Posts Tagged ‘powerful’

Mom’s Cancer

April 18, 2012

Author: Brian Fies

Title: Mom’s Cancer

Genre: Graphic Novel

Publication Date: 2006

Number of Pages: 115

Geographical Setting: New York

Time Period:  2011

Series (If applicable):

Plot Summary: Cancer is never an easy subject to discuss but in this honest graphic novel, Mom’s Cancer discusses one family’s experience with lung and brain cancer. Brian uses his art to be straightforward with his reader about the hardships that him and his family members dealt with after learning about his mother’s cancer.  Written from the words of his journal, Brian turned the text into bold and moving illustrations. His art is bold, reflective and thoughtful. His ability to capture emotion on a page is memorizing as the reader will captivated from image to image.

Subject Headings: Autobiographical Comic Book, Relationships, Graphic Novels, Family, Science Fiction

Appeal: Cancer, Family and Relationships, Memoir, Quick Pace, Thought provoking, Character Driven, Moving, Candid, Honest, Emotional, Powerful, Moving, Well-Developed, Straight-forward, Reflective

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: Family and Relationships, Cancer and Graphic Novel

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Power Mom: 101 Stories Celebrating the Power of Choice for Stay-at-Home and Work-from-Home Moms by Jack Canfield. This non-fiction novel contains 101 stories from mothers who have all made the choice to be a stay at home mother or work from their home all while raising a family. These high-performing women have become powerful mothers who write from the heart about trying to be “perfect” for their children and themselves. This is a great book club book and empower all women who strive to want something better for themselves and their families.

            Stitches by David Small. David awakes from an operation to discover he can no long talk. It isn’t until several years later at the age of 14 that he finds out he had cancer and was not expected to make it through the night. This award-winning child’s author and illustrator recreate his childhood events in a painful, highly anxious and painful story.

The Immortal life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Lacks. This novel takes a look at an African American southern tobacco farmer who worked the same land as her slave ancestors.  Henretta became the first “immortal” human to have her cells grown in culture and with the help of her cells, the polio vaccine, secrets of cancer viruses and the atom bomb’s effects were all developed although she has been deceased for more then 60 years. Rebecca Skloot takes a look at her life before and after she became known as HeLa. A well researched novel that will bring numerous topics to be discussed around book club members and family alike.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

What We Keep by Elizabeth Berg. A heartwarming novel about the relationship between both mothers, daughters, sisters and friends. It portrays evolving family dynamics, choices and changes. The novel flips back and forth between two perspectives; 12 year old Ginny who experiences abandonment of her mother along with 47 year old Ginny who is flying to visit her mother who she hasn’t seen in 35 years. Ginny learns how to confront painful choices that occurred in her life as well as surprising truths about the people she thought she knew best. A gripping tale depicting grudges, forgiveness and the importance of having a mother-daughter relationship.

The Silver Kiss by Annette Curtis Klause. Zoe’s mom is dying of cancer, her father id distracted and her best friend moved away. She feels utterly alone until she meets Simon, who wants to avenge his own mother’s death which was over 300 years ago. Simon is one of the undead, a vampire, seeking revenge for the gruesome death of his mother three hundred years before.  Does Simon ask Zoe to help him with his chase or does she have to suffer forever? The point of you alternates between Zoe and Simon allowing the reader to draw close to each character. This does have a different spin on romance between humans and vampires showcasing that life is valuable and should be lived or move on to the next stage of their life.

Our Cancer Year by Harvey Pekar. A novel about a man named Paul Giamatti who finds out he has lymphoma and must begin chemotherapy. This graphic novel does a wonderful job discussing the struggles that families go through when dealing with the news. It emphasis’s the energy to survive not just cancer but the treatment as well. It’s a gripping tale that will embrace cancer and the troubles it brings to both its patients and their family members. The tone is soft, encouraging and insightful.

The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s

April 11, 2012

Title: The Evening Crowd at Kirmser’s: A Gay Life in the 1940s

Author:Richard J. Brown and William Reichard

Genre: LGBT

Publication Date: April 2003

Number of Pages: 155

Geographical Setting: Minnesota

Time Period:World War 2, 1940s

Plot Summary: The author is a naval recruit who is removed from miliatry servive after being discovered as a gay man and is forced to return home to Minnesota. Once there, he finds a small bar named Kirmser’s in St. Paul run by two German immigrants. By day the bar is home to typical blue collar workers but at night it transforms into a meeting place for gays and lesbians after the war. The book follows the author and his friends on a journey of personal acceptance and disapproval from the mass populace.

