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Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale With a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Claudia Marie Lenart

Source: Loving Healing Press Inc.
Hardcover, 44 pgs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale With a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Claudia Marie Lenart, is a revised Grimm fairy tale in which Hansel has Down’s Syndrome.  Like most families with a disabled child, there is one parent that is overly protective and another who is eager to let the child explore their abilities and take on more responsibility.  The mother is the protective parent here, as many would expect, and the father is willing to allow his son some freedom from parental supervision, at least on an outing with his sister, Gretel.  Like the pastel image of the cover, each picture is depicted with a similar softness.

In this dark tale, Hansel is made fun of by the witch and her toad, but he’s smarter than they expect.  He grabs her broom so she cannot fly away, and she has little choice but to hear out his demands.  In this twisted tale, the witch learns that there are some things she has not experienced in her long life.  The family is surprised by Hansel’s resourcefulness and the witch is surprised by his kindness.

Kats has created a tale that touches upon the prejudices inside and outside the family home of the disabled and seeks to teach children that opportunities are endless no matter what challenges they face.  Moreover, Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale With a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Claudia Marie Lenart, illustrates how one act of pure kindness can benefit all, even a witch.  Another great teaching tool from this children’s author.

About the Author:

Once a teen runaway, Jewel Kats is now a two-time Mom’s Choice Award winner. For six years, Jewel penned a syndicated teen advice column for Scripps Howard News Service (USA) and The Halifax Chronicle Herald. She gained this position through The Young People’s Press. She’s won $20,000 in scholarships from Global Television Network, and women’s book publisher: Harlequin Enterprises. Jewel also interned in the TV studio of Entertainment Tonight Canada. Her books have been featured in Ability Magazine (USA) twice. She’s authored eight books-five are about disabilities. The Museum of disABILITY History celebrated her work with a two-day event. Jewel has appeared as an international magazine cover story four times! Recently, her work was featured in an in-depth article published in “The Toronto Star”. Jewel’s work has also appeared as an evening news segment on WKBW-TV and on the pages of “The Buffalo News”.

Mailbox Monday #310

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Lucky Alan and Other Stories by Jonathan Lethem from Penguin Random House for review.

Jonathan Lethem stretches new literary muscles in this scintillating new collection of stories. Some of these tales—such as “Pending Vegan,” which wonderfully captures a parental ache and anguish during a family visit to an aquatic theme park—are, in Lethem’s words, “obedient (at least outwardly) to realism.” Others, like “The Dreaming Jaw, The Salivating Ear,”, which deftly and hilariously captures the solipsism of blog culture, feature “the uncanny and surreal elements that still sometimes erupt in my short stories.”

2. A Manual for Marco: Living, Learning, and Laughing With an Autistic Sibling by Shaila Abdullah, illustrated by Iman Tejpar for review from Loving Healing Press Inc.

An 8-year old girl decides to make a list of all the things she likes and dislikes about dealing with her autistic brother, and in doing so realizes that she has created A Manual for Marco.

3.  Ella by Mallory Kasdan, illustrated by Marcos Chin from Penguin for review.

This is ELLA. She is six years old. She lives at the Local Hotel. She has a nanny called Manny. He has tattoos for sleeves and he might go in with some guys to buy a grilled cheese truck. Sometimes Ella weaves purses out of Ziploc bags and reclaimed twine. (She is artsy of course.) She has a dog named Stacie and a fish named Rasta and a scooter which is important for getting everywhere she needs to be. Altogether she has been to 62 events including that Hillary Clinton fundraiser. She is NEVER bored. If Ella and Kay Thompson’s Eloise got together for a play date, they would have a very good time indeed.

What did you receive?

Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair: An Empowering Fairy Tale (Growing with Love) by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Richa Kinra

Source: Loving Healing Press
Paperback, 24 pgs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair: An Empowering Fairy Tale (Growing with Love) by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Richa Kinra, is a new twist on an old fairy tale.  Cinderella still has a mean stepmother and step-sisters, but rather than the able-bodied beauty of the other tale, Cinderella is bound to a wheelchair.  While her injury or disease is not explained, it is clear that her step-sisters still view her as a threat and are still insecure.  While they make a bargain with her so that she can make them beautiful jewelry and she can go to the ball, a fairy godmother (Monique) is still needed to get her there on time to meet the prince.

