Monday, December 22, 2014

Print Media Monday: We Need Diverse Comics

Stumbled upon this article in my twitter feed, an article by Elizabeth Bird on expanding our literary horizons to include literature from abroad. The #weneeddiversebooks campaign, Bird argues, should also include comics books, easy reading books, chapter books, etc.

I don't mean any disrespect to Ms. Bird, as I DO agree with her article. However, as a person of color with a small child, this is nothing new, and has been my reality for years. I have always tried to make sure the characters the books I select for my daughter reflect her appearance, if possible, and her experience. Oddly enough, it was much easier (in my experience) to find picture books with diverse characters than it is to find chapter books/middle grade books with diverse characters.

I'm curious about your experiences, readers. What do you do (if anything) to ensure your children's reading experiences are broad and (sometimes I hate this word, but it fits here) diverse? What are your favorite titles?

To read Ms. Bird's article, click here.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday: Cry of the Wolf Starring Whisper the Winged Unicorn

First off, Happy Thanksgiving to those of you who celebrate!

There are lots of great Thanksgiving-themed books out there, but for today's Throwback Thursday, I'd like to post about things I am thankful for: unicorns (especially rainbow ones!) and the 80s!!!!

Growing up in the pre-Internet days, we had book fairs, not Amazon. One of my favorite series to buy at the book fair was Whisper the Winged Unicorn, for the lovely illustrations, and also the free stickers! I had a few books out of the series, but I recently stumbled upon this one in the attic: Cry of the Wolf Starring: Whisper the Winged Unicorn (yes, it says "starring!")

The Plot: Whisper the Unicorn wakes up one morning excited for the Rainbow Forest Spring Fair, which is only two days away. She meets up with her animal friends, only to discover something frightening: they are terrified by mysterious cries they hear in the night! Can Whisper figure out where the cries are coming from before the Spring Fair is ruined?!?!

The Review: I LOVED it! How could I not? There's mystery, suspense, gorgeous illustrations all in about 20 pages or so. If one reads carefully, there are gentle lessons about friendship, understanding, and tolerance sprinkled throughout. Not bad for a 28 year old book!

Book Information

  • Cry of the Wolf Starring: Whisper the Winged Unicorn
  • By Peter Mandel, Illustrated by Katherine Wilson-Heaney
  • Published by Antioch Publishing Company, 1986
  • ISBN 0-89954-673-0

Photo Credit

Picture of Cry of the Wolf Starring Whisper the Winged Unicorn was taken from here. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Toys and Games Tuesday: Feminist Hacker Barbie

Ok, ok. So this isn't exactly a toy review. But since the mission of this blog is to flesh out the messages sometimes hidden in kids' media, I couldn't NOT write a post about this.

I won't rehash all the outrage, or how horrible this book is (and by "this book" I am referring to Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer from the "Barbie: I Can Be..." Book Series). Rather, I'd just like to say, that as media makers (writers, filmmakers, web series makers, comic book artists, etc) we have a responsibility to use our powers for good and not evil. What we say really DOES matter.

Enter Feminist Hacker Barbie, an app that lets you rewrite the pages of the Barbie: I Can Be a Computer Engineer to something more intelligent? Interesting? Appropriate? You make the call. Kudos to app maker Kathleen for making this a teachable moment for everyone.

Too bad there isn't a real Feminist Hacker Barbie. I'd definitely buy that for my daughter!

Photo Credit

Picture of Barbie was taken from Feminist Hacker Barbie. Thanks!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Repost: International Friday: Sara Farizan's If You Could Be Mine

Hi friends and fans! I had wanted to do a book or movie review in honor of Transgender Awareness Week (November 14th-20th), but the crazy of everyday life swept me away. Although it's a day late, I'd like to repost my short review of Sara Farizan's wonderful YA novel, If You Could Be Mine. (Actually, it's only a review of the first five free chapters from Amazon. I later borrowed a copy from the library and read it on my own, but failed to review it here. BOOOOO!) In any case, please check out this novel. Farizan's story about an Iranian teenager who wants to undergo a sex change to be with her best friend will have you thinking, at the very least.

The link to the review is here.

For more information on Transgender Awareness Week, please click here.

Sunday, October 19, 2014


Hey friends and fans!

My apologies for the late announcement regarding last week's giveaway! With a whopping two entries (LOL), the winner of the Goosebumps book is.....

Mirka Breen!

Mirka, I am sending you an email!

I will make sure to be more organized and fancy for the next giveaway (I will actually use Rafflecopter, rather then slips of paper and closing my eyes! ^_^)

Until next time, Happy Monday, everyone!!!!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Throwback Thursday: R.L. Stine's Escape from the Carnival of Horrors + Giveaway!

Hellooooooooo fans and friends! I can't believe it's been almost a YEAR since my last post, but here we are again! (And I have to say, I'm glad to be back!) Since it's almost Halloween, I thought I'd bring the blog back--waaaaay back to a magical time--1995(!!!!!), and a series you might have heard of, Goosebumps.

If you are an early nineties kid like me, the Goosebumps series probably had a place on your bookshelf. (I used to beg my mother to buy them for me from the B. Dalton Bookstore at the mall, then get disappointed when they only took me two hours to read. LOL!) So this one's for you, nineties kids, a review of R.L. Stine's 1995 Give Yourself Goosbumps Series #1, Escape from the Carnival of Horrors!

In addition to the catchy tagline, "Readers choose the scare!" there is so much to love about Mr. Stine's writing/this book. First off, the throwback quality. When was the last time you cracked open a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-type book? If you're old like me, probably not for a long while. This book takes you back to the time where, sure, you'll turn to page 42 because you've chosen it or the directions say so, but you're half-cringing, half-excited about what comes next! Secondly, the endings. This gem of a book boasts 20 different endings for hours(?) of entertainment! (I'll admit, my grown-up brain got impatient and thought that 4 endings was enough for me to read to write a review, but still. I loved each of them.) Third, it might not be literature, and I might be 22 years older, but there's still something about R.L. Stine's writing which sucks me in, leaves me hanging at the right moment, then finishes me off with a gross-out kill. (Figuratively speaking, of course!) There were some lovely allusions to his other titles in this book as well, which made me love this book even more.

Sooooooo. I hope you enjoyed this overdue post! Leave a comment below with the title of your favorite throwback series/or stand-alone book. I'm always on the lookout for new/old titles to review here! Also, if you leave a comment by 12:00AM October 13th, Eastern Standard Time, I will randomly select a commenter to win my copy of Escape from the Carnival of Horrors so that you can enjoy it, too! Happy Halloween, and Happy Reading, everyone!

Photo Credits

Demian's Gamebook Web Page

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Toys and Games Tuesday- Springfield and American Girl Dolls

It's already that time of year again, crazy busy holiday time!

I was at Michael's the other day (looking at craft supplies instead of writing, LOL) when I ran into these Springfield dolls. I'd seen them on the web, but it was my first time to see them in person. For those of you who don't have a seven year old daughter like me, Springfield is a company that makes 18" dolls, similar in appearance to American Girl dolls but five times CHEAPER. Think of them as American Girl's frugal cousin.

American Girl (the Mercedes Benz of doll companies) has several doll lines. They are best known for their historical dolls, but are getting more and more popular for their My American Girl Collection, where girls can customize a doll that looks (hopefully) like them.

While I'm not advocating for either company (unless they paid me to, of course...LOL), I think it's great that toys are beginning to finally reflect the population of our country.

Photo Credits

"Buy More Stuff Photo" link