Review of How to Find a Fox, written by Kate Gardner, photographs by Ossi Saarinen

How to Find a Fox

written by Kate Gardner
photographs by Ossi Saarinen

Running Press Kids (Hachette), 2021. 48 pages.
Review written November 29, 2021, from a library book.
Starred Review

Here’s a wonderful first science book for little ones. The big, beautiful photographs, mostly of foxes in the wild, steal the show.

There’s a short and simple text in big letters. It begins by talking about where you can look to find a fox. There’s a paragraph in smaller text on most pages, giving some more background information.

For example, after pages saying “Listen for yips, yowls, and growls,” we’ve got this text in a smaller font:

Red foxes make a range of noises, though none of them sound much like a common dog’s barking. Instead, foxes’ high-pitched howls, chirps, and screams are more birdlike. . . . And sometimes, a fox can even sound like a person crying. Different calls are used when playing, or fighting, or when fox parents want to warn their babies of danger.

The photos are big, colorful, and striking. I am so taken with this book, I want to try it in Toddler Storytime, as I think the photos can catch even their attention. They will like the pages that tell you where not to look for a fox, and name the animals found in the sky, in the trees, in the river, and in the pond.

runningpress.com/rpkids

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

*Note* To try to catch up on posting reviews, I’m posting the oldest reviews I’ve written on my blog without making a page on my main website. They’re still good books.

Review of Homebody, by Theo Parish

Homebody

by Theo Parish

HarperAlley, 2024. 224 pages.
Review written June 7, 2024, from a library book.

Homebody is a graphic novel memoir about the author’s search for home in their own body — their coming-out journey as transgender nonbinary.

I’ll be honest — it’s harder for me to understand nonbinary gender than other transgender journeys. But Theo telling their own story helps me understand better. I love their depictions of gender euphoria — of feeling happy and at home in their own skin after realizing that nonbinary was the right fit for them.

As a graphic novel, this is a quick read. I had trouble distinguishing between different people in the pictures — they mostly looked alike to me, but the most important character is Theo themselves, and I could tell which one they were.

This book tells about Theo’s journey feeling at home in their body, and mentions they are attracted to women (so first thought they were lesbian), but there is no mention or depiction of sexual experiences, unlike Gender Queer, which is a favorite target for book banners. I’m guessing they’ll still take offense at someone explaining how they know nonbinary is the right description of their gender, but let it be known that this book is not about sex.

And it is a book about joy. Reading this book lifted my heart with gladness for Theo learning to make her own body feel like home.

EpicReads.com

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

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ALA Annual Conference 2024 Day 2

Saturday, June 29, 2024, was the second day of the American Library Association Annual Conference in San Diego.

The first session I attended was about selecting Board Books.

Panelists were board book authors Anne Wynter, Carole Boston Weatherford, Alisha Sevigny, and Steve Light

I liked the way they talked about joy and play in board books. Steve Light wrote his first board book (about trucks) when he imitated a boy in his class of 3-year-olds who just found joy in drawing trucks.

Board books are inherently playful, and kids play physically with the books, but also play with the language of the books. Also many board books are interactive, encouraging play. The interactive books are perfect for the wiggly ones.

Next I got in on the end of a panel of Newbery Honor winners led by Travis Jonker. I didn’t get notes written, but afterward I personally congratulated Erin Bow on her amazing book, Simon Sort of Says, and somehow we got to talking about my mathematical knitting.

Next, I went to a panel of Science Fiction and Fantasy Authors called “Chaotic Good and Lawful Evil: The Appeal of Morally Gray Characters in Science Fiction and Fantasy books.”

Here are the signed books I got after that panel ended:

The authors were O. O. Sangoyomi, Mary E. Pearson, Veronica Roth, and Yume Kitasei

Moderator: Your books are based on folklore and myth. How do they get populated with these morally ambiguous characters?

MP: Morally ambiguous characters are real, and they are us.

YK: So often retellings flip who the good guys and bad guys are and help us see more. Gives the myths a whole new life.

OS: You can also give traditional villains more of a back story, which makes the story more interesting.

VR: A quote: “Through folklore we learn about a people and what they think about humanity.” We learn from Slavic folklore that being human is a drag! Unfair stuff happens all the time. They teach us about humanity, not necessarily about morality.

