Strong Inside: The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line

Young Reader’s Edition

by Andrew Maraniss

 

So many times it’s hard to get non fiction books into the hands of young readers. I know many love non fiction – my middle grade reader really only likes non fiction. So many though don’t, but that is changing thanks to Young Reader’s Edition books. They take a popular adult non fiction and give a detailed but condensed version of the book with younger reader’s in mind. My middle grader reader and I have read many Young Reader’s Editions and have enjoyed them so much we’ve seeked out the adult book as well .

Strong Inside The True Story of How Perry Wallace Broke College Basketball’s Color Line follows Perry Wallace through out his young school days through his college years. This book is a sport biography but also a historical biography as well. He grew up in an era that was full of racism and people who didn’t want to see him succeed. He didn’t let them hold him back. He had a dream, the talent and the strength and character that took all the way! There is some tough language in here. The author has a note in the beginning saying to whitewash the language would be a disservice and I agree. We need to read about this time in history, we can not forget or go back to that era. If generations going up know don’t know about it history repeats itself. Perry Wallace is one I hope many kids will read about and look up to. He would be an excellent role model that I used his good heart, brains and talent and made something of himself. It wasn’t handed to him on a silver platter. He had to work 10 times harder than most high school and college players but he didn’t let that stop him.  He was not only talent on the basket ball court but he was also very well-known in the courthouse as well. He became a trial attorney and worked with environmental law. He was appointed Environmental Policy Advisory Council by the EPA but also a professor at American University Washington College of Law. I enjoyed this book very much and was quite surprised I’m not a sports gal but he was such an inspiring man! If you have a sports minded boy reader, reluctant reader or a non fiction book-worm hand them a copy of Strong Inside. Don’t be surprised if this one doesn’t stay on your bookshelves much. I have a filling this will be a very popular book choice for upper elementary, middle grade and high school readers.

About the book: The inspirational true story of the first African-American to play college basketball in the deeply segregated Southeastern Conference–a powerful moment in Black history.

Perry Wallace was born at a historic crossroads in U.S. history. He entered kindergarten the year that the Brown v. Board of Education decision led to integrated schools, allowing blacks and whites to learn side by side. A week after Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, Wallace enrolled in high school and his sensational jumping, dunking, and rebounding abilities quickly earned him the attention of college basketball recruiters from top schools across the nation. In his senior year his Pearl High School basketball team won Tennessee’s first racially integrated state tournament.

The world seemed to be opening up at just the right time, and when Vanderbilt University recruited Wallace to play basketball, he courageously accepted the assignment to desegregate the Southeastern Conference. The hateful experiences he would endure on campus and in the hostile gymnasiums of the Deep South turned out to be the stuff of nightmares. Yet Wallace persisted, endured, and met this unthinkable challenge head on. This insightful biography digs deep beneath the surface to reveal a complicated, profound, and inspiring story of an athlete turned civil rights trailblazer.

Thank you Puffin books for sending me a copy of Strong Inside. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

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The Ostrich and Other Lost Things

by Beth Hautala

Publication Date: February 20th 2018 : AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks Depository Chapters Indigo

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I simply loved The Ostrich and Other Lost Things! This was a 5 star read and I want to place this in the hands of all upper elementary and middle grade readers. The book is mainly told through the eyes of 11 year old Olivia. She lives at home with her mom, dad and older brother Jacob who is autistic. Life doesn’t always go as planned with Jacob around and Olivia loves her brother so much but sometimes she just wants things to be different. She wants one thing that is just her’s since she feels sometimes her life is overshadowed by her brother. She has her superpower according to her dad: she is a finder of lost things. So not being able to find the toy ostrich that her Jacob loved so much really bugs her. There is a traveling zoo in her little town while the big zoo in Oklahoma is getting fixed. She meets Charlie, his mom is the keeper at this part of the zoo. They become best of friends and it is just what Olivia needs. Charlie is able to keep Olivia in check and has an understanding of Jacob and how hard it is to not be like everyone. Charlie was in an accident and is now blind. So he can give Olivia a perspective that she can’t understand. He also is a great friend in listening and telling her when she needs to be nice and that not everything is about her. He is her support and friend for this trying summer of growing up and trying to figure out what she likes, who she is becoming and how Jacob’s violent outburst are changing their family home. The story is realistic and one I think the reader can learn from. Olivia loves her brother so much but she is just a kid and sometimes she gets upset and frustrated but doesn’t express her outburst that well since she is just 11. I liked that in my eyes the author portrayed her very realistic, really I think the whole story seemed very relate able.  There is more to the story: the mystery of the missing Ostrich toy, The real life Ostrich that keeps getting out and coming to Olivia’s window and the moment when Jacob runs away after a very bad fight where Olivia says things she can’t take back. This scene is a good lesson in not talking to someone when your mad at them. Sometimes you say things that you want to take back instantly but it’s to late. Grab The Ostrich and Other Lost Things for yourself, your upper elementary reader or middle grade reader.

