. ISBN: 9780062463210.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

Eighteen-year-old Jill Cafferty just made history. Her high school’s star pitcher, she is now the first woman drafted by a major league baseball team. Only days after her high school graduation, she’ll join the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Class A Short Season team . . . but not everyone is happy to have her there.

On top of the pressure heaped on every pitcher, Jill must deal with defying conventions and living up to impossible expectations, all while living away from home for the first time. She’ll go head-to-head against those who are determined to keep baseball an all-male sport. Despite the reassurance of coaches and managers alike, a few of her teammates are giving her trouble. The media presence following her at each game is inescapable. And to top it all off, Jill is struggling with the responsibilities of being a national hero and a role model for young women everywhere. How can she be a role model when she’s not even sure she made the right choice for herself? Didn’t baseball used to be fun?

This literary and engrossing story of a young woman trying to mark out a place for herself in a male-dominated world will captivate fans of Friday Night Lights, The Art of Fielding, John Corey Whaley, and Laurie Halse Anderson.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language; Discrimination; Underage drinking; Sexual harrassment

 

Reviews

Booklist (December 15, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 8))
Grades 8-11. Toward the end of senior year, it’s decision time: accept the scholarship to Stanford or the offer from the Pittsburgh Pirates as their third-round draft pick. It’s a clear choice for Jill, despite the stress of possibly becoming the first woman to play Major League Baseball. After joining the Pirates’ minor league short season team, she deals with resistance from fans, pressure from agents, and the occasional idiocy in the clubhouse. She gradually gains acceptance from her teammates and, after a rocky start, begins to play well again. Don’t look for high drama on or off the field. The pleasure of reading this novel comes from the steady, realistic portrayal of Jill’s experiences as a rookie and as a young woman breaking into a man’s sport. An ensemble cast of well-drawn, interesting characters revolves around Jill, who is kind by nature, levelheaded most of the time, and acutely aware that she’s a role model, constantly observed but no more saintly than most other 18-year-olds. Readers will hope for sequels to this unusual and engaging novel.

Horn Book Magazine (March/April, 2017)
High-school baseball phenom Jill Cafferty had made a verbal commitment to pitch for Stanford, but pro scouts are on her trail. Perfect mechanics, repeatable delivery, and command of three pitches make her a hot commodity, and she makes history as the first female Major League player when she signs with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization. She quickly comes to hate “all this fuss about me being a woman, when I really just want to go and…strike all of the sons of bitches out.” But it’s not going to be that easy, as she faces a lot of abuse: fans tossing tampons onto the field, a teammate urinating in her locker, fans holding signs saying “Go Back to Softball!” and “Don’t Destroy America!” Somehow, it can’t be a simple matter of hurling a ball sixty feet and striking out batters. White’s third-person limited narrative, told from Jill’s perspective, pulls the reader into her story. Though the plot could have been tighter, there’s plenty of action, and fans of the game will enjoy following Jill through early missteps toward a surer sense of herself and her skills. dean schneider

About the Author

This talented writer attended Tufts University (and published her first book, Friends for Life, while a senior there) and currently lives in New York City. Ms. White grew up in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Many of her novels feature characters who reside in or around Boston and are fans of the Boston Red Sox (as is Ms. White). In addition to novels, Ms. White has published several biographies. She also writes under the pseudonym Zack Emerson (taking the name Zack from the name of her shepherd dog) and under the pseudonym Nicholas Edwards (Santa Paws series).

Her website is ellenemersonwhite.com.

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Here We Are edited by Kelly Jensen

Here We Are: Feminism for the Real World edited by Kelly Jensen. January 24, 2017. Algonquin Young Readers, 240 p. ISBN: 9781616205867.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA.

LET’S GET THE FEMINIST PARTY STARTED!

Have you ever wanted to be a superheroine? Join a fandom? Create the perfect empowering playlist? Understand exactly what it means to be a feminist in the twenty-first century? You’ve come to the right place.

