Review: #NotYourPrincess: Voices of Native American Women

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Title: #NotYourPrincess
Author: Lisa Charleyboy, Mary Beth Leatherdale
Genre: Non-Fiction, Poetry
Publisher: Annick Press
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: September 12, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Whether looking back to a troubled past or welcoming a hopeful future, the powerful voices of Indigenous women across North America resound in this book. In the same style as the best-selling Dreaming in Indian, #NotYourPrincess presents an eclectic collection of poems, essays, interviews, and art that combine to express the experience of being a Native woman. Stories of abuse, humiliation, and stereotyping are countered by the voices of passionate women making themselves heard and demanding change. Sometimes angry, often reflective, but always strong, the women in this book will give teen readers insight into the lives of women who, for so long, have been virtually invisible.

Review:

This is a very powerful collection of stories from Native American Women.

These stories were in multiple different forms. There are poems, short stories, essays, as well as paintings, photographs, and drawings. One of the stories was in the form of a comic, and another looked like pages torn from a notebook. Each of them were different and used a different format.

There were a few pieces on the residential schools in Canada. For those that don’t know, the residential schools separated Native children from their parents, and raised them to be “white.” They removed their Indigenous culture from them, and refused to let them practice it. The women who wrote these stories are the children of the kids who were sent to residential schools. Though they didn’t witness it first hand, they have seen the pain that their parents still feel from their time spent there.

There was also an essay about how racist and harmful a Pocahontas costume is for Halloween. It represents more than just a character, even if the wearer means no harm. It is a costume but it represents a real person, who cannot take it off at the end of the night. People also think that Indigenous women need to look a certain way. There were a couple of pieces on not looking Indigenous enough, as if you can’t identify as a Native Woman if you have the wrong colour hair or skin. I find it crazy that people can think that, because they wouldn’t say that other cultures. For some reason people judge Indigenous people by what percentage of Native heritage they have in their genes,

I loved this collection of Native American Women’s voices.

What to read next:

  • Son of a Trickster by Eden Robinson

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  • The Break by Katherena Vermette

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Have you read #NotYourPrincess: Voices Native American Women? What did you think of it?

 

Review: Harry & Meghan: A Royal Engagement

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Title: Harry & Meghan: A Royal Engagement
Author: Halima Sadat
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Pavilion
Source: Purchased
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

A beautifully illustrated souvenir guide to celebrate Prince Harry’s engagement to Meghan Markle
 To mark the engagement of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle, Pitkin is delighted to publish this very special new royal souvenir in celebration of a truly modern love story. Born on September 15, 1984, Harry, christened Henry Charles Albert David, is the second child of Prince Charles and Princess Diana and younger brother to Prince William. The fourth grandchild of the Queen and Prince Philip, he is currently fifth in line to the British throne. His bride-to-be Rachel Meghan Markle, known simply as Meghan, was born on August 4, 1981 and grew up in Los Angeles. She is the daughter of Thomas Markle, an Emmy-award-winning lighting director of Irish and Dutch descent, and Doria Ragland, an African American psychotherapist and yoga teacher. As an accomplished screen actress, Meghan fulfilled her childhood dream of being a television star. This is the tale of how the dashing Prince met and fell in love with the beautiful American actress. Despite their differing backgrounds and career paths, the new royal couple are united in their commitment to charitable campaigns and devotion to one another. Meghan now faces a new chapter as she becomes a senior member of the Royal Family, which she will no doubt embrace with her natural charm and elegance. With lavish illustrations and some previously unseen images, this is a souvenir to cherish.

Review:

I’m currently watching the royal wedding as I’m posting this review! I’m so excited about it, so I wanted to do a royal review to celebrate on my blog.

Harry and Meghan are an amazing couple. This book tells each of their histories, as well as details about the important royal weddings of the last century (Elizabeth and Philip, Charles and Camilla, William and Catherine). There was even a section about royal engagement rings which I loved.

The one bad thing about this book, is that it was obviously written long before there were many decisions made for the wedding. Some of the facts are dated, since we have learned concrete details in the past few weeks. However, it is a great collectible for fans. It is also a nice and quick read that is easy to pick up and put down.

I’m so excited to continue to follow Harry and Meghan’s journey! Congratulations to the royal couple!

Review: Rise of the Superheroes: Greatest Silver Age Comic Books and Characters

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Title: Rise of the Superheroes: Greatest Silver Age Comic Books and Characters
Author: David Tosh
Genre: Non-Fiction, Graphic Novels
Publisher: F+W Media
Source: Publisher via NetGalley
Release Date: May 8, 2018
Rating: ★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

They Could Be Heroes

Rise of the Superheroes–Greatest Silver Age Comic Books and Characters is a visual and entertaining adventure exploring one of the most popular and significant eras of comic book history. From 1956 to 1970, the era gave us Spider-Man, The Avengers, X-Men, The Incredible Hulk, Iron Man and a flurry of other unforgettable and formidable characters.

