Quick Picks: Spring 2017

Comics

Quick Picks: Spring 2017Lumberjanes, Vol. 6: Sink or Swim
by Shannon Watters, Noelle Stevenson, Kat Leyh, Grace Ellis, Brooke A. Allen
Illustrated by Carey Pietsch
Series: Lumberjanes #6
Published 2017 by BOOM! Box
112 pages. Trade Paperback
Genres: Comics, Fantasy

A crazy storm is coming and the Lumberjanes have to help their counselor Seafarin’ Karen get her boat back from some renegade selkies. 
Knot On Your Life!

Camp is about more than just crafts and acquiring badges when you’re a Lumberjane. When April, Jo, Mal, Molly, and Ripley all decide to learn more about the mysterious Seafarin’ Karen, things take a turn for the strange. Shapeshifters, strange portals, and friendship to the max make for one summer camp that never gets boring!

This New York Times bestseller and multiple Eisner Award-winning series is a story of friendship, hardcore lady-types and kicking a lot of butt. Don’t miss out on these brand-new adventures written by Shannon Watters and Kat Leyh (Super Cakes) and illustrated by Carey Pietsch (Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift).

I read  this in issues way back when those came out.  This was a great story arc about teamwork and sticking together. I just love these girls and how freaking awesome they are. It also included the panel I’ve been waiting for! I wouldn’t want to spoil anything, but it included a long-awaited kiss. I always recommend picking up the issues as they come out or subscribing on Comixology since the trade publications are over a year behind at this point.

Fiction

Quick Picks: Spring 2017The Hate U Give
by Angie Thomas
Narrated by Bahni Turpin
Published 2017 by HarperAudio
11 hrs., 40 mins. Audiobook
Genres: Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Young Adult

Sixteen-year-old Starr Carter moves between two worlds: the poor neighborhood where she lives and the fancy suburban prep school she attends. The uneasy balance between these worlds is shattered when Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Khalil was unarmed.

Soon afterward, his death is a national headline. Some are calling him a thug, maybe even a drug dealer and a gangbanger. Protesters are taking to the streets in Khalil's name. Some cops and the local drug lord try to intimidate Starr and her family. What everyone wants to know is: what really went down that night? And the only person alive who can answer that is Starr.

But what Starr does or does not say could upend her community. It could also endanger her life. [Goodreads]

Bahni Turpin does it again! I was having issues with reading in print so I had to download the audiobook. That happens to me sometimes when I have too much going on in my life. My brain gets overloaded and I can’t focus on reading. Because of that it took me a while to get through this because I struggled through reading the first half before I decided I just needed to listen. The audio is great. Bahni Turpin was perfect for this book.

There’s no way I can really say anything about this book that hasn’t been covered by a million other people. This is a huge deal for a reason. Angie Thomas doesn’t shy away from the difficult ideas that go along with police brutality and what seems like an epidemic of fatal shootings of black men. She really explores the emotions behind things like the Black Lives Matter movement. It’s such an important book for everyone to read. If your a high school librarian, this should be in your library. It doesn’t matter what kind of community you serve. Your kids need access to this book because it’s so important. It’s the kind of book that helps kids feel like they’re not alone, that can help their outrage feel validated, and that can open the eyes of other kids. It’s a fantastic book. I’ll be very surprised if it isn’t on some award lists next year.

This books counts toward my New Release Challenge.

Nonfiction

Quick Picks: Spring 2017My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me: A Black Woman Discovers Her Family's Nazi Past
by Jennifer Teege, Nikola Sellmair, Carolin Sommer
Narrated by Robin Miles
Published 2015 by Blackstone Audio
7 hrs., 11 mins. Audiobook
Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir

An international bestseller—the extraordinary memoir of a German-Nigerian woman who learns that her grandfather was the brutal Nazi commandant depicted in Schindler’s List.

“I am the granddaughter of Amon Goeth, who shot hundreds of people—and for being black, he would have shot me, too.” In an instant, Jennifer Teege’s life turns upside down; the shock of discovering her ancestry shatters her sense of self.

Teege is 38—married, with two small children—when by chance she finds a library book about her grandfather, Amon Goeth. Millions of people worldwide know of him through Ralph Fiennes’ chilling portrayal in Steven Spielberg’s film Schindler’s List. Goeth was the brutal commandant of the Plaszów concentration camp—Oskar Schindler’s drinking buddy, and yet his adversary. Responsible for the deaths of thousands, Amon Goeth was hanged in 1946.

Goeth’s partner Ruth, Teege’s much-loved grandmother, committed suicide in 1983. Teege is their daughter’s daughter; her father is Nigerian. Raised by foster parents, she grew up with no knowledge of the family secret. Now, it unsettles her profoundly. What can she say to her Jewish friends, or to her own children? Who is she—truly?

My Grandfather Would Have Shot Me is Teege’s searing chronicle of grappling with her haunted past. Her research into her family takes her to Poland and to Israel. Award-winning journalist Nikola Sellmair supplies historical context in a separate, interwoven narrative. Step by step, horrified by her family’s dark history, Teege builds the story of her own liberation.

