Jo Napoli. This historical fiction tale of the year follows the aftermath of the potato blight in Ireland, 1846-1847. Once again the potato crops aren’t doing well and people are contemplating leaving Ireland for a more hopeful and prosperous land. The sentence describing the people’s worries about traveling to other countries, where guns are needed to fight off criminals, and how they were so shocked by this idea was an eye-opener. How times have changed. The story takes us through how tenants rebel against the landlords and how people die from starvation, injuries from fighting and also sickness. The postscript states the fictional and true parts of this story and recalls the horribly high death toll because of the potato blight and how the suffering continued for several years. The author’s note explains the reasons for the blight and the timeline of Ireland to the famine’s end starting at prehistoric times up to 1851. I appreciate the author taking the time for extensive research into Ireland and its history and for describing what the Irish people went through when their crops were devastated. 4 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Algonquin Young Readers for the opportunity to read and review Votes for Women! by Winifred Conkling which tells the story of events that took place between the beginning of the women’s rights movement in 1848 and when women were given the right to vote in 1920. The appendix includes a list of the primary sources used for this book’s research and there’s also a timeline included. The preface describes how women from both sides of the suffrage movement approached a political candidate for his support in 1920. I’m shocked that some women were actually against having the right to vote! The story opens with an eleven year old Elizabeth Cady (eventually Elizabeth Cady Stanton) mourning the loss of her twenty year old brother Eleazar, the last male heir in the family. Her father is inconsolable and she makes it a mission to be everything her brother was and this became the beginning of Elizabeth’s goal towards learning and courage. The support for women’s rights is impressive and includes Frederick Douglass (an escaped slave and civil rights leader), Sojourner Truth (an escaped slave and strong speaker) and Susan B. Anthony (abolitionist) and many more supporters. A march for the suffrage movement in 1913 became so powerful that a mob forced the marchers into a single file. The marchers suffered from police brutality and this brutality was helpful to the movement because women gained public sympathy and attention. Picketers in 1917 took their stand in front of the White House and were arrested for “obstructing traffic”. These protesters were released eventually because the government was worried that the women would become martyrs. Later in this same year, picketers were sent to workhouses with unsanitary conditions and mistreatment. Alice Paul, the suffrage leader during this time, was severely mistreated and began a hunger strike which many other protesters joined. By 1920, the Senate approved ratification of the 19th Amendment. This is a definitive account of Elizabeth Cady Stanton’s and Susan B. Anthony’s and many others’ actions towards women’s rights that will be a perfect source for research. 5 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Lerner Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Underneath It All by Amber J. Keyser. The target audience is ages 13-18, grades 9-12. The introduction, Beyond Frippery and Lace, shares a quick history of women’s undergarments and a picture of Madonna in her infamous cone bra. A touching personal story from Jae West about self-acceptance is also shared bolstering self-esteem. Underwear isn’t just a covering, it also speaks of “gender, sexuality, politics and body image. An organization helping girls and women in poor countries makes and donates free reusable sanitary kits. The website is DaysForGirls.org and anyone can get involved, just check their website for information. Thinx, a new product is also explained. I’d never heard of this, but it’s innovative and impressive. Thinx is period-proof underwear! What a concept. The book continues on through the history of undergarments and highlights new and innovative underwear companies like Naja and Yellowberry. Underneath It All is interesting, informative and eye-opening and I learned a great deal more than I thought I would! 5 stars for this humorous, historical and educational look at the history of undergarments!
Thanks to NetGalley and Workman Publishing Company for the opportunity to read and review Quackery: A Brief History of the Worst Ways to Cure Everything by Lydia Kang. The book has sections for elements, plants and soil, tools, animals and mysterious powers. The first section begins with the medicinal use of mercury. Interesting and intriguing in its awfulness, especially the part about using it for babies who are teething; whoa! Then I learned about the First Emperor of the Qin Dynasty who was desperate for immortality and was given mercury medicines by his alchemists because they thought that was the answer. He died at forty-nine and his mausoleum rivals Egyptian pharaohs and is said to be flowing with rivers of mercury! Tidbits of mercury use include historical figures such as Abraham Lincoln, Napoleon and Edgar Allan Poe. Reading about Opium use was eye-opening and jaw-dropping, especially the part about giving it to quiet crying babies and children! The No More Pain with Cocaine part all the way to cannibalism and corpse medicine kept me morbidly fascinated. 5 stars for a must-read of a sketchy piece of history!