Subject Headings:

Brown, Ricardo J.
Gay journalists — United States — Biography
Homosexuality — Saint Paul, Minnesota — History
Gay men — Saint Paul, Minnesota — History
The Forties (20th century)

Appeal: Informative, detailed, moving, powerful, inspiring, descriptive, bittersweet, accessible, passionate, thoughtful, tragic, realistic, sympathetic,

3 Appeal Terms that Best Describe the Book: Moving, sympathetic, powerful

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors:

Stonewall – Martin Baumi Duberman

A good choice for anyone who wishes to learn more about the history of the gay pride movement. Stonewall is half history book and half biography of six men and women personally involved in the Stonewall riots of the 60s when groups of gay men and women fought back against the police.

Coming out Under Fire: The History of Gay Men & Women In World War 2 – Allan Berube

Filled with letters and interviews by gay veterans, the book delves into the standing of gays in the military during this era, as well as how these gay soldiers subsequently changed their government and leaders.

Tales of the Lavender Menace: A Memoir of Liberation – Karla Jay

A memoir of Karla Jay’s life working as a student activist for the women’s liberation movement throughout the 60s & 70s. Perfect for anyone who wants to read about civil rights and the oppressed overcoming bigotry.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

More of This World or Maybe Another –  Barb Johnson

Winner of the Stonewall award for Literature, this novel follows four friends in New Orleans who are dealing with different struggles such as poverty, violence and homosexuality.

The City and the Pillar – Gore Vidal

A contemporary novel about a gay man’s coming of age in post-World War II America. Jim and Bob were childhood friends, but after years apart Jim strikes out on his own in the hopes of finding Bob again and rekindling their friendship.

A Single Man – Christopher Isherwood

George, a college professor, is adjusting to life on his own after the sudden death of his partner and contemplates taking his own life. The book follows a day in his life as he tries to cope with what might be his last day alive while still teaching and going through his daily routine. An excellent film version of this book was made starring Colin Firth and directed by Tom Ford.

Name: Courtney Rose

Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

April 4, 2012

Author – Audre Lorde

Title – Zami: A New Spelling of My Name

Genre – Women’s Lives & Relationships, GLBTQ

Publication Date – 1982

Number of Pages – 256

Geographical Setting – New York City

Time Period – 1950s

Series – N/A

Plot Summary – Renowned poet Audre Lorde portrays her life and loves in this self-proclaimed ‘biomythography.’ Lorde’s book gives a firsthand account of what it means to be a black lesbian in the 1950s.  Enlightening, honest, and downright depressing at times, Zami tells the story of Lorde’s childhood and her less-than-graceful transition into adulthood, all the while attempting to define herself in her own terms.  Using her personal life experiences, Lorde provides the reader with a heartfelt portrayal of what a woman must deal with when battling prejudices against three identities which define her, being African American during a time of rampant racism, being a woman during a time of sexism and strict gender roles, and being a lesbian during a time in which the identity was hardly recognized yet certainly ostracized.

Subject Headings – Gay & Lesbian ; Autobiographical Fiction; Lesbian Fiction; Feminist Theory; Women’s Studies; Coming of Age; New York City; Self Discovery

Appeal – Articulate; Thought Provoking; Powerful; Poetic; Descriptive; Emotional; Honest; Lyrical; Fast-Paced; Introspective; Entertaining; Romantic

3 Appeal Terms That Best Describe the Book – Emotional; Powerful; Honest

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works –

Back Then: Two Lives in 1950’s New York (Anne Bernays): The two authors each give their account of coming to age in New York City during a time of various social revolutions, McCarthyism, and the Cold War.  Readers who enjoyed the historical and geographical aspects of Zami may enjoy this different perspective of growing up in New York City.

Voices of Freedom: An Oral History of the Civil Rights Movement from the 1950s through the 1980s (Henry Hampton): This book serves as an oral history of the Civil Rights Movement, beginning in 1954.  Readers who wish to know more about race relations in the 1950s may enjoy this historical work.