Forty-four writers, dancers, actors, and artists contribute essays, lists, poems, comics, and illustrations about everything from body positivity to romance to gender identity to intersectionality to the greatest girl friendships in fiction. Together, they share diverse perspectives on and insights into what feminism means and what it looks like. Come on in, turn the pages, and be inspired to find your own path to feminism by the awesome individuals in Here We Are.

Welcome to one of the most life-changing parties around!

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language; Mild sexual themes; Clinical discussion of a female genital mutilation; Sexual assault; Images with stylized nudity

 

Reviews

Booklist starred (January 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 9))
Grades 8-11. Earnest, conversational, and dauntlessly unapologetic in message, this collection of essays, cartoons, and interviews boldly celebrates and analyzes feminism as it exists today. More important, it reinforces the concept of intersectionality, encouraging a feminism that is open and accepting while continually reminding readers about the ways in which the experience of being a woman can vary widely for women of color, LGBTQ women, and women with disabilities. Some pieces here are reprinted from other texts (Roxanne Gay’s “Bad Feminist: Take Two,” Mindy Kaling’s “Don’t Peak in High School”), while others were commissioned exclusively for this publication. Most of the contributors are writers, often of YA novels and popular blogs, but this takes pains to include a wide array of perspectives, including essays by singer-songwriter Matt Nathanson, politician Wendy Davis, and ballet dancer Michaela DePrince and her sister Mia, as well as an interview with transgender actress Laverne Cox. The voices are wildly diverse: men and women, cis and trans, are included (although women, naturally, dominate), and contributors represent a number of different races, religions, and sexual orientations. The scrapbook-style layout makes this fun, and the intimate, informal tone makes it feel like a journal passed between friends. An education unto itself, the message of inclusion and strength is invaluable.

Horn Book Magazine (March/April, 2017)
This lively anthology, edited by Book Riot associate editor Jensen, broaches the subject of “feminism for the real world” through forty-four essays, comics, poems, interviews, and other material aimed at an adolescent audience. The collection combines previously published works with original content by a diverse group of contributors, including celebrities (Laverne Cox, Mindy Kaling), activists (Mia and Michaela DePrince, Wendy Davis), comics artists (Wendy Xu), and young adult authors (Malinda Lo, Nova Ren Suma, Daniel José Older). The accessible scrapbook-style format is organized into loose subject-area sections (“Gender, Sex, and Sexuality,” “Culture and Pop Culture”) with explanatory “FAQs About Feminism” and lists such as Kody Keplinger’s “Feminist Songs to Sing Along To” and Brandy Colbert’s “Top Ten Black Female Friendships” interspersed throughout. Topics range from the history of the word feminism to personal reflections on the intersections between feminism and race, gender, sexual orientation, and ability. Here We Are functions as an accessible collection of contemporary feminist writing and an introduction to twenty-first-century feminism. By embracing the voices of women, men, people of color, members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and myriad other identities, the book sends a strong message that feminism is for everyone. Appended with lists for further reading and contributor bios. molly saunders

About the Editor

Kelly Jensen is a former teen librarian who worked in several public libraries before pursuing a full-time career in writing and editing. Her current position is with Book Riot, the largest independent book website in North America, where she focuses on talking about young adult literature in all of its manifestations. Before becoming a fully-fledged adult-like person, she worked in the swanky Texas Legislative Library entering data into a computer while surrounded by important politicians, scooped gelato for hungry college students, and spent hours reading, annotating, and scanning small-town Texas newspapers into a giant searchable database.

Kelly lives in Wisconsin with her husband and three needy-but-awesome cats. In her free time, she does yoga, writes for her personal blog STACKED, drinks a lot of tea, and enjoys disappearing for days reading good books. Her writing has been featured on The Huffington Post, at Rookie Magazine, The Horn Book, BlogHer, and School Library Journal.

Her website is www.stackedbooks.org.

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Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures: Young Reader’s Edition by Margot Lee Shetterly. November 29, 2016. HarperCollins, 240 p. ISBN: 9780062662385.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 1120.

New York Times bestselling author Margot Lee Shetterly’s book is now available in a new edition perfect for young readers. This is the amazing true story of four African-American female mathematicians at NASA who helped achieve some of the greatest moments in our space program. Now a major motion picture starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kirsten Dunst, and Kevin Costner.

