New Finds & Hidden Treasures is our new weekly book spotlight! Every Monday we’ll let you know about one of our great books from the new section as well as a related hidden treasure that you may have missed the first time around.
Check out this week’s titles, which celebrate February’s Black History Month:
|Riot by Walter Dean Myers
During a long hot July in 1863, the worst race riots the United States has ever seen erupt in New York City. Earlier that year, desperate for more Union soldiers, President Abraham Lincoln instituted a draft–a draft that would allow the wealthy to escape serving in the army by paying a $300 waiver, more than a year’s income for the recent immigrant Irish. And on July 11, as the first drawing takes place in Lower Manhattan, the city of New York explodes in rage and fire. Stores are looted; buildings, including the Colored Foundling Home, are burned down; and black Americans are attacked, beaten, and murdered. The police cannot hold out against the rioters, and finally, battle-hardened soldiers are ordered back from the fields of Gettysburg to put down the insurrection, which they do–brutally.
Fifteen-year-old Claire, the beloved daughter of a black father and Irish mother, finds herself torn between the two warring sides. Faced with the breakdown of the city–the home–she has loved, Claire must discover the strength and resilience to address the new world in which she finds herself, and to begin the hard journey of remaking herself and her identity.
|And a Hidden Treasure…
|Copper Sun by Sharon Draper
Amari’s life was once perfect. Engaged to the handsomest man in her tribe, adored by her family, and living in a beautiful village, she could not have imagined everything could be taken away from her in an instant. But when slave traders invade her village and brutally murder her entire family, Amari finds herself dragged away to a slave ship headed to the Carolinas, where she is bought by a plantation owner and given to his son as a birthday present.
Survival seems all that Amari can hope for. But then an act of unimaginable cruelty provides her with an opportunity to escape, and with an indentured servant named Polly she flees to Fort Mose, Florida, in search of sanctuary at the Spanish colony. Can the illusive dream of freedom sustain Amari and Polly on their arduous journey, fraught with hardship and danger?
Other titles you may like:
- Day of Tears by Julius Lester
- Chains: Seeds of America by Laurie Halse Anderson
- Flygirl by Sherri Smith
- Glory Field by Walter Dean Myers
Sound good? Check the library catalog for availability. And don’t forget to check back for all new suggestions next Monday!
All the Broken Pieces by Ann E. Burg
“Hey! Watch it Frogface.”
“Because of you, my brother is dead.”
The words echo in Matt Pin’s mind everywhere he goes. Some people openly stare and sneer at him; others won’t even look at him. To many people, he is an unwelcome reminder of the Vietnam War. Airlifted out of war torn Saigon, Matt has been given a second chance in life, a chance to try to live a normal childhood safely in the United States.
However, as the son of Vietnamese woman and American soldier he never knew, Matt isn’t sure where he belongs. He often thinks of his mother and younger brother, as well as a terrible secret that he was forced to leave behind. Would his new family still want him if they knew the truth?
Turning to baseball and music, Matt struggles to find peace and acceptance in this vivid and compelling verse novel.
Child of Dandelions by Shenaaz Nanji
Child of Dandelions follows part of the life of Sabine, a fifteen year old Indian girl living in Uganda in 1972. The book begins on the day that President Idi Amin declares that all foreign born Indians have 90 days to leave the country. Sabine is not worried though; while her family is Indian, they were all born in Uganda, making them citizens of the country. However, as racial tensions rise in the country, Sabine’s world slowly begins to unravel.
First, she loses her best friend Zena, an African girl who feels the injustice exerted by the Indians. Zena is a proud supporter of Amin, and this causes a rift between the girls, neither one being able to understand where the other is coming from. The final straw comes when Zena accuses Sabine’s father of being a loan shark, forcing his African workers into allegiance by loaning money that he knows they cannot pay back.
Then Sabine’s family begins to fall apart, some disappearing, while others are forced to hide. Slowly, Sabine gains a better since of awareness about the world around her, realizing that things in Uganda are not the same for everyone. She sees that the prejudices that she had thought only other Indians had also existed within her own life. As Amin’s countdown continues, Sabine realizes that it does not matter that she is Ugandan; all that matters currently is that she is Indian.
The author, Shenaaz Nanji, does an excellent job of exploring the personal side of this event in history. The political events and the resulting effects on the racial climate force Sabine to examine her behaviors and identity as a girl who is both African and Indian. Readers will be able to draw comparisons to Hitler and his persecution of Jews during World War 2 as well as to events currently occurring in Africa.