Moderator to OS: The king in her Hades retelling is so convinced he’s right?

OS: That’s what drew her to the myth. She wanted to give Persephone more agency. Love bordering on obsession. Love can change people for the better or the worse.

YK: He’s a villain but not a villain. The love story is somewhat toxic, but still beautiful. He’s a foil for her journey.

Moderato to VR: Your book gets us cheering for vampires.

VR: The long history of Monster Fiction is making them sympathetic. The character is deprogrammed from brainwashing. Polish immigrants came to Chicago fleeing monsters, too. They’re just trying to survive.

YK: VR has got characters working toward opposing goals, all sympathetic, but they can’t all win.

Moderator to YK: Everyone’s hero is someone’s villain. In your book, every side has a solid reason for what they’re doing. They all have a valid point.

YK: As someone biracial and bicultural, within herself, her own identities war against each other. Everybody has a different perspective, rooted in their background.

VR: Come to YK’s book for Indiana Jones and stay for thoughtful meditation on what it means to be human.

Moderator to MP: Romantasy has a trope of morally gray characters with a trope “I must keep secrets from you for your own protection.”

MP: She gets in their heads and explores their motivations. They all think they’re doing the right thing. One guy is lying because of past betrayal. Another one has a very deep fear for people’s lives. Moral conundrums are true to life. Life isn’t black and white.

VR: As an author, we don’t even want to have all the answers. Better to write questions you don’t know the answers to.

YK: Selfishness itself is not inherently bad. It can be your motivation, but that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Now some responses that came from audience questions:

VR: Folklore is for people in the time it exists. It’s a living thing.

MP: Celtic folklore was never written down until the Christian monks. She tries to get at what it would have been behind that filter.

OS: Greek mythology + Nigerian mythology is her personal interpretation.

VR: How much can you forgive? You don’t get to decide what other people can forgive.

MP: Can a person be redeemed?

OS: What do we consider offenses in the first place? We might not need to forgive them if we understand their motivations.

VR: People who demand moral clarity have a lack of appreciation for a narrative arc. Do you want me telling your children what to do?

After that panel, I got the four books signed. Then I went to the main session where Kwame Alexander was speaking.

He had fun talking about winning not just a Newbery, but also an Emmy for Crossover.

Then he read an amazing and precocious letter from a 5th grade fan who demanded that he write a book with a female main character. So he talked about his next book, inspired by his great-grandmother, Black Star. It is book two of a trilogy.

Then he told us about Black librarians who fought against book bans 100 years before Moms for Liberty. Folks had forbidden too many Black books in one place. But in 1921, Virginia Lee found ways to get the books to the people, despite the orders.

Public librarians, if you want a model – look no further than the Black librarians of the early 20th Century.

We are in the imagination business, and we are reimagining what it means to be in community in a paradoxical time.

Libraries aren’t just the refuge in the storm – libraries are the rainbow.

His parents surrounded him with books that made him believe he mattered.

Then during the audience question time, Kwame called Jerry Craft on stage and announced that they’re collaborating on a book together! (Even though Jerry Craft has never won an Emmy.)

It was funny, because after Kwame finished speaking, I got in a line to greet librarian Mychal Threets, who posts about Library Joy and Library Kids.

After that session, I went back to my hotel room and fell asleep – but woke up in time to walk 2 miles along the bay to go to a Macmillan Happy Hour on a boat that’s part of the San Diego Maritime Museum. There were lots of authors there, and it was an opportunity to talk with some, but I mostly hung out on the deck, where it was breezy, and talked with my fellow Morris committee members who were there, finally meeting them in person after all our Zoom meetings.

And to top it off, they told us to take as many books as we wanted, so I walked back with these. Two of them are second books from debut authors who made an impression during my Morris reading.

All in all, it was a grand first full day of the conference. No wonder I was tired!

ALA Annual Conference – The Printz Awards

The first big event of ALA Annual Conference is the Printz Awards and Reception on Friday night.

The ceremony was as exuberant and lovely as ever. I love that we get to hear from all the honorees, not the winner only.

My camera doesn’t do great in a big auditorium, but let me post some pictures and notes from the speeches:

First Honor Book Author was Moa Backe Astöt for Fire from the Sky

This award is beyond anything she imagined. She was 22 when the book was published, but was 15 when she started writing it. As a Sami teen, she didn’t see books about teens like her. She wanted to write a painful story with a happy ending. It’s crucial that indigenous people and minorities feel seen and represented in literature.