About this Book: In this beautifully written novel, the bonds and challenges of caring for a sibling with autism are bravely explored, along with the pain and power that comes from self-discovery. 

Eleven-year-old Olivia Grant has a knack for finding lost things. She can find lost rings, pets, and even her elderly neighbor’s misplaced glasses. There’s only one thing Olivia has never been able to find–her brother Jacob’s toy ostrich. It wasn’t until the day Jacob lost his ostrich that Olivia noticed how different he was: Jacob is autistic, and though she’s his little sister, Olivia often feels like the older of the pair, his caretaker. And with her parents so heavily focused on maintaining status quo for Jacob, it’s Olivia who has stagnated in his shadow–unable to explore new opportunities, or to be her own person. In fact, apart from being Jacob’s sister, Olivia’s not really sure who she is.

So when summer break begins, and the local community theater announces auditions for an all children’s production of her favorite show, Peter Pan, Olivia jumps at the chance to claim something for herself. But what begins as a promising opportunity and a wonderful escape quickly becomes pure chaos. The visiting zoo with an odd assortment of animals–including an ostrich that causes even more trouble than Jacob’s missing toy–only make matters worse, as Olivia’s summer is shaping up to be just as consumed by Jacob’s needs as the rest of her life has been.

In time, and with the help of some unlikely alliances, Olivia must learn what it means to be separate from her brother and still love him, how to love herself in spite of her own flaws, and that not all lost things are meant to be found.

Thank you Penguin Young Reader and Philomel Books for sending me a copy of The Ostrich and Other Lost Things. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.

I am not an affiliate so I will not receive any money from any purchases made by clicking the links to buy the book.

Dolphins Voices in the Ocean

by Susan Casey

 

Dolphins Voices in the Ocean is a young readers edition to her adult non fiction book Voices in the Ocean A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins. I love dolphins so much, when I lived in Florida it was so neat to see them swimming in the ocean. Dolphins are fierce animals that are gentle to humans. Well I’ve never heard of a dolphin attack so I’m going with the are gentle to humans. They are highly intelligent and while it’s not scientific study results I would say most people who want to be marine biologist it is for their love of Dolphins.

Susan Casey hadn’t really thought much of dolphins till she had an encounter with a pod that changed it in so many ways. She decided to research and really get to know these amazing ocean mammals. The reader will learn all about how dolphins are treated around the world. Some stuff they will read are going to be upsetting but some are so inspiring. She talks to not only marine biologist but locals who live day to day with dolphins. For me I liked that she also talked to activist trying to save dolphins and bring to light the fisherman and towns that kill them for sport!  I learned a lot about dolphins and their treatment that I didn’t know. I felt this book was a fast enough read that readers that are not into non fiction would still enjoy this book. I know I’m not a non fiction reader – this year I’m trying hard and will be reading more.  This book is for older elementary through middle grade, really I think even a high school and adult reader would enjoy this book. It doesn’t go to deep into information, just enough to hold a non fiction reader and the not so non fiction reader alike. Overall I really enjoyed it and it has me looking for more books like this. My middle grade reader read it in one setting, she loves non fiction. She loved it so much she has asked me to get a copy of the book it is based on from the library so she can get  more in-depth information about dolphins.

About the Book: A thrilling journey into the spiritual, scientific and sometimes threatened world of dolphins. Based on Susan Casey’s bestselling adult work Voices in the Ocean: A Journey into the Wild and Haunting World of Dolphins, this young readers adaptation, which includes an 8-page photo insert, explores the extraordinary world of dolphins in an interesting and accessible format that engages as well as entertains. Inspired by an encounter with a pod of spinner dolphins off the coast of Maui, author Susan Casey embarked on a two-year global adventure to study these remarkable beings. Casey details the extraordinary connection between dolphins and humans, including shared characteristics such as capacity for emotion, playfulness, sociability, and intelligence, the sophisticated navigation ability innate in dolphins, and the dangers they face from people who aim to profit by putting them in captivity or far worse.

