Review: Woke Up Like This by Amy Lea

woke up like this cover image

It’s the end of her senior year and all that stands in the way of Char meeting all the goals on her checklist is her nemesis, Renner. The two have been at odds ever since he stood her up for homecoming in their freshman year.

With prom just days away, she’s determined not to let him ruin the highlight of her last days in high school. Then she falls off a ladder and the two hit the gym floor, propelling them both 13 years into the future, when they are about to be married.

They go on a mission to find out how the years since high school ended up like this, making some surprising discoveries along the way. When a chain of events leads them back to that high school gym floor, Char wonders if it was all a dream, or if her destiny leads to a future she never imagined.

Woke Up Like This by Amy Lea is a fun twist on a story about time travel and confronting the assumptions you make about the people in your life. When Char realizes there’s more to Renner and her dad and other friends than she assumed, it makes her rethink her own approach to life.

Woke Up Like This is charming and funny and annoying and touching in all the right places. I recommend it for readers aged 14 and up.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Review—Kin: Rooted in Hope by Carole Boston Weatherford

kin rooted in hope cover image

In her book Kin: Rooted in Hope, award-winning children’s author and poet Carole Boston Weatherford takes a family roots story and turns it into the wider tale of American slavery. Through research, Weatherford discovered that her ancestors fought in the American Revolution and were enslaved alongside Frederick Douglass. They also fought in the Civil War and co-founded a village in Maryland during Reconstruction. Many generations lived at Wye House, named for the Wye River which empties into Chesapeake Bay.

Through poetry, Weatherford takes readers on a journey that gives voice to people and places, a technique that takes a wide view of history as well as her own family story. Some poems are written from her perspective, but others use historical texts or context to bring in other viewpoints. Chesapeake Bay, members of the Lloyd family (which ruled Wye House and owned several plantations in the area), Frederick Douglass, Weatherford’s ancestors, and more voices come to life.

She uses official documents, like the one that declares “offspring follows belly, meaning children born to enslaved mothers were themselves enslaved—from day one,” and quotes from writings by Frederick Douglass.

Weatherford collaborated with her son, Jeffrey Boston Weatherford, who provided the art for the story. His black and white scratchboard illustrations add impact, in particular with the faces and eyes of the people he depicts.

Kin: Rooted in Hope is for young readers aged 10 and up, but I highly recommend it for adults as well. If you’re interested in learning more about the author, check out her guest post on this site or her website:

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Author Carole Boston Weatherford on Kin: Rooted in Hope

Carole Boston Weatherford head shot

Award-winning children’s author Carole Boston Weatherford and her illustrator son Jeffrey, worked together to create Kin: Rooted in Hope. An illustrated book of poems for young readers, Kin draws on their personal family history to humanize their enslaved ancestors and their struggles as well as their triumphs. In this post, Carole talks about the book and how it came together. Check back in tomorrow when I feature a review. You can also find out more at Carole’s website:

Seven Things About Kin: Rooted in Hope

Kin: Rooted in Hope is about family through and through. The book is my third mother-son/author-illustrator collaboration with Jeffery Boston Weatherford. KIN chronicles my quest to trace our family’s heritage from enslavement in colonial America to Civil War battlefields and the Reconstruction. Searing poems and dramatic scratchboard art conjure our enslaved ancestors and reclaim their lost narratives. To amplify marginalized voices and examine erased lives, we pushed past the limits of the archive and resorted to speculation. We cast our kin in a blinding new light.

1.      Family and freedom are the key themes of KIN. KIN examines the threat that family separation posed to enslaved people. 

2.      I enlisted family—my son Jeffery Boston Weatherford, an award-winning illustrator—to create the visual narrative. We never worked side by side on the project, but over the years have spent a lot of family time in the book’s historic setting. We both dug deep to do our ancestors’ justice.

3.      The seed for KIN was sown during my childhood visits to my family’s small farm on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. Located in Copperville, a kin community dating to the Reconstruction, the farm was owned by my great grandparents, James and Mary Ann Moaney, former sharecroppers who sold handmade cornhusk horse collars to purchase the land. As a parent, I returned to Copperville with my own children who also grew to cherish that land.

4.      Copperville was co-founded during the Reconstruction by Black Freemen, including my great-great grandfather, Phillip Moaney, whose picture hung in my great grandparents’ farmhouse. I was probably a tween or teen when I first learned that Phillip had been enslaved at Wye House, Maryland’s largest enslavement plantation.

5.      My family also has roots in nearby Unionville, a hamlet co-founded by my great-great grandfather Isaac Copper and other veterans of the U.S. Colored Troops. Prior to enlisting, Isaac was enslaved at Wye House in Talbot County, Maryland. 

6.      The plantation’s most famous resident—enslaved or free—was Frederick Douglass, who lived there as a boy when he was first separated from his family. In his autobiography, My Bondage and My Freedom, Douglass describes my fourth great grandfather, known as Doctor or Minister Isaac Copper.

7.      KIN conveys the value of family history. Many African American genealogists hit a brick wall at 1870, the first census to account for the formerly enslaved population. Thanks to research by my distant cousins, my family can reach back to 1770. KIN affirms that lineage, family lore and land memory all contribute to generational wealth. KIN reflects the rich heritage that lies within so many families waiting to be revealed and passed down. 