Next, her translator, Eva Apelqvist, spoke:

Sometimes we meet a book that we just want to share with the world. She first just translated a chapter to promote the book, and was so happy to get to translate more. The setting brings you to northern Sweden. She had to let go of cultural shackles and approach it with humility.

Next up was Kenneth M. Cadow, author of Gather:

A book with an award and a dog on the cover – and the dog lives!

He told a story of going to the solar eclipse – somehow we like to be reminded that we are small. People are unpredictable, sometimes pleasantly so. Our hope comes from knowing each other and tiptoeing around each other’s humanness. His book humannizes the data about white rural males and drugs.

Then came Shannon Gibney for The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be:

She reaches out to other people on Planet Adoptee. Other adoptees see and recognize the experiences here. And non-adoptees have told her: We didn’t know.

Next up was Candice Iloh for Salt the Water:

Cerulean is someone she never had the chance to be at 17. She’d believed she had to follow what adults said she should do. Young people lose hope in the institutes they’re supposed to trust. What happens when our young people have had enough? She illuminated one Black queer child’s choice to seek safety. No one is safe until we all are.

Finally, they presented the Printz Medal for the short story collection, The Collectors, edited by A. S. King. All the authors went up front to the side, and A. S. King gave the speech.

She wanted the speech to be weird. (And succeeded!) She started off with a story of how she ended up recommending Slaughterhouse Five to an old guy – and then warning him it’s a weird book.

She thinks the word “weird” actually means “humane.” Which means that being humane is weird.

Teenagers live in an entirely different world than we did. There’s emotional currency in weirdness. It’s weird to tell the truth. Weird is humane. It wants you to tell the truth.

They remove humane books.

Not one career here tonight was self-made.

Protect trans kids for no other reason than it’s the right thing to do.

We work with battle-weary kids whose adults can’t see the war. We serve children because we’ve all been children.

The opposite of humane is Shame.

We are artists. We are art.

Some claim to protect children by removing their emotional fire extinguishers.

Be weird!

ALA Annual Conference 2024 – Trevor Noah and Exhibits!

I just finished attending the 2024 American Library Association Annual Conference!

I flew to San Diego on Friday, June 28, and here was the view from my hotel room:

And the view of the Convention Center:

My flight was delayed about 45 minutes, and even with just a quick stop in my hotel room, I wasn’t in time for the start of the Opening Session with Trevor Noah, but I did get to hear the end of it.

Trevor’s an advocate for libraries. I don’t remember all he said, being in a bit of a daze after my flight. But he did speak about the power of libraries and books that aren’t trying to manipulate you and get clicks.

Next was the opening of the exhibits.

I have a neck condition (a small right vertebral artery) which means I shouldn’t carry heavy bags of books. So usually, I go to ALA Member Services, show my doctor’s note, and get permission to bring a wheeled bag on the exhibit floor. But now I have a job where publishers send advance reader copies to me directly. Surely I don’t need to grab so many at the conference? I decided not to bring a wheeled bag and limit myself to not carry more than 3 books at a time. And, well – the first three days I succeeded in keeping it down to 4 at a time.

The first night, I picked up 4 books, 5 tote bags, some Booklist magazines, and a publisher catalog:

I must say that I demonstrated incredible restraint!

Then it was back to my hotel to get ready for the Printz Awards.

Review of Amil and the After, by Veera Hiranandani

Amil and the After

by Veera Hiranandani

Kokila, 2024. 261 pages.
Review written June 20, 2024, from an advance reader copy sent to me by the publisher
Starred Review

I loved this book. Now, this is no surprise – this book features the same family as in The Night Diary, one of the books the 2019 Newbery Committee I was on chose as an Honor book. I think I read that book at least three times and loved it. I was happy to spend time with Nisha and Amil again, in a happier part of their story.

And that’s what the book is about – how do you get back to a normal life after great upheaval and trauma? In The Night Diary, Nisha and Amil’s Hindu family (even though their dead mother was Muslim) have to flee Pakistan after Partition – when the country was created overnight. Their journey was dangerous and harrowing, and they saw some awful things.