The Silver Age redefined and immortalized superheroes as the massive pop culture titans they are today.

Lavishly illustrated with comic book covers and original art, the book chronicles:
The new frontier of DC Comics, with a revamped Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman, and new characters including Hawkman
Marvel’s new comics featuring Thor and The Fantastic Four
The pop art years that saw Batman’s “new look” and the TV series
Independent characters, including Fat Fury and T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents
Spotlights new and re-imagined superheroes, like Wonder Woman, who have become central to modern pop culture
Includes values of these comics, which are popular with collectors
Thanks to the Silver Age, superheroes are bigger and badder than ever.

Review:

This is a great book about this history of superhero comics. It focuses on the art of comics and artists who created them. It is especially good for collectors, because some prices of vintage comics are listed.

I loved that there were many original comic covers in this book. Alongside the photos, the amounts that these original comics sold at auctions were listed. It’s fascinating to see how many thousands of dollars these comics can sell for today, when they originally cost only a few cents!

One funny thing about this book, and it proves that superheroes are still extremely popular, is that even though this book was just released, the movie rankings are already out of date. Avengers: Infinity War has surpassed not only the earnings of other superhero movies, but all other movies as well. Black Panther was also a huge hit, and would be listed high up on the movie rankings. This just proves the lasting effects of these characters that were created decades ago.

This is a great book about the rise of superheroes!

Review: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race

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Title: Hidden Women: The African-American Mathematicians of NASA Who Helped America Win the Space Race
Author: Rebecca Rissman
Genre: Middle Grade
Publisher: Capstone
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: February 1, 2018
Rating: ★★★★

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Goodreads Synopsis:

Tells the gripping story of four female African-American mathematicians who literally made it possible to launch US rockets–and astronauts–into space. Tells the thrilling tale of how each woman contributed, the struggles and resistance each experienced, and the amazing results. Consultants currently work for NASA.

Review:

This book is about the African-American women who worked at NASA. It’s a lot like the book and movie Hidden Figures but written for children.

There are many reasons this book is important for children, particularly girls of colour, to read this book. These women demonstrate how important women were to the work of NASA. They worked behind the scenes, so they were not the focal point of the news stories. Everyone can picture the white male astronauts who landed on the moon, but not the black women who did the math and science that made it possible for them to do it. It’s important for young children to be able to see themselves in historical figures.

This story also highlights the importance of math and science in the days before computers. The job titles for these women was “computer” before there were machines of the same name. Often today, children don’t understand the point of learning math when they can just do the same computations on their cell phones in seconds. But it’s important to know how to do these things, because sometimes even the computers can be wrong.

This book is nonfiction but each chapter reads like a short story narrative about the women who worked at NASA. This will make the story accessible and entertaining for young readers.

I highly recommend this book for young readers!

Review: Stan Lee

Title: Stan Lee
Author: Bob Batchelor
Genre: Non-Fiction
Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: September 15, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The Amazing Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk. The Invincible Iron Man. These are just a few of the iconic superheroes to emerge from the mind of Stan Lee. From the mean streets of Depression-era New York City to recipient of the National Medal of Arts, Lee’s life has been almost as remarkable as the thrilling adventures he spun for decades. From millions of comic books fans of the 1960s through billions of moviegoers around the globe, Stan Lee has touched more people than almost any person in the history of popular culture. In Stan Lee, The Man behind Marvel Comics, Bob Batchelor offers an eye-opening look at this iconic visionary, a man who created (with talented artists) many of history’s most legendary characters. In this energetic and entertaining biography, Batchelor explores how Lee capitalized on natural talent and hard work to become the editor of Marvel Comics as a teenager. After toiling in the industry for decades, Lee threw caution to the wind and went for broke, co-creating the Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, the X-Men, the Avengers, and others in a creative flurry that revolutionized comic books for generations of readers. Marvel superheroes became a central part of pop culture, from collecting comics to innovative merchandising, from superhero action figures to the ever-present Spider-Man lunchbox. Batchelor examines many of Lee’s most beloved works, including the 1960s comics that transformed Marvel from a second-rate company to a legendary publisher. This book reveals the risks Lee took to bring the characters to life and Lee’s tireless efforts to make comic books and superheroes part of mainstream culture for more than fifty years. Stan Lee: The Man behind Marvel Comics not only reveals why Lee developed into such a central figure in American entertainment history, but brings to life the cultural significance of comic books and how the superhero genre reflects ideas central to the American experience. Candid, authoritative, and utterly absorbing, this is a biography of a man who dreamed of one day writing the Great American Novel, but ended up doing so much more – changing American culture by creating new worlds and heroes that have entertained generations of readers.