The structure of this book was weird. The narrative wasn’t chronological, which made it really difficult to listen to on audio. I felt thrown into completely new chapters. I got confused a few times. It was also half written in Jennifer Teege’s first person narrative and half written in third person. It was nice that it included some material from interviews with Teege’s family, but it was a little jarring to be thrown from one narrative to another. Some of that feeling might have been solved if the audio production had used two narrators. I definitely found the book interesting, but I’m not sure that would recommend it to anyone unless they had a particular interest in the Holocaust and the Nazi regime.

I normally reserve these posts for books I recommend, but this one is part of my 2017 Read Harder Challenge.

Quick Picks: Spring 2017Wonder Women: 25 Innovators, Inventors, and Trailblazers Who Changed History
by Sam Maggs
Illustrated by Sophia Foster-Dimino
Published 2016 by Quirk Books
240 pages. Hardcover
Genres: Nonfiction, History, Young Adult

You may think you know women’s history pretty well. But have you ever heard of. . .

-Alice Ball, the chemist who developed an effective treatment for leprosy—only to have the credit taken by a man?
-Mary Sherman Morgan, the rocket scientist whose liquid fuel compounds blasted the first U.S. satellite into orbit?
-Huang Daopo, the inventor whose weaving technology revolutionized textile production in China—centuries before the cotton gin?

Ever heard of Allied spy Noor Inayat Khan, a woman whom the Nazis considered “highly dangerous”? Or German painter and entomologist Maria Sibylla Merian, who planned and embarked on the world’s first scientific expedition? How about Huang Daopo, the inventor who fled an abusive child marriage only to revolutionize textile production in China?

Smart women have always been able to achieve amazing things, even when the odds were stacked against them. In Wonder Women, author Sam Maggs tells the stories of the brilliant, brainy, and totally rad women in history who broke barriers as scientists, engineers, mathematicians, adventurers, and inventors, complete with portraits by Google doodler Sophia Foster-Dimino. Plus, interviews with real-life women in STEM careers, an extensive bibliography, and a guide to women-centric science and technology organizations—all to show the many ways the geeky girls of today can help to build the future.

This was such a great choice for Women’s History Month. It’s so diverse, covering stories of queer women and women of color that I had never heard of. It’s divided by discipline and then lists the women in chronological order. There’s a chapter on science, espionage, medicine, and more! I really enjoyed the voice of the narrator. I thought she was witty and delightful but if you dislike cheeky humor, you might not enjoy that piece. There are great interviews with featured women at the end of each chapter so you can have heroes of today as well as in History. There’s also a fantastic bibliography with so many offerings on how to find more information on all these ladies. It’s a great pick for anyone getting started in some much needed women’s history lessons.

Quick Picks: Spring 2017Born a Crime: Stories From a South African Childhood
by Trevor Noah
Published 2016 by Audible Studios
8 hrs., 50 mins. Audiobook
Genres: Nonfiction, Memoir

The compelling, inspiring, and comically sublime story of one man's coming-of-age, set during the twilight of apartheid and the tumultuous days of freedom that followed.

Trevor Noah's unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents' indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa's tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.

Born a Crime is the story of a mischievous young boy who grows into a restless young man as he struggles to find himself in a world where he was never supposed to exist. It is also the story of that young man's relationship with his fearless, rebellious, and fervently religious mother: his teammate, a woman determined to save her son from the cycle of poverty, violence, and abuse that would ultimately threaten her own life.

The eighteen personal essays collected here are by turns hilarious, dramatic, and deeply affecting. Whether subsisting on caterpillars for dinner during hard times, being thrown from a moving car during an attempted kidnapping, or just trying to survive the life-and-death pitfalls of dating in high school, Trevor illuminates his curious world with an incisive wit and unflinching honesty. His stories weave together to form a moving and searingly funny portrait of a boy making his way through a damaged world in a dangerous time, armed only with a keen sense of humor and a mother's unconventional, unconditional love.

I heard this book was good when it came out, but I didn’t expect it to be this good. This was honestly one of the best books I’ve read this year. Trevor Noah’s sincerity and humor really shine in this book that is largely about his mother and growing up during Apartheid. Noah sets up many of his stories of childhood with explanations about South African life and culture that open this window into a world that most Americans never experience. Some of it is almost educational and he doesn’t shy away from pointing out what he believes are the roots of many problems in South Africa. His mother is a truly amazing woman who raised a son who values women in an environment where that couldn’t have been easy. His stories about his mother were some of my favorites and his love for her really shines through. In that way, it reminded me a bit of Rick Bragg’s All Over But the Shoutin’ even though they are very different books. The audio is so great. Noah reads it himself with the same charm and positivity he brings to his stand up and The Daily Show. I can’t recommend this enough.

This book is a part of my 2017 Read Harder Challenge.

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