Now the family is settled in Bombay in 1948. Papa is working in a hospital there, and Nisha and Amil are going to school. But it’s hard to make friends. And it’s hard for Amil to concentrate on schoolwork. He’d rather be drawing.

It’s also hard for him to forget all the things he’s seen. And he knows he’s lucky – but what about the boys like him who are unlucky? Is there anything he can do to help?

Amil’s torn between heavy thoughts like that – and just wanting to daydream about getting a bicycle. But there’s still unrest in India, and will they even be able to stay in Bombay?

This book’s told from Amil’s perspective, and I loved spending time with him again and watching him learn to be happy again. (And you can read it if you haven’t read the first book – but that will give you more context.)

veerahiranandani.com
Penguin.com/kids

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Willodeen, by Katherine Applegate

Willodeen

by Katherine Applegate
illustrations by Charles Santoso

Feiwel and Friends, 2021. 263 pages.
Review written January 7, 2022, from a library book
Starred Review

This is a sweet and poignant fantasy for younger readers with a strong theme about how life is interconnected. In less skilled hands, it would be a Message Book. As it is, this lovely story has a strong theme.

Willodeen lives in a village in a world with creatures unlike those in our world. She’s narrating the story, and tells us this:

I suppose I always loved strange beasts. Even as a wee child, I was drawn to them.

The scarier, the smellier, the uglier, the better.

Of course, I was kindly disposed toward all of earth’s creatures. Birds and bats, toads and cats, slimy and scaly, noble and humble.

But I especially loved the unlovable ones. The ones folks called pests. Vermin. Monsters, even.

My favorites were called screechers. They screamed at night like demented roosters, for no reason anyone could ever make out.

They were grumpy as tired toddlers. They were sloppy as hungry hogs.

And – I guess there’s no nice way to put it – they stank to high heaven.

Willodeen’s family was killed in the Great September Fire, and now she lives with two ladies who are healers. She doesn’t like large groups of people and feels like she never got the lesson on what to say when. But she watches the creatures who live around her village.

The other folks of the village love the hummingbears – adorable little bear-like creatures with silvery wings that make bubble nests in the blue willows by the river. They have a grand Faire every year when the hummingbears nest. Willodeen has her own hummingbear who was injured in the fire and can no longer fly long distances.

But recently, there are fewer creatures in the forest. The Council put a bounty on screechers because of their terrible smell. Willodeen is horrified when the last one she has seen in months gets shot by a bounty hunter.

Then a boy who crafts little model creatures makes her a little screecher on her birthday. And that day, Willodeen discovers a baby screecher. Can they keep it hidden from the hunters?

Then when hummingbears are missing from the town – but nest in the trees where their screecher feeds at the roots – Willodeen wonders if there is a connection.

Willodeen is a wonderful lovable character who pulls you into this story. You’ll find yourself loving the stinky screechers, too.

This is a gentle story with a strong punch.

katherineapplegate.com
mackids.com

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What did you think of this book?

*Note* To try to catch up on posting reviews, I’m posting the oldest reviews I’ve written on my blog without making a page on my main website. They’re still good books.

Review of One Step Further, by Katherine Johnson, illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

One Step Further

My Story of Math, the Moon, and a Lifelong Mission

by Katherine Johnson
with her daughters Joylette Hylick and Katherine Moore
illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

National Geographic Kids, 2021. 48 pages.
Review written January 5, 2022, from my own copy
Starred Review

Here’s a wonderful picture book biography that tells about the groundbreaking life of Katherine Johnson and weaves in the experiences of her three daughters growing up with her example.

The book uses photographs and artifacts from Katherine’s life to give wonderful visuals, giving a taste of the times. The daughters are pictured with speech bubbles giving commentary on the artifacts and the main text, effectively pulling the reader into the story with child guides.

Segregation affected Katherine’s life, and it also affected her daughters’ lives. When she moved in order to find a job that used her talents, her children experienced segregation. But I also like that when she became a human computer for NACA, there were many other college-educated African-American women working there (segregated from the white computers). The kids are pictured saying about that:

Our neighborhood was full of smart and stylish Black women mathematicians. At church, at school pickups, at summer cookouts, in our kitchen.

They took such pride in their jobs and looked so perfect every day. We didn’t know quite what they did, but we wanted to be like them.