Thank you Delcorte Books for Young Readers for sending me a copy of Dolphins Voices in the Ocean. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

Everless

by Sara Holland

Publication date: January 18, 2018

Most people find the forest frightening, believing the old tales of fairies who will freeze the time in your blood, or witches who can spill your years out over the snow with only a whisper. 

Doesn’t that opening sentence grab you, it did me! It’s been a while since I’ve read a YA fantasy book that has really captured me and held me as a reader. Something about them just doesn’t click with me. All that changed when I got the chance to read a copy of Everless.  

In this world your time is measured in blood, literally. If you owe you can be bleed for a day, week, month or even a year. They turn your blood into iron coins, and Jules is in need of some money. Her father is very ill and doesn’t have much time. If he gives any blood it might be the last of him. So Jules does something she never thought she’d do ever. She returns to Everless a place where she grew up but ran from to get away from a ruthless boy who is now a man. She has a plan but might have been a little rushed when she thought it up and sometimes (most of the time) plans never go exactly the way you want or need them too. Jules starts to unravel the mystery of her and her father’s past and learns that things were not as she was told or remembered. There is 2 brother’s in the picture so of course their has to be the YA love triangle. 🙂 It’s OK and really was just a small bit part of the book to me. I liked that it didn’t consume the book. The world building was great and I could really envision the places and characters. There are so many plots twist, just when you think OK I think I’m getting it you get thrown another curve ball.  I liked that it kept me on my toes, made it a fast moving story. The plot seems very unique to me and I don’t think I’ve read anything like Everless before.

I couldn’t believe that this is a debut novel for Sarah Holland! This girl has some major writing talent and I can’t wait to see where she goes. I can’t wait to read book 2 of the series. According to GoodReads it has a title: EverMore and it comes out January of 2019! Eeks that is so far away. 😦  This is a YA fantasy book, but I think it would be alright for older middle grade readers. Jules is a good person and role model. She is strong and doesn’t back down from a challenge. The violence is there but very minimal – strong language and adult situations are very mild and infrequent. I would be fine with given my middle grade reader this book to read.

about the book: EVERLESS presents the kingdom of Sempera, where your life’s blood is not only your time on earth but also something that can be drained and magically converted into money. Here we meet 17-year-old Jules, who’s tired of living in poverty, always at the mercy of the tax collector, ever since she and her father were banished from the Gerling estate when she was still a kid. Now that her childhood friend Lord Roan Gerling is about to marry the queen’s heiress, the estate is taking on extra help and paying handsomely for it. Despite her father’s warnings never to go near the estate again, Jules determines to get work there. Lucky (and pretty) enough to be selected, she’s put to work in the kitchen. Being back on the estate brings back a lot of memories, and those memories start to raise more and more questions about who she is and where she came from. If she can get close to the queen and find what’s hidden in the Gerling family vault, she just might find the answers she’s looking for.

Thank you HarperTeen and BookSpark for allowing me to read and review Everless. All thoughts and opinions are mine and not influenced by the free book.

The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs

by Linda Fairstein

 

 

 

Twelve-year-old supersleuth Devlin Quick heads to Montana to dig out dinosaur bones, but instead she uncovers a mystery.

After successfully apprehending a map thief at the beginning of summer, Dev is going to spend the second half of her summer vacation in Montana with her best friend, Katie, exploring the outdoors and NOT getting into trouble. But after participating in a dinosaur dig, Katie and Dev suspect that someone bad is in the Badlands when Katie’s found fossils are switched out for old rocks. The good news? With Mom back in New York, no one can stop Devlin from investigating! But the fossil thief isn’t the only danger here, as snakes, scorpions, and bears abound, making Montana a treacherous place for finding answers.

This is a first Devlin Quick book I’ve read by Linda Fairstein. I’ve read her adult books and liked them so I thought I should definitely give her middle grade mystery series a chance. Devlin Quick is a spunky quick-witted girl who not only likes to solve a good mystery but knows the ins and outs of solving a mystery. She has learned from the best Commander Quick her mom the first Police Commander of the NYC police force. So you could say detective – police work runs in the family. She has a great partner in her best friend Katie and between the 2 of them nothing goes unsolved. The writing and characters are very well developed and while this is book 2 in the series I feel they are also stand alone. I have not read the first book but was able to jump right into this book and not once felt like I was missing something that I should know.  This book revolves around a dinosaur dig in the upper midwest of Montana and possible poachers. These poachers come onto a dig in the middle of the night and take the biggest and best dinosaur bones to sell to collectors and museums. What they do is not only illegal but not fair in the fact that they are ruining all the work the excavation team of Paleontologist and their workers are doing. Devlin Quick thinks for this dig it just might be paleontologist Steve’s right hand man who is helping the poachers on this dig site. Can Devlin Quick and her trusty helpers solve the mystery before any more bones go missing? Grab a copy of The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs to find out.