*I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Publishing Group for the opportunity to read and review Hotel Scarface by Roben Farzad. This nonfiction account of 1970’s-1990’s Miami begins with action. The book continues, highlighting certain characters of the time and tells everything honestly and boldly. I became overwhelmed with the money, drugs, violence and human degradation as I continued to read. It’s difficult to comprehend that this is reality and people’s lives. The notes at the end of the book state that a remake of Scarface will take place in 2017. The whole time I was reading this book, I visualized the original Scarface movie. 4 stars for a true account of crime in Miami!
The Booth Brothers by Rebecca Langston-George opens on April 26, 1865 when John Wilkes Booth was hiding inside a barn as a fugitive for shooting President Abraham Lincoln. The book jumps back to six years previously, describing the Booth family and the difference between the brothers. The assassination plan is described throughout its transformation, from the idea of killing four people to who was taking part in the plot. The killing of Abraham Lincoln tore the Booth family apart and even though John Wilkes Booth wanted to kill President Lincoln so he would be thought of as a hero by Southern believers, he died only a criminal. 5 stars for this informative nonfiction resource of Lincoln’s death.
* I received a complimentary copy of this book for voluntary consideration.
Received an advance reader copy in exchange for a fair review.
Thanks to NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for the opportunity to read and review Eureka!: 50 Scientists Who Shaped Human History! This book is full of insights into scientific pioneers both professional and personal. From B.C. to modern times, details explaining theories and interesting tidbits of each scientist fill this easy to read informational book – 4 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster/Margaret K. McElderry Books for the arc of Irena’s Children (Young Reader’s Edition) by Tilar Mazzeo and adapter Mary Cronk Farrell! This true account of Irena Sendler and her friends in Poland warmed my heart and I was astounded by their bravery! Irena and her friends helped save Jewish families during World War II by placing themselves in grave danger, hiding and sneaking children to safety. This is a magnificent story of heroism that affected thousands of Jewish children and has since affected generations of families. This book needs to be read to get the full extent of what true courage Irena Sendler embodies and the bravery it took to save innocent children during the Holocaust! 4 stars.
Thanks to Tyndale House Publishers for the book of Saving My Assassin by Virginia Prodan. This memoir introduces Virginia Prodan in immediate danger in 1984, when her life was threatened. Chapter one takes us back to 1961, during Virginia’s childhood. Virginia grew up with abuse from her mother and taunting from her siblings. She is a real life Cinderella. Her upbringing was not to be the end of her struggles, though. With tremendous strength, Virginia shows us what she went through for her individual freedom and what she is willing to do for other’s freedom also. Learning about different cultures and symbolism is always interesting to me, even if I don’t agree or completely understand them. Communism feels confining, nerve-wracking and demoralizing. I appreciate the notes at the end of the book that clarify several questions that arose while I was reading Saving My Assassin. Courageous and inspiring – 4 stars!
Thanks to NetGalley and Portable Press for the digital download of Strange History by Bathroom Readers Institute! This incredible book kept me reading from beginning to end and I finished it in one sitting because of its entertainment value! Strange History is a fact driven world history of slang, fads, quotes that stand the test of time, boring parts of history, historical food facts, styles and trends by decades, almost assassinations, misconceptions, freaky facts, made-up languages, obsolete words, real life Frankensteins and a bunch of other historical fact categories. I want to use this book for a jigsaw lesson to teach what facts can be found in the 000’s section of the DEWEY Decimal System. Great entertainment!