The little girl and I read this one together, but as there was a lot more text than she was used to and few pictures, her mind wandered quiet a bit.  The illustrations reminded me of those coloring books from long ago and the kids had to color them in.  It’s pencil and colored pencil look makes it easy for kids to relate to, and the fairy godmother’s transformation of the wheelchair into a flying chair was unique and fun.  What was most enjoyable here was the fact that Cinderella was able to get out of her stepmother’s home on her own and start her own business and get her own accessible apartment.

Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair: An Empowering Fairy Tale (Growing with Love) by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Richa Kinra, has a great message for kids that they can do and be anything.  In particular, girls do not have to wait for a prince to rescue them, as long as they are willing to work hard and strive to meet their goals.

About the Author:

Once a teen runaway, Jewel Kats is now a two-time Mom’s Choice Award winner. For six years, Jewel penned a syndicated teen advice column for Scripps Howard News Service (USA) and The Halifax Chronicle Herald. She gained this position through The Young People’s Press. She’s won $20,000 in scholarships from Global Television Network, and women’s book publisher: Harlequin Enterprises. Jewel also interned in the TV studio of Entertainment Tonight Canada. Her books have been featured in Ability Magazine (USA) twice. She’s authored eight books-five are about disabilities. The Museum of disABILITY History celebrated her work with a two-day event. Jewel has appeared as an international magazine cover story four times! Recently, her work was featured in an in-depth article published in “The Toronto Star”. Jewel’s work has also appeared as an evening news segment on WKBW-TV and on the pages of “The Buffalo News”.

The Princess Panda Tea Party by Jewel Kats, Illustrated by Richa Kinra

Source: Loving Healing Press
Paperback, 52 pages
I am an Amazon Affiliate

The Princess Panda Tea Party: A Cerebral Palsy Fairy Tale by Jewel Kats, Illustrated by Richa Kinra, is a fairy tale in which a stuffed panda comes to life to help young Michelle find the self-confidence within to achieve her goals and brush off the insults and meanness of the other girls in the orphanage.  The illustrations will remind older readers of the pictures that once accompanied our own fairy tales.  Rather than have the typical beauty and able-bodied young girl as the protagonist, Kats has a smart protagonist with cerebral palsy.  Josephine is the mean girl in this tale, and Princess Panda is the fairy godmother.

“Panda Bear Princess patted the beautiful horse.  The pink pads of her stuffed paw tapped at his sides twice.  Just like that, magical wings appeared.”  (page 20)

Michelle merely needs more self-confidence.  While she is different and has many physical challenges, she comes to realize that there is more to her than what is on the surface.  The toy she’s been longing for at the Salvation Army store, which she finally has the money to purchase, is ready to help in any way she can.  While the story text is a little long, my little reader who is only three was riveted by the magical story and the pictures as I read to her.  She loved how Michelle found the strength, with the help of Princess Panda, to practice and achieve her goals despite her physical limitations.  One of her favorite parts of the story was the beautiful Princess Panda and her magical powers — no surprise there.

The Princess Panda Tea Party: A Cerebral Palsy Fairy Tale by Jewel Kats, Illustrated by Richa Kinra, is a story about overcoming challenges, and while there is no explanation of what cerebral palsy is or how it occurs, the book can become a stepping stone for parents and kids to learn about the disease.  Parents should be prepared to answer questions about Michelle and her disease and to teach their own children that making fun of those who are different is not only mean but also makes them look bad in the eyes of others.

About the Author:

Once a teen runaway, Jewel Kats is now a two-time Mom’s Choice Award winner. For six years, Jewel penned a syndicated teen advice column for Scripps Howard News Service (USA) and The Halifax Chronicle Herald. She gained this position through The Young People’s Press. She’s won $20,000 in scholarships from Global Television Network, and women’s book publisher: Harlequin Enterprises. Jewel also interned in the TV studio of Entertainment Tonight Canada. Her books have been featured in Ability Magazine (USA) twice. She’s authored eight books-five are about disabilities. The Museum of disABILITY History celebrated her work with a two-day event. Jewel has appeared as an international magazine cover story four times! Recently, her work was featured in an in-depth article published in “The Toronto Star”. Jewel’s work has also appeared as an evening news segment on WKBW-TV and on the pages of “The Buffalo News”.