Full Frontal Feminism:  A Young Women’s Guide to Why Feminism Matters (by Jessica Valenti): Serving as a comprehensive overview of feminism and feminist issues, this book discusses health, reproductive rights, violence, and education from a feminist perspective.  Readers who enjoyed the feminist aspect of Zami and wish to have a better understanding of feminism and its roots will likely enjoy this book.

3 Relevant Fiction Works –

Black Like Us: A Century of Lesbian, Gay and Bisexual African American Fiction (Various Authors): This book is a collection of fiction authored by African American lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals.  Ranging from the Harlem Renaissance to the gay liberation movements, this is a comprehensive compilation of 20th century GLBTQ literature.  Readers who wish to learn more about homosexuality within African American culture would likely enjoy this read.

The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison): A classic coming of age story, this novel deals with a young African American girl’s obsession with attaining white standards of beauty.  Raising questions of race, class, and gender, this novel would interest readers who wish for another story of an African American attempting to grow up in a ‘white’ world.

The Beautiful Room is Empty (Edmund White): This novel is about a young gay man attempting to come to terms with his homosexuality during two very different eras: first in the conservative and restrained 1950s and later in the open and experimental 1960s.  Readers interested in another novel portraying the various struggles homosexuals faced in the 1950s and 60s may enjoy this book.

Name: Katie Midgley

The Book Thief

February 16, 2012

Author: Markus Zusak

Title: The Book Thief

Genre: Historical Fiction

Publication Date: 2005

Number of Pages: 552

Geographical setting: Germany

Time Period: Word War II (1939-1945)

Plot Summary:  Liesel Meminger knows death.  It is the reason why she is in foster care.  After suffering the loss of her mother and brother, this young German girl develops a knack for stealing books.  Her talent is of even greater value when she learns to how to read, and can regale the stolen stories to her family and neighbors.  Her obsession takes her on a number of adventures to obtain what she desires most – books.  Set during the Holocaust outside Munich Germany, this haunting work of fiction is captivating and powerful.

Subject Headings: 1. Germany–History–1933-1945–Juvenile Fiction. 2. Books and reading–Fiction. 3. Storytelling–Fiction. 4. Death–Fiction. 5. Jews–Germany–History–1933-1945–Fiction. 6. World War, 1939-1945–Jews–Rescue–Fiction.

Appeal: haunting, moving, dark, absorbing, character-driven, intense, complex, compelling, lyrical, challenging, sophisticated, powerful.

3 appeal terms that best describe this book: absorbing, haunting, sophisticated

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

1. Night, Elie Wiesel – a narrative of a boy who survived the Holocaust in various camps.

2. Auschwitz: a new history, Laurence Rees – a historical account of what happened in Auschwitz.

3. A Lucky Child: a memoir of surviving Auschwitz, Thomas Buergenthal – an autobiography of wht it was like to survive Auschwitz at the age of eleven.

3 Relevant Fiction Works and Authors

1. Auschwitz, Pascal Croci – a graphic novel that tells the story of two survivors of the concentration camp

2. Postcards from No Man’s Land, Aidan Chambers – similar in that it is character-driven, stylistically complex, compelling with to references Word War II.

3. Keturah and Lord Death, Martine Leavitt – a dark, gripping fantasy in which, Death is one of the main characters.

Ceremony

August 17, 2011

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Author: Leslie Marmon Silko

Title:  Ceremony

Genre:  Native American Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1977, 2006

Number of Pages:  243

Geographical Setting:  WWII Japan, American West

Time Period: 1930s, WWII, post-World War II

Plot Summary: Tayo, a Native American World War II veteran, struggles with coming to terms with the death of his cousin in the war while trying to overcome “battle fatigue.” The story is ripe with flashbacks to the war and Tayo’s childhood on the reservation as well as traditional Laguna stories and tales.

Subject Headings: World War, 1939-1945 –Veterans –Fiction.

Laguna Indians — Fiction

Appeal: densely written, bleak, moving, introspective, character-driven, emotional, details of Laguna life, powerful, realistic, touching, thought provoking, deep, honest, well-crafted

3 terms that best describe this book: moving, character-driven, introspective

 

Similar Authors and Works (why are they similar?):

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors

House of Rain: Tracking a Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest – Craig Childs

Just as Tayo’s tribe was being to be “lost” in the white world, this book explores the lost civilization of the Anasazi tribe.