Before John Glenn orbited the earth, or Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, a group of dedicated female mathematicians known as “human computers” used pencils, slide rules, and adding machines to calculate the numbers that would launch rockets, and astronauts, into space. This book brings to life the stories of Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, and Christine Darden, four African-American women who lived through the civil rights era, the Space Race, the Cold War, and the movement for gender equality, and whose work forever changed the face of NASA and the country.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Racism

 

Book Trailer

Reviews

Booklist (March 1, 2017 (Online))
Grades 5-8. Mary Jackson, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Christine Darden are names that have been largely forgotten. The four women worked for the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics in the mid-twentieth century. Each displayed early aptitude for math, sharp curiosity about the world around them, and marked confidence in the face of discrimination. They contributed to discoveries about space and to sending manned missions into orbit. Their life stories are the perfect impetus for discussion on a host of important historical themes germane to the 1950s, such as gender roles, racial prejudice and segregation, and scientific exploration. In any context, these women’s contributions to science and aerospace technology would be impressive, but the obstacles imposed by the norms of their society make their achievements all the more impressive. Middle-schoolers will find their story, here in a young readers’ edition of Shetterly’s 2016 adult book (the basis of a current movie), engaging and inspirational.

About the Author

I’m the author of Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race (William Morrow/HarperCollins). I’m also the founder of The Human Computer Project, an endeavor that is recovering the names and accomplishments of all of the women who worked as computers, mathematicians, scientists and engineers at the NACA and NASA from the 1930s through the 1980s.

I’m a Hampton, Virginia native, University of Virginia graduate, an entrepreneur, and an intrepid traveler who spent 11 years living in Mexico. I currently live in Charlottesville, VA.

Her website is www.margotleeshetterly.com.

Teacher Resources

Hidden Figures Teacher Resources

Hidden Figures Teaching Guide

“When Computers Wore Skirts” Lesson Plan

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Hidden Figures on Amazon

Hidden Figures on Goodreads

Hidden Figures on JLG

Hidden Figures Publisher Page

All Heart by Carli Lloyd

All Heart: My Dedication and Determination to Become One of Soccer’s Best by Carli Lloyd. December 6, 2016. HMH Books for Young Readers, 304 p. ISBN: 9780544978690.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 6.7; Lexile: 940.

In the summer of 2015, the U.S. women’s national soccer team won the World Cup behind an epic performance by Carli Lloyd. Carli, a midfielder, scored three goals in the first sixteen minutes—the greatest goal-scoring effort in the history of World Cup finals.

But there was a time when Carli almost quit soccer. She struggled with doubts and low confidence. In All Heart, adapted from When Nobody Was Watching specifically for younger readers, Carli tells the full inspiring story of her journey to the top of the soccer world—an honest, action-packed account that takes readers inside the mind of a hardworking athlete.

Includes two full-color photo inserts.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Booklist (January 1, 2017 (Vol. 113, No. 9))
Grades 6-10. Despite being named the FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year, winning two Olympic gold medals in women’s soccer, and being instrumental in clinching the 2015 Women’s World Cup, Lloyd’s successes did not come easy. In this memoir for young readers, adapted from her New York Times best-seller When Nobody Was Watching (2016), Lloyd highlights her constant struggles with self-criticism and her quest for perfection, which often leave her feeling like an underachiever. She begins with being cut in 2003 from the U.S. Under-21 soccer team and how it drove her more to become one the country’s best female soccer athletes. Her conversational narrative then takes readers step-by-step through her ups and downs both on and off the playing field, including her intense personal training, initial trouble fitting in among her teammates and with coaches, and troubled relationship with her parents. While soccer fans will especially enjoy the detailed descriptions of key matches from her career, there’s much to glean about teamwork and determination for any teen. An inspiring story of perseverance.