Mailbox Monday #305

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1.  Enzo Races in the Rain! by Garth Stein, which we purchased for our daughter over the holidays.

Enzo the puppy’s action-packed adventure begins when he makes the journey from the farm to the city (bark twice for faster!), discovers just how big the world is, and finds the family that was meant to be his.

Life on the farm is pretty quiet—except when he races the cars that come down the barn road. Because Enzo is fast. He knows he’s different from other dogs. But people never understand Enzo when he barks, and it drives him crazy! Then one day Enzo meets a little girl named Zoë and her father, Denny, and everything changes. R. W. Alley’s fantastic illustrations bring the beloved Enzo to life as he learns to adapt to life in his new home and discovers just what it means to become a family.

2. Texts from Jane Eyre: And Other Conversations with Your Favorite Literary Characters by Mallory Ortberg, illustrated by Madeline Gobbo from Anna.

Mallory Ortberg, the co-creator of the cult-favorite website The Toast, presents this whimsical collection of hysterical text conversations from your favorite literary characters. Everyone knows that if Scarlett O’Hara had an unlimited text-and-data plan, she’d constantly try to tempt Ashley away from Melanie with suggestive messages. If Mr. Rochester could text Jane Eyre, his ardent missives would obviously be in all-caps. And Daisy Buchanan would not only text while driving, she’d text you to pick her up after she totaled her car. Based on the popular web-feature, Texts from Jane Eyre is a witty, irreverent mashup that brings the characters from your favorite books into the twenty-first century.

3. Hansel and Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Claudia Marie Lenart from Loving Healing Press.

Hansel & Gretel: A Fairy Tale with a Down Syndrome Twist is an enchanting tale about how kindness overcomes callousness and leads to a wondrous reward. This adaptation of the classic Grimms’ tale includes the wicked witch and the poor siblings in search of food, but in this case, five-year-old Hansel is a mischievous, yet courageous, boy with Down syndrome.

4. The Princess Panda Tea Party: A Cerebral Palsy Fairy Tale by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Richa Kinra, from Loving Healing Press for review.

An enchanting story which shows girls that grace and courage come from within. Michelle, age eight, has cerebral palsy and lives at an all-girls orphanage. She is often openly mocked by the other girls because of her need to use a walker for mobility. One day, she spends her hard-earned change for a toy stuffed panda at the local Salvation Army store. When opportunity strikes for the orphanage girls to compete, in manners and deportment, for the privilege of tea with the Queen of England, Michelle’s enchanted panda comes to life and her world will never be the same!

5.  Cinderella’s Magical Wheelchair: An Empowering Fairy Tale by Jewel Kats, illustrated by Richa Kinra for review from Loving Healing Press.

In a Kingdom far, far away lives Cinderella. As expected, she slaves away for her cranky sisters and step-mother. She would dearly love to attend the Royal costume ball and meet the Prince, but her family is totally dead set against it. In fact, they have gone so far as to trash her wheelchair! An unexpected magical endowment to her wheelchair begins a truly enchanted evening and a dance with the Prince. Can true love be far behind?

6. Lives of Crime and Other Stories by L. Shapley Bassen for review.

These are great noir stories, with a very intelligent self-awareness that makes them existentially perplexing and entertaining at the same time. Kind of a guilty pleasure. Love the wry darkness.” -Susan Smith Nash, author of “The Adventures of Tinguely Querer.”

7. In the Company of Cheerful Ladies (No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency #6) by Alexander McCall Smith from the library sale for 50 cents.