Spirit walker – Nancy Wood and Frank Howell

Native American poetry that draws on tradition and imagery.

Leslie Marmon Silko’s Ceremony: A Casebook – Allan Chavkin

An academic look at Ceremony, including 14 essays that provide more information on Native American traditions.

3 relevant fiction works and authors:

War woman: a novel of the Real People – Robert J Conley

A novel based on the early struggles between the Cherokee and the Europeans. Tribal traditions and beliefs are woven into the story.

Love medicine – Louise Erdrich

Interwoven stories exploring the past and present struggles of Native tribes.

A yellow raft in blue water – Michael Dorris

A more modern look at the hardships of life on a reservation.

A Lesson Before Dying

August 17, 2011

Author:  Gaines, Ernest J.

Title:  A Lesson Before Dying

Genre:  African American Fiction, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction

Publication Date: 1997

Number of Pages:  256

Geographical Setting:  Bayonne, LA

Time Period:  late 1940s, post-World War II

Series:  N/A

Plot SummaryA Lesson Before Dying is the story of Jefferson, a young black man in rural Louisiana in the 1940s sentenced to die for a murder he did not commit.  In his closing statement, Jefferson’s defense lawyer argues that Jefferson is as ignorant and stupid as animal, no better than a mere hog, incapable of planning such a crime, but the all-white jury finds him guilty.  From that point on, Jefferson only thinks of himself as a hog.   Miss Emma, Jefferson’s grandmother, persuades Grant Wiggins, the local schoolteacher to speak to Jefferson to help raise him up to believe in himself again as a man, so that he may die with dignity.  The story is told in first person by Wiggins, the black boy who was able to leave the plantation to pursue a better life, but is back as the schoolteacher, burned out now by the futility of teaching poor blacks in the rural South.  Full of self-doubts, Wiggins doesn’t feel he is up to the task, but during their meetings in prison, he discovers as much about himself as Jefferson, and both men re-examine what it means to be a human being, and the strength of the human spirit.  A Lesson Before Dying is a realistic and insightful look at life in the rural South in the 1940s, and the racial prejudice that was an accepted part of everyday life. The characters are believable and very human.   In simple but powerful prose, Gaines lets the realities of the story speak for themselves almost as if this were a nonfiction peace of work.

Subject Headings: Rural Poor, African American Death Row Prisoners, African American Men, African American Teachers, Injustice, Manhood, Race Relations, The South

Appeal: moving, character driven, eloquent, emotional, detailed, ennobling, heartbreaking, powerful, classic, realistic, touching, thought provoking, simple, deep, honest, unflinching

3 terms that best describe this book: simple, honest, eloquent

Similar Authors and Works

3 Relevant Non-Fiction Works and Authors: A Saint on Death Row:  The Story of Dominique Green by Thomas Cahill is an eerily similar story of a black man on Death Row accused of shooting a white man during a robbery.   Jackie Robinson:  A Biography by Arold Rampersad is the story of the first black Major League baseball player.  Brainwashed:  Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority by Tom Burrell deals with the disturbing question of why so many blacks still think and act like slaves.

3 Revelant Fiction Works and Authors:  As I Lay Dying by William Falkner has the similar bleak setting of life in the rural South, as well as the same poignant feel .  To Kill a Mockingbird has a similar plot, setting, and sense of hopelessness of a black man falsely accused and judged by whites.  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck has the same simple prose and similar theme of rural poverty and injustice.

Chris M.

Mama by Terry McMillan

April 21, 2010

Mama by Terry McMillan

Genre: African American fiction
Publication Date: 1987
Pages: 260 pages
Setting: Detroit, Michigan; Los Angeles, CA; New York City
Series: n/a
Plot Summary: Mama (Mildred Peacock) is a single mother raising 5 children in an impoverished area outside Detroit after she divorces her abusive, alcoholic husband.  Her focus is on raising her children as she struggles with money issues – sometimes working, sometimes on welfare; with drinking – her ex-husbands, her daughter’s and her own.  She moves between men and between cities looking for a better life.  As her children grow and find their own paths, Mildred is alternately satisfied and despondent.
Subject headings: single parent family – Michigan; single mothers; African-American families – Michigan; African-American women; motherhood; The Sixties (20th century); The Seventies (20th Century); Detroit, Michigan; African-American fiction – 20th century; domestic fiction; women’s lives and relationships.
Appeal: compelling, steady, evocative, insightful, lifelike, realistic, strong secondary (characters), vivid, authentic, character-centered, domestic, family-centered, contemporary, details of poverty; bittersweet, candid, edgy, emotionally-charged, gritty, haunting, hopeful, optimistic, philosophical, cadenced, earthy, frank, natural.
Three terms that best describe this book: gritty, powerful, moving.