Kirkus Reviews (December 15, 2016)
Writing with sports journalist Coffey, Lloyd presents a play-by-play recap of her progress from elementary school soccer novice to World Cup player and winner of 2015’s FIFA Golden Ball and Silver Boot.In this young readers’ adaptation of her memoir for adults, When Nobody Was Watching (2016), Lloyd seems to remember with total recall every game she’s ever played, recapping them in a direct, detailed, blow-by-blow manner that is sure to confuse anyone who isn’t as into soccer as she is. Of course, her audience is likely to be a self-selected one. But soccer detail isn’t the only reason to read this book. All too often, it is easy to look at heroes of many stripes and think that success came to them easily. Lloyd makes it clear that her path was never easy, never without commitment, never without sacrifice, and, most of all, never without discipline and a lot of hard work. Her path covered a lot of ups and downs, and there were key people along the way who made her success the eventual inevitable goal…along with those who deserted and disappointed her. Narrating in the first person, Lloyd is frank about such difficulties as her estrangement from her family, telling readers, “I don’t hear from any of them after the [2012] Olympics, though they do send me a card. I can’t believe it has been four years since we’ve had any relationship to speak of.” True to real life, her story does not unfold neatly, with a clear narrative arc, but her character comes through loud and clear.Not for lovers of soccer only: readers after inspiration to keep playing, regardless of the odds, will find plenty here. (photos, index) (Memoir. 10-14)

About the Author

CarliLloyd is a co-captain of the U.S. Women’s National Soccer Team and has been named the FIFA World Player of the Year for two years in a row (2015 and 2016). The midfielder led the U.S. team to World Cup victory in 2015 and also scored the gold-medal winning goals in both the 2008 and 2012 Olympics. She has played in three FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, helping the U.S. win bronze, silver and then gold. In 2015 she was also awarded the FIFA Golden Ball and the Silver Boot. The New Jersey native currently plays for the Houston Dash in the National Women’s Soccer League.

Her website is www.carlilloyd.com.

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All Heart on Amazon

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All Heart Publisher Page

I Got This by Laurie Hernandez

I Got This: To Gold and Beyond by Laurie Hernandez. January 24, 2017. HarperCollins, 240 p. ISBN: 9780062677310.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 7.2.

Gold medal-winning Olympic gymnast and Dancing with the Stars champion Laurie Hernandez shares her story in her own words in this debut book for fans of all ages—with never-before-seen photos!

At sixteen years old, Laurie Hernandez has already made many of her dreams come true—and yet it’s only the beginning for this highly accomplished athlete. A Latina Jersey girl, Laurie saw her life take a dramatic turn last summer when she was chosen to be a part of the 2016 US Olympic gymnastics team. After winning gold in Rio as part of the Final Five, Laurie also earned an individual silver medal for her performance on the balance beam. Nicknamed “the Human Emoji” for her wide-eyed and animated expressions, Laurie continued to dance her way into everyone’s hearts while competing on the hit reality TV show Dancing with the Stars, where she was the youngest-ever winner of the Mirrorball Trophy.

Poignant and funny, Laurie’s story is about growing up with the dream of becoming an Olympian and what it took to win gold. She talks about her loving family, her rigorous training, her intense sacrifices, and her amazing triumphs. Be prepared to fall in love with and be mesmerized by America’s newest sweetheart all over again.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Book Trailer

About the Author

Laurie Hernandez is an American gymnast, an Olympic gold medalist, and the youngest-ever champion on Dancing with the Stars. At the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio, Laurie won silver in the individual balance beam competition and secured gold in the team all-around competition.

Laurie started gymnastics at the age of six because she wanted to experience the feeling of flying. She enrolled at Monmouth Gymnastics in New Jersey, where she met her coach, and they became a winning duo. The turning point in Laurie’s career came in 2014, when her progress was stalled due to multiple injuries. She returned stronger than ever by becoming the 2015 US junior national champion. Laurie’s other career highlights include all-around silver, beam gold, and floor exercise bronze at the 2016 US Olympic Trials, and bronze in all-around, floor exercise, beam, and uneven bars at the 2016 national championships.

Laurie is known for her dazzling floor exercise routines and for her grace and artistry on the balance beam. And she has been nicknamed “the Human Emoji” for her outgoing facial expressions.