In the newest addition to the universally beloved No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency series, the charming and ever-resourceful Precious Ramotswe finds herself overly beset by problems. She is already busier than usual at the detective agency when added to her concerns are a strange intruder in her house on Zebra Drive and the baffling appearance of a pumpkin. And then there is Mma Makutsi, who decides to treat herself to dance lessons, only to be partnered with a man who seems to have two left feet. Nor are things running quite as smoothly as they usually do at Tlokweng Road Speedy Motors. Mma Ramotswe’s husband, the estimable Mr. J.L.B. Matekoni, is overburdened with work even before one of his apprentices runs off with a wealthy woman. But what finally rattles Mma Ramotswe’s normally unshakable composure is a visitor who forces her to confront a secret from her past.

8. Silent Flowers: A New Collection of Japanese Haiku Poems edited by Dorothy Price, illustrated by Nanae Ito from the library sale for $1.

 

 

 

 

 

9. The English Roses by Madonna, illustrated by Jeffrey Fulvimari from the library sale for 50 cents.

This is a story about slumber parties, jealousy, fairy godmothers, and friendship; about feeling green with envy, blue with loneliness, pink with embarrassment, purple with rage, and how to find true-blue friends.

10.  Elmo’s World Music! by John E. Barrett, Mary Beth Nelson from library sale for 50 cents.

La! La! La! Toot! Toot! Toot! Elmo loves to make music! Toddlers will love lifting the flaps and discovering all the fun Elmo has when he plays different instruments and sings his favorite songs.

11.  Pepper (Waggy Tales) by Stewart Cowley from library sale for 50 cents.

Pepper, who comes complete with a springy tail, expressive googly eyes, is the purrrr-fect name for this bubbly, bouncing cat tale. Children will love following this furball through silly adventures. Full-color illustrations. Consumable.

 

12. Dora’s Desert Friends by Robin Chaplik from the library sale for 50 cents.

Help Dora and Boots cross the SUnny Desert to visit their lizard friends! Listen to star sparkles and other fun sounds on the way!

What did you receive?

Rani in Search of a Rainbow by Shaila Abdullah

Source: Loving Healing Press
Paperback, 56 pgs
I am an Amazon Affiliate

Rani in Search of a Rainbow by Shaila Abdullah is set in Pakistan around the time of the 2010 floods that displaced or disrupted the lives of 20 million people.  Rani and her family are transported to a cap where they live in tents and have very little from their original homes.  However, Rani and the kids in the camp are quick to play and find the sunshine amidst the rain.  Some play with tires and others play games with one another, but Rani wants to help.  She spends her days moving about the camp in search of a job, but she’s too little to help unload the supply trucks and she’s to young to help her mother birth babies.  This eight-year-old, however, is not defeated by her youth or her size, she is determined to find a way to help.  When her friend and neighbor, Juju becomes ill, she again seeks out how best she can help.

Abdullah has created a wonderful story about a young girl who remains resilient and positive in the face of a great many challenges.  These children and their families have had their lives uprooted and schooling disrupted, but like her parents and the other adults, she is making the best of it.  From making new friends and helping those in need, Rani and her family — all of the families — are rebuilding their lives even if they are out of their home element.  Rani learns that the biggest way she can help is by being a friend, and that just may be enough.  The illustrations are vibrant and give kids a sense of what camp life is like without being too gritty.

The illustrations are very easy to relate to and can spark discussions with younger children about Pakistan, its culture, and the terrible floods that displaced these people.  Rani in Search of a Rainbow by Shaila Abdullah could be a great tool to use to teach children about resiliency and kindness, as well as how to cope with unexpected disaster as a family.  Perfect for children ages 5-8.

About the Author:

Noted as “Word Artist” by critics, Shaila Abdullah is an award-winning author and designer based in Austin, Texas. She is the author of five books: Saffron Dreams, Beyond the Cayenne Wall, My Friend Suhana, Rani in Search of a Rainbow, and A Manual for Marco. The author has received several awards for her work including the Golden Quill Award and Patras Bukhari Award for English Language. Several academic institutions have adopted her books as course study or recommended reading, including the University of California, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Indiana University, Boston University, California State University, and George Washington University.

Mailbox Monday #299

Mailbox Monday, created by Marcia at To Be Continued, formerly The Printed Page, has a permanent home at its own blog.