Similar works/authors
Fiction:
Rattlebone by Maxine Claire
This book is a collection of stories about the citizens of Rattlebone, a black community in the Midwest in the 1950s.  Chosen because it features a variety of characters before the civil rights movement much like the early years of Mildred Peacock’s family.

If I Could by Donna Hill
This novel features a strong black woman who tries to rebuild her life and raise her children alone, after she divorces her husband.  She does what she thinks is best for her, despite the advice of her family and friends.  Chosen to illustrate another woman who must make tough choices to keep her family intact.

Taming it down: a novel by Kim McLarin
In this novel, Hope Robinson is a young black journalist who is struggling to define her life amid complicated personal and family issues.  She is also trying to overcome self-destructive behaviors.  Chosen because it is so similar to the story of Freda, the oldest daughter in Mama.
Shifting through neutral by Bridgett M. Davis
The main character in this novel is trying to find her place as a young African American woman in the 1970s while she deals with other family issues involving her mother, her sick father, and her older sister’s return to the family.  Chosen because it parallels many of the issues found in Mama.
Nonfiction:
Dear self: a year in the life of a welfare mom by Richelene Mitchell
The author wrote this journal as she struggled to raise seven children while fighting poverty, racism and the humiliation of the welfare system.  She moved to Philadelphia from the south to get an education and wrote this journal during a year of living in public housing projects in Connecticut.  Chosen because it is a real life chronicle of the types of struggles Mildred Peacock faced in Mama.
Children of the movement: the sons and daughters of Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X, Elijah Muhammad, George Wallace, Andrew Young, Julian Bond, Stokely Carmichael, Bob Moses, James Chaney, Elaine Brown, and others reveal how the civil rights movement tested and transformed their families by John Blake.
This book of essays features the children of civil rights leaders reflecting on the changes the movement made in their families. Chosen because Freda was learning about the civil rights movement and educating her family, particularly her mother.
Sugar’s life in the hood: the story of a former welfare mother by Sugar Turner
A first person chronicle of the struggle of a welfare mother trying to raise a family, make ends meet with welfare and low paying jobs, find a relationship and avoid the pitfalls of substance abuse.  Chosen because it mirrors the struggles in Mama.
Unsung heroines: single mothers and the American dream by Ruth Sidel examines the lives of singles mothers and their needs for comprehensive healthcare, adequate childcare, and jobs at a living wage to succeed.  Chosen because these topics were relevant in the struggles Mildred Peacock faced in Mama.
Dreams to reality: help for young moms: education, career, and life choices by Laura Haskins-Bookser.
This book draws upon the real life experiences of a young teenage mother and offers advice on setting goals, and well as information on relationships, finances, college, paternity issues, job training, and travel.

Getting ghost: two young lives and the struggle for the soul of an American city by Luke Bermann
This author describes the effects of discrimination, combined with the loss of major industrial employers, focusing on the illegal drug trade and the lives of two young black drug dealers in Detroit.  Chosen because similar events happened in Mama – factories closing, difficulties finding jobs, and drug use.

A Blessed Event

November 4, 2009

Title: A Blessed Event

Author: Jean Reynolds Page

Publication Date: 2004

Number of Pages: 352

Genre: Women’s Lives

Geographical Setting: Smalltown Texas

Time Period: 1974-1977, 1983, 1988 (Epilogue)