 

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I Got This on Amazon

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Motor Girls by Sue Macy

Motor Girls: How Women Took the Wheel and Drove Boldly Into the Twentieth Century by Sue Macy. February 7, 2017. National Geographic Children’s Books, 96 p. ISBN: 9781426326981.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 6.8.

Come along for a joy ride in this enthralling tribute to the daring women Motor Girls, as they were called at the turn of the century who got behind the wheel of the first cars and paved the way for change. The automobile has always symbolized freedom, and in this book we meet the first generation of female motorists who drove cars for fun, profit, and to make a statement about the evolving role of women. From the advent of the auto in the 1890s to the 1920s when the breaking down of barriers for women was in full swing, readers will be delighted to see historical photos, art, and artifacts and to discover the many ways these progressive females influenced fashion, the economy, politics, and the world around them.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: None

 

Reviews

Publishers Weekly (November 14, 2016)
Macy builds on Wheels of Change, which examined the connections between women’s rights and the mobility offered by the bicycle, as she chronicles the history of the automobile and the paths that led women to become motorists. Against a backdrop of captivating archival photographs and excerpts from periodicals, she introduces several “Motor Girls” who made strides behind the wheel. In 1909, Alice Ramsey became the first woman to drive a car across the United States; she was followed by numerous other cross-country female drivers and racers. A section on WWI demonstrates how the war necessitated that women pilot ambulances and other automobiles, further solidifying that woman could, and wanted to, drive vehicles. Using the lens of automotive history to inform a greater narrative about women’s liberation, Macy capably shows how threads of the past are intertwined. Ages 10-up.

Kirkus Reviews (December 1, 2016)
Well-documented proof that, when it came to early automobiles, it wasn’t just men who took the wheel. Despite relentlessly flashy page design that is more distracting than otherwise and a faint typeface sure to induce eyestrain, this companion to Wheels of Change: How Women Rode the Bicycle to Freedom (2011) chronicles decided shifts in gender attitudes and expectations as it puts women (American women, mostly) behind the wheel in the first decades of the 20th century. Sidebar profiles and features, photos, advertisements, and clippings from contemporary magazines and newspapers festoon a revved-up narrative that is often set in angular blocks for added drama. Along with paying particular attention to women who went on the road to campaign for the vote and drove ambulances and other motor vehicles during World War I, Macy recounts notable speed and endurance races, and she introduces skilled drivers/mechanics such as Alice Ramsey and Joan Newton Cuneo. She also diversifies the predominantly white cast with nods to Madam C.J. Walker, her daughter, A’Lelia (both avid motorists), and the wartime Colored Women’s Motor Corps. An intro by Danica Patrick, checklists of “motoring milestones,” and an extended account of an 1895 race run and won by men do more for the page count than the overall story—but it’s nonetheless a story worth the telling. Macy wheels out another significant and seldom explored chapter in women’s history. (index, statistics, source notes, annotated reading list) (Nonfiction. 11-14)

About the Author

Sue Macy is the award-winning author of Winning Ways: A Photohistory of American Women in Sports and A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. Both were named ALA Best Books for Young Adults and NCSS-CBC Notable Children’s Trade Books in the Field of Social Studies. She lives in Englewood, NJ.

Her website is www.suemacy.com.

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Motor Girls on Amazon

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The Girl Who Escaped ISIS by Farida Khalaf

The Girl Who Escaped ISIS: This Is My Story by Farida Khalaf with Andrea C. Hoffmann. July 19, 2016. Atria Books, 240 p. ISBN: 9781501131714.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD; Lexile: 720.

A young Yazidi woman was living a normal, sheltered life in northern Iraq during the summer of 2014 when her entire world was upended: her village was attacked by ISIS. All of the men in her town were killed and the women were taken into slavery.

This is Farida Khalaf’s story.