To check out what everyone has received over the last week, visit the blog and check out the links.  Leave yours too.

Also, each week, Leslie, Vicki, and I will share the Books that Caught Our Eye from everyone’s weekly links.

Here’s what I received:

1. The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie, which came unexpectedly from Weinstein Books.

Based on the wildly popular YouTube channel, The Haunting of Sunshine Girl has been described as “ Gilmore Girls meets Paranormal Activity for the new media age.” YA fans new and old will learn the secrets behind Sunshine—the adorkable girl living in a haunted house—a story that is much bigger, and runs much deeper, than even the most devoted viewer can imagine…

 

 

2.  Rain in Search of a Rainbow by Shaila Abdullah from Loving Healing Press for review.

Displaced by the Pakistan floods, Rani’s family has taken refuge at a relief camp where they are doing their part to help other flood victims. Eight-year-old Rani wants to assist but doesn’t know how. Heeding the advice of her father to help in a way only children can, Rani embarks on a journey to bring true joy to a dear friend on the occasion of Eid.

What did you receive?

No Ocean Here by Sweta Srivastava Vikram

No Ocean Here by Sweta Srivastava Vikram, published by Modern History Press, is a collection of poems about the subjugation of women and all of its forms, across not only the Middle East and Africa, but also throughout the various parts of Asia and South Asia.  These poetic portraits are often prefaced by some facts about a particular woman’s story encapsulated in the poem or about statistics of crimes against women in various countries.  Not all of the poems are prefaced, but even those that are could stand on their own and speak for the women they represent.  Beyond the violence and inequality women deal with on a daily basis, these poems also shed light on the women-on-women violence and the silent acceptance among older women of continuing these traditions with the younger generations.

From War (page 12; which is related to Sri Lankan battles)

The sun was shining on shells
of burnt-out houses in their neighborhood.
Her mother, sister, and she were drinking

coffee, thanking bees for leaving them alone
when three men in uniforms entered

their house under the pretense of search.

All cavities of the women's trust were emptied out
when each man selected a victim:

Vikram’s poetry not only provides a story that is easily accessible on the surface, but she also provides themes and hardships that call for closer inspection.  In this way, her collection would make an excellent book club pick, which could be even further enhanced by additional materials on the subjugation of women across the globe even today. Her poetry speaks of social injustice in a way that shocks the reader, but also pays homage to those who have suffered with the deft strokes of her imagery.  Some poems are stronger than others in terms of theme and imagery, while others are more in-your-face and full of surface meaning.

No Ocean Here by Sweta Srivastava Vikram is a vast ocean of pain, discomfort, and horror that should make women in the modern world, including those inside and outside the United States, stand up for themselves and others. Beyond that, it should make men stand up and take notice that their actions and those of other males in societies across the world should not be tolerated — and ended.

About the Author:

Sweta Srivastava Vikram is an award-winning poet, writer, novelist, author, essayist, columnist, and educator. She is the author of four chapbooks of poetry, two collaborative collections of poetry, a novel, a nonfiction book, and a book-length collection of poems (upcoming). Her work has also appeared in several anthologies, literary journals, and online publications across six countries in three continents. Sweta has won two Pushcart Prize nominations, an International Poetry Award, Best of the Net Nomination, Nomination for Asian American Members’ Choice Awards 2011, and writing fellowships. A graduate of Columbia University, she lives in New York City.

This is my 6th book for the Dive Into Poetry Challenge 2013.

 

Click on the image below for today’s National Poetry Month Blog Tour post:

Mailbox Monday #218

HAPPY EASTER to those who celebrate!

As tomorrow is the kick-off of National Poetry Month, I’m posting this meme early, and it may be on hiatus for the rest of the month until the blog tour is over.

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. April’s host is Mari Reads.

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

Here’s what I received for review:

1.  Writers on the Edge:  22 Writers Speak About Addiction and Dependency edited by Diana M. Raab and James Brown from Modern History Press for review.