The theme of “one step further” is carried through the book, as Katherine continued to push to go one step further. Her daughter Kathy also went one step further by participating in sit-ins to protest racial segregation.

The book progresses through to Katherine’s important work on the moon launch and how John Glenn asked Katherine to check the math of the mechanical computer before he was willing to take off.

I like the page at the back that tells how NASA named a building and then an entire facility after Katherine. It also tells how her daughters followed in her footsteps, with one working for NASA and the other two working as teachers.

There are ten pages of detailed historical notes after the main story, so older kids intrigued by this can learn how they can find out more. This biography is put together in a wonderfully inviting package.

natgeo.com

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Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

*Note* To try to catch up on posting reviews, I’m posting the oldest reviews I’ve written on my blog without making a page on my main website. They’re still good books.

Review of Lamb of the Free, by Andrew Remington Rillera

Lamb of the Free

Recovering the Varied Sacrificial Understandings of Jesus’s Death

by Andrew Remington Rillera

Cascade Books, 2024. 325 pages.
Review written May 31, 2024, from my own copy, purchased via Amazon.com.
Starred Review

I purchased – and actually read – this book because of strong recommendations from progressive Christians I follow on Twitter. I was not sorry. This book is amazing, giving an in-depth look at the sacrificial system set up in the Torah and how those sacrifices are used to talk about Jesus in the New Testament. Along the way, we learn that there’s nothing in the sacrificial system that’s penal – about punishment – and nothing that’s substitutionary – about taking something in place of someone else so they don’t have to. No, we see that Jesus’s death is shown to be participatory – Jesus identified with humanity in our curse to the point of death, and now we participate with Jesus in his death and resurrection.

That’s all in there, and it’s amazing and good. But let me warn my readers: This is an academic book written for professional theologians. I very much want to see a layperson’s summary of this book written. In fact, I’d love to take that project on myself — if I were sure I understood this book well enough.

There are long footnotes on almost every page and Scripture references noted throughout the text. The arguments of other scholars are noted and referred to. (And I had purchased one of the books he refutes. That one is also academic, so now I can put it away without trying to slog through it. Whew!) But this is a good thing! Before a layperson’s summary can be written, this book is needed to establish the firm biblical foundation of these ideas.

So although it was hard to wade through, it made my heart happy as I read. Something Andrew Rillera made clear is that the Bible does not teach that God is mad at us and requires a horrible death before God could ever forgive us.

Now, I’m a person who since childhood has read through the Bible over and over again. And, well, I’ve memorized the entire New Testament, Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, and half of Jeremiah (a chapter at a time, anyway). But when I read through Leviticus, let’s just say that often my mind wanders. I’m very aware that there are many different kinds of sacrifices, offered in many different ways.

So I just loved that this author explained the different types of sacrifices, how they relate to Jesus, and how New Testament writers apply them to Jesus. Although I’d still like a chart of the types of sacrifices, next time I read Leviticus, I’m going to have a better understanding of what I’m reading and how the various sacrifices are distinguished between one another.

Let me just give some things that struck me:

The sacrifices were not about death.

Although this one is hard for me to explain, the author’s pages of explanation show that sacrifice is about accessing the offering’s life, found in the blood.

The sacrifices were not about suffering.

The offering was to be killed quickly and humanely. And this is interesting:

This is significant because we can now see that when it comes to sacrificial understandings of Jesus’s death in the NT, these never occur in the context of Jesus’s sufferings and passion. Put another way: when Jesus’s sufferings and/or death qua death are the topic, then sacrificial metaphors are avoided.

Sacrifices were often about ritual purification. And often about remembrance. Or establishing a covenant. (I’d like to see a great big chart, honestly. But it’s all detailed here.)

Something I did grasp is that there were two types of sacrifices: Atoning and non-atoning sacrifices. The person offering the sacrifice never eats of an atoning sacrifice.

So when Jesus established the Lord’s Supper, he was relating his death to non-atoning sacrifices — the well-being sacrifices and the covenant-establishment sacrifices of the Passover. They are about remembering and about participating in.

But he also makes the point that some offenses were never intended to be dealt with by the sacrificial system.