In unprecedented detail, Farida describes her world as it was—at nineteen, she was living at home with her brothers and parents, finishing her schooling and looking forward to becoming a math teacher—and the hell it became. Held in a slave market in Syria and sold into the homes of several ISIS soldiers, she stubbornly attempts resistance at every turn. Farida is ultimately brought to an ISIS training camp in the middle of the desert, where she plots an against-all-odds escape for herself and five other girls.

A riveting firsthand account of life in captivity and a courageous flight to freedom, this astonishing memoir is also Farida’s way of bearing witness, and of ensuring that ISIS does not succeed in crushing her spirit. Her bravery, resilience, and hope in the face of unimaginable violence will fascinate and inspire.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong sexual themes; Criminal culture

 

About the Author

Farida Khalaf is from the Yazidi community of the small village of Kocho, Iraq. Farida was nineteen years old and preparing for her last year in school when ISIS descended upon her village, and she was sold into slavery. After making a daring escape, she reunited with her mother and her brothers in an Iraqi refugee camp and was granted asylum in Germany in 2015.

Andrea C. Hoffmann is an author and a journalist. She specializes in the Middle East and the situation of women in Muslim countries. She lives in Berlin, Germany.  Her website is http://andreachoffmann.com.

Teacher Resources

Questions about ISIS

ISIS: Teaching the News Lesson Plans

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Level the Playing Field by Kristina Rutherford

Level the Playing Field: The Past, Present, and Future of Women’s Pro Sports by Kristina Rutherford. October 11, 2016. Owlkid Books, 56 p. ISBN: 9781771471602.  Int Lvl: 5-8; Rdg Lvl: 6.5; Lexile: 920.

The experience of being a professional athlete is very different for men and women. While men’s pro sports command throngs of fans, media attention, and money, many of the world’s top professional female athletes aren’t valued or recognized equally for their talent—even though female athletes prove time and time again that they have all the skill, drama, and rivalries of their male counterparts.

Level the Playing Field examines the root of these issues by taking readers through the history of women’s pro sports, exploring how far we have come in a relatively short time and exposing what ground is left to gain. The book provides first-person insight through exciting interviews with professional female athletes, including Canadian hockey player Cassie Campbell, American MMA fighter Miesha Tate, and WNBA star Elena Delle Donne. Along the way, author and sports journalist Kristina Rutherford covers important topics like opportunity, female role models, and stereotypes.

Drawing on examples from a wide range of sports, and complete with sidebars, photographs, sources, and an index, this is an informative and authoritative book that makes an important contribution to the movement for women’s acceptance in professional sport.

 

Reviews

Booklist (September 1, 2016 (Vol. 113, No. 1))
Grades 5-8. As a girls’ hockey coach and sports journalist, Rutherford has experienced firsthand the shifting landscape of women in sports. In an engaging, conversational tone, Rutherford lays out the state of women in professional sports before Title IX was passed and mandated equal opportunities for women in federally funded schools, how it has changed since, and where women’s sports leagues are headed. Her message is a hopeful one: though women’s leagues lack exposure and funding (much like the early days of organizations like the MLB and NBA), their athletes are giving girls a thrilling example to follow, both on the field and on the sidelines, which is generating a significant move toward equity. Big, full-color action photos of a diverse array of women from a broad range of sports adorn each page, and brief interviews offer tidy glimpses into the life of a professional athlete. Rutherford’s optimistic and informative volume will not only enlighten students working on reports, but its empowering tone will encourage more young women to pursue careers in this expanding field of athletics.

Kirkus Reviews (July 15, 2016)
Debut author Rutherford looks at women’s professional sports and the social forces behind them. “Why is the pro sports experience so different for a man versus a woman?” Though Rutherford concedes other benefits of sports—success in school, fitness, fun—money is clearly the most obvious indicator of disparity. “LeBron has more than a dozen different pairs of shoes named after him and more than eight million followers on Instagram.” Maya Moore, a leading player in the WNBA, “earns almost nothing compared with what LeBron makes” and is not as well-known. To find answers to her key question, Rutherford analyzes the historical lack of opportunity in girls sports, the role of Title IX in expanding opportunity, the role of television as a force in sports, and the impact key players have had on various sports. She adopts a “you can do it” tone, which is enhanced by full-page color action photographs, several interviews with sports stars, a multicolor design (which borders on garishness), and letting women speak for themselves in quotations on most pages. Addressing herself directly to young readers, as she does throughout the volume, the author says, “And the thing is, you have a role in this, too. The advancements we’re seeing start with kids like you.” Young girls especially will be inspired by this volume and the bright future for women’s sports it portrays. (index, sources) (Nonfiction. 9-14)