Review:

I just started reading superhero comics in the last couple of years. I find the history of comics fascinating! They were always considered a lower type of book, but now they can be high literature.

This book wasn’t as much about Stan Lee, but about Marvel and the comic book industry at the time. There were still great stories about Stan’s innovations in comics. I loved the story in the prologue where his wife convinced him to try and write what he wanted for a change, since he had nothing to lose. The result of that was the Fantastic Four.

I loved the stories about how Stan Lee developed some of today’s most beloved superheroes. His boss didn’t approve of Spider-Man but he published it anyways, and the rest is history. I also love his special touch on comics, where he places himself in the stories. He still does it today when he makes cameos in all the Marvel movies.

I really enjoyed this book! It’s a great history of Stan Lee’s career and influence on Marvel comics.

Review: The Pinks

Title: The Pinks: The First Women Detectives, Operatives, and Spies with the Pinkerton National Detective Agency
Author: Chris Enss
Genre: Non-fiction
Publisher: Rowan & Littlefield
Source: NetGalley
Release Date: July 1, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

The true story of Kate Warne and the other women who served as Pinkertons, fulfilling the adage, “Well-behaved Women Seldom Make History.” Most students of the Old West and American law enforcement history know the story of the notorious and ruthless Pinkerton Detective Agency and the legends behind their role in establishing the Secret Service and tangling with Old West Outlaws. But the true story of Kate Warne, an operative of the Pinkerton Agency and the first woman detective in America–and the stories of the other women who served their country as part of the storied crew of crime fighters–are not well known. For the first time, the stories of these intrepid women are collected here and richly illustrated throughout with numerous historical photographs. From Kate Warne’s probable affair with Allan Pinkerton, and her part in saving the life of Abraham Lincoln in 1861 to the lives and careers of the other women who broke out of the Cult of True Womanhood in pursuit of justice, these true stories add another dimension to our understanding of American history.

Review:

This is a fascinating book!

I had never heard of this agency before, and once I started reading, I wished I had. These are important stories for the feminist movement, because it shows the strength of women since the nineteenth century.

I loved that Pinkerton introduced female detectives specifically because they were underestimated by the rest of the country. This was a smart technique on his part, since he was able to use this prejudice against everyone else, while also working with great detectives.

A lot of these stories sounded like an action movie. One great tale is when Kate Warne pretended Abraham Lincoln was her brother to sneak him onto a train. It’s amazing how that worked. It’s funny because if I saw it in a movie I would have thought it was made up, but these are all true stories.

The Pinkerton Detective Agency did some amazing crime fighting. These stories are so entertaining. I highly recommend this book!

Review: Life of a Bastard (Vol. 1)


Title: Life of a Bastard (Vol. 1)
Author: Damien Black
Genre:
Publisher: Bootlocker
Source: Author
Release Date: August 15, 2017
Rating: ★★★★

Goodreads Synopsis:

“My memories from this period are often nebulous. They bend and warp like clouds caught between two fronts. A lot of terrible things happened to me that I try not to remember, but I was a child, I was innocent, and I used to be happy sometimes. ”

Born in Spanish Harlem in 1972 to a teenage Puerto Rican mother and a Black father, Javier Soto is a blemish on the face of American society. After a suspicious fire allegedly set by his mother, while his father serves time in prison, Javier and his sisters are removed from their home into foster care. This true story of Javier Soto’s life takes you on the soul-stirring journey of a young boy in the custody of a brutal world.

Beginning at the Catholic Home Bureau, Javier’s tale depicts the evolution of an innocent child into an enraged teenager as he battles his way through the perils of abuse, starvation, and neglect. Like thousands of American children who are driven into the foster care network Javier and his siblings are repeatedly shuffled through numerous foster homes, each one less welcoming than the last. Following eventual separation from his sisters, Javier is left to continue his crusade of survival alone.

An indelible account that tells of a boy’s anguish, self-loathing and an unsatisfied yearning for love that is the birthright of every child. With such little grounds for hope, how far will Javier go?

Review:

Many contemporary YA books I’ve read lately have main characters in foster care. But the endings for those children are not realistic. They get adopted by amazing families or reunited by long lost siblings or even discover that they have magical powers. This book shows the truth of what happens in foster care. 

Black did a great job of creating a narrative out of this true story. It was quite graphic at times when describing the abuse that Javier experienced, including beatings and rape. But it shows the real experience of many children in foster care. 

There were illustrations throughout the book that were childlike. They were good, but I think they make the book seem more like a children’s book, when it is definitely for an adult audience. 

This book also could have used some more proofreading. There were many errors that could have been fixed with an extra proofread. 

This book really opened my eyes to the struggles that many children face. It’s a harsh truth but a reality nonetheless. I hope this book spreads awareness of this horrible life, so kids in foster care receive better treatment.