Tag Archives: Pamela S. Turner

MY Holiday TBR Pile

18 Dec

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Winter Break officially began yesterday, but we got a gift of a two-day head start. Two weeks stretch ahead of me. I have some merry-making planned, but I also have this lovely pile of books waiting to be read.

Rani Patel in Full Effect  by Sonia Patel: Rani Patel, almost seventeen and living on remote Moloka’i island, is oppressed by the cultural norms of her Gujarati immigrant parents. But when Mark, an older man, draws her into new experiences, red flags abound.

Lucy and Linh by Alice Pung: In Australia, Lucy tries to balance her life at home surrounded by her Chinese immigrant family, with her life at a pretentious private school.

Girls in the Moon by Janet McNally: Tired of the half-truths surrounding her famous family’s past, Phoebe visits her indie-rock darling sister Luna to see how she fits into a family of storytellers.

Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard: Pen is a sixteen-year-old girl who looks like a boy. She’s fine with it, but everyone else is uncomfortable–especially her Portuguese immigrant parents and her manipulative neighbor who doesn’t want her to find a group of real friends

The Dark Days Club by Alison Goodman: In April 1812, as she is preparing for her debut presentation to Queen Charlotte, Lady Helen Wrexhall finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy reaching to the very top of society, and learns the truth about her mother, who died ten years ago.

Samurai Rising  by Pamela S. Turner: Documents the true story of the legendary samurai who was raised in the household of the enemies who killed his father before being sent to live in a monastery where, against the odds, he learned and perfected his fighting skills

The Mirror in the Sky by Aditi Khorana: Tara, an Indian-American junior at Brierly prep school, feels her world dramatically change when a mirror planet to Earth is discovered and she, in this new era of scientific history, reconsiders her self and possible selves.

American Girls by Alison Umminger: Fifteen-year-old Anna runs away to Los Angeles where her half-sister takes her in, but after spending days on television and movie sets, she learns LA is not the glamorous escape she imagined.

Watched by Marina Budhos: Far from the “model teen,” Naeem moves fast to outrun the eyes of his hardworking Bangladeshi parents, their gossipy neighbors, and the other forms of surveillance in his immigrant neighborhood in Queens, but when his mistakes catch up with him and the police offer a dark deal, will Naeem be a hero or a traitor?

The Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd: A girl living in a children’s hospital during WWII discovers that a winged horse has entered her world and needs her help.

The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely:Hendrix and Corrina bust Hendrix’s grandfather out of assisted living, and leave LA for New York in pursuit of freedom, truth, and love.

The Left-Handed Fate  by Kate Milford: A quest story to find the three pieces of a magical engine which can either win the War of 1812 … or stop it altogether.

Every Hidden Thing  by Kenneth Oppel: In the late nineteenth century, a budding romance develops between Rachel and Samuel, two teenagers from rival families of fossil hunters heading out to the badlands in search of a rare dinosaur skeleton.

YALSA’s 2017 Award for Excellence in Nonfiction

9 Dec

2017 Finalists


Hillary Rodham Clinton:  A Woman Living History by Karen Blumenthal and published by Feiwel and Friends, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

Active in politics from a young age, Hillary Clinton has maintained her commitment to public service while serving as First Lady of Arkansas and of the U.S, and as New York Senator and U.S. Secretary of State. Blumenthal presents an honest, well-rounded account that does not shy away from the aspects of Clinton’s life clouded by scandal and controversy, nor from the struggle of living in the public eye. Presented in four parts and sprinkled with photographs and political cartoons, Hillary Rodham Clinton brings a political powerhouse to life in a way that is approachable, human, and inspiring.

In the Shadow of Liberty:  The Hidden History of Slavery, Four Presidents, and Five Black Lives by Kenneth C. Davis, and published by Henry Holt, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group

In a clear-eyed, well-researched work, Davis looks at the relationship between five enslaved persons and the former presidents who considered them property. In weaving together the story of these lives, Davis explains the contradiction between America’s founding ideals and the harsh reality of human bondage. Utilizing personal narratives, census data, images, and other primary source material, this book explains a heartbreaking chapter in American history that is both fascinating and deeply disturbing.

March:  Book Three by John Lewis, Andrew Aydin and Nate Powell, published by Top Shelf Productions, an imprint of IDW Publishing

Powerful and captivating, this graphic novel depicts the Civil Rights movement from fall of 1963 through the signing of the Voting Rights Act in 1965. Following John Lewis of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) and fellow activists, the artwork brings to life the brutality, loss, and successes members experienced while carrying out a series of nonviolent protests to overcome local barriers and exercise their right to vote. Equally moving as a stand-alone title or conclusion to the March trilogy, March: Book Three will hook readers from the opening scene and leave them questioning how they themselves might answer the call of injustice long after the last page is turned.

Samurai Rising:  The Epic Life of Minamoto Yoshitsune written by Pamela S. Turner.  Illustrated by Gareth Hinds, and published by Charlesbridge

Bushido, or samurai culture, has been widely explored in film and literature; here, its origins are presented for a teen audience with the tale of the “ultimate samurai,” Minamoto Yoshitsune. A fast-paced and unexpectedly funny tale filled with family feuds, bloody battles, and sweeping romance, Samurai Rising co,bines thorough historical research with contemporary observations to make a compelling chronicle of Yoshitsune’s journey from child exile to immortal hero of legend.

This Land is Our Land:  A History of American Immigration written by Linda Barrett Osborne, and published by Abrams Books for Young Readers, an imprint of ABRAMS

Immigrants arriving in the U.S. have, more often than not, been met with suspicion, anger, and prejudice. Opponents of immigration argue that immigrants take jobs away from U.S. citizens, don’t deserve to be here, and should be sent back to where they came from—a prevalent attitude that has, as this book shows, target groups including Hispanics, the Irish, and Asians. The topic is current and this book gives timely background information that is especially needed today.

Skippy, Flipper and the Dolphins of Shark Bay

10 Jan

I had two favorite animal shows when I was a kid. 

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Skippy the Bush Kangaroo was set in Australia. The show’s star was Skippy, a wild female Eastern Grey Kangaroo. His sidekick was  Sonny Hammond, younger son of the Head Ranger of Waratah National Park. The stories revolved around events in the park, including its animals, the dangers arising from natural hazards, and the actions of visitors.

My other favorite was

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Flipper was a bottle nose dolphin. His sidekicks were Sandy and Bud, the two sons of Porter Ricks, Chief Warden at fictional Coral Key Park and Marine Preserve in southern Florida.

Gosh they sound rather a like, don’t they. I got thinking about Skippy & Flipper because of Pamela S. Turner’s The Dolphins of Shark Bay.

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It’s about dolphins in Australia. Sort of Skippy meets Flipper. I am being a little funny, but this is a seriously good book. It is part of the “Scientists in the Field Series” from Houghton Mifflin.

The book focuses on dolphins living in Shark Bay, Australia. These dolphins use sponges as tools to aid them in gathering fish to ear, and have been the focus of study by scientist Janet Mann and her research team. Scott Tuason’s colorful photographs enhance the text and draw readers into the book. Mann comes to know each of these bottlenose dolphins as individuals and as members of extended families, and she introduces readers to some of them. She has also worked with the Australian government to enact rules that better protect these dolphins from nearby commercial fishing interests and from over-enthusiastic eco-tourists.

A good addition to a library and recommend for animal lovers.

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