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Level the Playing Field on Amazon

Level the Playing Field on JLG

Level the Playing Field on Goodreads

 

Balcony on the Moon by Ibtisam Barakat

Balcony on the Moon: Coming of Age in Palestine by Ibtisam Barakat. October 25, 2016. Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 240 p. ISBN: 9780374302511.  Int Lvl: YA; Rdg Lvl: YA; Lexile: 970.

Picking up where Tasting the Sky left off, Balcony on the Moon follows Ibtisam Barakat through her childhood and adolescence in Palestine from 1972-1981 and chronicles her desire to be a writer. Ibtisam finds inspiration through writing letters to pen pals and from an adult who encourages her to keep at it, but the most surprising turn of all for Ibtisam happens when her mother decides that she would like to seek out an education, too. This memoir is a touching, at times funny, and enlightening look at the not often depicted daily life in a politically tumultuous area.

Sequel to: Tasting the Sky

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Discrimination; War; Suicidal thoughts

 

Reviews

Publishers Weekly (August 29, 2016)
In this companion memoir to Tasting the Sky: A Palestinian Childhood (2007), Barakat continues her tale of growing up in Palestine from 1972-1981, a politically turbulent time. As a high school student, Barakat reminds herself that while she “cannot do anything about Iraq and Iran, the American hostages, Lebanon, the civil war and the Palestinian camps,” she can study for her exams. Themes of equal rights and education for girls become especially poignant as Barakat’s mother acknowledges that leaving school for marriage felt “worse than death” and decides to resume her high school studies. Divided into five parts correlating with the family’s five homes, the book captures Barakat’s growing understanding of the complex dynamics in her parents’ marriage, her outrage at gender-based restrictions, and her determination not to live a life like that of her mother. When her willingness to question and explore opens doors for her, Barakat receives encouragement and support from surprising sources, validating her sister’s statement that “being Palestinian teaches you to be ready for any destiny.” This is a compelling personal history, brimming with humor, wisdom, and empathy. Ages 12-up.

Kirkus Reviews starred (July 15, 2016)
This intense memoir paints a dark picture of growing up in Israeli-occupied Palestine, where “we are made to live with no land, no country, no rights, no safety, and no respect for our dignity.” The author, a poet, picks up in 1971, where her earlier memoir, Tasting the Sky (2007), left off. She recounts her years from second grade through high school, dividing the book into five sections based on their different homes in Palestine. Told in a first-person, present-tense voice, the episodic narrative deftly combines personal and political events. Evocative details convey her family’s everyday life, in which her father’s despair looms large. A memorable chapter recounts his threat to kill himself by crashing his truck; the whole family insists on accompanying him on the ride. As she grows older, Barakat feels embattled as a Palestinian surrounded by soldiers and hampered as a girl by societal restrictions. Starting in seventh grade, she connects to the larger world through pen pals and then through an eminent magazine editor who encourages her writing. A top student, Barakat grows in knowledge and also compassion, evident when she tutors her strong-willed mother, who returns to high school. A pervasive sense of loss informs much of her childhood, with a growing realization that no promising future exists for her or her siblings in Palestine. A poetic, deeply felt coming-of-age story. (resources) (Memoir. 12 & up)

About the Author

Ibtisam Barakat is a Palestinian-American bi-lingual author, poet, artist, translator, and educator. She was born in Beit Hanina, near Jerusalem. Barakat received her Bachelor’s degree from Bir Zeit University, near Ramallah in the West Bank.