Writers On The Edge offers a range of essays, memoirs and poetry written by major contemporary authors who bring fresh insight into the dark world of addiction, from drugs and alcohol, to sex, gambling and food. Editors Diana M. Raab and James Brown have assembled an array of talented and courageous writers who share their stories with heartbreaking honesty as they share their obsessions as well as the awe-inspiring power of hope and redemption.

CONTRIBUTORS: Frederick & Steven Barthelme, Kera Bolonik, Margaret Bullitt-Jonas, Maud Casey, Anna David, Denise Duhamel, B.H. Fairchild, Ruth Fowler, David Huddle Perie Longo, Gregory Orr, Victoria Patterson, Molly Peacock, Scott Russell Sanders, Stephen Jay Schwartz, Linda Gray Sexton, Sue William Silverman, Chase Twichell, and Rachel Yoder.

2.  Unexplained Fevers by Jeannine Hall Gailey for review from the poet.

“Unexplained Fevers plucks the familiar fairy tale heroines and drops them into alternate landscapes. Unlocking them from the old stories is a way to “rescue the other half of [their] souls.” And so Sleeping Beauty arrives at the emergency room, Red Riding Hood reaches the car dealership, and Rapunzel goes wandering in the desert – their journeys, re-imagined in this inventive collection of poems, produce other dangers, betrayals and nightmares, but also bring forth great surprise and wonder.” – Rigoberto González, author of Black Blossoms “Unexplained Fevers begins with that most familiar of phrases, “Once upon a time,” but the world we find inside these covers is deeply defamiliarized. Trapped by physical ills, cultural expectations, and the constraints of marriage, these heroines interrogate the world and propel themselves through it with cunning and sass. We follow, for example, Jack and Jill though a prose poem where they “somehow turned thirty without thunderous applause,” after having sworn they “would follow each other anywhere, but anywhere turned out to be a lot like Ohio.” At the center of these poems – urgent, mysterious, evocative – we find the great topic of all fairy tales, transformation. Read Unexplained Fevers, and be transformed.” – Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Unmentionables.

What did you receive?

Mailbox Monday #214

Mailbox Mondays (click the icon to check out the new blog) has gone on tour since Marcia at A Girl and Her Books, formerly The Printed Page passed the torch. This month’s host is Chaotic Compendiums.

The meme allows bloggers to share what books they receive in the mail or through other means over the past week.

Just be warned that these posts can increase your TBR piles and wish lists.

 

Here’s what I received:

1.  The Secretary by Kim Ghattas for review from Henry Holt.

In November 2008, Hillary Clinton agreed to work for her former rival. As President Barack Obama’s secretary of state, she set out to repair America’s image around the world—and her own. For the following four years, BBC foreign correspondent Kim Ghattas had unparalleled access to Clinton and her entourage, and she weaves a fast-paced, gripping account of life on the road with Clinton in The Secretary.

With the perspective of one who is both an insider and an outsider, Ghattas draws on extensive interviews with Clinton, administration officials, and players in Washington as well as overseas, to paint an intimate and candid portrait of one of the most powerful global politicians. Filled with fresh insights, The Secretary provides a captivating analysis of Clinton’s brand of diplomacy and the Obama administration’s efforts to redefine American power in the twenty-first century.

Populated with a cast of real-life characters, The Secretary tells the story of Clinton’s transformation from popular but polarizing politician to America’s envoy to the world in compelling detail and with all the tension of high stakes diplomacy. From her evolving relationship with President Obama to the drama of WikiLeaks and the turmoil of the Arab Spring, we see Clinton cheerfully boarding her plane at 3 a.m. after no sleep, reading the riot act to the Chinese, and going through her diplomatic checklist before signing on to war in Libya—all the while trying to restore American leadership in a rapidly changing world.

Viewed through Ghattas’s vantage point as a half-Dutch, half-Lebanese citizen who grew up in the crossfire of the Lebanese civil war, The Secretary is also the author’s own journey as she seeks to answer the questions that haunted her childhood. How powerful is America really? And, if it is in decline, who or what will replace it and what will it mean for America and the world?