This book would appeal to mid to upper elementary through middle grade readers who are venturing into mysteries for the first time as well as seasoned mystery readers. While the 2 main characters are girls I think some boys might enjoy this as well as girl readers. It’s hard for me to judge since I only girl readers in my house but I can see my nephew’s reading this one and enjoying it. I will be reading the first in the series The Devlin Quick Mysteries Into the Lion’s Den since I enjoyed this one so much. I say add this to your holiday gift buying list and gift the mystery series to a bookworm you know would really enjoy this fun book series.

Thank you so much Dial Books for Young Readers and Penguin Random House of sending me a copy of The Devlin Quick Mysteries Digging for Dinosaurs. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.

The Secret of Nightingale Wood

by Lucy Strange

Publication Date: October 31,2017

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Where to buy: AmazonBarnes and NobleBooks A Million  ( I am not an affiliate of these places I just liked the book very much and wanted to make it easy if you would like to buy a copy to enjoy as well.)

 

 

1919. Henry has moved to the countryside with her parents and her baby sister, Piglet – all still scarred by the death of her brother. Alone in her head, she begins to explore her surroundings, encouraged by her only friends – characters from her favourite books. Nobody much notices when she wanders into the woods at the bottom of the garden and meets Moth, a striking witch-like woman. Together they form a bond that could help Henry save her family.

This book turned out to be nothing like I expected. I was expecting a sweet little fairy tale like book. Don’t get me wrong it is a sweet fairy tale like book but it is also so much more. What I read was a sad haunting book  that will stay with me. I loved every minute of this and wish I didn’t reading it all in one setting, I didn’t want it to end. Henry (Henrietta) was such a strong spunky girl who just wanted her family back to the way it was before the accident. Henry is lonely and has a very active imagination and curiosity. She ask questions, ones the adults don’t want to answer and think she is too young to understand or should be asking. Henry is a big believer in books and fairy tales, all my favorite children’s classics were mentioned through out this lovely book. She meets a “witch” in the woods, just like the books she reads. However Moth isn’t a witch at all just a sad grieving woman who befriends Henry and believes in her when no one else does. The two end up being just what each other needs to help them start healing from the past.  The Abbott family has a long road to travel before they are all better but if they can get back together as a family they just might make it after all. This book tackles many issues from grief, family drama, wartime England, Hope and finding ones true self and voice in the face of despair. This book is for ages 10+ but I really think it will capture readers of all ages. This will be my number 1 book for 2017.  I just can’t imagine reading anything I will enjoy more this year than The Secret of Nightingale Wood!

Thank you so very much Chicken House books and Scholastic for sending me this amazing book. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free copy of The Secret of Nightingale Wood.

Lone Stars

by Mike Lupica

 

 

Clay is a quarterback’s dream. When he zips across the field, arms outstretched, waiting for the ball to sail into his hands, there’s no denying him the catch. Like most Texans, Clay is never more at home than when playing football. And his coach, a former star player for the Dallas Cowboys, is just like a second father.  But as the football season kicks off, Clay begins to notice some odd behavior from his coach—lapses in his memory and strange mood swings. The conclusion is painful, but obvious: Coach Cooper is showing side effects of the many concussions he sustained during his playing days. As Clay’s season wears on, it becomes clear that the real victory will be to help his coach walk onto that famous star logo in the middle of Cowboys Field one last time—during a Thanksgiving day ceremony honoring him and his former Super Bowl-winning teammates.

I usually don’t read a lot of sports books that are geared towards boys. I know I should but just never seem to pick them up. I’m trying to change that and I did with Lone Star. I know this author is very popular with upper elementary and middle grade readers. The main thing I really liked about this book is that the author uses it to shed light on head injuries in football. This is a very serious topic and one that young football fans and players should know about. However in Lone Star  the reader get’s to see how this head injury affects a loved one. Clay’s beloved football coach is suffering for the many years of getting hit in the head and receiving concussions while playing football when he was younger. Coach Monty has lots of help and support with his team and this is a heartwarming read. I liked that it had positive role models and that the kids were so willing to help out their friend in need. They were really more than just a football team, they were family.

Thank you Random House and Philomel Books for sending me a copy of Lone Star. All thoughts and opinions are my own and not influenced by the free book.