Her website is www.ibtisambarakat.com

 

Around the Web

Balcony on the Moon on Amazon

Balcony on the Moon on JLG

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Leave Me by Gayle Forman

Leave Me by Gayle Forman. Septamber 6, 2016. Algonquin Books, 352 p. ISBN: 9781616206178.  Int Lvl: AD; Rdg Lvl: AD; Lexile: 720.

For every woman who has ever fantasized about driving past her exit on the highway instead of going home to make dinner, for every woman who has ever dreamed of boarding a train to a place where no one needs constant attention–meet Maribeth Klein. A harried working mother who’s so busy taking care of her husband and twins, she doesn’t even realize she’s had a heart attack.

Afterward, surprised to discover that her recuperation seems to be an imposition on those who rely on her, Maribeth does the unthinkable: She packs a bag and leaves. But, as is so often the case, once we get to where we’re going, we see our lives from a different perspective. Far from the demands of family and career and with the help of liberating new friendships, Maribeth is finally able to own up to secrets she has been keeping from those she loves and from herself.

With big-hearted characters who stumble and trip, grow and forgive, Leave Me is about facing our fears. Gayle Forman, a dazzling observer of human nature, has written an irresistible novel that confronts the ambivalence of modern motherhood head-on.

Potentially Sensitive Areas: Strong language; Mild sexual themes; Alcohol

 

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Booklist starred (August 2016 (Vol. 112, No. 22))
Maribeth Klein is too busy with her four-year-old twins and her increasingly demanding job to realize she’s had a heart attack at 44. Shrugging off the pain, she continues with her day, heading to the preschool to be the storytime reader. She tries to chip away at her increasing to-do list by persuading her husband take over dinner duties—parenting group is meeting at their Tribeca apartment that night. She manages to keep her ob-gyn appointment so she can mention that she’s feeling a bit off. Next thing she knows, she’s having open-heart surgery. Complications lead to an extended recovery period, yet somehow Maribeth is quickly back at everyone’s beck and call. And her illness brings up long-buried questions—as an adoptee, she’s clueless about her family medical history. When the demands get the best of her, Maribeth packs a bag, cashes out her bank account, and catches a train to Pittsburgh, where she hopes to find some answers about her past, as well as some time to herself. Popular teen author Forman’s adult debut examines just what it means to be a working mother—beholden to everyone, seemingly obligated to forget who you really are. Maribeth’s search for her birth mother and the way she settles into her new—albeit temporary—life away from home will strike a chord with readers, especially those who enjoy Jennifer Weiner and Meg Wolitzer.

Kirkus Reviews (September 1, 2016)
An inexperienced 15-year-old witch struggles to establish her ethics as she fights to save fellow high school students from the predations of older wicked witches.When Camellia’s witch mother, Sarmine, (both white) invites three racially diverse witch friends over, ostensibly as a reunion of an old college Do-Badders Club, Cam is horrified when they decide to resume their antics and select Cam’s fellow high school students as victims. The challenge? The witch who makes her victim the most miserable over the course of a week is the winner. To thwart them, Cam bets the witches she can undo their work, but there are problems: she doesn’t know which students are the victims, she barely knows any spells, and she refuses to use any spells that contain animal ingredients—which, unfortunately, are most of them. If that weren’t bad enough, the ante gets upped considerably when Cam discovers the real reason most-evil-witch Malkin suggested the challenge in the first place. Cam’s flippant first-person narrative rises above teen boilerplate due to the intelligence, vulnerability, and self-deprecating humor she displays. Connolly’s first-rate plotting delivers a clever story that empathizes with the self-conscious teen world even as it pokes a tiny bit of well-meaning fun. Accomplished plotting teams up with a winsome narrator to give readers a bewitching story. (appendix) (Fantasy. 13-16)

About the Author

Gayle Forman is an award-winning internationally bestselling author. Her books include Just One Day, Just One Year, I Was Here, Where She Went and If I Stay, which was made into a major motion picture starring Chloe Grace Moretz.

Her newest novel, Leave Me, is her first one starring adults. (She refuses to say it’s an adult novel because she knows plenty of adults read YA and vice-versa).

Gayle lives with her husband and daughters in Brooklyn.  Her website is www.gayleforman.com.

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