2.  No Ocean Here by Sweta Srivastava Vikram for review from the poet.

No Ocean Here bears moving accounts of women and girls in certain developing and underdeveloped countries. The book raises concern, and chronicles the socio-cultural conditions of women in parts of Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. The stories, either based on personal interviews or inspired by true stories, are factual, visceral, haunting, and bold narratives, presented in the form of poems.

3.  Night Thoughts by Sarah Arvio, which I won.

In this remarkable and unique work, award-winning poet Sarah Arvio gives us a memoir about coming to terms with a life in crisis through the study of dreams.

As a young woman, threatened by disturbing visions, Arvio went into psychoanalysis to save herself. The result is a riveting sequence of dream poems, followed by “Notes.” The poems, in the form of irregular sonnets, describe her dreamworld:  a realm of beauty and terror emblazoned with recurring colors and images—gold, blood red, robin’s-egg blue, snakes, swarms of razors, suitcases, playing cards, a catwalk. The Notes, also exquisitely readable, unfold the meaning of the dreams—as told to her analyst—and recount the enlightening and sometimes harrowing process of unlocking memories, starting with the diaries she burned to make herself forget. Arvio’s explorations lead her back to her younger self—and to a life-changing understanding that will fascinate readers.

An utterly original work of art and a groundbreaking portrayal of the power of dream interpretation to resolve psychic distress, this stunning book illumines the poetic logic of the dreaming mind; it also shows us, with surpassing poignancy, how tender and fragile is the mind of an adolescent girl.

What did you receive?

125th Virtual Poetry Circle

Welcome to the 125th Virtual Poetry Circle!

Remember, this is just for fun and is not meant to be stressful.

Keep in mind what Molly Peacock’s books suggested. Look at a line, a stanza, sentences, and images; describe what you like or don’t like; and offer an opinion. If you missed my review of her book, check it out here.

Also, sign up for the 2011 Fearless Poetry Reading Challenge because its simple; you only need to read 1 book of poetry. Please contribute to the growing list of 2011 Indie Lit Award Poetry Suggestions (please nominate 2011 Poetry), visit the stops on the National Poetry Month Blog Tour from April.

From Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison (page 32):

So Beautiful Just to Die

A flower was born, and so was I
       into a world already turning
       into a universe already on course
      life predestined

to be beautiful
and flourish amongst others
different beginnings
same beauty

diversity/community

      chrysanthemums
                  petunias
           lilies
      ivies
           yuccas
                  gladiolas
      begonias
                  sun flowers
      and birds of paradise

are creative, and nurture until seasons change
and petal shed

and, then

we are born again.

What do you think?

Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison

Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison is slim collection of poems that explore the Black experience from a spiritual perspective.  She has quite a bit to say about the struggles Black men have with confidence, kicking habits, staying with their women, but she also has a lot to say about her own experiences and even the civil rights movement.

“writing illuminates injustice
gives language to people’s pain
pictures to failing dreams” (From “Because a door in my soul opens”, page 5)

Broken into three sections — God Gave Me Words, Soul Clothes, and Divine Reflections — and the first section tackles wider societal topics of struggle and faith, while the Soul Clothes section tackles similar struggles on a more personal level.  In the final section, Jemison reflects on those struggles and what they teach each of us about ourselves and our place in the world, as well as how fleeting life really is.

“Civil rights activists told me to fight the battle

They didn’t tell me
I’d be weary, exhausted, disgusted, betrayed, disenchanted” (From “Hold on to God, a lawyer’s prayer”, page 7)

Some poems have an internal jazz-like rhythm with a message. However, this collection’s poetry is direct and without frills, and in many ways read less like poetry and more like sermons or pep talks.  All of these poems are direct and strive to get readers thinking about today’s world and the struggles of Black men and women.  Readers will enjoy her frankness, and her faith is strong.  Soul Clothes by Regina D. Jemison is a spiritual collection that strives to provide readers with an inside look at the Black experience and the strength of faith.

Since this was published in 2011, it is eligible for this year’s Indie Lit Awards.

 

This is my 71st book for the 2011 New Authors Reading Challenge.

 

 

This is my 32nd book for the Fearless Poetry Exploration Reading Challenge.