Review: The A&A Detective Agency: The Fairfleet Affair by K. H. Saxton

the fairfleet affair cover image

Young readers who love mysteries similar to The Westing Game, will love K. H. Saxton’s The A & A Detective Agency: The Fairfleet Affair. In the story, Alex Foster and Asha Singh are not only friends, they also have a budding detective agency. They even have a headquarters in a tree house in front of Alex’s home.

They got their start when Dr. Alistair Fairfleet gave them a case to practice on. When Dr. Fairfleet disappears, no one in the town of Northbrook knows where he went. Then a letter arrives for Alex and Asha, asking their help to find him. The young sleuths have to follow clues and solve puzzles to figure out who among the three adults who worked with Dr. Fairfleet they can trust.

The story follows interesting twists and turns, revealing secrets along the way. Author Saxton weaves a good story, waiting until the end to reveal the ultimate mystery. I had a lot of fun following along with Alex and Asha as they investigated.

I highly recommend The Fairfleet Affair for kids’ book clubs and readers aged 9 to 12.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Graveyard Girls Scream for the Camera by Lisi Harrison & Daniel Kraus

Graveyard Girls Scream for the Camera cover image

When we last saw the Graveyard Girls, Whisper, Sophie, Gemma, and their friend Zuzu, they had just found out that someone stole Silas Hoke’s body. In the next installment in the series, Graveyard Girls: Scream for the Camera by Lisi Harrison and Daniel Kraus, they are on a quest to find out who did it.

The girls try to solve the mystery by consulting a Ouija board, which lets the spirit of long-ago murdered Ginny Baker into the living world where she causes all kinds of mischief. As she sends the girls signs and speaks through Zuzu, they encounter one challenge after another. They are tested in unexpected ways, but find themselves rising to each challenge.

Scream for the Camera ends in another mystery, which sets up the story for the next book. Young readers aged 9 to 12 who like creepy mysteries will be happy to keep up in the series.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Review: Quest Kids and the Dark Prophecy of Doug

quest kids and the dark prophecy of doug cover image

The lovable troupe of adventure seekers from Quest Kids and the Dragon Pants of Gold continue their search for Ned’s parents in Quest Kids and the Dark Prophecy of Doug.

Six months after Ned, Terra, Gil, Boulder, and Ash found a creative way to save a village from a dragon, they find a clue from a shapeshifter that someone named Doug may know where to find Ned’s missing mom and dad. They follow that clue to a pirate named Helen, who tells them about Doug’s dark prophecy and offers to sail them to the Forsaken Lands to find him.

Unfortunately, Helen is better at making jewelry than she is at sailing, so she leads them into misadventures before they reach their destination. When they finally encounter Doug, he’s making plans to fulfill his prophecy. Can the Quest Kids work their magic again to save Ned’s parents and the rest of the world from his evil plans?

This installment of Quest Kids is just as delightful as the first, with a combination of graphic drawings and written narrative to move the story along. Readers will enjoy finding out more about Ned and his family’s background, as well as following the quirks of all the characters.

It ends in a bit of a cliffhanger, with a teaser about more info to come, so fans will have something to look forward to. I recommend Quest Kids and the Dark Prophecy of Doug for readers aged 9 to 12.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Hello Trees by Nina Chakrabarti

Hello Trees cover image

Hello Trees: A Little Guide to Nature by Nina Chakrabarti is a great little book for children about something we see every day but probably don’t give much thought to. This small-format pocket guide is handy enough to take out to the park, a stroll in the woods, or just an amble about the neighborhood.

And even though it’s small, it’s chock full of information that even adults may learn from. For instance, I think I know a lot about trees and how they grow, but I was surprised to find that leaves turn orange because of carotene, which is also found in carrots. And that the tree of heaven smells like rancid peanut butter.

Beautiful illustrations are presented in a way that’s almost like a nature journal. They show tree canopies and roots, trunks, and leaves. Readers see comparative heights for different types of trees, and they learn the difference between deciduous and evergreen trees.

There’s even suggestions for a few activities, like making leaf prints and bark rubbings. The last page lists ways we can all be friends of trees. Hello Trees is great for little naturalists aged 6 and up.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Book Review: Mascot by Charles Waters & Traci Sorell

Mascot cover image

What happens when students of a public school see the sports mascot as racist and others see it as a tradition to be upheld? That’s the question asked in the middle grade novel Mascot by Charles Waters and Traci Sorell.

Told in verse from the viewpoint of six eighth-grade students and their teacher in an honors English class, Mascot looks at this often-contentious issue from multiple viewpoints. The students come from different backgrounds, representing communities that are Native American, Black, white, Latino and Indian American. They come from different socio-economic backgrounds. All have strong opinions about the school mascot and what it stands for.

The teacher assigns a research topic on the mascot and what it means to different people, and she pairs students up to argue for or against changing it. Students are assigned a viewpoint, which doesn’t necessarily match what they believe.

Reading about their process of discovery is interesting. And while the book leads readers to agree with one side more than the other, it also honestly presents both viewpoints. As the story unfolds, some students change their thinking on the issue, some do not.

Sports teams at all levels grapple with this hot-button issue, and Mascot provides a way for readers aged 10 and up to think critically about it.

The publisher provided me with a copy of this title in exchange for my honest review.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...