Another book in the bedtime-for-little-kids genre! Another good book I should add. A very patient and imaginative mother (why is it always a mom?) [Editor’s Note: Because books about fathers are rarely published.] goads her fiercely independent daughter to bed. The scene is familiar to anyone who has tried to coax an unwilling child of their own to bed.
To say that 12 year old Santiago has had a rough life would be putting it mildly. His father out of the picture, his loving mom dead since he was 5, Santiago has bounced between the houses of his malicious and abusive relatives. His abuela, la malvada, is the worst. After being banished once again to her house, Santiago decides he would rather run away than return to her.
This book is a beautiful journey through the past presidents of the United States with a twist–introducing the idea to children that at any time while there is a president in the White House, future presidents (up to 10!) are alive and doing wonderful interesting things.
If the goal of reading books is to transport you to another world and to broaden your understanding of your own, this book is a hit.
Claire is in seventh grade. She’s smart, funny, and is intrigued by science. Probably because, unlike her life, it can be measured and verified and it makes sense. On the other hand there’s her paranormal activity chasing father, her best friend who seems to have ditched her for someone new, her brother with whom she is perpetually feuding, and a dreamy boy she has a crush on.
Enter Marva Sheridan, the young Black heroine of The Voting Booth, who will tell you that some people don’t have the luxury of not being involved. The novel is set on Election Day, in an unnamed year, although the issues discussed throughout might give you a clue as to where Colbert’s mind is. Marva is so excited to be voting in her first election. For the past two years, she has been canvassing, registering voters, and even getting her beloved cat to encourage civic participation on Instagram. Her parents, while proud, wonder if Marva is a little too intense.
You see, Marva has been interested in politics since she was 7, when she summarily informed her teacher that she wanted to become either Secretary of State, an environmental attorney, or a Supreme Court Justice.
So why am I so thoroughly disappointed in this book? It comes down to a few choices made to erase Anthony’s racism in the supplemental materials included in the back of the book.
While it is actively noted that Anthony and her friend/fellow activist Elizabeth Cady Stanton started the suffrage movement in conjunction with their involvement in the abolition movement, there is no mention of the subsequent rift between the two movements over Anthony’s bitterness that the Fifteenth Amendment was making greater headway than women’s suffrage. No mention of the racist speeches Anthony made, or her chosen alliances with George Train (“Woman first and negro last.”), or avowed white supremacists like Belle Kearney.
The book follows a very patient Big Monster and a very energetic Little Monster through their night time routine. Little Monster needs to work out their bouncy knees, wiggly bottom, swingy tail, roly-poly back, roaring voice, jumpy feet, jet-plane arms, and finally, their blinky eyes that are NOT tired. Definitely not tired at all. All through the book you can see a tired Big Monster encouraging Little Monster to get all the wiggles out while coaching them upstairs, to bath, pajamas, and bed.
Yokki and his Romani Traveller family live in tents, and move around a lot. They sell their crafts, wisdom, and services as well as perform odd jobs to take them through the slow seasons. Yokki is a gifted storyteller in a community that values oral tradition, and he weaves his tales while the family sits around a fire every night.