Forgiveness has always been wider and deeper than the sacrificial system. God’s forgiveness was always available via extra-sacrificial means (e.g., Pss 32; 51; 103; Isa 38:17), so the prophets are confident that God will have mercy and forgive Israel and restore them just because that is the kind of God that God is and this is the kind of thing God can do (e.g., Isa 43:25; 44:22; 55:7; Jer 50:20; Mic 7:18-19; Hos 14:2-7; cf. Zeph 3:15).

I also love the part where the author explains the way the Romans used altars commemorating a conqueror’s mercy – “votive gifts” – and how that gives us insight into what Paul is saying in Romans 5 through 8.

Paul is essentially saying:

Look at Jesus! God is not your enemy! You are the ones at enmity with God. God is justifying you even though you are ungodly. God has put forth Jesus as a conciliatory votive gift of peace and reconciliation to demonstrate this. Be reconciled to God! God loves you! If God did not spare God’s own Son, then nothing can separate you from the love of God revealed and manifested in Jesus Christ. Jesus eternally stands in the presence of God (like votive gifts stand in temples) interceding for us all.

That’s all a really poor summary of what’s going on in this book. If you can handle academic writing at all, and to anyone who’s ever been to seminary, I highly, highly recommend this book. Of course, he goes into great detail about every type of sacrifice in the Torah and every mention of Jesus associated with sacrifice in the New Testament. Hebrews and 1 John do associate Jesus with atoning sacrifices, and do not mention the Lord’s Supper, and he looks at the implications of that, while also paying close attention to the more frequent mentions relating to non-atoning sacrifices.

Here’s a paragraph from the Introduction that helps us see where the book is going:

Jesus’s death is a participatory phenomenon; it is something all are called to share in experientially. The logic is not: Jesus died so we don’t have to. Rather it is: Jesus died so that we, together, can follow in his steps and die with him and like him, having full fellowship with his sufferings so that we might share in the likeness of his resurrection (e.g., Phil 3:10-11; Gal 2:20; 6:14; Rom 6:3-8; 1 Pet 2:21; Mark 8:34-35 with 10:38-39; 1 John 2:6; 3:16-18; etc.).

And here are some paragraphs from the end, summing up the journey he’s led us on:

Therefore, understanding the concepts of sacrifice and kipper properly is part of understanding the story of salvation the NT is telling. For instance, if we think sacrifice is all about punishment and retributive justice, then we will fundamentally misconstrue the sacrificial images applied to Jesus. This means we will misconstrue what “salvation” and “justice” mean because these terms will be informed and defined by alternative stories and frameworks. But getting the concepts and story right are crucial, not only for an individual Christian’s formation, but also our collective formation as part of a common and shared tapestry faithfully witnessing to the salvation of God in Jesus Christ as his body, the church….

So when we get the sacrificial concepts right by understanding the larger story of which they are a part, then we can find our place within that story, and as Paul says, become sharers and partakers of the body and blood of Jesus (1 Cor 10:16-17). And by so doing we become a living well-being sacrifice ourselves (Rom 12:1), narrating the death of Jesus in our bodies for the life and reconciliation of the world (2 Cor 4:10-12; 5:14-21).

So, let me challenge you. If you’re up for a deep dive into the details of the sacrificial system and what Jesus’s death means — you will be richly rewarded. I admit it will take some work and thought, but will yield a beautiful result.

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

Review of Huda F Are You? by Huda Fahmy

Huda F Are You?

by Huda Fahmy

Dial Books (Penguin Random House), 2021. 188 pages.
Review written December 30, 2021, from a library book

This is a graphic novel loosely based on the author’s high school years. She started high school in a new city (Dearborn, Michigan) and a new school, where she was no longer the only one wearing a hijab.

So if she no longer stood out as the one hijabi at the school, who was she? Where did she fit in?

The highly relatable search for identity in high school makes a fun graphic novel. Of course there are missteps making friends and plenty of awkward attempts at fitting in. Teens will relate, whether they are Muslim or not, and those who are not will gain some insight and empathy along with the laughter.

PenguinTeen.com

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Disclosure: I am an Amazon Affiliate, and will earn a small percentage if you order a book on Amazon after clicking through from my site.

Disclaimer: I am a professional librarian, but the views expressed are solely my own, and in no way represent the official views of my employer or of any committee or group of which I am part.

What did you think of this book?

*Note* To try to catch up on posting reviews, I’m posting the oldest reviews I’ve written on my blog without making a page on my main website. They’re still good books.