Tag Archives: self-esteem

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12 Apr

We are almost half way through National Poetry Month and I haven’t said much about poetry this month. It’s time to change that.

If you haven’t read The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo you should.

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Publisher’s Summary: Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about.

With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself. So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out. But she still can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

 

From the cover – where we see the words in on and around Xiomara – to the story itself, I was hooked. As we follow Xiomara’s journey as a poet, we encounter issues about how we raise girls, religion, traditional parenting styles, and body image. There are some mature themes here around those topics, but they are all handled honestly. Xiomara wrestles with things all girls wrestle with.

A novel in verse, by a poet, about a poet, it is definitely worth reading. Or, better yet, listen to the audiobook, read by the author, who is amazing. Not all authors can pull of their own audiobook, but Acevedo is a performing poet and knows the heart of her book!

If you’d like to see a sample of Acevedo at work, check out this performance of her poem “Hair”.

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Popularity and Good Manners

8 Sep

Fiona had acupuncture on Saturday. This involves 15 minutes of needle application. It looks like a game of Twister with the vet tech & I humoring Fiona and feeding her treats and the vet reaching around to stick the needles where she wants them. Then, Fiona has to lay still for 20 minutes. And I am right there with her. It is quiet in the room and I can hear the conversations of the vets and techs on the other side of the door. The clinic is small. My vet was telling about her daughter’s first week at middle school. It wasn’t awful, but she hasn’t found her place yet. and belonging is so important.

Before leaving to go to the vet, I started reading Popular: Vintage Wisdom for a Modern Geek by Maya Van Wagenen.

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It is Maya’s memoir of her eighth grade year in Brownsville Texas, which sounds like a terrible place to live. She was not popular. She came across a 1950’s guide to popularity by Betty Cornell and decided to follow her advice on an attempt to climb the social ladder. This book is the rests of her social experiment.

Witty and heartbreakingly honest, the strength of this book is Maya’s voice. She tells us the good the bad, the ugly and the successful. Each month, Maya tackles a different area that Betty Cornell wrote about:

September: figure

October: hair

December: skin

You get the idea. Throughout the month we see Maya tackle each topic head on and see where she succeeds and where there is still room for growth.

I have recommended this book to my twin sister and I think any female adult who has made it through middle and high school, as well as any girl going through middle and high school, will enjoy this book. You will laugh and shed some tears. The road to popularity s not always pretty.

If you don’t fit into those two categories, you can still get some good advice here

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George Washington’s Rules to Live By: A Good Manners Guide from the Father of Our Country by K. M. Kostyal tackles an older guide: George Washington’s Rules of Civility. Hand-copied when Washington was 16, the Rule lay out maxims for living a good life. Now, K. M. Kostyal has translated the to the modern day and added humorous illustrations that allow kids today to learn about manners and history simultaneously.

Both books make interesting reading.

The Power of One

15 Jan

Yesterday, our student supervisor read Kathryn Otoshi’s One 

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aloud at an assembly, to get the kids thinking about the power one person can have if they tand up to a bully.

Sometimes, bad behavior is less intentional than the overt bullying in One.  Just take a look at Trudy Ludwig’s new book  The Invisible Boy.

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Brian is very quiet, and clearly smart, and brilliant at drawing. Unfortunately, he’s also invisible. No one goes out of their way to be mean to him. They don;t include him because they just don’t notice him. When a new boy arrives in his class, Brian is kind-hearted and finds his own way to make a friend and gain the acceptance of the other students. In the beginning pages, Brian is a black and white sketch.

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It is the power of the one new boy, who sees Brian and what he has to offer as a friend, and helps him move from invisible, to full color.

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