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Childhood friends Joanne (Jo) Timbro and Darla Stevens are challenged by Darla, and her husband Cal’s, fertility problems. Together, the two women decide that Cal will impregnate Jo the old-fashioned way, and then Cal and Darla will raise the child. Everything seems to be working as planned, until the night Joanne’s car veers off the road and into Darla and Cal’s bedroom wall. Jo, severely injured, is brain dead. Five months pregnant, she lays in the hospital bed in a coma. Distraught and afraid for the life of her child, Darla finds herself in a court battle, with consequences she never imagined coming to light. Darla’s best friend from high school, Sean, is a Catholic priest, and the one person Darla knows she can depend on. Relationships are not always what they seem to be during times of crisis, and Darla must make heart-wrenching decisions about her best friend, her marriage, and the future of her baby. The date-stenciled chapter flashbacks offer readers insight into Joanne and Darla’s friendship during high school, and the secrets they shared, and a few they kept from one another. A Reader’s Guide (a conversation with the author) and Reading Group Questions are also offered in the back of the book.

Subject Headings: Best friends, Women and friendship, Marriage, Husband and wife, Infertility, Childlessness, Motherhood, Surrogacy, Extramarital relations, Interpersonal triangles, Traffic accidents, Brain injuries, Coma patients, Child custody, Family secrets, Family relationships, Mothers and daughters, Ethics, Law, Family Planning, Suicide, Secrets, Custody, Infidelity, Love, Father and daughter, Coming of Age, Moral issues

Appeal: Hopeful, Sympathetic, Melodramatic, Obsession, Suspense, Heartache, Intimate, Powerful, Mysterious, Riveting, Compelling, Heartbreaking, Family oriented

Three terms that best describe this book: Intriguing, Sympathetic, Psychologically Suspenseful


Relevant Fiction Works and Authors:

Origin of Haloes (2005) by Den Hartog Pregnant, sixteen-year-old gymnast Kay Clancy marries her high-school sweetheart, Joe LeBlanc, although he is not the father of her child, an action that has profound repercussions years later when Joe mysteriously vanishes. An excellent read-alike that involves family, secrets, and repercussions.

In Another Man’s Bed (2007) by Francis Ray — Justine is forced to make a difficult choice between her adulterous husband, left comatose following a devastating car accident, his supportive mother, and the old flame who has just walked back into her life. An awesome tie-in to A Blessed Event, with a twist.

Family Secrets (2007) by Judith Henry Wall Two bombshells fall on Vanessa, Ellie and Georgiana the night of their mother’s 60th birthday: widowed mom Penelope is moving to France with a man they’ve never met, and they learn their paternal grandmother did not die in childbirth as they’d been told all their lives. Families, like friends, often have secrets that change everyone involved, much like the lives of the characters in A Blessed Event.

Relevant Non-fiction Works and Authors:

Surrogacy Was the Way (2006) by Zara Griswold — Twenty Intended Mothers Tell Their Stories documents the true stories of twenty women who had children via surrogacy. Surrogacy is a complete possibility in today’s day and age, but anyone considering this route to parenthood should know the pros and cons. The women featured go to surrogacy for a variety of reasons, ranging from Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser syndrome (MRKH) to cancer to unexplained infertility and everything in between. An excellent tie-in to A Blessed Event and the real life experiences of mothers and surrogate relationships.

Management of Post-mortem Pregnancy: Legal And Philosophical Aspects (2006) by Daniel Sperling — Recent advances in medical technology have provided healthcare staff with the possibility of maintaining the life of a brain-dead pregnant woman on life-support in order to achieve successful delivery of the fetus. Covers the topics found in A Blessed Event: the moral, legal, psychological, religious, spiritual and physical aspects of the question on the interests of dead people, as well as the jurisprudential question of the fetus’ interests.

The Fabric of Friendship: Celebrating the Joys, Mending the Tears in Women’s Relationships (2006) by Joy Carol — Explores the emotional hurdles that women face in their relationships. The Fabric of Friendship reveals a simple truth: friendship is never simple. This work of fiction connects and enlightens readers as they reflect on the friendship between Darla and Jo in A Blessed Event.

Name: Maurine

Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

June 24, 2009

Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

Author: Elva Trevino Hart

Title: Barefoot Heart: Stories of a Migrant Child

Genre: Nonfiction

Publication Date: 1999

Number of Pages: 236

Geographical Setting: Texas, migrating to and from Minnesota

Time Period: 1950’s-

Series: N/A

Plot Summary: Barefoot Heart is a vividly told autobiographical account of the life of a child growing up in a family of Mexican immigrants who worked as migrant workers to feed their six children. In 1953, when she was only three, her parents took the family from Texas to work in the fields of Minnesota and Wisconsin for the first time, only to find that in order to comply with the child labor law they had to leave the author and her 11-year-old sister to board in a local Catholic school, where they pined for the rest of the family. Hart remembers other years when the entire family participated in the backbreaking field labor, driven mercilessly by Apa (her father), who was determined to earn enough money to allow all his children to graduate from high school. Apa not only achieved his goal but was able to save $2000 so that Hart could enter college, a step that led to her earning a master’s degree in computer science.

Appeal: Fascinating, Triumphant, Proud, Struggle, Dignity, Beautiful, Picturesque, Driven, Elegant, Passionate, Heartfelt, Powerful, Extraordinary.

Subject Headings:

Hart, Elva Trevino

Mexican-American Women-Autobiography

Mexican-Americans-Biography

Mexican Americans—Social life and customs

Migrant farm workers

Migrant farm workers-Social conditions

Boarding School students-biography

Family relationships

Poor families

Minnesota

Texas

Autobiographies

3 terms that Best Describe the Book: Heartfelt, Powerful and Triumphant.

Three nonfiction titles:

Forged Under the Sun: the Life of Maria Elaena Lucas=Forjada Bajo el Sol by Maria Elena Lucas, edited and with an introduction by Fran Leeper Buss.

This is the oral history of a Chican farmworker. The story begins in Texas and follows Maria to Illinois. The narrative takes the reader through Maria’s struggles with poverty, and her involvement with the Farm Labor Organizing Committee. This also is the struggle of a women and the struggles regarding  her family.

Salaam, Stanley Matters by Subrata Dasgupta.

Arriving in Britain from Calcutta, this book is a similar migration of a child to an unfamiliar destination and the family struggle of survival and triumphs.

Waiting for Snow in Havana: Confessions of a Cuban Boy by Carlos Eire

This novel compares to Hart’s memoir, this book tells the tale of Eire’s childhood, a survivor who describes his family’s conflicts and the impact of the Cuban Revolution on his family.

Three Fiction Titles:

Watercolor Women, Opaque Men by Ana Castillo.

This novel tells the story of migrant farm workers. Ella the main character moves to Chicago and raises her son by drawing on all her personal experiences, to be different from all the men around them.

Return to Sender by Julia Alvarez.

This story takes place in Vermont where a family of Migrant Mexican Workers. Mari, the oldest daughter of her migrant family, lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico.

The Mexican Chubasco by Roberto Haro.

This is the fictional story of the Mexican Revolution seen through the eyes of a wealthy landowner. Even as a fictional tale, this is a great way to gain a little historical insight to why many Mexicans have migrated to the United States looking for a better life.

Annotation By: Allison Robins

The Bluest Eye

June 10, 2009

Bluest Eye

Title: The Bluest Eye

Genre: Literary Fiction

Publication: 1970

Pages: 224

Geographical Setting: Lorain, Ohio

Time Period: 1941

Plot Summary: Pecola Breedlove, a young black girl, prays every day for beauty. Mocked by other children for the dark skin, curly hair, and brown eyes that set her apart, she yearns for normalcy, for the blond hair and blue eyes that she believes will allow her to finally fit in.Yet as her dream grows more fervent, her life slowly starts to disintegrate in the face of adversity and strife.Told through the eyes of her best friend, Claudia McTeer

Subject Headings: American Dream-Fiction, African Americans-Fiction, 1940s-Fiction, Rape-Fiction, Family-Fiction

Appeal: Compelling, explicitly violent, realistic, familial issues, bleak, psychological, powerful, reflective

Three terms that best describe this book: realistic, disheartening, thought-provoking

Relevant Fiction:

Maya Angelou’s I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings (race, rape, familial issues, powerful, reflective.)

Alice Walker’s The Color Purple (abuse, struggling African American women, self discovery)

Louise Erdrich’s The Beet Queen (abandonment, sexual obsession, jealousy, love, human condition)

Relevant Nonfiction:

African Americans: A Concise History (3rd Edition) by Darlene Clark Hine, Stanley Harrold, and William C. Hine

America in the 1940s (Decades of American History) by Charles A. Wills

The American Dream: A Short History of an Idea that Shaped a Nation by Jim Cullen

Name: Elizabeth Towns-Law